2018 PAC-12 WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, February 21 – Saturday, February 24
- Federal Way, WA (Pacific Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Stanford (1x) (results)
- Live results
- Live Video
- Championship Central
The Stanford women are the heavy favorites to take the 2018 Pac-12 crown and successfully defend their 2017 title, which was their first since 2014.
Katie Ledecky should be unbeatable, and Simone Manuel and Ella Eastin will be right up there in all of their individual events. Janet Hu and Ally Howe, two women who have been incredibly fast and incredibly dependable throughout their Stanford careers, add more top-end depth, but it doesn’t come close to stopping with them. Stanford has a seemingly endless array of young freestylers, and it speaks to the strength of their team that the weakest part of their roster, the breaststroke, has two 1:00’s in the 100 and two sub-2:10’s in the 200 this season.
Cal will be locked and loaded with an Abbey Weitzeil who has been looking fantastic this year, and Kathleen Baker has been the fastest swimmer in the conference this year in the 100 back and 200 IM and the second-fastest in the 200 back. The top spot in the 200 back has been Golden Bear Amy Bilquist, and Noemie Thomas has been the second-fastest time in the conference in the 100 fly.
USC has gotten huge performances this year out of freshman Maggie Aroesty in the breaststrokes, complementing very well with Riley Scott. They’re ranked 1st and 3rd in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, with Scott on top of the conference in the 100 and Aroesty on top in the 200. Meanwhile, all-star Louise Hansson is ranked on top in the 100 fly and has put forth the second-best time in the 100 free, too.
The Arizona women have a new head coach in Augie Busch, while Bob Bowman’s Arizona State team continues to push towards the top of the conference.
- 200 medley relay
- Men’s 1-meter diving
- 800 free relay
- Men’s 3-meter
- 500 free
- 200 IM
- 50 free
- Women’s 1-meter diving
- 200 free relay
- 400 IM
- 100 fly
- 200 free
- 100 breast
- 100 back
- Men’s platform diving
- Women’s 3-meter diving
- 400 medley relay
- 1650 free
- 200 back
- 100 free
- 200 breast
- 200 fly
- Women’s platform diving
- 400 free relay
Arizona – Hannah Cox (junior distance freestyler/IMer), Mackenzie Rumrill (junior butterflier), Cameron McHugh (senior backstroker), Katrina Konopka (junior sprint freestyler/backstroker) — It’s a new era for Arizona under head coach Augie Busch. The Wildcats haven’t done anything eye-popping yet this year, but a strong junior class consisting of Cox, Rumrill, and Konopka should drag in a bunch of points.
Arizona State – Marlies Ross (junior IMer/breaststroker), Silja Kansakoski (junior freestyler), Chloe Isleta (sophomore backstroker/IMer) — Kansakoski will be vying for Pac-12 crowns as one of the premier breaststrokers in the country. Ross should join her in the 200 breast A final, and is a fantastic IMer as well, as is Isleta. ASU will need more names to step up, and they could benefit hugely from big contributions from freshman freestylers Erica Laning and Emma Nordin.
Cal – Katie McLaughlin (junior butterflier/freestyler), Abbey Weitzeil (sophomore sprinter), Maddie Murphy (sophomore sprinter), Noemie Thomas (senior butterflyer), Kathleen Baker (junior IMer/backstroker), Amy Bilquist (junior freestyler/backstroker) — Weitzeil looks in fighting form this year, and she’s been great on the 200 medley relay all season (doing breaststroke). There are a lot of big names on this roster, as per usual, but freshman Ali Harrison will be counted on to hold her own against the conference’s breaststrokers.
Oregon State – Arianna Letrari (junior butterflier), Felicia Anderson (sophomore backstroker) — The roster is dangerously low, with only thirteen women. Letrari and Anderson lead the way, with each ranking in the Pac-12 top 30 this season in two events– Letrari in the 200 fly and 200 IM, and Anderson in the 100 and 200 back.
UCLA – Katie Grover (senior butterflier), Kenisha Liu (sophomore sprinter), Emma Schanz (junior everything), Sandra Soe (junior distance freestyler) — Schanz is ranked in the Pac-12 top ten in a multitude of events, from backstroke to breaststroke to IM.
USC – Louise Hansson (sophomore anything but BR/distance), Maggie Aroesty (freshman breaststroker/IMer), Kirsten Vose (junior breaststroker/freestyler), Riley Scott (junior breaststroker/IMer), Madison Wright (junior butterflier), Hannah Weiss (senior backstroker) — Aroesty has fully popped off this year. Hansson is looking great during round 2 at USC, and Scott (along with Aroesty) packs a mean 1-2 punch.
Stanford – Ella Eastin (junior IMer/butterflier), Janet Hu (senior sprinter), Katie Ledecky (sophomore distance), Megan Byrnes (sophomore distance), Allie Szekely (sophomore IMer), Brooke Forde (freshman freestyler/breaststroker/IMer), Ally Howe (senior backstroker), Simone Manuel (senior freestyler), Katie Drabot (sophomore butterflier) — We could keep listing stars for several more names. This team is utterly stacked. I’m afraid of this team (in a respectful, awe-struck kind of way). Any team in the country would want any one of these women on their team, and we haven’t mentioned any of the freshmen (but Forde) or other key players like Kim Williams or Leah Stevens.
Utah – Gillian St. John (junior sprinter), Jordan Anderson (junior distance free/fly/IM), Genevieve Robertson (junior breaststroker) — Robertson is a talented breaststroker, and Anderson, mid-season, set a new program record in the 400 IM (4:11.73).
Washington State – Hannah Bruggman (junior freestyler/butterflyer), Emily Cook (freshman backstroker) — Cook is a developing backstroker with potential. Bruggman, a senior, returns as the Cougars’ top sprint freestyler.
Two American Olympians showing down in a 50 free– sprinting doesn’t get much better than that.
Stanford’s Simone Manuel will go head-to-head with Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil in a thrilling splash and dash. Manuel was out most of the season with an injury, so her 22.13 from the Stanford v. Cal dual meet isn’t on par with the 21.44 Weitzeil swam at the Georgia Invitational. Weitzeil has certainly looked good all season, but Manuel proved with her gold medal performances in the 100 free at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds that she can win when it counts.
Another battle will be between Cal and Stanford– Janet Hu v. Amy Bilquist. They have both broken 22 this year, the only swimmers in the conference to have done that this season other than Weitzeil. Don’t count out USC freshman Marta Ciesla, either, who has been 22.23 this year and could have more to drop.
100 BACK & 200 BACK
Kathleen Baker has not been incredibly fast this season– other than her times from way early in the season at the USA Swimming v. Pac-12 Challenge, she hasn’t really thrown down. Amy Bilquist is the leader this year in the 200 back, and ranks 4th in the 100 back, where Baker leads.
Meanwhile, Stanford will contest with Janet Hu and Ally Howe. Howe was the 2nd woman ever under 50 seconds last year in the 100 back, while Hu has upped her 200 back game.
If Kathleen Baker is on, her fight with Ella Eastin will be amazing. If she’s not, Eastin will probably run away with this. Louise Hansson may just play spoiler here, though.
Besides these top three, the Pac-12 houses an incredible IM group, so look for the slew of Stanford IMers, Cal’s Sarah Darcel, UCLA’s Emma Schanz, USC’s Tatum Wade, Riley Scott, and Maggie Aroesty, ASU’s Chloe Isleta and Marlies Ross…. the list goes on.
200 MEDLEY RELAY
It’s scary to think of what Janet Hu could split on fly (sub-22?), or Weitzeil on the breaststroke leg– or on the anchor, if they opt for someone else on the breast leg. Weitzeil seems the obvious choice, and after halfway, Cal will likely be in the lead. It’s hard to imagine Noemie Thomas giving up much time (if any) to Hu, but if Weitzeil is on breaststroke, will Bilquist (or Maddie Murphy? Katie McLaughlin anchored their relay at the Georgia Invitational) have much of a chance to hold off Manuel?
USC should be able to put forth a great middle 100 with Scott/Aroesty and Hansson, but they’ll need a lot out of Weiss and Ciesla to stand much of a chance against Cal and Stanford.
While it’s incredible to see a team put up four or more swimmers in one A final at a conference championships, Stanford will probably do that in MANY events at Pac-12s. The Cal women have a ton of elite talent and considerable depth, but it simply can’t match the Cardinal.
USC certainly has enough primo talent to stay in third, though Arizona won’t be too far behind them.
- Arizona State
- Washington State
- Oregon State