The Stanford Cardinal women capped an undefeated season by beating the defending NCAA Champs in their season finale, a 172-128 drubbing of California.
Swimming at home, Stanford won 11 of 16 events, including both relays and an individual triple from fab freshman Ella Eastin.
Eastin, one of the top high schoolers to come out of California last year, went undefeated on the day, and wasn’t even pushed. She won the 200 fly by two and a half seconds, going 1:54.60 to beat Cal sophomore Noemie Thomas (1:57.14). In the 500 free and 200 IM, Eastin beat out Cal freshman Kathleen Baker. The 500 saw Eastin go 4:46.89 and Baker 4:52.82, and the IM race was a 1:58.23 to 1:59.97 victory for Eastin.
Stanford also won both relays with flying colors. The meet opened with the 200 medley, where the Cardinal went 1:38.25 on a huge 27.2 breaststroke split from defending NCAA champ Sarah Haase. That was the difference-maker after sophomore Ally Howe tied NCAA champ Rachel Bootsma of Cal in the backstroke leg. Both women were 25.11. But Haase exposed Cal’s breaststroke weakness, outsplitting her opponent by more than two seconds and essentially ending the race right there.
In the 400 free relay at the close of the meet, Stanford junior Lia Neal anchored in 48.43 to seal the win. All four Cardinal swimmers were under 50 – Janet Hu was 49.4 on the leadoff, Lindsey Engel 49.9 and Julia Ama 49.7 to go 3:17.56 as a team. Cal was 3:19.38, but did get a nice 48.71 from freshman Amy Bilquist on the anchor leg.
Bilquist was a major bright spot for Cal, winning both backstrokes individually. The freshman went 52.59 to beat out Hu in the 100 back, and added a 1:53.80 to deny Hu the win in the 200 back.
Haase swept the breaststroke races for Stanford, going 1:00.25 in the 100 – the event she won at last year’s NCAAs – and 2:12.18 in the 200. Neal took home the 100 free title, going 48.47.
Stanford was also helped by a diving sweep from Gracia Leydon-Mahoney. The sophomore led 1-2 finishes on 1-meter and 3-meter.
Cal, without last year’s Pac-12 distance champ Cierra Runge, still managed to get a 1000 free win, with the versatile Celina Li putting up a 9:58.98. At the other end of the yardage spectrum, Farida Osman went 22.45 to win the 50 freestyle, beating out her teammate Bilquist by two tenths of a second. Cal’s other win came from Thomas, who went 52.58 for a nice 100 fly win.