Year 1 Under Greg Meehan Returns Pac 12 Championship to Stanford Cardinal Women

And the Women’s PAC-12 meet is over. What a night to end quite a battle on the team level. Here’s the recap of the night. And don’t forget, Men’s PAC-12s start tomorrow in Federal Way!

Full meet results available here (in html).

1650 Freestyle

She was the first woman to win the 500 freestyle three years in a row, and USC’s Haley Anderson made history again tonight by again being the first woman to win the 1650 four years in a row. She was the only swimmer under 16:00, finishing at 15:58.59. Based on her time from mid-season and even last years PAC-12s, it seems like she has way more in the tank for NCAAs.

ASU had a great effort by junior Tristin Baxter, an open water specialist in the grander scheme of the sport, finished four seconds behind Anderson. She was 16:02.86, just off the A standard. She held very consistent splits around 29-mids the whole race.

UCLA also got onto the podium tonight with junior Lauren Baker, who had over a seven second drop from her previous season-best to finish at 16:08.01. Her teammate freshman Megan Rankin also made her way into the top eight of this timed-final, finishing 8th in 16:32.04.

Oregon State got their first top eight swim finish of the meet with a big result from freshman Samantha Harrison. She dropped nearly 20 seconds from her entry time and finished fifth place. Great effort by just a freshman for the Beavers.

Cal had two swimmers score in that top-tier as well with Catherine Breed at 6th and Lauren Driscoll at 7th.

200 Backstroke

Despite battling off some sort of stomach bug that left her reeling on Friday, Cal freshman Liz Pelton fought back on Saturday to break her own American Record in the 200 backstroke with a 1:48.39. That bested her own 1:48.90 from the Georgia Invitational in early December of this year.

Read more about Pelton’s record here.

In a few short weeks we will for sure see former Florida swimmer Gemma Spofforth’s NCAA and U.S. Open Record of 1:48.34 go down. Pelton or current Florida swimmer Elizabeth Beisel could take the crown.

Maya Dirado was 2nd in 1:51.65, and Cindy Tran, who’s worked really hard to improve this 200, took 3rd in 1:53.42. Tran, Pelton, and Melanie Klaren gave the Golden Bears 3 of the top 4 spots; though that temporarily pulled them past USC for 2nd place, it wasn’t realistically enough to put them in a position to contend for the title.

100 Freestyle

No surprises here as Margo Geer continued as the sprint queen of the PAC-12. Her time tonight was 47.59, and she is within about a half a second of the PAC 12 records of Dana Vollmerr (meet) and Natalie Coughlin (conference).

Maddy Schaefer and Andi Murez stepped up big for the Cardinal, and finishing 2-3 and both under 48-seconds at 47.85 and 47.86.

With a 4th and 6th place finish by Rachael Acker and Kaylin Bing, after a great backstroke event for the Bears, at this point in the meet Cal actually moved into second in the team standings over the Trojans.

USC’s Kasey Carlson was about the same as she was this morning, finishing 7th at 48.96.

200 Breaststroke

Caitlin Leverenz got touched out twice at this meet, but finished the last session on top. She topped the field by nearly a second at 2:07.25. This was also her third straight PAC-12 title in this event.

Stina Gardell was the fastest of the three Trojans tonight, finishing second at 2:08.22. Andrea Kropp was 4th at 2:08.68 and Jessie Schmitt was 2:11.15 for 7th. With the trio’s effort, they were able to pull USC back into second place in the team standings after the event.

Alex Popa had an incredible drop this morning, and cut another second off her time to finish in the top three for ASU, at 2:08.31, hitting the A standard.

200 Butterfly

There are certainly some talented freshmen in the PAC-12 conference. Building on her runner-up 100 butterfly and championship title in the 100 backstroke last night, Rachel Bootsma finished first again in 1:54.97 in the 200 butterfly tonight.

UCLA got on the podium again individually with Noelle Tarazona finishing second to Bootsma, 1:55.45. She actually had a slight lead at the 150 mark, but Bootsma had a great last 50 of 30.0.

Tarazona’s teammates from UCLA finished 5th and 6th from Anna Senko and Stephanie Chistofferson. The Bruins have a great history over the last 10 years in this race, including swimmers like Yasi Jahanshahi and Bianca Casciari. This group is set up to continue that tradition into the future.

Jasmine Tosky was able to put her own illness aside and step up for a third place finish tonight. She is capable of a much bigger swim, and we can’t wait to see her healthy in a few weeks in Indianapolis.

Outside the A final, Ashley Evans from Arizona finished 9th at 1:58.08, a time that would have tied her for 5th in the A final.

The top three finishers of this event tonight were underclassmen. There is some great young talent in this event for the future.

Platform Diving

Heading into the diving, Stanford had a 41 point lead over the Trojans. Cal had fallen about 100 points back of the Cardinal, and would lock in a third place finish.

USC’s Haley Ishimatsu represented the USA in the 2008 Olympics on platform, was ACC Champion on platform in 2011, and dominated her first PAC-12 appearance on platform.

USC scored a total of 94 points to Stanford’s 72, giving Stanford a 19 point lead into the final event of the night.

400 Freestyle Relay

Cal, Arizona and Stanford ended the meet very strong with their performances in the relay – all finishing 3:12.

Arizona had the lead first with a 47.63 lead off from Geer, but Cal’s Pelton was close behind at 48.00. Arizona held on the lead through the 300 yard mark, with all middle swimmers on the three teams splitting 48s.

Cal was about .5 behind Arizona, and Bootsma had a powerhouse anchor of 47.74 to top Kaitlyn Flederbach’s 48.30 to finish 3:12.37 versus 3:12.42. Stanford was over a second behind the leaders but Andi Murez had an incredible 47.09 anchor for the Cardinal to be barely touched out by the two teams at 3:12.63.

USC’s lead off from Kasey Carlson of 48.44 was faster than her individual swim earlier in the session. The Trojans finished 4th at 3:16.62.

USC would’ve had to have won the relay and have Stanford DQ or finish 8th for the Trojans to be victorious in the team battle.

Team Scores

While the times of this meet weren’t as fast as last weeks SECs, the team battle was a hard fought battle. Over the course of the three days the lead repeatedly changed, but Stanford ended up with the torch at the end of every finals session. They emerged victorious tonight as the PAC-12 team champions.

The Cardinal women have a rich and successful history at the PAC-12 meet, winning back-to-back titles in 2010 & 2011, and 13 straight from 1987-1999. These women are on fire and could contend for the national crown in three weeks. Their competition will be Georgia, but also their conference foes of Cal and USC.

USC battled hard but settled for second. The Trojans have never won a conference team title, and their best finish was a runner-up performance in 2002; this was, however, their highest-ever point total at this meet.

Call took 3rd, but remember that in their 2011 NCAA Championship run, the Stanford Cardinal were champions as well.

Greg Meehan has done a phenomenal job in his first year as head coach, much credit is deserved for a fantastic meet.

Diver of the Meet – USC Haley Ishimatsu

Swimmer of the Meet – Cal Elizabeth Pelton

Coach of the Meet – Stanford Greg Meehan

Team Scores

1. Stanford University            1439.5
2. University of Southern California 1418.5
3. University of CA – Berkeley    1333.5
4. University of Arizona          1128.5
5. University of CA – Los Angeles  998.5
6. Arizona State University        786.5
7. The University of Utah            347
8. Oregon State                      297
9. Washington State University       189


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bobo gigi
8 years ago

Wow! Great last day for Miss Pelton. Her stomach goes better. 1.48.39 in the 200 back and 48 in the relay. 1.47 is predictable in Indianapolis. But Braden I don’t think Elizabeth Beisel will play the win and the NCAA record. I like her but she doesn’t have the SCY full package (underwaters, walls) to swim so fast.
Yes we can’t wait to see Jasmine Tosky healthy and fully tapered. She hasn’t shown her real talent yet. It means for me this season a 1.52 in the 200 IM on day 1, a 1.43 or a 51.50 in the 100 fly on day 2 and a 1.52 in the 200 fly on day 3.
Weird to see Kendyl… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago

I think it’s wierder that Bootsma is in the 200 fly rather than 200 back. She and pelton could both be pushing for American records at NCs.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Niemannator
8 years ago

Also weird. I agree. But it seems Miss Bootsma doesn’t like the 200 back. She never swims it in the big meets. However, it could help her finish in her best race, the 100 back, especially in long course.

8 years ago

The overall lack luster performances at the top should be an indicator that the focus is on the NCAA “showtime” and not the confertence “trial run.”

Disappointed armchair fan
Reply to  WHOKNOWS
8 years ago

Agree, not impressed by the PAC times esp when compared to SEC, to be honest!

Becoming quite evident that CAL has been more than a smudge overrated this year: its freshman class haven’t exactly met the high expectations and all the hype surrounding them.

Glaring weaknesses in their diving, breast, sprints and even relays here spell big trouble ahead for the bears at NCAAs, when they’ll have to face the intimidating guns of Georgia and the rest of the big boys.

Don’t give me the same old excuse that they are not rested or tapered here, and will do better “when it really counts”, as everybody’s in the same boat too.

Bears got a whopping from… Read more »

Reply to  Disappointed armchair fan
8 years ago

I keep hoping your post is tongue in cheek. Nobody could actually be this foolish, could they?

Reply to  Disappointed armchair fan
8 years ago

Rumors on the death of Cal’s program are greatly exaggerated. It’s reasonable to assert that Cal’s season hasn’t gone as planned, but it’s insane to pretend they won’t be favorites in 2014, They may qualify as many as 17 swimmers this year and potentially 5 2014 recruits can qualify next season. Losing Leverenz will hurt, but they’ll be significantly stronger in the sprints, middle distance, fly, and back next season. Breast and diving will be their big questions, but Teri’s already won two titles with zero divers.

Reply to  Disappointed armchair fan
8 years ago

Please cite where McKeever claimed that she will work on Franklin’s fly and breast to improve her IM.

Disappointed armchair fan
Reply to  gosharks
8 years ago
“I don’t want Missy to come and swim 100 and 200 back, 100 and 200 free for the next two years and then do that nationally. I think it would be great to work on her breaststroke and have her swim some fly and just develop as an overall swimmer. There are still a lot of things that I think anybody can (do and improve upon), even though you hold the world record in one stroke.”
At Cal, McKeever said she’ll have Franklin swim some breaststroke and butterfly events in addition to her mainstay events in freestyle and backstroke.
“McKeever hopes the swimmer can improve in the butterfly and breaststroke”

Reply to  Disappointed armchair fan
8 years ago

Disappointed Armchair Fan – Your bitterness against Cal’s success is kinda humorous. Hating on the Bears this year because they haven’t met your or anyone else’s hype can be acknowledged even though NCAA’s hasn’t even begun…or is your resentment so deep against them because Pelton, Bootsma and Missy all chose Cal instead of any SEC school, the real reason that your agitation exists in your angry rant.
Terri and her squad will be fine, whether they finish 1st or 3rd at NCAA’s. Bauerle has the utmost respect for the type of program that they run along with any other coach that matters. They have a plan that works and the last 4 years have the results that back it… Read more »

Reply to  Disappointed armchair fan
8 years ago

Thanks for the links! I hadn’t read those articles.

Your original post does take a bitter tone, but I’m not sure where that originates. You masterfully transitioned from comparing the Pac 12 and SEC meets to a borderline-insulting rant about Missy Franklin. But, clearly, you are very well-read on Cal swimming and Franklin, so maybe its an unhealthy obsession?

Cal definitely gets a lot of hype due to their recent consecutive NCAA championships and top recruiting classes. So, it is warranted.

USC and Stanford had many more swimmers in B and C finals and less in A finals at the Pac 12 meet than Cal did. At NCAA’s this will translate to more points for Cal, as B & C… Read more »

mb swimming
8 years ago

Couple of things….

1) Excluding Diving, Cal won the meet with USC second and Stanford third. Stanford had ~300 points in diving.

2) There is a HUGE difference between a meet where 24 spots are scored across 9 teams (which is really like 6 or 6.5 treams) and a meet (NCAAs) where 16 spots are scored across the equivalent of 15-20 teams. Becomes less about quality depth and more about elite swims. Different meet. This impacts diving as well.

3) Relays become much more important in NCAAs. In a conference meet like Pac 12s….the top teams are really only competing for spots 1-4. The difference between 1st and 4th is only 12 points. At NCAAs there are 10-15 legit relay… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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