Jan. 27, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Liv Jensen captured the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyles and anchored the last event of the day - the 400-yard freestyle relay - at the McDonald's Swim Stadium on Friday as No. 2 California handed No. 3 USC its first dual-meet loss of the season with a 163-138 result. The unbeaten Golden Bears improved their record to 6-0 (6-0 in the Pac-12), while the Trojans' record is now 5-1 (4-1 Pac-12).
"It was a really good win," Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. "SC is very admirable opponent with some obviously world-class athletes. We got off to a little bit of a stumble with losing the first relay, but we responded."
Cal captured eight of 16 events in a tight meet in which the Trojans won the first two events, including the opening 200-yard medley relay. USC edged the Cal quartet of sophomore Cindy Tran, junior Caitlin Leverenz, senior Colleen Fotsch and senior Katherine Raatz, 1:40.28-1:40.50, as both teams clocked NCAA B qualifying times. In the next event, Bear freshman Catherine Breed posted a second-place finish in the 1000 free with a time of 9:51.26 behind USC's Haley Anderson (9:43.48).
Jensen then collected Cal's first win of the day by swimming an NCAA B time of 1:46.40 to claim the 200 free. Tran, the defending NCAA champion in the 100 backstroke, followed that with a victory in the 100 back with an NCAA B time of 53.90.
Later, Jensen won the 50 free (22.52) and 100 free (49.01) with a pair of NCAA B qualifying times. Cal has been victorious in the 50 free in all six of its dual meets so far, with Jensen winning the last three sprints for the Bears.
Leverenz also notched multiple wins, capturing the 200 butterfly (1:56.56, NCAA B) and the 200 breaststroke (2:11.06, NCAA B). Cal's record holder in the 400-yard individual medley, Leverenz did well to finish second in today's 400 IM with a strong time behind USC's defending NCAA champ, Katinka Hosszu. The latter won with a time of 4:05.83 (NCAA B), while Leverenz swam a time of 4:06.08 (NCAA B). In dual/non-invitational meets this season, those are the top two times in the nation in the 400 IM.
Senior Sara Isakovic added to Cal's dominance in the 100 fly, clocking an NCAA B time of 54.19 to win the event in L.A. Cal has won the 100 fly in all six of its dual meets to this point, with Isakovic - the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 200-meter free - claiming four of those victories.
Cal closed the meet by topping the Trojans in another event in which the Bears are unbeaten (4-0) this season - the 400-free relay. The foursome of Raatz, freshman Caroline Piehl, freshman Camille Cheng and Jensen posted a time of 3:19.70 (NCAA B) to beat USC (3:23.00, NCAA B).
The three Cal divers all scored in the two springboard events and compiled a total of 18 points. Included among those performances were senior Molly Hayes' second place finish on the one-meter springboard with an NCAA regional-qualifying score of 285.98 and sophomore Kahley Rowell's second-place result on the three-meter board (NCAA regional-qualifying 295.35).
"Liv Jensen did an awesome job with her three wins," McKeever added. "Caitlin was really solid; that was an amazing time in the 400 IM in a dual meet. Stephanie Au did a nice job and Katherine Raatz did a nice job in the 200 fly and helping us in relays. In the 100 fly Sara was big, and all the seniors were really big today with their leadership in the pool. The divers were solid and did well to keep us in the competition. It was a nice contribution from everyone today."
Cal ends its Los Angeles trip when it competes at UCLA at noon on Saturday.