2021 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


Individual events at the 2021 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming Championships kick off this morning with heats of the 500 free, 200 IM, and 50 free.

We’ll have three new event champions in 2021, with all three 2020 champs not competing in the NCAA this year. Emma Nordin won the 500 free last year, but her whole Arizona State program is sitting out the year on a teamwide redshirt season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile 200 IM champ Louise Hansson and 50 free champ Abbey Weitzeil have graduated from USC and Cal, respectively.

Stanford senior Brooke Forde will look to add the 500 free title this year she won the 400 IM last year and was 4th in this 500 free. She’s got an extensive resume in the 500, though, including the 2019 NCAA title.

Cal holds the top two seeds into the 200 IM with junior Alicia Wilson and junior Izzy IveyIvey was second and Wilson third at last year’s conference meet. Update: Ivey has scratched and will likely focus on the 100 fly/100 back double tomorrow.

Perhaps the most interesting event will be the 50 free, where last year’s second- (USC’s Marta Ciesla) and third-place (Stanford’s Anya Goeders) swimmers come in seeded somewhat deep in the field. Goeders is the 7th seed and Ciesla just the 17th seed. Cal’s Emily Gantriis leads the way with the top seed as a freshman.

500 Free – Prelims

  • Pac-12 Meet Record: 4:25.15 – Katie Ledecky (Stanford) – 2017
  • Pac-12 Record: 4:24.06 – Katie Ledecky (Stanford) – 2017
  • NCAA “A” Cut: 4:35.76
  • 2020 Champion: Emma Nordin (Arizona State) – 4:33.74

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Forde (Stanford) – 4:39.86
  2. Neumann (Cal) – 4:39.92
  3. Spitz (Cal) – 4:40.28
  4. Tankersley (Stanford) – 4:42.38
  5. Klinker (Cal) – 4:43.86
  6. Dimeco (Cal) – 4:44.63
  7. Gormley (Stanford) – 4:45.65
  8. Pitzer (Stanford) – 4:46.41

Last year, it took 4:39.7 just to make the Pac-12 A final, and a 4:39 was left outside the top 8. This year, things have started off much sleepier, with just two swimmers going sub-4:40 in prelims.

2019 NCAA champ Brooke Forde leads the way in 4:39.86. That’s about a half-second off what she was in prelims last year (4:39.3), and she cut more than two seconds in the final a year ago to go 4:37.0. Still, Forde doesn’t appear fully primed this week, as her NCAA-winning time of 4:31.3 from 2019 is well ahead of her swim this morning.

Cal and Stanford each put four into the A final. Cal’s Robin Neumann was 8th last year, going 4:39 out of prelims but fading to 4:41 in the final. She was 4:39.92 this morning and just a tick behind Forde.

Keep an eye on Cal’s Ayla Spitzwho missed the A final last year as a freshman, but cut three seconds in a huge B final swim. She’s the third seed into tonight, with that freshman prelims miscue behind her. Spitz has already been 4:39.8 this year.

Arizona had two freshman just miss the A final, though they had big drops from seed. Amalie Mortensen cut more than six seconds from seed to take 9th in 4:47.94, and Tia Lindsay was 4:49.90 for 10th, dropping about four and a half seconds.

200 IM – Prelims

  • Pac-12 Meet Record: 1:52.26 – Katinka Hosszu (USC) – 2012
  • Pac-12 Record: 1:50.67 – Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018
  • NCAA “A” Cut: 1:53.66
  • 2020 Champion: Louise Hansson (USC) – 1:54.09

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Wilson (Cal) – 1:55.97
  2. Odgers (USC) – 1:56.53
  3. Stadden (Cal) – 1:57.99
  4. Bartel (Stanford) – 1:58.70
  5. Kukurugya (Stanford) / Rudolph (Stanford) – 1:58.71
  6. Kinsey (USC) – 1:59.00
  7. Smith (UCLA) – 1:59.29

With the top two from last year’s Pac-12 meet not swimming the event (2020 champ Louise Hansson is graduated from USC and runner-up Izzy Ivey from Cal scratched out), last year’s third-placer Alicia Wilson looks like the frontrunner for the Pac-12 title. Wilson was 1:55.97 this morning, just a tenth slower than she was in last year’s final. Wilson was 1:53.5 less than a month ago in the Cal/UCLA dual, so we’d expect a big drop tonight, perhaps even into the 1:52 range.

It’ll be an almost-entirely new A final tonight, with four seniors in the mix last year, plus one Arizona State swimmer (Nora Deleske) – that whole team is sitting out the season on a teamwide redshirt. The only returning A finalists are Wilson and UCLA’s Delaney Smith, who was 8th last year and qualified 8th this morning.

USC’s Isabelle Odgers took a big leap, from last year’s B final to the #2 qualifying spot this morning. Odgers was 1:56.53 – that’s her third lifetime-best swim of the year 2021 in this event. she was 1:58.5 last year, but 1:57.1 in January of this season and 1:57.0 just a few weeks ago.

Cal freshman Isabelle Staddena top-ranked recruit, has a solid start with a 1:57.99 for third. She’s one of two big-name freshmen in the top 8 here, joining Stanford’s Janelle Rudolph. Stadden was 1:56.5 and Rudolph 1:56.6 out of high school, so keep an eye out for bigger swims from both tonight.

50 Free – Prelims

  • Pac-12 Meet Record: 21.03 – Abbey Weitzeil (Cal) – 2020
  • Pac-12 Record: 20.90 – Abbey Weitzeil (Cal) – 2019
  • NCAA “A” Cut: 21.66
  • 2020 Champion: Abbey Weitzeil (Cal) – 21.03

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Riley (Cal) – 22.09
  2. Garcia (Cal) – 22.11
  3. Larson (Washington State) – 22.16
  4. Goeders (Stanford) – 22.26
  5. Fackenthal (Stanford) – 22.29
  6. Dobler (USC) – 22.31
  7. Grover (UCLA) – 22.41
  8. Delgado (USC) – 22.43

Cal nabbed the top two spots in the 50 free, with sophomore Eloise Riley leading the way in 22.09. Riley was actually 22.08 in last year’s prelims, but fell to 8th with a 22.3 in the final. She’ll have her shot at redemption tonight, leading junior teammate Elise Garcia by .02.

Washington State got a huge highlight from Chloe LarsonJust 22.6 last year for 13th place, Larson dropped all the way to 22.16 this morning, good for third overall. That time should put Larson in the mix for an NCAA invite – it took 22.2 to make the NCAA meet last year.

Stanford’s Anya Goeders returns to the A final in 4th, going 22.2. Meanwhile last year’s Pac-12 runner-up Marta Ciesla missed the A final and will sit 10th in 22.58. Ciesla was 21.8 last year.

Another surprising absence from the A final is Cal freshman Emily Gantriiswho was the top seed coming into the meet at 22.14. Gantriis fell to 22.82 and finished 17th, though her first-25 split (10.73) was the second-best of the entire field.

Also of note: Cal’s Izzy Ivey swam this event, but only as exhibition. That likely frees her up to go after a 100 fly/100 back double tomorrow, where she has a shot to win both events. But Ivey was 22.08 this morning in the 50 free, a drop of 0.1 seconds from her lifetime best, and a good sign going into tomorrow’s busy schedule. Ivey should also join Riley and Garcia and likely Gantriis on Cal’s 200 free relay tonight.

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1 year ago

Watch out for Morgan in the 500 free finals!

1 year ago

looking at splits, could be a missed turn from Gantriis in the 50? one of the fastest first 25s.

Reply to  Random123
1 year ago

Look forward to seeing what they can do with the relay.tonight. 4 swimmers all about 22 flat I think they can put a good one together.

Reply to  Random123
1 year ago

That’s a shame. Gantriis could have won the A final.

1 year ago

Agreed. Hopefully she can lead off the relay and get her A cut.

1 year ago

It’s easy to forget in swimming, because we get so hyper focused on “who has the best time” and “who breaks the record,” that a big part of it is still showing up and executing the skill perfectly at the right moment – just like every other sport.

Go See Cal
Reply to  Random123
1 year ago

Confirmed-she missed the wall😬

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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