Isabelle Stadden Swims 1:49 in 200 Back as Cal, Stanford Explode on Senior Day

Cal vs. Stanford (Women)

  • February 17, 2024
  • Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley, California
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), dual meet
  • Full Meet Results
  • Team Scores:
    • #11 Cal 155.5 – #9 Stanford 144.5

While this meet doesn’t have quite the same prestige as it might have a few years back, when Cal and Stanford were battling for NCAA team titles, but the two teams both enter championship season with momentum and had a barn-burner of a dual meet on Saturday. It was senior day for the Golden Bears, with 10 seniors and grad students celebrating their last* dual meet in Berkeley (unless the seniors come back to use their 5th year of eligibility).

Misty, overcast weather in Berkeley didn’t slow down the racing. Isabelle Stadden, one of those seniors, shattered Spieker Aquatics Complex Records in both the 100 and 200 yard backstrokes: the second-straight home dual meet where she’s broken those records.

She swam 50.26 in the 100 backstroke, which ranks her 3rd in the NCAA this season and is just .03 seconds away from her lifetime best.

The swim breaks her own Pool Record of 50.55 done three weeks ago.

Then in the 200 backstroke, she swam 1:49.64, behind only her own top-ranked time in the NCAA this season, and whacking her Pool Record of 1:50.55 done in the team’s prior home dual meet three weeks ago.

She wasn’t the only record breaker for the host Golden Bears in this meet. 5th year Mia Motekaitis swam 1:42.89, breaking Katie Ledecky’s Pool Record. Motekaitis now ranks 6th in the NCAA this season. That’s Motekaitis’ best time by over a second, clearing the 1:43.92 that she swam at last year’s Pac-12 Championships.

Cal junior Mia Kragh also broke a Pool Record for the second-straight meet. She swam 51.20 to win the 100 fly, ranking 8th in the NCAA this season and 9th all-time at Cal. Her previous lifetime best, and Pool Record, is a 51.30 done three weeks ago against Arizona State.

Cal, racing under a new coaching staff this season for the first time formally combined with the defending-champion men’s program, is firing on all-cylinders heading into championship season, hitting a number of lifetime bests. That includes junior Fanni Fabian, who swam 9:44.64 in the 1000 free to climb to #5 all-time at Cal; and 5th year Hannah Brunzell, who swam 59.50 in the 100 breast to climb to #5 all-time at Cal.

The meet included a surprise appearance from 5th year senior Rachel Klinker, who two days ago finished 4th in the 200 meter fly at the World Championships in Qatar. After a 16 hour flight back to the Bay Area, she returned to win the 200 yard fly in 1:52.33, a season-best for her and the #4 time in the NCAA this season.

Stanford’s Lillie Nordmann was just-behind her in that 200 fly in 1:52.41, nearly-overcoming a half-second deficit at the halfway mark. That’s her lifetime best, knocking seven-tenths off the 1:53.12 she swam at the Texas Invite mid-season. She ranks #5 in the NCAA this season.

The Stanford women, including Nordmann, had a big meet as well. Besides the 200 fly, Nordmann also won the 100 free in 47.94, her best time (48.22 at the Texas Invite). That time ranks her 18th in the country this season.

She would later split 47.54 on the 400 free relay, combining with Anna Shaw (48.98), Kayla Wilson (47.86), and Amy Tang (48.46) for a 3:12.84. That’s .27 seconds short of their season-best from the USC dual meet.

Aurora Roghair, who is having a massive breakout this season, also picked up a pair of wins for the Cardinal. She led the 500 free (4:38.12) ahead of Klinker (4:40.94), and later won the 1000 free (9:29.70).

Those times are very close to season bests: the 500 is 1.02 seconds shy of her mid-season time, while the time in the 1000 is .46 short of her best from the Arizona State dual meet (which ranks #2 in the NCAA this season).

Other Winners:

  • Stephanie Akakabora of Cal won the 50 free in 22.29. That’s the second-best time of her career behind only the 22.11 that she swam at the team’s dual meet against Arizona State.
  • Stanford swept the breaststroke races. Sophomore Lucy Bell won the 100 in 59.00, followed by freshman teammate Lucy Thomas in 59.33. That’s a new lifetime best for Thomas. Then freshman Caroline Bricker won the 200 breast in 2:08.15. For many years, breaststroke was a Stanford weakness, but with a sophomore and two freshmen, they are now in good shape in these events for years to come.
  • Stanford swept the diving, with Lauren Burch winning 1-meter and Emilie Moore winning the 3-meter.
  • Cal opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay in 1:34.25. While Stanford had the upper hand in the individual breaststrokes, Cal 5th year Jade Neser had the best breaststroke split of 26.20. That time is almost half-a-second faster than she split at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, and the relay’s overall time is half-a-second better than Cal swam at NCAAs last season. This time would have placed the Cal women 5th at those NCAA Championships. They were .02 seconds faster at the mid-season Minnesota Invitational.

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2 months ago

Bell’s PB in the 1BR was 1:00.79 up until a month ago (Swimcloud), her only time under 1:01 until a month ago and now she’s going 59.00. Wow.

2 months ago

Klinker racing that well immediately after getting back to the US is crazy to me

Reply to  oxyswim
2 months ago

Definitely impressive, though in my experience day 1 is survivable. Day 1 after 24 hours of “sitting” is sort of a taper. Days 2-5, though, are going to hit hard.

Swim Dad
2 months ago

Great meet and incredible times from both teams! With no one starting NCAA tapers yet Pac 12 final Championship should be epic as three of the top 6 teams will be competing.

Reply to  Swim Dad
2 months ago

3 of the top 6 nationally ranked teams? Where did you get that from?

Last edited 2 months ago by Yikes
Bad Man
Reply to  Yikes
2 months ago

Man must think that two of Texas, Florida, Louisville, and Ohio State are in the Pac-12.

Swim Dad
Reply to  Yikes
2 months ago
The official college rankings by swim coaches

The February edition. Actually 4, 5 and 7. Cal dropped in the rankings from 4 to 7 in the January rankings.

Last edited 2 months ago by Swim Dad
ct swim fan
Reply to  Swim Dad
2 months ago

Based on some of the times, I would say there was at least a bit of a taper for this meet.

2 months ago

Go bears!

McIntosh McKeown McKeon McEvoy
2 months ago

Cal women are bouncing back a lot sooner than I thought.

Swim Dad
Reply to  McIntosh McKeown McKeon McEvoy
2 months ago

They definitely have a team doing well. Next year will be a real dogfight for the top of the NCAAs and will include Cal.

2 months ago

Cal women on the upward trajectory with Marsh Magic Dust! Oooh look out in 2025 and beyond all you top 5 programs!

Reply to  MarshFAN
2 months ago

It’s all Noah

Reply to  MarshFAN
2 months ago

Yes, what is in this magic dust? Sus.

Reply to  MarshFAN
2 months ago

Apparently they haven’t developed tests for this magic dust yet.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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