2014 Women’s Pacific-12 (PAC-12) Conference Championships Fan Guide
- Dates: Wednesday February 26th – Saturday March 1st; Prelims at 11AM, Finals 6PM
- Location: Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center (Pacific Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Stanford (Results.)
- Live Results: Available.
- Live Video (If available): Not at the moment
- Championship Central (sort of)
The PAC-12 Championship women’s swimming, plus diving on both sides, will be underway beginning on Wednesday in Federal Way, Washington. It will not be the same as last year, where the event was 8 days long, from the women’s meet right into the men’s. This year the combined program coaches will get a bit of a break between the two.
Last year we saw the end of Teri McKeever’s four-year run, that also coincided with a two NCAA titles with those years. The excitement that was with Greg Meehan in his first year at Stanford was well deserved. He came in and won the PAC-12 and finished 8th at NCAAs a month later. And he’s got some good momentum into this year’s championship season, with wins against USC on the road and Cal at home.
Stanford was able to come away with the win last season, by just 20 points over USC. Cal was third last season, and was about 100 points out of first. This year is a new year, new season and new team for the three. And while this conference isn’t the focus for most of these big teams, it could shake out to be fairly interesting if we see the Cal that has shown up at the past few duel meets.
Arizona – Margo Geer (senior sprinter), Bonnie Brandon (sophomore backstroker/distance freestyler), Emma Schoettmer (sophomore breaststroker) – This Arizona team has been through a lot this year, but with Rick DeMont officially named as head coach, hopefully the Widcats can put together a good showing. Geer is the returning NCAA Champion in the 50 & 100 freestyle events as well.
Arizona State – Tristin Baxter (senior distance freestyler), Jennifer Morgan (sophomore backstroker). Melanie Busch (junior backstroker), Tory Houston (junior breaststoker) – ASU is looking a bit weak on the depth side, as Baxter and Houston are the only swimmers in the top 15 is any event within the conference.
UCLA – Kathryn Murphy (senior sprinter), Lauren Baker (senior distance freestyler), Ting Quah (senior butterflier), Noelle Tarazona (junior butterflier) – UCLA has put up fast times in a lot of events; they lack the depth to win this meet, but they have enough impact to make some noise.
USC – Kendyl Stewart (sophomore backstroker/butterflier), Kasey Carlson (senior breaststroker/sprinter), Meghan Hawthorne (senior IM’er), Stina Gardell (senior IM’er), Jasmine Tosky (sophomore butterfly/freestyler) – USC graduated a big class in numbers, but not necessarily in points. They have depth, and they have put up the times; now it’s a matter if they can beat their northern foes to the wall.
Cal – Liz Pelton (sophomore backstroker), Rachel Boostma (sophomore backstroker/butterflier), Cindy Tran (senior backstroker), Rachael Acker (sophomore sprinter), Catherine Breed (junior middle-distance), Celina Li (freshman IM’er), Missy Franklin (freshman everything) – This team has crazy depth in some events, but will that depth in some and lack in the others be enough to top everyone else?
Stanford – Felicia Lee (senior backstroke/butterflier), Sarah Haase (sophomore breaststroker), Katie Olsen (junior breaststroker), Maya DiRado (junior butterfly/IM’er), Maddy Schaefer (junior freestyler), Lia Neal (freshman freestyler) – The Cardinal are coming into PAC-12 hot with recent big duel meet wins, including big over Cal and USC. They always seem to do very well at this meet, and that will need that all confidence for the team battle.
Oregon State – Samantha Harrison (sophomore distance freestyler), Crystal Kibby (senior breaststroke, IM’er), Dakota Bloch (sophomore distance freestyler) – Overall this roster is on the young side, so this may be more of a rebuilding year for the Beavers.
Washington State – Loree Olson (sophomore backstroke/freestyler), Emma Johansson (senior free/back/fly’er), Nicole Proulx (junior freestyler) – The cougars have a win under their belt against Orgeon State in the latter part of their season, which could give them some confidence to finish above them this weekend.
Utah – Nicole Ligeza (breaststroker/IM’er), Sami Zuch (senior distance freestyler), Stina Colleou (freshman breaststroker) – Utah’s new coaching staff has done a lot in their first year, and it is certainly showing in their performances in the pool already.
200 Medley Relay – The Trojans keep getting faster in this event. Just recently at UCLA they went with a bit different of a line up and it paid off big, taking the top time in the conference by a half of a second. Their back half has to be confident, since they will be going in with a bit of a deficit after the backstroke leg of Lee for Stanford or Tran from Cal. So while Stanford and Cal will have to maintain and lead and hang on, USC will be looking to run down the field with Carlson and Stewart splitting times the field can’t even compare to.
100 backstroke – Cal owns 6 of the top 10 times thus far this season – Pelton, Tran, Franklin, Bootsma, Melanie Klaren, Stephanie Au. Outside that, there’s 3 Cardinal and one Trojan. The question will be what Bears end up swimming this event the second, mainly Missy Franklin. Will Missy opt for the 200 freestyle instead, where she is very close to the American Record? Even if that is the case, there are six girls under :52 seconds here already this season; it may take a :51 to just final in the event. And expect the same situation in the 200 backstroke, where it may take the American Record to win.
200 IM – This has been a good race within the conference for a few years now. Senior Maya DiRado will have some competition from the Cal Bears, mainly Pelton and Li. Your gut wants to pick the senior, but Li is a tough competitor and could get in there for a freshman upset. Stina Gardell from USC could get in there, but she will need to be aggressive on the front half if she wants a chance at the breaststroke leg.
This is definitely a tough one to pan out. Cal has a crazy depth of international-level talent, which is great for NCAA’s, and this meet since it is scored out to 24th place. Stanford will be coming in hot, with recent duel meet wins on the road vs. USC and at home vs. Cal. And then you have USC, who are still very balanced like they were last year, and have put up some fast times all year long.
I mean, who wouldn’t pick Cal? I know they are coming off two hard losses in season, but those may have ignited a fire in the Bears. Even so, they have crazy depth. They can score in every event, and deeply in many of those events. And really, they’re relays can win all as well; it’s just who will be on those relays is the question.
I think it will be a good showdown between the Cardinal and the Trojans. While the Cardinal have the upper hand coming off the duel meet recently, the times and depth the Trojans have should lean in their favor at the end of the day. Plus, they can throw down with Cal in the relay events this weekend, as well.
Outside those three, if UCLA performs the way that they have in season, they could potentially give Arizona a run for their money. UCLA has had a tendency to swim great in season, but fall a bit flat at the PAC-12 Championships. I hope they come to play this year, bring in some new blood to the top four potentially, but I will still pick Arizona for that fourth spot.
Outside those five, I think the conference will shake up a bit. Utah has several top 15 performances, and I like the momentum they have had all year. I think that’s enough to push them ahead of ASU this season. Plus, Washington State topped Oregon State a few weeks ago, plus has some star power to score some points.
- Washington State
- Oregon State