2024 Women’s Pac-12 Championships: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap

2024 WOMEN’S PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

The third day of the last-ever Pac-12 Championships has arrived with prelims of the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and 100 backstroke on Friday’s schedule.

USC (401 points) and two-time defending champion Stanford (398) battled back from the bottom of the standings after relay disqualifications on the first night, pulling within 100 points of Cal (479) on Thursday night. Arizona State (357) and UCLA (349) aren’t far behind, either.

SCORES AFTER DAY 2

  1. Cal – 479
  2. USC – 401
  3. Stanford – 398
  4. Arizona State – 357
  5. UCLA – 349
  6. Utah – 245
  7. Washington State – 166
  8. Arizona – 163

We could see some records potentially go down in the 100 breast today if USC senior Kaitlyn Dobler is in peak form. She owns the Pac-12 record at 55.73 and the meet record at 57.10, and she has already been as fast as 56.99 this season.

Keep an eye out for fun battles in the 400 IM between Stanford up-and-comers Lucy Bell (4:03.25) and Caroline Bricker (4:03.49) as well as in the 100 back between Cal senior Isabelle Stadden (50.26) and USC senior Caroline Famous (50.78). Famous is tackling a tough double today as the No. 4 seed in the 100 fly and the No. 2 seed in the 100 back.

400 IM – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018
  • Pac-12 Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018
  • Meet Record: 3:56.53, Katie Ledecky (Stanford) – 2018
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:03.62
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 4:11.36

Top 8:

  1. Caroline Bricker (Stanford) – 4:05.55
  2. Paige MacEachern (UCLA) – 4:08.47
  3. Rosie Murphy (UCLA) – 4:08.88
  4. Kathryn Hazle (Cal) – 4:09.13
  5. Claire Tuggle (USC) – 4:09.61
  6. Samantha Tadder (Stanford) – 4:09.66
  7. Lucy Bell (Stanford) – 4:09.78
  8. Leah Polonsky (Cal) – 4:10.90

Stanford freshman Caroline Bricker fired off a 4:05.55 to lead prelims by almost three seconds this morning ahead of two UCLA swimmers in Paige MacEachern (4:08.47) and Rosie Murphy (4:08.88). Bricker is eyeing an IM sweep at Pac-12s this year after winning the 200 IM (1:53.31) on Thursday night.

MacEachern was a couple seconds off her season best (4:06.15) while Murphy shaved almost two seconds off her personal-best 4:10.67 from November.

Cal put a pair into the A-final tonight thanks to freshman Kathryn Hazle (4:09.13) and junior Leah Polonsky (4:10.90), who placed 4th and 8th, respectively.

USC sophomore Claire Tuggle‘s decision to swim the 400 IM instead of the 200 free — where she would have been the No. 7 seed — paid off as she qualified 5th in a lifetime best of 4:09.61. Her previous best stood at 4:10.33 from November. Tuggle hadn’t contested the event for more than five years before this season.

Stanford placed a trio of swimmers into the A-final as junior Samantha Tadder (4:09.66) and sophomore Lucy Bell (4:09.78) placed 6th and 7th, respectively. Bell entered the event tied for the top time in the conference (4:03.25) along with USC sophomore Justina Kozan, who missed the A-final with a 9th-place finish in 4:12.44. Kozan also failed to make the A-final of the 500 free on Thursday night as the top seed in that event.

100 Butterfly – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 48.25, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2024
  • Pac-12 Record: 48.96, Torri Huske (Stanford) – 2022
  • Meet Record: 49.27, Torri Huske (Stanford) – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.69
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 52.20

Top 8:

  1. Mia Kragh (Cal) – 51.56
  2. Gigi Johnson (Stanford) – 51.72
  3. Caroline Famous (USC) – 51.78
  4. Lillie Nordmann (Stanford) – 51.82
  5. Julie Heimstead (Arizona) – 51.91
  6. Anicka Delgado (USC) – 52.07
  7. Charlotte Hook (Stanford) – 52.08
  8. Morgan Brophy (Cal) – 52.19

Top-seeded Cal junior Mia Kragh led the morning heats of the 100 fly in 51.56, a few tenths off her season best (51.20).

Stanford sophomore Gigi Johnson (51.72), USC senior Caroline Famous (51.78), and Stanford junior Lillie Nordmann (51.82) were close behind Kragh. Johnson dipped under 52 seconds for the first time, lowering her previous-best 52.30 from November. Famous will return to the pool at the end of the session for a tough 100 fly/100 back double.

Stanford sophomore Charlotte Hook (52.08) will join Johnson and Nordmann in the A-final, giving the Cardinal a good opportunity to cut into Cal’s lead during this event tonight. The Bears do have multiple A-finalists, though, as Cal junior Morgan Brophy (52.19) eked past teammate Lizzy Cook (52.31) for the final qualifying spot this morning.

Arizona finally has its first individual A-finalist of the meet thanks to senior Julia Heimstead (51.91), who placed 5th in prelims. USC senior Anicka Delgado (52.07) placed 6th with a season-best 52.07 to book her spot in the A-final tonight.

200 Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (Cal) – 2015
  • Pac-12 Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (Cal) – 2015
  • Meet Record: 1:40.37, Simone Manuel (Stanford) – 2017
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:42.84
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 1:45.31

Top 8:

  1. Minna Abraham (USC) – 1:43.70
  2. Kayla Wilson (Stanford) – 1:44.09
  3. Amy Tang (Stanford) – 1:44.13
  4. Aurora Roghair (Stanford) – 1:44.19
  5. Mia Motekaitis (Cal) – 1:44.46
  6. Julia Heimstead (Arizona) – 1:44.80
  7. Lindsay Looney (Arizona State) – 1:45.06
  8. Ieva Maluka (Arizona State) – 1:45.37

USC freshman Minna Abraham cruised the top 200 free seed in prelims with a time of 1:43.70, more than two seconds slower than her personal-best 1:41.38 from November. The Hungarian standout placed 5th in the 200 IM on Thursday night, slightly off her entry time.

Stanford had a huge showing this morning, putting together a 2-3-4 finish behind encouraging efforts from sophomore Kayla Wilson (1:44.09), junior Amy Tang (1:44.13), and junior Aurora Roghair (1:44.19). Tang dropped more than a second off her lifetime best, which previously stood at 1:45.43 from last month. She has now knocked almost two seconds off her best time throughout the course of this season.

Cal fifth-year Mia Motekaitis was the Bears’ lone A-finalist in this event with a 5th-place showing in 1:44.46, more than a second slower than her season best (1:42.89).

Arizona senior Julia Heimstead completed an impressive double, placing 6th in the 200 free (1:44.80) right after a 5th-place effort in the 100 fly (51.91).

Last night’s 500 free champion, Arizona State senior Lindsay Looney, placed 7th in prelims with a time of 1:45.06. Sun Devils sophomore Ieva Maluka was right behind her in 1:45.37.

100 Breaststroke – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 55.73, Lilly King (Indiana) – 2019
  • Pac-12 Record: 56.93, Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 2022
  • Meet Record: 57.10, Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 58.02
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 59.73

Top 8:

  1. Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 57.92
  2. Hannah Brunzell (Cal) – 59.09
  3. Jade Neser (Cal) – 59.45
  4. Eva Carlson (UCLA) – 59.78
  5. Lucy Thomas (Stanford) – 59.86
  6. Emily Lundgren (Washington State) – 1:00.02
  7. Alicia Henry (Cal) – 1:00.05
  8. Eleni Gewalt (Arizona) – 1:00.54

USC senior Kaitlyn Dobler got off to a strong start this morning with a 57.92 to lead the 100 breast prelims, within a second of her season-best 56.99. She owns both the Pac-12 record (56.93) and the meet record (57.10) in this event.

No one else was within a second of Dobler in this morning’s heats. Cal had a strong performance with three A-finalists in fifth-year Hannah Brunzell (59.09), fifth-year Jade Neser (59.45), and junior Alicia Henry (1:00.05), who qualified 2nd, 3rd, and 7th, respectively. Neser, a South African native, shaved .02 seconds off her best time from December.

UCLA junior Eva Carlson (59.78) and Stanford freshman Lucy Thomas (59.86) also broke the one-minute barrier in prelims en route to the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively.

Washington State sophomore Emily Lundgren placed 6th in 1:00.02, knocking more than half a second off her previous-best 1:00.55 from November. Arizona sophomore Eleni Gewalt rounded out the top 8 with a season-best 1:00.54, sneaking past UCLA freshman Sarah Bennetts (1:00.76) for the final spot in tonight’s A-final.

100 Backstroke – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 48.26, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2023
  • Pac-12 Record: 49.23, Regan Smith (Stanford) – 2023
  • Meet Record: 49.46, Claire Curzan (Stanford) – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.88
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 52.36

Top 8:

  1. Isabelle Stadden (Cal) – 51.23
  2. Caroline Famous (USC) – 51.44
  3. Natalie Mannion (Stanford) – 52.34
  4. Fay Lustria (UCLA) – 52.89
  5. Isabella Riley (Cal) – 53.30
  6. Gigi Johnson (Stanford) – 53.32
  7. Amy Zhang (UCLA) – 53.39
  8. Katrina Marty (Arizona State) – 53.69

After three consecutive runner-up finishes in this event, Cal senior Isabelle Stadden led the 100 back prelims with a time of 51.23, within a second of her season-best 50.26.

As expected, this is shaping up to be a two-way battle for the crown between Stadden and USC senior Caroline Famous (51.44), who touched just a couple tenths behind the Cal backstroke specialist this morning. Stadden will be joined in tonight’s A-final by another Bear, senior Isabella Riley (53.30), who qualified 5th.

Stanford had a pair advance to the A-final between sophomores Natalie Mannion (52.34) and Gigi Johnson (53.32). Mannion shaved .09 seconds off her best time from earlier this month.

UCLA continued its promising performance with two A-finalists in sophomore Fay Lustria (52.89) and freshman Amy Zhang (53.39). Lustria dipped under 53 seconds for the first time, dropping more than half a second off her previous-best 53.44 from earlier this month. Before this season, her best time stood at just 55.10.

3M Diving – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 43775, Christina Loukas (Indiana) – 2009
  • Pac-12 Record: 420.90, Cassidy Krug (Stanford) – 2007
  • Meet Record: 387.75, Blythe Hartley (USC) – 2006

Top 8:

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The Old Man
1 month ago

As a University of Arizona alumni, it saddens me to see the school’s dismal current status in college swimming. Once upon a time, UofA was one of the top programs in the U.S. Now, it has become a hissing and a byword. Looks like it’s time to clean house.

SwimmerTX
1 month ago

If I have done the math correctly, Cal is 10/9/2 and Stanford has 12/3/1 in returning swims. Those B-final swims should be huge for the Bears.

I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
Reply to  SwimmerTX
1 month ago

And USC has 6/5/7. This doesn’t match up to as much points as the other two but it’ll certainly keep them in it.

Swammer
1 month ago

Weird that Tuggle is doing the 4 IM and not the 2 free

Long Strokes
1 month ago

We will not let Cal forget about Teri McKeever until they hold her accountable.

NoFastTwitch
Reply to  Long Strokes
1 month ago

What specifically would you like Cal to do, to demonstrate that it has held her accountable?

Justin Pollard
Reply to  Long Strokes
1 month ago

You should probably write a letter/call/visit in person/protest the Athletic Director’s & Chancellor’s offices then. Posting on SwimSwam isn’t doing anything.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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