March 1, 2013
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Freshmen Rachel Bootsma and Rachael Acker won their first conference titles to lift second-ranked California to third place on Friday night at the Pac-12 Championships with one day remaining. The Golden Bears ended the night with 883.5 points, with only leader Stanford (953.5 points) and second-place USC (945.5) ahead of the defending Pac-12 champion on the third day of competition at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
Bootsma edged junior teammate Cindy Tran - the defending conference champion and the two-time defending NCAA champion in the 100-yard backstroke - to claim this year's 100-yard backstroke crown. With an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 50.64, Bootsma also set a meet record, surpassing Tran's winning time of 50.65 from 2012 Pac-1s. In tonight's final, Tran clocked an NCAA A time of 51.43 to take second place. Bears filled four of the top five spots in the 100-back final, as junior Stephanie Au finished third (51.92, NCAA A) and sophomore Melanie Klaren took fourth (52.17, NCAA B).
Acker won the first title of the night in the 200-yard freestyle with an NCAA B time of 1:44.66. Four Bears also reached the A final of the 200 free, as sophomore co-captain Caroline Piehl came in third with an NCAA B time of 1:45.50, sophomore Camille Cheng clocked an NCAA B time of 1:46.60 to take seventh and sophomore Catherine Breed swam a time of 1:48.55 to place eighth.
Cal - which was in fourth place through the first two days of the meet - has captured a total of three individual titles so far at Pac-12s, with freshmen winning all three. Elizabeth Pelton won the 200-yard individual medley on Thursday.
"I'm really proud of our performances today," Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. "Two freshmen winning Pac-12 championship titles was special. Having four Golden Bears in the 200-free and 100-back finals was a terrific accomplishment. I'm looking forward to tough racing tomorrow."
Cal co-captain Caitlin Leverenz almost successfully defended her 2012 400-yard individual medley Pac-12 title, but she fell short by just one hundredth of a second. Tonight the senior took second place with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 4:00.59, behind Stanford's Maya DiRado's 4:00.58. Lauren Driscoll, yet another talented freshman Bear, placed eighth in the A final with an NCAA B time of 4:15.39.
Earlier in the evening, Bootsma and Tran finished 2-3 in the 100 butterfly, as Bootsma posted an NCAA A time of 51.78 and Tran swam an NCAA A time of 52.05; USC's Kendly Stewart won the race (51.32, NCAA A).
Junior Melissa Bates collected Cal's best finish in the 100 breaststroke, clocking an NCAA B time of 1:01.34 to finish 10th, while sophomore teammate Yvette Kong placed 16th in an NCAA B time of 1:02.42.
In the B final of the one-meter springboard, Cal junior Kahley Rowell posted a score of 242.30 to place 16th overall, while freshman teammate Sara-Lina Boushakra, in the C final, finished 21st overall with a score of 214.25.
Cal ended the night with second-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay. The quartet of Tran, Leverenz, Bootsma and Acker swam an NCAA A time of 3:30.18 to finish behind Arizona's winning relay (3:28.91, NCAA A).
The four-day conference championships end on Saturday, March 2, with the following events: the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, 1650 free, platform diving and 400-free relay.
Standings (Through Event 14/Day 3)
Team Points 1. Stanford 953.5 2. USC 945.5 3. California 883.5 4. Arizona 775 5. UCLA 614.5 6. Arizona State 572 7. Utah 232 8. Oregon State 212 9. Washington State 128
M Meet Record