SANTA CLARA – Leading at field that included three Golden Bears in the final, Cal’s Missy Franklin captured the 200-meter freestyle at the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara Saturday night before taking second in the 200 backstroke.
Franklin cruised to the victory in the 200 free in 1:56.96, building a .64-second lead through 100 meters that she more than doubled by the finish. In the end, she touched ahead of runner-up Cierra Runge, a Cal freshman-to-be, who was timed in a personal-best 1:58.35. Elizabeth Pelton, who just completed her sophomore season in Berkeley, took fourth in 1:59.67.
“It actually felt pretty good,” Franklin said of her swim. “I was pretty surprised. Cierra’s having an incredible meet. She’s going to be a Baby Bear, so we’re all excited to have her here at Cal. And having another teammate on my other side in Liz was awesome.”
Barely 15 minutes later, Franklin and Pelton were back in the water for the final of the 200 back. In a close race that saw the top three finishers separated by less than a second, Elizabeth Beisel claimed first place in 2:09.11, followed by Pelton at 2:09.73 and Franklin in 2:09.86. In addition, Cal’s Melanie Klaren was eighth in 2:13.85.
The opening even of the evening was the 400 individual medley and former Golden Bear Caitlin Leverenz, a 2012 Olympic bronze-medalist in the 200 IM, took third in 4:43.05. Cal sophomore Celina Li won the consolation race in 4:48.67.
To close out the day’s competition, the Cal foursome of Klaren, Leverenz, Kristen Vredeveld and Kelly Naze placed second to Mexico in the 4x200 free relay, finishing in 8:20.47.
Competition concludes Sunday with prelims at 9 a.m. PT, followed by finals at 5 p.m. PT. Tickets are required for each session and can be purchased at the George F. Haines International Swim Center store during the meet.
Universal Sports Network will televise live coverage at 5 p.m. Sunday, while a live webcast of the entire meet will be streamed online via USASwimming.org.
The Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara is the sixth and final stop of USA Swimming’s 2013-14 Arena Grand Prix Series, which provides the nation’s best swimmers opportunity to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil.