2018 Women’s Pac-12 Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


The first preliminary session of the 2018 Women’s Pac-12 Championships will go off this morning, with heats scheduled in the 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free. Cal got off to a great start yesterday, narrowly missing the NCAA record in the 200 medley relay before upsetting Stanford for the title in the 800 free relay.

Stanford has a strong lineup on day 2. Katie Ledecky shouldn’t have a problem defending her 500 free title, while Ella Eastin will surprisingly not defend her 200 IM crown, instead opting for the 500 free. That makes last year’s NCAA champ Kathleen Baker of Cal the big favorite. Among others, Simone Manuel will be challenged by Golden Bear Abbey Weitzeil as she looks to defend in the 50 free.

500 Free Prelims

  1. Katie Ledecky, STAN, 4:35.90
  2. Lauren Pitzer, STAN, 4:39.69
  3. Kirsten Jacobsen, UA, 4:39.98
  4. Ella Eastin, STAN, 4:40.30
  5. Megan Byrnes, STAN, 4:41.06
  6. Robin Neumann, CAL, 4:41.18
  7. Chenoa Devine, CAL, 4:42.30
  8. Erin Voss, STAN, 4:42.84

Katie Ledecky cruised to the win in the final heat of the 500 free, qualifying 1st overall in a time of 4:35.90. Her teammate Lauren Pitzer (4:39.69) took 2nd overall with a win in heat 6, while Arizona’s Kirsten Jacobsen (4:39.98) joined them under 4:40 with the heat 5 victory.

A third Cardinal, Megan Byrnes, dropped over eight and a half seconds off her seed to qualify 5th from one of the early heats in 4:41.06, and Ella Eastin (4:40.30) and Erin Voss (4:42.84) give Stanford five of tonight’s A-finalists.

Robin Neumann (4:41.18) and Chenoa Devine (4:42.30) took the other two spots in the A-final, giving Cal two representatives.

Becca MannKendall DawsonKatie McLaughlin and Leah Stevens finished 9th through 12th and will contest the B-final.

200 IM Prelims

  • Pac-12 Meet Record: 1:52.26, Katinka Hosszu (USC), 2012
  1. Kathleen Baker, CAL, 1:54.16
  2. Katie Drabot, STAN, 1:55.64
  3. Sarah Darcel, CAL, 1:55.98
  4. Ally Howe, STAN, 1:56.00
  5. Emma Schanz, UCLA, 1:56.06
  6. Brooke Forde, STAN, 1:56.30
  7. Kim Williams, STAN, 1:56.54
  8. Keaton Blovad, CAL, 1:56.86

Kathleen Baker of Cal asserted herself as the woman to beat in the 200 IM, posting the top time of the morning in 1:54.16. Since Ella Eastin has decided to race the 500 free instead, this race is hers for the taking.

After putting five into the A-final of the 500 free, Stanford didn’t slow down here with four women advancing through. Katie Drabot was a swift 1:55.64 for 2nd, while Ally Howe (1:56.00), Brooke Forde (1:56.30) and Kim Williams (1:56.54) qualified 4th, 6th and 7th.

Joining Baker in the final will be teammates Sarah Darcel (1:55.98) and Keaton Blovad (1:56.86) qualifying 3rd and 8th overall respectively. UCLA’s Emma Schanz is the lone swimmer in the A-final not from Stanford or Cal, 5th in 1:56.06.

USC’s Louise Hansson swam a time of 1:55.53, but it appears it was an exhibition swim, leaving her out of the final.

50 Free Prelims

  1. Abbey Weitzeil, CAL, 21.64
  2. Simone Manuel, STAN, 21.67
  3. Janet Hu, STAN, 22.08
  4. Amy Bilquist, CAL / Marta Ciesla, USC, 22.09
  5. Maddie Murphy, CAL, 22.30
  6. Katrina Konopka, UA, 22.36
  7. Jamie Stone, UA, 22.40

Perennial favorites Abbey Weitzeil and Simone Manuel easily posted the top two times of the morning in the 50 free, clocking 21.64 and 21.67 respectively as they were the only two sub-22.

Janet Hu of Stanford sits 3rd in 22.08, with Cal’s Amy Bilquist and USC’s Marta Ciesla tied for 4th in 22.09. Maddie Murphy joins fellow Bears Weitzeil and Bilquist in the A-final in 6th, and Wildcats Katrina Konopka (22.36) and Jamie Stone (22.40) round out the A-finalists.

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3 years ago

eastin will swim the 500 not the 200 IM surprisingly

Reply to  seanswimmer
3 years ago

Whaaaat? That makes zero sense to me. Is she trying to pull a reverse of what Ledecky did to Eastin last year at Pac-12s in the 4IM and gonna gun for an out of nowhere AR in the 500 just to show up Ledecky in her pet event??

Reply to  HOYA13
3 years ago

The Stanford stars are training through this meet. They probably wanted Eastin to work on her freestyle endurance for the end of her IMs, so they’re having her race some fast 500s.

Reply to  seanswimmer
3 years ago

Also Drabot will swim the IM, not the 500, not as surprising, but still interesting

3 years ago

By my calculations, the following Stanford swimmers are not locks for making NCAAs, so we should be looking for best times from them:
Lauren Pitzer
Lauren Green
Erin Voss
Katie Glavinovich
Megan Byrnes
Grace Zhao

Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

Pitzer’s 500 from this morning should easily make the cut

Reply to  Rachel
3 years ago

Yea I was a bit worried after the slow(ish) Stanford relays last night, but each of the above girls except Glavinovich went solid best times this morning, and those who had already qualified went approximately the same times as their Dual Meets when adjusted for a racing suit, so I have faith that Stanford is just training through this meet. It’s still 3 weeks until NCAAs.

Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

Yeah, honestly, I was happy to see some of them going slower because a few of them missed their NCAA tapers last year like Drabot

Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

Most of last night’s splits were pretty fast, but a couple swimmers were off, for example, Drabot could definitely be faster and I think Forde has a higher ceiling. Ledecky and Easin were basically where I would expect them to be at this point of the season. I think that most of the swimmers in the medley were exactly where they need to be at this point in the season, but the relay as a whole got overshadowed by Cal.

Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

Lauren Green didn’t go a best time.

3 years ago

Baker cruising at the end of that 2IM. Excited to see what she has in the tank for tonight, though sad we’re missing out on another epic battle with Eastin

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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