Isabelle Stadden

View Current photo via Courtesy of Mike Lewis

Isabelle Stadden is a rising senior at the University of California – Berkeley whose international resume includes a bronze medal in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2021 Short Course World Championships.

High School

Isabelle Stadden was ranked #3 in SwimSwam’s high school class of 2020, and announced her verbal commitment to Cal on April 16, 2019.

2019 NCSA Junior Championships (Orlando, Florida)

In Orlando, Stadden had a loaded schedule, swimming a whopping 10 individual events. Her finals finishes included 1st in the 100 back (51.23), 1st in the 200 back (1:50.46), 2nd in the 50 back (24.53), 3rd in the 100 IM (54.43), 18th in the 100 free (50.14), 7th in the 50 breast (28.28), 7th in the 50 fly (24.30), and 14th in the 200 IM (2:02.37).

National/International Competition

2018 Summer Nationals (Irvine, California)

In Irvine, Stadden placed 3rd in the 200 back (2:08.24), earning her a spot on the 2018 Jr Pan Pac team as well as the 2019 Pan American Games team. She also tied for 5th in the 50 back (28.13) and placed 9th in the 100 back (1:00.07).

2018 Jr Pan Pacific Championships (Suva, Fiji)

In Fiji, Stadden took gold in the 200 back (2:09.52) after setting a meet record in prelims (2:08.81).


Stadden was the runner-up in the 200 backstroke (2:08.39) at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, finishing 0.09 seconds behind fellow American Alex Walsh. Stadden went on to win gold in the 4×100 medley relay, leading off the prelims relay in a time of 1:00.29. The relay won gold in finals.

She also recorded a lifetime best of 59.69 on the leadoff 100 back leg of the mixed medley relay. The time made her the eighth-fastest American female ever in the 17-18 age group for the 100 back.

Stadden reappeared at the TYR Pro Swim Series stop in Greenboro in November, winning the 200 backstroke in 2:08.16. She also triumphed in the 200 back the following month at Winter Nationals (2:08.49).


Stadden made her major international debut at the 2021 Short Course World Championships at 19 years old. She brought home hardware in her signature 200 back event, claiming bronze in 2:02.20.


After missing the U.S. International Team with a fourth-place finish in the 200 back (1:09.69) and a fifth-place showing in the 100 back (59.16) at the 2022 International Team Trials, Stadden competed at the Pro Swim Series stop in Mission Viejo a couple months later. There, she won the 100 back (1:00.21) while placing second in the 200 back (2:09.59). She continued her momentum the following month at the Phillips 66 National Championships, capturing the 200 back title in 2:07.29 and placing third in the 100 back (59.55).

She returned to the Short Course World Championships in 2022, but couldn’t get back on the podium in Melbourne, Australia. Stadden placed eighth in the 100 back (57.20) and ninth in the 200 back (2:03.78).


After earning three runner-up finishes in the 50, 100, and 200 back at the Pro Swim Series stop in Westmont, Illinois, Stadden finally topped the podium at the Pro Swim Series stop in Mission Viejo a month later with a 50 back win in 27.88. She also placed second in the 100 back (59.56) and third in the 200 back (2:09.87) in Mission Viejo.

2024 Pro Swim Series–Knoxville

Stadden emerged from winter training with some strong times, posting a 59.56 100 back and a 2:08.49 200 back, .57 and 1.21 seconds off her PBs respectively.


Stadden enjoyed a breakout freshman campaign in Berkeley, capturing the Pac-12 title in the 200-yard backstroke (1:50.83) while also earning runner-up finishes in both the 100 back (51.17) and 200 IM (1:55.80). At the 2021 NCAA Championships, she placed third in the 200 back (1:49.66) and fifth in the 100 back (50.87).

As a sophomore, Stadden defended her Pac-12 title in the 200 back (1:49.51), adding another runner-up finish in the 100 back (51.08) and placing eighth in the 200 IM (1:57.98). At the 2022 NCAA Championships, she took fourth in the 200 back (1:59.45) and seventh in the 100 back (50..81). A couple months later, Cal head coach Teri McKeever was placed on administrative leave, but Stadden still opted to return for her junior season.

At the 2023 Pac-12 Championships, Stadden clocked a personal-best 1:48.75 in the 200 back, but she was unable to pull off a three-peat in the event as Stanford freshman Claire Curzan posted an NCAA-leading time of 1:47.43 for the win. Stadden had been undefeated in the 200 back during the regular season. She also earned runner-up finishes at Pac-12s in the 100 back (50.79) and 200 IM (1:55.52).

Stadden capped her junior campaign in Knoxville, Tennessee, by tallying the fourth top-5 finish of her career at the 2023 NCAA Championships. She placed third in the 200 back (1:49.38) and sixth in the 100 back (51.03), marking her third top-10 finish in the event during her career.


Stadden opened her season by repeating as “Queen of the Pool” against Cal Poly to open her season. Stadden won the 100 butterfly (53.99), 100 back (52.81), 100 free (50.65) and 100 IM (56.47) to finish with a total time of 4:38.61 across five events. She was 1:04.69 in the 100 breast. Last year, she earned the crown in a total time of 4:39.05.

Against Washington, Stadden won the 200 back in 1:52.71, the second-fastest time in the NCAA, behind only Florida freshman Bella Sims, who swam 1:52.49 against Virginia two weeks prior. Nobody else had been within a second of Stadden’s time.

Stadeden showed excellent form at the Minnesota invite, taking PBs in the 50 free (22.24) and 100 back (50.26). She also went a season-best in the 200 back, posting an NCAA-leading 1:49.21. 

Stadden wowed against ASU. She opened thing sup with a 23.64 50 back leading off in the 200 medley relay. She followed that up with a 50.55 100 back, winning by nearly 3 seconds. She later won the 200 back by over 4 seconds with a 1:50.58. Stadden rounded out the meet with a 21.60 anchor in the 200 free relay. 

Against USC, the women’s meet came down to the final 50 of the final 200 free relay, with USC’s Minna Abraham out splitting Stadden by just .14 seconds, 21.51 to 21.65, to hand USC their first wion against the Cal women since 2016. Sadden still had a good meet; the 100 back featured a fun battle between Stadden (50.74) and Caroline Famous (50.83), while Stadden dominated the 200 back with a 1:52.20. Stadden was also 50.56 in the 100 back leading off in the 400 medley relay. Both her 100 and 200 back times were new pool records.

The Cal/UCLA meet also came down to the final relay with Stadden anchoring Cal to the win with a 22.32 split. She won the 100/200 back in 54.14/1:56.87.

On senior day against Stanford amidst misty, overcast conditions, Stadden, shattered poo records again in both the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes. She swam 50.26 in the 100 backstroke, which ranked her 3rd in the NCAA and was just .03 seconds away from her lifetime best. She also swam a blistering 1:49.64, the #2 time of the season behind her own mark from midseason. 

She was a little off her season-best form at PAC-12 Championships. On night 1, the Cal squad hit the ground running with a 200 medley relay victory over top-seeded USC in a battle that came down to the final leg. Stadden led off on back with a 23.64. That relay took down a 6-year-old meet record.

On night 2, Stadden put up a 22.29 50 free for 5th. On day 3, after straight years of runner-up finishes, Stadden finally won the 100 back in a time of 50.39. She backed that up with a 50.74 100 back leadoff split in the 400 medley relay. 

As she had all season, Stadden dominated the 200 back, bringing home another title with a time of 1:50.16. Stadden’s 89 individual points helped new Cal coach Dave Durden win his first PAC-12 women’s title and the last before the dissolution of the conference. 

NCAAs started off well for Stadden, hitting a 23.58 50 back leading off Cal’s 200 medley relay to a 4th place finish. The next morning, she hit a PB in the 50 free, posting a 22.23 for 40th.

The following prelims, Stadden was solid in the 100 back, qualifying back 4th with a 50.42. In the final, much of the field was slower and Stadden too added a little but managed to earn a runner-up finish with a 50.47. A little later, she was 50.75 leading off Cal’s 8th-place 400 medley relay. 

Stadden wrapped up her meet in the 200 back, cruising through prelims with a 1:50.37 before dropping a season-best 1:49.19 for 4th in the final.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2019 Pan American Championships
Silver 200 Back 2019 Pan American Championships
Bronze 200 Back 2021 Short Course World Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
scy 100 Back 50.26 12/13/23 2023 Minnesota Invite
Minneapolis, Minnesosta
scy 200 Back 1:49.66 12/08/18 2021 NCAA Championships
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 50 Back 28.13 07/27/18 2018 Summer Nationals
Irvine, California
lcm 100 Back 59.69 08/08/19 Pan American Games
Lima, Peru
lcm 200 Back 2:08.16 11/08/19 2020 Pro Swim Series
Greensboro, North Carolina
Isabelle Stadden (photo: Mike Lewis) Isabelle Stadden (photo: Mike Lewis) Isabelle Stadden (photo: Mike Lewis) Isabelle Stadden (photo: Mike Lewis)