Cal Women Win Last Pac-12 Title, First of Dave Durden Era

by Riley Overend 35

March 03rd, 2024 College, News, Pac-12

2024 WOMEN’S PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Cal women led from start to finish at the last-ever Women’s Pac-12 Championships this week, winning their sixth conference crown — and first since 2021 — by more than 100 points over USC and two-time defending champion Stanford.

Final Team Scores

  1. Cal – 1,397.5
  2. USC – 1,291
  3. Stanford – 1,283
  4. UCLA – 1,089
  5. Arizona State – 990.5
  6. Utah – 628.5
  7. Arizona – 514
  8. Washington State – 498.5

The Bears got off to a hot start by breaking the Pac-12 Championships record in the first race of the meet, the 200 medley relay (1:33.89), taking down their own six-year-old standard of 1:34.13 from 2018. Meanwhile, Stanford and USC both suffered costly disqualifications in the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays, respectively.

Cal didn’t earn any wins on Thursday, but the program leaned on its depth to extend its lead heading into Friday’s action. Individually, the Bears got victories from senior Isabelle Stadden in the 100 back (50.39) and 200 back (1:50.16), junior Mia Kragh in the 100 fly (50.89), and fifth-year Rachel Klinker in the 200 fly (1:51.74) to power them past the Trojans and Cardinal.

Cal’s win marks the culmination of a surprisingly quick turnaround following the firing of longtime head coach Teri McKeever last January. Men’s head coach Dave Durden took over the women’s team during the summer of 2022, receiving a $110,000 raise for the extra work. He is in line for a $4,000 bonus for leading the Bears to the Pac-12 title this year, and he’ll likely add another $2,000 bonus for Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors as well. Last year, Durden led the men’s team to a second consecutive NCAA title.

Despite the 3rd-place finish this year, Stanford still boasts 21 more Pac-12 titles than Cal all-time. Only three other teams — Arizona (four), UCLA (two), and USC (one) have won conference crowns.

Most Pac-12 Team Titles

  1. Stanford – 25
  2. Cal – 6
  3. Arizona – 4
  4. UCLA – 2
  5. USC – 1

Next year, Cal and Stanford will leave to the ACC, USC and UCLA will bolt for the Big Ten, and Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah will join the Big 12. Washington State has a temporary home next season in the West Coast Conference, but they do not sponsor swimming and diving.

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jewelindapool
1 month ago

Congratulations Lady Bears!! Roll On You Bears!!

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

Grades
Cal – A+
USC – A-
Stanford – B
UCLA – A-
ASU – C
Utah – B
Arizona – D
WSU – B+

SwimFan
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

Looks like AZ was on a graded curve

Noah
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

Grade depends on if USC shows out at NCs given most were slower than midseason

Swammer
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

I feel like an A- is generous for USC. They got better over the course of the meet but they looked real rough the first 2 days. On the other hand clutching up second place over the course of the last day is a good sign for their effort come NCAAs

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

A- feels about right. Dobler and Abraham won multiple titles. Tier 2 swimmers like Delgado, Tuggle, and Famous all went at least 1 season best time. They won 3 relays. The one big miss was Kozan.

Agree that they looked best on day 4.

cynthia curran
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

Yeah, Kozan was off. The same high school as Delgado and Hodges.

RMS
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

Don’t you think Cal should’ve won the meet by more points considering 2nd and 3rd place had relay DQs?

NoFastTwitch
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

It was expected to be a very close battle between Cal, Stanford and USC for the title. Cal would have won by about 50 points even without the DQs by Stanford and USC. Why do you think Cal should have won by even more?

RMS
Reply to  NoFastTwitch
1 month ago

More depth than Stanford. Title was a gift to them without Huske.

NoFastTwitch
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

The Cal women earned the title – why in the world are you belittling their effort? The fact that Stanford is not able to hold on to all of their top recruits doesn’t make it a gift to Cal; as I’m sure you know, the Cal team has also had to deal with a lot of adversity the past few years. Praise the Stanford team if you want, but accept that they were third best this year.

Pan Fan
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

That’s not how it works

Col. Trautman
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

If Arizona placed last, would they have earned an ‘F’ grade?

PacZero
1 month ago

Durden looks like he’s got a migraine haha Probably from taking on the women’s roster. At least it was worth it so far!

Jeb
1 month ago

How did Stanford not win? I feel like their past few recruiting classes have been nasty

Admin
Reply to  Jeb
1 month ago

A few transfers, going-pros, and redshirts.

Pac 12 last dance
Reply to  Jeb
1 month ago

Tough for Stanford to overcome the math with top 24 swimmers scoring and each team allowed 24 swimmers. Stanford only has 17 swimmers but had most A and B finalists. I would expect different ranking at NCAAs.

Caroline Bricker’s development as a freshman at Stanford has been the most impressive I can remember in years. Well deserved swimmer of the meet!

Very exciting meet!

I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
1 month ago

You can just tell there’s a new wave of happiness and positivity on that team, and a very strong sense of being a close-knit team. Glad they’ve been able to move on from Te**i.

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

What is Te**i?

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

I meant to only put one *. I’m talking about Teri McKeever lol.

Swimmer
1 month ago

I’m not American and don’t know that much about the different conferences – does the pac-12 still exist after this season?

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

No it’s dissolving – USC, Oregon, Washington, and UCLA are going to the Big 10, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah are going to the Big 12, and Cal & Stanford are going to the ACC.

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

Nothing is a better reprensentation of America’s “Atlantic Coast” than Cal and Stanford.
😛

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

There’s a push to rename it to “American Coast Conference” so they can keep the letters and make it more accurate, which I honestly am a huge fan of.

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

I know…..just for now though until they do, it’s pretty hilarious.

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

Well, Cal would have to earn it a title with Virginia in the conferance.

Swimpop
Reply to  cynthia curran
1 month ago

Did you see their class of 25 women? The are going to do just fine.

Pac 12 last dance
Reply to  I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
1 month ago

No need to change it as it will probably be gone in 2-5 years. Only Big ten and SEC will survive the conference realignment with enough money to fund most olympic programs at level to compete. FSU, Clemson, UNC and Miami are heading for the exit.

hambone
Reply to  justanopinion
1 month ago

I’m not such a fan, since it’s all driven by football revenue, and has STUDENT-athletes spending a lot of time flying all over the country. Pretty wasteful too. Bring back true regional conferences. Or put football in it’s own category.

Pescatarian
Reply to  hambone
1 month ago

This conference rearrangement crap will implode in five years. At least ACC swimming will be epic for a few years.

JimSwim22
Reply to  Pescatarian
1 month ago

I think NCAA D1 win explode in the next 5 years. The major football powers are gonna go off on their own

Go Bucky
Reply to  hambone
1 month ago

Yeah, now the Big 10 has, what, 18 teams? What is the point of that

snailSpace
Reply to  Go Bucky
1 month ago

And from all over the US too. Which sort of defeats the purpose of having conferences in the first place.

Pan Fan
1 month ago

Much quicker turnaround than I thought it would be.

Common Durden W.

MarshFAN
Reply to  Pan Fan
1 month ago

It is Marsh Magic

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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