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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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