Feb. 26, 2011
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - California closed the Pac-10 Championships by winning the last event of the meet - the 400-yard freestyle relay final - and sophomore Caitlin Leverenz won the 200-yard breaststroke crown as the Golden Bears wound up taking second place in the team standings on Saturday night at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. The Golden Bears finished with 1545.5 points and repeated their second-place finish of 2010. Stanford, with 1567.5 points, won its second straight conference championship, while USC, with 1309.5 points, repeated as the meet's third-place team.
"It was a good three and a half days," Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. "I think that there are a lot of really great things to build on as we move towards Austin. A tough team battle brought out the best in us and in Stanford. We came up a little short, but that'll keep us focused on what we need to do. It's like a dual meet - sometimes you get 'em and sometimes you don't."
Austin, Texas, is the site of the March 17-19 NCAA Championships.
Cal won a total of seven championships - three individual titles and four relay wins - at Pac-10s this year. Besides tonight's victories in the 200 breast and 400-free relay, Jensen won the 50 free, Tran claimed the 100 back and the Bears triumphed in the 200-medley relay, 800-free relay and 400-medley relay.
The Bears finished in the top two spots at Pac-10s in each of the last three years. Prior to the 2008-09 season, Cal's best conference finish was third place. Since then, the Bears won the conference crown for the first time in 2009, took second first the first time in 2010 and repeated tonight.
On Saturday, the Cal A squad of senior Hannah Wilson, junior Colleen Fotsch, senior Erica Dagg and junior Liv Jensen swam an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 3:13.59 to win the relay. The Cardinal clinched its team victory by finishing a close second to the Bears with an automatic NCAA qualifier (3:13.84) of its own.
Leverenz, the 2010 Pac-10 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, posted a season-best and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 2:07.45 in the 200 breaststroke to capture her first individual Pac-10 crown. Freshman Melissa Bates moved into eighth place on Cal's all-time list for the event with her NCAA B consideration time of 2:13.80; she took 11th place.
The Bears recorded two second-place finishes on Saturday, including freshman Stephanie Au's runner-up race in the 200 backstroke with an NCAA B time of 1:54.96. Freshman Cindy Tran placed ninth in the 200 back with an NCAA B time of 1:55.13. The first-year Bears moved into the fifth and sixth places, respectively, on Cal's all-time 200 back list.
Cal produced a 2-3-4 finish in the 100 freestyle, with Jensen posting an NCAA B time of 48.34 to take second, Wilson swimming an NCAA B time of 48.46 to finish third and Dagg clocking an NCAA B time of 48.73 to place fourth.
A pair of Bears swam in the 200 butterfly A final, with senior Amanda Sims taking third with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:54.66 and junior Sara Isakovic swimming an NCAA B time of 1:55.78 to notch fourth place.
Three Cal divers competed in the platform final, with freshman Kahley Rowell taking fifth place with an NCAA zonal qualifying score of 250.15, senior Laura Sanford finishing sixth with a score of 222.40 and junior Molly Hayes scoring 214.55 to place seventh.
"The divers did a nice job too tonight," McKeever said. "Todd's done a really nice job with them. That's a piece of our program we've been trying to move in the right direction, and they did that tonight and this whole meet."
Senior Sara Sun was the only Bear to swim the 1650 free, posting a time of 16:54.94 to take 17th place.
"We definitely surprised some people," McKeever added. "With this big freshman class, it was important for them to get through it and get a better understanding of what they need to do as they become returners as next year. The leadership of Amanda, Erica and the other seniors was pretty exceptional at here."
Pac-10 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships
Team Points 1. Stanford 1567.5 2. California 1545.5 3. USC 1309.5 4. UCLA 1099.5 5. Arizona 874 6. Arizona State 780 7. Washington State 297 8. Oregon State 289Cal Results on Feb. 26
* NCAA automatic qualifying time