FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Thursday’s finals at the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships began with the euphoria of a conference title and meet record in the 500-yard freestyle for Missy Franklin Thursday. But a DQ in the last race of the night – the 200 free relay – put a damper on all the excitement.
The Bears touched the wall first in the relay, edging Arizona by .05 seconds. However, officials ruled Cal left the blocks to early on one of the exchanges, which led to the disqualification.
“I don’t think you want to make mistakes at this time of the season that are so costly,” head coach Teri McKeever said. “It’s something that we just can’t afford to do. The margin for error isn’t that great. You can’t afford to give points back. We’ve got to be better tomorrow.”
Stanford leads the team standings with 507 points, followed by USC with 448 and Cal with 400.5.
Despite the setback, several Bears posted some impressive times, led by Franklin’s victory in the 500 free. The Cal freshman led from the start and pulled away to finish in 4:35.73, nearly three seconds ahead of runner-up Bonnie Brandon of Arizona (4:38.45). Franklin broke Haley Anderson’s meet record of 4:36.52 set in 2012. In addition, Catherine Breed claimed the consolation final in 4:41.09, which should qualify her for the NCAA meet in three weeks.
The 200 individual medley featured four Bears in the final, with freshman Celina Li pacing the quartet with a second-place showing in 1:54.89. Elizabeth Pelton was third in 1:55.65, Kelly Naze was seventh in a lifetime-best and NCAA qualifying 1:57.52 and Caroline Piehl was eighth in 1:58.38.
Farida Osman just missed out on the medal stand with a fourth-place performance in the 50 free, touching in a season-best 22.11, just .01 out of the third position.
Four divers scored for the Bears on the 1-meter board, led by Anne Kastler, who was 12th with 266.85 points. In addition, Kahley Rowell was 14th with a season-best 264.75, which was less than a point shy of her career best.
McKeever noted that there were some positives to come out of the relay. Kaylin Bing rebounded from a DQ in the 50 free heats to swim a PR 22.15 leading off the race that will get her to the national meet, and Stephanie Au’s 22.69 on the B relay met the NCAA B qualifying standard.
The Pac-12 Championships continue Friday with finals in the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 3-meter diving and 400 medley relay. For the complete schedule and results, click here.