June 5, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The recently completed Arena Grand Prix of Santa Clara showed what California fans can expect next season from a roster that includes Missy Franklin, Elizabeth Pelton, Rachel Bootsma and a bevy of other stars. The meet also highlighted the continuing greatness of former Golden Bears including Caitlin Leverenz, Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.
Several of the former, current and future Golden Bears claimed hardware at the meet, held from May 30 to June 2 at the George F. Haines International Swim Center. By the end of the competition - the last in the 2012-13 Arena Grand Prix series - Franklin clinched the series' women's championship with 103 points.
Franklin, the decorated 2012 U.S. Olympian and incoming California freshman, won a total of two events in Santa Clara. On June 1, Franklin won the 200 backstroke (2:08.24) and 200 freestyle (1:58.26). Pelton - who will be a sophomore in the fall - took third (1:58.52) in the 200 free and Cindy Tran - who will be a senior - placed 16th in the 200 back (2:17.08). On June 2, Franklin claimed second place in both the 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter backstroke to wrap up her Grand Prix crown.
Bears won both those events. Leverenz - who wound up her college career by winning her second straight 200-yard individual medley at the NCAA Championships in March - won the 200-meter IM (2:14.32) in Santa Clara. Franklin took second (2:13.56), Pelton finished third (2:13.95), Celina Li - another incoming freshman - placed eighth (2:16.52) and sophomore Kelly Naze was 15th (2:19.36).
In the 100 back, Pelton edged Franklin, 59.88-1:00.02, with Bootsma - who won the 100-yard back at NCAAs as a freshman in March - placing third (1:00.97), Tran - a two-time NCAA champ in the 100 back - taking eighth (1:02.98) and Stephanie Au - a senior in the fall who swam the 100 back at London 2012 - finishing 17th (1:03.74).
Leverenz won both IMs, posting a time of 4:40.05 to take the 400; Li was fourth (4:46.66). Both the erstwhile Bear and incoming freshman finished in the A final of another event, as Leverenz placed fourth (2:13.76) and Li took seventh (2:14.94) in the 200 butterfly. Leverenz also placed third (2:27.35) in the 200 breaststroke.
Coughlin - the two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 100 back - did not swim either backstroke event in Santa Clara but did win the 50 freestyle (25.06) and take second in the 100 free (54.33). Kaylin Bing - a junior in the fall - took 16th (26.03) and alumna Liv Jensen was 18th (26.16) in the 50 free
Also in the 100 free, Franklin was third (54.56) and Vollmer took 12th (55.37). Vollmer - who won the 100 fly in world-record time in the 2012 Olympics - took second (58.90) in the 100 fly in Santa Clara, with Bootsma winning the consolation final/taking 10th place (59.94) and Tran finishing 13th (1:00.54). Bootsma's time would have placed her fifth in the A final.
Melissa Bates - a senior in the fall - swam a time of 1:11.97 to finish 14th in the 100 breaststroke.