2023 Women’s PAC-12 Championships: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap


Day 3 Prelims Heat Sheet 

It’s the third day of competition at the PAC-12 Championships in Federal Way, Washington with heats of the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, and 100 back going off this session. Stanford has built up a substantial lead in the team race, with Cal and USC still battling for second place. Meanwhile, Arizona will try and get back on track after having just one individual finals swim on Thursday: sophomore Alyssa Schwengel, who placed 21st in the 50 free.

After swimming the 50 freestyle exhibition yesterday, Stanford freshman Claire Curzan contests her first scoring individual races of the meet. She’ll take on the 100 fly/100 backstroke double and she’s a title threat in both events. In the 100 fly, she’s seeded second behind her teammate Torri Huske, the defending champion who took home the 50 free title last night. In the 100 back, Curzan is the top seed, but Cal’s backstroke star Isabelle Stadden is sure to set herself up to take on the Cardinal Olympian in finals.

The  400 IM top seed belongs to another Stanford freshman, Lucy Bell, whose seed time of 4:08.37 is just ahead of Leah Polonsky (4:08.91). Both raced in the 200 IM ‘A’ final on Day 2, with Polonsky winning the event and Bell taking fifth. ASU had a big day yesterday, so watch for sophomore Charli Brown–the #4 seed–to make a move. In the 100 fly, Sun Devil Lindsay Looney likely won’t have the sprint speed to match Curzan and Huske, but after a two second drop in the 500 free, Looney is clearly dialed in and should be right in the middle of the action in that event.

In the middle of the session, two defending NCAA champions are the top seeds in their events–Taylor Ruck in the 200 free and Kaitlyn Dobler in the 100 breast. At this meet last year, Dobler won the 100 breast by over two seconds. There could be a similar gap this year, as Dobler is seeded at 56.94, almost two seconds clear of her teammate, #2 seed Isabelle Odgers.

Meanwhile, Ruck didn’t race the 200 free at PAC-12s last year, instead opting for the 100 back. She’s in a similar position to Dobler, as her 1:43.11 seed time is over a second faster than the #2 seed, Cal freshman Kayla Wilson at 1:44.35.

Women’s 400 IM — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (STAN) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (STAN) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Championship Record: 3:56.53, Katie Ledecky (STAN) — 2018 PAC-12 Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:03.62
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 4:11.60

Top 8:

  1. Paige Maceachern (UCLA) – 4:08.22
  2. Lucy Bell (STAN) – 4:10.38
  3. Charlotte Hook (STAN) – 4:10.57
  4. Sam Tadder (STAN) – 4:10.58
  5. Justina Kozan (USC) – 4:11.07
  6. Ashley McMillan (USC) – 4:11.21
  7. Leah Polonsky (CAL) – 4:12.07
  8. Rosie Murphy (UCLA) – 4:12.89

UCLA sophomore Paige Maceachern had a big swim out of the first circle seeded heat, clocking a new personal best of 4:08.22 to qualify first for finals. The Bruin bettered the 4:09.49 that she swam at Ohio State’s midseason invite earlier this season. She has a two second gap between her and the rest of the field, led by Stanford freshman Lucy Bell (4:10.38).

Bell’s teammate Charlotte Hook was entered without a time and thus, swam in the first heat. She swam 4:10.57, which stood as the top time of the morning through the unseeded heats. Both Maceachern and Bell swam faster, but Hook’s time was still good for #3 seed heading into finals.

Sam Tadder is the third Stanford swimmer who made the championship heat, clocking 4:10.58 to touch just a hundredth off Hook’s time.

After finishing just off the podium in the 200 IM, Justina Kozan hit 4:11.07 to qualify fifth, while 200 IM champion Leah Polonsky moved through in seventh (4:12.07).

Women’s 100 Butterfly — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 48.84, Kate Douglass (UVA) – 2023 ACC Championships
  • PAC-12 Record: 49.17, Torri Huske (STAN) — 2022 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Championship Record: 49.34, Louise Hansson (USC) — 2019 PAC-12 Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.92
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 52.35

Top 8:

  1. Torri Huske (STAN) – 50.91
  2. Claire Curzan (STAN) – 51.01
  3. Gabby Dang (UCLA) – 51.85
  4. Mia Kragh (CAL) – 51.92
  5. Julia Heimstead (ARIZ) – 52.29
  6. Lizzy Cook (CAL) – 52.48
  7. Emma Wheal (STAN) – 52.54
  8. Gigi Johnson (STAN) – 52.82

Stanford’s dynamic duo of Torri Huske and Claire Curzan had relaxed morning swims. The two moved through as the top two seeds for finals, separated by a tenth of a second, with Huske ahead at 50.91 and Curzan at 51.01. This is Huske’s only individual race today, while we’ll see Curzan again later on in the 100 backstroke.

Joining them in the championship final are their teammates Emma Wheal (52.54) and Gigi Johnson (52.82), making it so that half of the heat will have on Stanford caps.

In the final heat, UCLA senior Gabby Dang touched second behind Huske in a personal best 51.85, marking her first swim sub-52. That puts her as the third seed heading into finals tonight, just ahead of Cal sophomore Mia Kragh. With her time of 51.92, Kragh was just off her season-best of 51.80.

Arizona got its first ‘A’ individual finalist of the meet, as Julia Heimstead shaved eight-hundredths off her lifetime best with a 52.29. Through two events, they have an ups/mids/downs line of 1/1/3.

Women’s 200 Freestyle — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (CAL) – 2015 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (CAL) – 2015 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Championship Record: 1:40.37, Simone Manuel (STAN) — 2017 PAC-12 Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:42.84
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:45.42

Top 8:

  1. Taylor Ruck (STAN) – 1:44.19
  2. Kayla Wilson (STAN) – 1:44.51
  3. Mia Motekaitis (CAL) – 1:44.58
  4. Natalie Mannion (STAN) – 1:44.88
  5. Morgan Tankersley (STAN) – 1:44.95
  6. Ayla Spitz (CAL) – 1:45.00
  7. Julia Heimstead (ARIZ) – 1:45.16
  8. Lillie Nordmann (STAN) – 1:45.37

Stanford continues to flex its depth, putting five swimmers into the championship final of the 200 free. The field is led by defending NCAA champion Taylor Ruck, who clocked 1:44.19 to grab lane four for the final. It projects to be a close race though, as first through seventh seed is separated by less than a second.

Just .07 seconds separates Kayla Wilson and Mia Motekaitis, who clocked 1:44.51 and 1:44.58 to qualify in second and third. Motekaitis’ time is just a tenth away from the lifetime best she swam at this meet last year.

Meanwhile, Wilson’s fellow Stanford freshman Natalie Mannion earned the #4 seed in a new personal best of 1:44.88. That’s almost a full second drop from the best time that she swam at midseason, and marks her first time under 1:45.

Arizona’s Heimstead took on a tough 100 fly/200 free back-to-back and came away with two personal bests and two ‘A’ final berths. In the 200 free, she posted 1:45.16, clipping her previous mark of 1:45.50 from midseason.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 55.73, Lilly King (IU) – 2019 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Record: 56.93, Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) — 2022 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Championship Record: 57.31, Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) — 2022 PAC-12 Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 58.10
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 59.87

Top 8:

  1. Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 57.78
  2. Isabelle Odgers (USC) – 59.75
  3. Claire Grover (UCLA) – 59.92
  4. Jade Neser (CAL) – 1:00.37
  5. Allie Raab (STAN) – 1:00.48
  6. Eva Carlson (UCLA) – 1:00.53
  7. Iza Adame (ASU) – 1:00.80
  8. Emily Lundgren (WSU) – 1:00.92

Teammates Kaitlyn Dobler and Isabelle Odgers defended their 1-2 seeds in the 100 breaststroke. Dobler, who is both the reining NCAA and PAC-12 champion, clocked 57.78, while Odgers was just under two seconds behind in 59.75. Both won their respective heats and while they each added about eight-tenths from their seed times, they should be faster tonight.

Also cracking the one minute mark was UCLA’s Claire Grover. Grover’s prelims time of 59.92 is .42 seconds off her lifetime best, so we could see her speed up in the final as well. On Day 2, she took third in the 50 freestyle.

Allie Raab, last year’s silver medalist, swam a season-best 1:00.48 to qualify comfortably for the ‘A’ final in fifth. Having the 200 free and 100 breast back-to-back really underlines where Stanford’s strengths are: in the 200 free, they have five ‘A’ finalists, and here they have only one. This isn’t exactly news, but it’s still interesting to see in action.

Freshman Emily Lundgren gave Washington State their first individual ‘A’ finalist of the meet, squeaking into the championships final in 1:00.92.

Women’s 100 Backstroke — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 48.74, Katharine Berkoff (NCSU) – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Record: 49.23, Regan Smith (STAN) — 2022 NCAA Championships
  • PAC-12 Championship Record: 49.50, Regan Smith (STAN) — 2022 PAC-12 Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.89
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 52.46

Top 8:

  1. Claire Curzan (STAN) – 50.17
  2. Isabelle Stadden (CAL) – 51.24
  3. Lucie Nordmann (STAN)/Annika McEnroe (CAL) – 51.97
  4. (tie)
  5. Aria Bernal (USC) – 52.60
  6. Gigi Johnson (STAN) – 52.77
  7. Alex Crisera (STAN) – 52.90
  8. Hanna Henderson (USC) – 52.95

In her second swim of the session, Claire Curzan posted the top time in the 100 backstroke with a 50.17. That’s just five-hundredths off her season-best from the NC State Invitational, perhaps signaling that she’s left a lot more in the tank for finals. It will be a busy session for her there, as she’ll have two ‘A’ finals and likely factor into Stanford’s 400 medley relay.

Isabelle Stadden also had a relaxed race this morning, defending her second seed with a 51.24. She’s sitting more than a second behind Curzan, so she does have ground to make-up, but she’ll have the advantage of having this be her first race in finals.

Curzan’s teammate Gigi Johnson also made her second ‘A’ final of the session, completing the same double that Curzan did. This swim was a personal best by 1.15 seconds as she got under her old mark of 53.92 from March 2021. After a quiet breaststroke event, Stanford got right back on the horse in backstroke by putting four swimmers into the ‘A’ final. Along with Curzan and Johnson, Lucie Nordmann tied for third with Cal’s Annika McEnroe (51.97), and Alex Crisera posted a season-best 52.90 for seventh.

In addition to the swimmers from Stanford and Cal, USC also earned a pair of ‘A’ final lanes, courtesy of Aria Bernal and Hanna Henderson, who qualified fifth and eighth.

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1 year ago

Huge drop from Annika McEnroe in the 100 back, skipped 52 altogether

1 year ago

What’s Cal’s recruiting class next year looking like? Hopefully they can rebuild!!

Reply to  jessicao
1 year ago

Kathryn Hazle (4:07 IM, Canadian Nat. Jr Team), Ava Chavez (53.2 FL, 1:59 IM), and 3 divers will be freshmen in the fall.
Josie Panitz from Ohio State signed with Cal for her 5th year, won the 200 IM at Big Tens last week.

Last edited 1 year ago by SwimmerTX
Andy Johnson
1 year ago

is there something wrong with the results for riley, gantriis, and mazurek in the 200 free? how did they all go +2:00?

were the just going for 100 free times? if so, why not just time trial or at least exhibition the swims? super strange.

Reply to  Andy Johnson
1 year ago

Had to be 100 split since all their splits are similar

1 year ago

Greg Meehan destroys his swimmers.

Large Purple Dinosaur
Reply to  Bryan
1 year ago

Weird take given that they’re 1) winning, and 2) swimming well. Torri Huske was not a World Champion before she trained with Meehan.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Bryan
1 year ago

Prelims here. And conference meet where the ringers aren’t fully peaked.

Reply to  Bryan
1 year ago

Its tough when your success is defined by one swim meet a year and you should know this isn’t that meet.

Reply to  Bryan
1 year ago

We are sorry you’re having a tough day Bryan!

Last edited 1 year ago by Swimswammer
Douglass Wharrram Fan Club
1 year ago

What’s the line set at for Arizona finalists today? 1.5?

Reply to  Douglass Wharrram Fan Club
1 year ago

Augie, Augie, Augie. SMH

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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