Feb. 11, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - California's Caitlin Leverenz produced another strong showing on Saturday, winning three individual events, but the top-ranked Golden Bears couldn't hold off eighth-ranked Stanford in a 174-126 dual-meet loss to their rival at Avery Aquatic Center. Leverenz, a junior All-American, captured the 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley for the Bears, who suffered their first dual-meet loss of the year to close the regular season. The Bears, who won five of 16 events against Stanford, will take a record of 7-1 (7-1 in the Pac-12) into the Feb. 22-25 Pac-12 Championships.
Stanford ended its dual-meet season with a 9-1 record (6-0 Pac-12).
"It was a good swim meet with a lot of close races," Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. "Stanford is, I think, underrated at No. 8. They have a very good team, and we knew it was going to be a tight meet. We were hoping it was going to be a little bit closer than it was, but this gives us an opportunity to keep learning and making adjustments as we move into the championship meets. With the conference meet next, we'll have to be better than we were today."
While the host squad won the first five events, the Cal A team of sophomore Cindy Tran, Leverenz, senior Colleen Fotsch and senior Liv Jensen set a dual-meet record time of 1:38.08 in taking second in the opening 200-yard medley relay.
Leverenz notched Cal's first victory of the day by posting an NCAA B consideration time of 1:55.39 in the 200 fly. She won by almost five seconds, as Stanford's Andie Taylor finished second in an NCAA B time of 2:00.28.
Cal won its second consecutive race when Jensen clocked an NCAA B time of 22.42 in the 50 freestyle. The Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month for January, Jensen had a difficult slate of races today, including the first relay, 50 free, 100 free (third in 49.55, NCAA B) and 200 free (second in 1:47.25, NCAA B).
Senior Sara Isakovic took a close third in the 200 free for the Bears with an NCAA B time of 1:47.50. Stanford's Andi Murez won the 200 free with an NCAA B time of 1:46.85.
"There are some positives to take away from today," McKeever said. "For someone who's a pure sprinter like Liv to go longer in the 200 there, that's a lot of intense swimming. That 200 was a great race across the board, with Sara, the Stanford girls and Liv. That took a lot out of Liv. She did a great job putting her hand to the wall in the 50. We asked a lot of her, and she definitely gave it her all. The same thing for Shelley, who raced well and provided great leadership."
Harper swam both distance events - she was third in the 500 (4:52.31) and in the 1000 (9:56.49) frees - as well as the 200 IM (6th, 2:04.31).
Leverenz later swam an NCAA B time of 2:12.94 to clinch the 200 breaststroke. She won the 200 IM in convincing fashion with an automatic NCAA A qualifying and pool-record time of 1:55.70. That was just off her top time of the season (1:55.66) and also beat second-place Maya DiRado of Stanford (2:00.10) by more than four seconds.
Cal freshman Catherine Breed posted her fastest time of the season in the 500 free - an NCAA B time of 4:45.15 - to win the event almost five seconds ahead of Taylor (4:50.04) in second place.
"Caitlin took care of her wins, and Catherine Breed is definitely showing she understands what it takes to be successful at this level," McKeever added. "But we were just not good enough today."
The Cardinal swept the two diving events, though Cal sophomore Kahley Rowell took second place on the one-meter springboard with an NCAA regional qualifying score of 292.13. Senior Molly Hayes collected Cal's best result on the three-meter springboard, finishing second with an NCAA regional qualifying score of 286.43.
Stanford won the meet-ending 400-free relay, as the Cardinal A squad posted a victorious time of 3:16.51 (NCAA B). The Cal A quartet of Isakovic, senior Katherine Raatz, freshman Camille Cheng and Breed clocked an NCAA B time of 3:20.57 to take second.
Cal next competes in the conference championships starting Feb. 22 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.