NCAA Runner-Up Isabelle Stadden Returning to Cal For 5th Year

2024 NCAA runner-up Isabelle Stadden has announced she will return to Cal to use her COVID-19 fifth year. Stadden has been a consistent NCAA ‘A’ finalist as she made the NCAA ‘A’ final of the 100 and 200 backstroke events in all four years of her undergraduate career.

As a freshman, Stadden won the Pac-12 title in the 200 backstroke swimming a 1:50.83. She also was 2nd in both the 200 IM and 100 back. At 2021 NCAAs, she was the 2nd highest scorer for Cal with 30 individual points. She finished 3rd in the 100 back, 5th in the 200 back, and led off the team’s 200 and 400 medley relays.

Stadden defended her Pac-12 title as a sophomore once again winning the 200 back. She also was the runner-up in the 100 back. At NCAAs, she finished 4th in the 200 back (1:49.45) and 7th in the 100 back to score 27 individual points.

In her junior season, she finished 2nd in the 200 back, 100 back, and 200 IM at Pac-12s. Claire Curzan won the Pac-12 200 backstroke title before going on to win the event at NCAAs as well. At 2023 NCAAs, Stadden finished 3rd in the 200 back and 6th in the 100 back. She scored 29 individual points and was the highest scorer for the Cal women as they finished 11th overall.

This past season, Stadden swept the backstroke events at the Pac-12 Championships and was also 5th in the 200 IM. She had her highest individual finish at NCAAs ever as she was 2nd in the 100 backstroke only behind Katharine Berkoff. She also finished 4th in the 200 backstroke to score a total of 32 individual points, leading the team to a 11th place finish again.

In addition to her success at the collegiate level, Stadden has also represented the US at the international level. Last fall, Stadden won the 100 (59.27) and 200 (2:09.31) backstrokes at the U23 Championships in Ireland. She also has represented the US at both the 2021 and 2022 SCM World Championships. In 2021 at Wave II Trials, she finished 4th in the 200 back and 5th in the 100 back.

The Cal women will enter the ACC this upcoming season. The only other swimmers in the ACC this past season who were faster than Stadden in the 100 backstroke were Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) and Katharine Berkoff (NC State). Berkoff has since graduated. The only swimmer faster than Stadden in the 200 back this past season was Kennedy Noble of NC State who returns for her junior season.

Stadden will overlap for one year with 2024 best of the rest (BOTR) ranked backstrokers Finley Anderson (53.3/1:53.6) and Adriana Smith (52.8/1:56.1) who arrive this fall. The return of Stadden is key for the momentum of the Golden Bears, especially as they welcome many of the top recruits in the class of 2025 including #1 Alex Shackell, #2 Teagan O’Dell, #3 Claire Weinstein, #7 Annie Jia, and #13 Elle Scott.

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Andrew
22 days ago

Cal somehow gets every 5th year to convert except for Louser and Hoffraud apparently

CosPac
Reply to  Andrew
22 days ago

ok! and?

h2olover
Reply to  Andrew
22 days ago

Why don’t you get out of your mom’s basement and get some sunshine. You seem so depressed.

I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
22 days ago

Stadden deserves an NCAA title. She’s been so close, so many times. She just so happened to fall in most talented backstroke generation arguably of all time.

Aragon Son of Arathorne
Reply to  I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
22 days ago

exactly. One of the fastest ever.

Eddie
Reply to  I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
22 days ago

Well she definitely has her work cut out for her with Claire Curzan, Kennedy Noble, and Regan Smith’s possible return to the NCAAs

Gldnbehr
Reply to  I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
22 days ago

Yeah, Cal backstroke sucked until the Stadden era.

CELL
Reply to  Gldnbehr
22 days ago

Fr who were Missy Franklin, Kathleen Baker, and Natalie Coughlin anyways.

Irviner
Reply to  CELL
22 days ago

and Rachel Bootsma, Elizabeth Pelton, Cindy Tran, Amy Bilquist, … Cal backstroke legacy is crazy

owen
Reply to  Gldnbehr
22 days ago

i think their point was she was dealing with regan smith, claire curzan, phoebe bacon, gretchen walsh, katharine berkoff, rhyan white. that’s a talented backstroke generation

I miss the ISL (go dawgs)
Reply to  owen
22 days ago

Thank you lol. As if I was trying to ignore someone like Missy. CELL knew what I was talking about.

Bad Man
Reply to  I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
22 days ago

She “deserves” one when she wins one.

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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