2020 Pac-12 Women’s Championships Fan Guide: Powerhouse Stanford Defending

2020 PAC-12 WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Wednesday, February 26 – Saturday, February 29
  • Federal Way, WA (Pacific Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: Stanford (3x) (results)
  • Live results TBD
  • Live Video TBD
  • Championship Central
  • Psych Sheets

The 2020 Pac-12 Championships are set to begin on February 27th in Federal Way, Washington. The reigning NCAA Champion Stanford women are the favorites in the title conversation, with depth all-around and several returning stars. NCAA runner-up Cal will challenge, as the Bears are also loaded with talent. It looks like a 2-team contest for the win, but the battle for 3rd could heat up between USC and ASU, while Arizona and UCLA may be battling for a top-5 finish.

SCHEDULE

Wednesday:

  • 800 free relay
  • Men’s 1-meter diving
  • 400 medley relay

Thursday:

  • 500 free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 free
  • Men’s 3-Meter
  • 200 free relay

Friday:

  • 400 IM
  • 100 fly
  • 200 free
  • 100 breast
  • 100 back
  • Women’s 3-meter diving
  • 200 medley relay

Saturday:

  • 1650 free
  • 200 back
  • 100 free
  • 200 breast
  • 200 fly
  • Women’s platform diving
  • 400 free relay

Sunday:

  • Men’s Platform

STARS

ArizonaHannah Cox (senior distance freestyler/IMer), Aria Bernal (sophomore backstroker), Kirsten Jacobsen (senior distance freestyler), Mallory Korenwinder (senior breaststroker), Axana Merckx (freshman IMer), Delaney Schnell (junior diver), Ayumi Macias (senior distance freestyler) — The Wildcats graduated all 3 of their top swimming scorers from last season, but bring back their top scorer overall in diver Schnell. Their biggest points potential comes in the distance events with Jacobsen, Cox, and Macias.

Arizona State – Cierra Runge (senior distance freestyler), Emma Nordin (junior distance freestyler), Silja Kansakoski (senior breaststroker), Lindsay Looney (freshman butterflier), Jade Foelske (freshman butterflier), Nora Deleske (junior breast/IMer), Camryn Curry (junior sprinter) — ASU returns most of their top scorers, save for diver McCool. Looney and Foelske are big additions for the team this year. Looney has already taken down a school record. Runge and Nordin should bring in a big distance haul. Kansakoski is a multi-time Pac-12 champion.

CalMaddie Murphy (senior sprinter), Abbey Weitzeil (senior sprinter), Robin Neumann (junior freestyler), Sarah Darcel (junior IMer/butterflier)Isabel Ivey (sophomore everything), Keaton Blovad (senior IM/backstroker), Rachel Klinker (freshman fly/freestyler), Alicia Wilson (sophomore IM/backstroker), Ayla Spitz (freshman free/backstroker), Ema Rajic (sophomore breaststroker) — The Bears are now without Bilquist and McLaughlin, but return American sprint star Weitzeil, who has already broken an American Record this season as the first woman to break 21 in the 50 free. Ivey is a versatile talent another major title threat. As usual, the Bears are deep in most areas, especially in freestyle and backstroke.

UCLAClaire Grover (sophomore sprint/breaststroker), Kenisha Liu (senior sprinter), Amy Okada (senior butterflier), Sophia Kosturos (freshman sprint/backstroker) — The Bruins graduated their top divers in 2019 who scored a good chunk of their points, but Grover brings back a ton of points after making the championship finals as a freshman and is a major threat to repeat as a medalist in the 100 breast. Kosturos is one of their key additions and could play a role on their sprint relays.

USCLouise Hansson (senior sprint/butterflier), Maggie Aroesty (junior breast/IMer), Tatum Wade (senior free/IMer), Jemma Schlict (junior sprinter/butterflier), Laticia Transom (sophomore sprinter), Marta Ciesla (junior sprinter), Naomi Gowlett (senior diver), Catherine Sanchez (senior butterflier) — The major graduations/losses for this team include Wright and Scott, and Vose has now retired, but they still return plenty of points from 2019. NCAA Record holder Hansson is the team’s top returner, having won all 3 of her events last season. The Trojans are deep in the sprints with Ciesla, Transom, and Schlict. They’re also very deep in the butterflies with Hansson, Schlict, and Sanchez.

Stanford – Allie Raab (sophomore IM/breaststroker), Morgan Tankersley (sophomore freestyler), Erin Voss (senior free/backstroker), Alexandra Crisera (freshman free/backstroker), Lauren Pitzer (junior freestyler), Mia Paulsen (junior diver), Zoe Bartel (sophomore breaststroker), Megan Byrnes (senior distance freestyler), Allie Szekely (senior IM/breast/backstroker), Brooke Forde (junior free/IMer), Lucie Nordmann (sophomore free/backstroker)Katie Drabot (senior free/IM/butterflier) — NCAA Champion Eastin has graduated and Ruck is taking an Olympic redshirt, but the Cardinal roster is still packed full of stars who have scored upwards of 50 points. Drabot and Forde are among the leaders of the team, each with multi-event title chances. Stanford is extremely deep in the distance events, even now that Stevens has graduated, and the backstrokes.

UtahAudrey Reimer (sophomore backstroker), Emma Broome (junior fly/backstroker), Mandy Gebhart (junior free/backstroker), Charity Pittard (freshman IM/breaststroker), Sarah Lott (senior backstroker) — The Utes lost most of their top scorers to graduation and finalist Fernandes has transferred. Freshman Pittard is a big scoring prospect in the breaststrokes and 400 IM. Reimer adds depth their with championship final potential in the backstrokes.

Washington StateMackenzie Duarte (junior breaststroker), Lauren Burckel (sophomore breaststroker), Taylor McCoy (junior backstroker/IMer), Mia Zahab (freshman fly/IMer) — Duarte and Burckel bring some depth to the Cougars in the breaststrokes. Freshman Zahab should bring in some points in the IM and fly events.

SHOWDOWNS

200 FREE: Sprint star Abbey Weitzeil of Cal is the defending champion here, and with the way she’s swimming this season, it would be no shock to see her repeat as champion. She currently leads the Pac-12. Teammate Robin Neumann is the defending bronze medalist. Additional returning finalists include Lauren Pitzer (STAN), Morgan Tankersley (STAN), Katie Drabot (STAN), Izzy Ivey (CAL), and Cierra Runge (ASU). This is a big scoring event for the Cardinal. USC’s Laticia Transom is ranked 2nd in the conference this season and returns after winning the 2019 B final.

100 BREAST: ASU’s reigning champ Silja Kansakoski has multiple Pac-12 titles in this event, but Cal’s 2019 B final winner Ema Rajic leads the Pac-12 this season in a time that would’ve taken a close 2nd last season. Kansakosi and Arizona’s Mallory Korenwinder are the only other women to have broken 1:00 this season, but we could see a tight battle in the 58-high to 59-low range for the medals. UCLA’s Claire Grover returns after narrowly missing the podium last season. Stanford has several women seeking a return to the final with Zoe Bartel, Allie Raab, and Grace Zhao.

200 BACK: With the top 2 finishers in 2019 not around this season, Stanford’s Lucie Nordmann, the reigning bronze medalist, is the top returner. Teammate Erin Voss is the Pac-12 leader this season, with Cardinal freshman Alexandra Crisera ranked behind her. Stanford has a lot of medal potential here, but Cal’s Keaton Blovad is a title threat for the Bears.

500 FREE: If reigning NCAA Champion Brooke Forde of Stanford chooses to swim this event at Pac-12s this season (she opted not to last year), she’s the favorite. However, 2019 runner-up Lauren Pitzer and teammate Katie Drabot may also be in the mix. Drabot may also opt out of this one. Both Drabot and Forde opted for the 200 IM instead in 2019, but they’re currently 1-2 respectively in the Pac-12. Stanford is once again loaded with title contenders, as they also have returning finalist Morgan Tankersley. Cierra Runge was a Pac-12 Champion in this event as a freshman for Cal in 2015. She placed 3rd last season for ASU, and will look to return to the top. Teammate Emma Nordin has been swimming very well this season and joins the medal conversation. Arizona All-Americans Kirsten Jacobsen, the 2018 NCAA 3rd place finisher, and Hannah Cox are also a threat.

SELECTIONS

SWIMULATOR PROJECTIONS 

California 1321
Stanford 1319.5
Southern Cali 983
Arizona St 960.5
Arizona 732.5
UCLA 603
Washington St. 422.5
Utah 391

SWIMSWAM PREDICTIONS

While this could be a good meet between Stanford and Cal, diving is likely to sway things further in Stanford’s favor. They return a huge amount of points between Lenz, Paulsen, and Sculti. Things could be tight between ASU and USC for 3rd, but we’re prediction USC will come out on top there thanks to their sprint depth and relay potential. Arizona and UCLA will likely battle for that last spot in the top 5, with the Wildcats relying largely on their distance depth.

  1. Stanford
  2. Cal
  3. USC
  4. ASU
  5. Arizona
  6. UCLA
  7. Utah
  8. Washington State

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Swimfan97
9 months ago

Closer than I expected…

Huh
9 months ago

When will the psych sheets be released?

Fred
9 months ago

Stanford wins here. Cal wins NCAA’s. God I hope I’m right, but I doubt it.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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