March 1, 2008
Long Beach - Sophomore Lauren Boyle broke a 20-year school record after winning the Pac-10 Championship in the 1650-yard freestyle in the final day of the Pac-10 Championships in Long Beach at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Teammate Lauren Rogers, who won the 100 backstroke on Friday night, took top honors as conference champion in the 200 back tonight as well. The other big highlight came in the 400-yard freestyle relay as the first-place foursome of Madison Kennedy, Hannah Wilson, Emily Silver and Dana Vollmer broke a Pac-10 meet record (set by the Bears last season) with a time of 3:13.22.
As a team, Cal placed third for the second straight year, accumulating 1,262 points, behind first-place finisher Arizona and second-place finisher Stanford.
"I can't stress how extremely proud I am with the effort put forth by the team this week," said head coach Teri McKeever. "We broke several school records and a lot of girls established personal records in the process as well. We're real excited to start training for the National Championships. It should be a good two weeks of preparation."
Boyle smashed the longstanding record, previously held by Sarah Anderson who swam the 1650 free in 16:10.33 back in 1988, by nearly seven seconds at 16:03.51, and two seconds ahead of second-place finisher Elizabeth Durot from Stanford. Boyle really separated herself from the pack in the 11th 50-yard split at a blistering 29.07 clip. This was a lifetime best for Boyle, whose previous best in the 1650 was 16:23.98 at the U.S. Short Course National Championships in Atlanta on Nov. 29. Boyle's victory also signified the fist time since 1989 (Anderson) that Cal has won the 1650 free at the conference championships.
Rogers simply just turned it on in the final 50 yards of the 200 back with a scorching split time of 28.99 to hold off Arizona's Andrea Boritzke, who touched the wall .15 seconds after Rogers. The 1:55.53 first-place finish by Rogers was not only a lifetime best, but the third-fastest time in school history. Rogers, who practically rewrote the record book in the 100 back this season, now has her name prominently displayed three times in the top 10 finishes of the 200 back. Rogers' win was also the fourth time in the last eight years that a swimmer from Cal has won the 200 back at the conference championships.
Junior Emily Verdin placed 12th overall in the 200 back after a post of 1:59.82 in the "A" consolation final of the 200 back as well. Freshman Kelsey Hoff recorded a 2:02.22 in the "A" consolation final as well. Sophomore Heather White (2:00.33) and junior Natalie LaRochelle (2:02.79) finished 17th and 20th respectively in the "B" consolation final.
Kennedy nearly claimed a first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle, posting a second-place time of 48.33, .13 seconds behind Arizona's Lacey Nymeyer. Kennedy trimmed over one second from her prelim time (49.23) earlier in the day, to swim the third-fastest time in program history, behind Silver's 47.45 set in 2007 and Natalie Coughlin's 47.00 set in 2002. Silver, meanwhile, placed fourth in the 100 free with a time of 48.46, fourth-fastest mark in school history. Wilson meanwhile, continued to improve with a new personal-best 48.84, good enough for fifth-place.
Junior Dana Vollmer (1:52.37) lost a heartbreaker in the 200-yard butterfly, falling to Stanford's Elaine Breeden (1:52.27) by one-tenth of a second in the championship race. Vollmer's 1:52.37 is however the second-fastest time in school history. Vollmer broke Mary T. Meagher's 1986 Cal dual meet mark in the 200 fly of 1:56.71 with a record time of 1:53.96 set at Stanford on Feb. 16, 2008. That time is the second-fastest in program history.
Sophomore Alexandra Ellis placed tenth in the "A" consolation finals of the 200-yard breaststroke.
Cal, who claimed five national titles, set three new American Records and boasted 10 All-Americans with a program-best third-place finish at last year's NCAA Championships, will begin preparation right away at Spieker Aquatics Complex for the 2008 NCAA Championships, March 20-22 in Columbus, OH.