Nov. 17, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif./TUCSON, Ariz. - Wins in the finals of the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard individual medley - along with nine other top-eight finishes - kept second-ranked California in the lead at the Arena Invitational on Friday night at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. After two days at the Arena Invitational, the defending NCAA champion has compiled 831.5 points to lead the 17-team field, with San Diego State second with 643.5 points and Arizona State third with 619 points.
"We had a real solid performance across the board," Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. "I thought Rachel Bootsma did a nice job tonight and Caitlin Leverenz won her events. We had a lot of people swimming different things so we could see where we are swimming multiple events. It's a really good racing environment here, which is really good for us as we prepare for the Georgia Invitational, Pac-12s and NCAAs down the road.
"There's one more session to go. We really need to keep thinking about the little things, to keep evaluating and experimenting, and getting better. It's a really great, intense, training opportunity physically and mentally, and for the most part I think we're doing a great job."
Cal captured the opening relay, with junior Cindy Tran, senior Caitlin Leverenz, freshman Rachel Bootsma and freshman Rachael Acker clocking a time of 1:39.82. Leverenz picked up another victory in the 400 IM, posting an NCAA B cut of 4:10.67. Cal freshman Lauren Driscoll also reached the A final, swimming a time of 4:17.91.
That marks two individual victories for Leverenz, the U.S. Olympic bronze medalist in the 200-meter IM who won the 200-yard IM on day one of the meet.
Bootsma picked up a pair of individual NCAA B cuts, swimming a time of 53.99 to take fifth place in the 100 butterfly and clocking a time of 53.88 to finish second in the 100 backstroke. Tran actually swam the fastest time of any collegian in the 100 back - an NCAA B time of 53.79 - to win the consolation final and take ninth. Former Fresno Pacific swimmer Cheyenne Coffman won the 100 back (53.26). Additionally in the championship final of the 100 back, Pelton took fourth (54.23, NCAA B time) and junior Stephanie Au was sixth (55.02).
Tonight's 100-fly finals also featured freshman Kelly Naze, who won the consolation final in a time of 54.68, and Tran, whose time of 54.54 (17th place) won the C final and would have placed her eighth had she qualified for the championship final.
In the 100 breaststroke, sophomore Yvette Kong posted Cal's best finish - fourth - in a time of 1:02.98.
A pair of Bears reached the A final of the 200 freestyle, with sophomore Carolina Piehl taking fifth (1:48.48) and sophomore Catherine Breed finishing eighth (1:50.00). Camille Cheng, yet another talented Cal sophomore, placed ninth (1:47.35) to win the consolation final.
Alumna Liv Jensen, swimming unattached, placed second in the 200 free with a time of 1:47.14.
Cal closed Friday night's finals by finishing fourth in the 800-free relay. Pelton, Piehl, Bootsma and Cheng combined to swim an NCAA B time of 7:12.59.
Also on Friday, Cal's divers competed at the Wildcat Diving Invitational on the campus of the University of Arizona. Junior Kahley Rowell finished in 24th place with a score of 225.05 and freshman Anne Kastler took 26th (222.30) in the preliminary round of the three-meter springboard; neither advanced to the finals.
The three-day Arena Invitational concludes on Saturday, while the three-day Wildcat Diving Invitational ends on Sunday.
Nov. 16 Finals in Long Beach, Calif.
* NCAA B qualifying standard
Wildcat Diving Invitational
Nov. 16 Preliminaries in Tucson, Ariz.