The No. 9 USC Trojan women seem to have No. 5 Cal’s number, as they pulled off a stunning upset for the second straight season, this time by a score of 153-147.
“We had some great races,” said Cal head coach Teri McKeever, a 1983 USC alumna. “A good portion of the team was better than we were last weekend. SC did a great job.”
The Golden Bears won 7 events, including both relays, but that was not enough to hold of USC, who took 9 races. Expect USC to be a national title contender in 2011 and 2012, as they will not lose any of their major contributors after this season, and only 2 (Lyndsey Depaul and Presley Bard) after next season. Cal, on the other hand, is an experience-heavy squad, whose top relays consisted entirely of juniors and seniors.
Cal led off the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay, which was made up of Heather White, Alexandra Ellis, Katie Kastes, and Amanda Larson. The group pulled down an NCAA provisional time of 1:40.51 to edge USC by .16 seconds.
The middle-distance freestyles were the most exciting races on the night. The 200 was a showdown between 2 sophomore Olympians: Katinka Hosszu of USC and Sarah Isakovic of Cal. Both swimmers broke the old pool record of 1:46.73 set by Hosszu last year against UCLA in the rain. In the end, Hosszu’s name remained on the record board as she touched in 1:46.34 to Isakovic’s 1:46.62. This should be an incredible rivalry to watch develop over the next 2 seasons, and it will likely come to a tipping point at the 2012 Olympics in London.
In the women’s 500 free, Cal’s Haley Anderson jumped out to a quick start and took a 1.7 second lead after the first 100. Slowly but surely, Cal’s Lauren Boyle and Hosszu started to reel her back in. Anderson ended up needing every bit of the lead she built at the beginning as she was able to hold off the charge to win in 4:45.15. Hosszu finished second in 4:45.20, and Boyle, who sat in second throughout most of the race, was third in 4:46.87.
The two teams will meet again at the upcoming Pac-10 championships in Long Beach from February 24-27. That meet will likely be the fastest in the country, between USC, Cal, no. 4 Stanford, and no. 2 Arizona.