Abraham Rallies USC Women Past Cal For First Win Over Bears in 8 Years

USC vs. Cal

  • Feb. 2, 2024
  • Uytengsu Aquatics Center
    • Los Angeles, California
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • PDF results
  • Team scores
    • Women: No. 8 USC 152, No. 11 Cal 148
    • Men: No. 2 Cal 193, No. 15 USC 106

With the No. 11 Cal women leading by one point heading into the final 200-yard freestyle relay, USC freshman Minna Abraham rallied past Bears senior Isabelle Stadden to give the No. 8 Trojans their first victory over Cal since 2016.

USC’s 200 free relay team of fifth-year Vasilissa Buinaia (22.98), senior Anicka Delgado (21.89), senior Caroline Famous (21.30), and Abraham (21.51) combined for a winning time of 1:27.68, just .16 seconds ahead of Cal’s team of Eloise Riley (22.42), Stephanie Akakabota (21.83), McKenna Stone (21.94), and Stadden (21.65).

Abraham had a huge afternoon to keep the Trojans undefeated at 7-0, triumphing in the 100 free (48.35) and 200 free (1:43.84) along with a runner-up finish in the 500 free (4:43.70). The 17-year-old Hungarian moved up to 29th in the NCAA this season in the 100 free, while her best 200 free time from the Texas Invitational (1:41.38) ranks 2nd in the NCAA behind only Virginia junior Gretchen Walsh (1:41.38).

The 100 back featured a fun battle between Stadden (50.74) and Famous (50.83), who both rank top five in the NCAA this season in the event. Earlier in the meet, Stadden dominated the 200 back in 1:52.20, a few seconds off her nation-leading time of 1:49.21. Famous topped the podium in the 50 free with a season-best 22.32 that ranks 45th in the NCAA.

USC senior Kaitlyn Dobler picked up wins in the 100 breast (58.94) and 200 breast (2:08.80) while also splitting an unofficial 57.50 on the Trojans’ 400 medley relay (3:28.71). Her season bests in the 100 breast (56.99) and 200 breast (2:06.28) rank 2nd and 3rd in the NCAA, respectively.

On the boards, USC fifth-year Nike Agunbiade swept the 1-meter (267.15) and 3-meter (299.90) diving events.

The Bears flexed their distance prowess in the defeat. Cal freshman Kathryn Hazle took the 1000 free title in 9:45.19, the ninth-fastest time in program history and No. 31 in the NCAA this season.

Fifth-year Mia Motekaitis won the 500 free (4:41.77) while the Bears also swept the butterfly events courtesy of Mia Kragh in the 100 fly (52.14) and Rachel Klinker in the 200 fly (1:54.48). Cal got another individual victory out of junior Leah Polonsky in the 400 IM (4:08.59).

Men’s Recap

Jack Alexy, Dare Rose, and Destin Lasco each record two individual wins apiece to power No. 2 Cal past No. 15 USC, 193-106.

In the 50 free, Alexy outdueled senior teammate Bjorn Seeliger (19.32) with a winning time of 19.30. Alexy (18.97) and Seeliger (18.92) are two of nine men who have been under the 19-second barrier in the event this season. The 100 free saw a similar result to the splash-and-dash as Alexy reached the wall in 41.94, just a few tenths ahead of Seeliger (42.33).

Rose swept the 100 fly (45.61) and 200 fly (1:42.35), both events where he’s ranked top-eight in the NCAA this season. Lasco placed 1st in the 100 back (45.71), where he leads the nation with a 44.28 this season, and the 200 back (1:41.35), where he’s the defending NCAA champ. Lasco is ranked 2nd in the 200 back this season with a season-best 1:38.34 nearly two seconds behind Arizona State sophomore Hubert Kos (1:36.54).

The Bears also got 1st-place finishes from Matthew Jensen in the 100 breast (53.74) and Gabriel Jett in the 200 free (1:34.79)

USC freshman Krzysztof Chmielewski led the Trojans with wins in the 500 free (4:20.01) and 1000 free (8:53.72). The Polish native ranks 9th in the 500 free (4:13.84) and 3rd in the 1000 free (8:47.53) this season.

Trojan newcomer Sanberk Oktar also earned an individual victory in the 400 IM with a season-best 3:47.74 in third meet at USC. The Turkish native was initially slated to arrive in Los Angeles for the 2024-25 season.

On the boards, USC junior Shangfei Wang won the 1-meter (253.40), and Cal’s Joshua Thai took the 3-meter title  (374.10).

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2 months ago

USC has not had a backstroker capable of going 50 point since Louise, and she was spread very thin being a butterflyer & IMer. This is great for the Trojans! Also not to mention a 21.3 relay split.

Slower Than You
2 months ago

Caroline Famous is have a pretty nice senior year, going from 52 mid to 50.7 before end of season is a nice way to go out with a bang

Joel Lin
2 months ago

Starting to feel those Nathan Adrian 2012 like vibes for Alexy this summer. Just a feeling, but man this guy has huge upside.

Reply to  Joel Lin
2 months ago

Very similar swimming style.

Kate Douglass' Biggest Fan
2 months ago

I really wanna see a video of that last relay. I bet that place was going nuts

2 months ago

Congratulations. Fight on ✌🏼🐎

2 months ago


Reply to  Curious
2 months ago

Out searching for the right team for her next move?

I know, I know, probably a little harsh – so hit me with the downvotes. But …………

Reply to  Curious
2 months ago

1.45 200 free, 4.42 500 free, 2.00 200 IM and 49.8 split in the relay. Looking pretty good!

Reply to  Swimmer
2 months ago

Where are you getting these times from? Tuggle didnt swim according to the results. And they did the 400 IM, not the 200 IM at the meet.

Reply to  USA
2 months ago

Those are results from the USC – Stanford meet that happened the next day.

Reply to  CraigH
2 months ago

Sorry I meant she’d done these this weekend, not at this meet. I don’t see any reason why she’d be looking around off the back of those times!

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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