March 23, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - California won its third title of the NCAA Championships - thanks to Elizabeth Pelton's American-record time in the 200-yard backstroke - and the Golden Bears wound up taking second place as the national meet came to a close on Saturday night at the IU Natatorium. Cal collected a total of 393 points to finish behind 2013 champion Georgia (477 points); Tennessee finished third (325.5).
The Bears - who won the 2011 and 2012 national crowns - earned their fifth straight top-three finish at NCAAs, including the 2009 crown and a third-place finish in 2010.
Pelton claimed the CSCAA Swimmer of the Meet award after a meet that included second-place finishes in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard freestyle and top-five finishes with four of the five relays (400-yard medley relay and 200-, 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays). She earned a total of seven All-America honors. On Saturday night, the freshman broke her own American record in the 200 back with a time of 1:47.84, which is also an NCAA record, U.S. Open record, meet record and school record, to win her first NCAA title as a Bear. She also posted the fastest time - 1:49.62 - in the morning prelim.
"I wasn't really going in tonight's race thinking about a time," Pelton said. "Based on this morning, I felt really good, and I wanted to see if could go under. I was able to, so I said, 'Tonight might be a good night.'"
Sophomore Melanie Klaren earned honorable mention All-America honors in the 200 backstroke for the second straight season, finishing 11th with a time of 1:53.05.
Leverenz - the U.S. Olympian who was the Swimmer of the Meet at the 2012 NCAA Championships - ended her collegiate career tonight. In her last event, the 2012 NCAA champ in the 200-yard breaststroke placed sixth in the 200 breast in a time of 2:07.41. Laura Sogar (2:05.41) of Texas placed first.
Cal freshmen added two more sixth-place finishes, as freshman Rachael Acker took sixth in the 100 freestyle in a time of 48.29 and Bootsma - who took second in the 100 butterfly on Friday - placed sixth in the 200 fly in a time of 1:55.57. Arizona's Margo Geer won the 100 free (47.19), and Texas A&M's Cammile Adams won the 200 fly (1:52.61).
For the second straight year, Cal diver Kahley Rowell qualified for the platform final at NCAAs. This time, the junior placed eighth with a score of 271.25. USC's Haley Ishimatsu won the platform with a championship-record score of 396.75.
The Bears closed NCAAs with a third-place finish in the 400-free relay, the last event of the night. The young Cal relay consisted of three freshmen and a sophomore in Pelton, sophomore Kaylin Bing, Acker and Bootsma, who clocked a time of 3:11.58. Georgia wrapped up its team championship by taking the relay in an NCAA-record time of 3:09.40, which edged the previous NCAA record of 3:09.88, set by Cal during its 2009 NCAA-title run.
On what the future holds for the young Bears, Pelton said, "We need to step on up on the relays. If everyone does their jobs, then we will see where are come this time next year."
"Today was another day of some great swims," Cal head coach Rachel Bootsma, Kelly Naze, Rachael Acker and Lauren Driscoll - who stepped up this weekend and really this whole year and really embraced collegiate swimming - and along with the rest of the team, following the lead of Caitlin, Caroline, Melanie, Catherine, Kaylin and other returnees who truly embrace what it means to swim for the Golden Bears.
"I am very proud of this team and more importantly, this group of young women who competed here in Indianapolis this weekend and who have worked tirelessly both in and out of the pool since we got together in the early fall."
NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships
March 23, 2013, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Top-10 Final Standings
Team Points 1. Georgia 477 2. California 393 3. Tennessee 325.5 4. Texas A&M 323.5 5. Arizona 311 6. Florida 305 7. USC 291 8. Stanford 246 9. Texas 186 10. Minnesota 141
6. Rachael Acker 48.29.
6. Caitlin Leverenz 2:07.41.
6. Rachel Bootsma 1:55.57.
8. Kahley Rowell 271.25.