March 17, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas - California captured both relays to end the first night of NCAA Championships finals in fourth place on Thursday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. The quartet of freshman, Cindy Tran, sophomore Caitlin Leverenz, senior Amanda Sims and junior Liv Jensen posted a school- and pool-record time of 3:28.53 to win Thursday's last event - the 400-yard medley relay. The same four Golden Bears won the Pac-10 title in February with the previous school-record time of 3:28.99.
The Bears have 115 points to trail leader Georgia (129 points), second-place USC (122) and third-place Stanford (116).
"That really was a special swim," Jensen said of anchoring the 400-medley relay. "I was tired and had two events earlier this evening. But one of our captains sat us down and said, `You know, we're all tired. But we all have to swim our best. That's what we have to give.' I just went for it. I think the outcome was awesome."
She indeed had a busy night, as Jensen also anchored the night's first final - the 200-yard freestyle relay. Cal's foursome, which included senior Hannah Wilson, junior Colleen Fotsch and senior Erica Dagg, won in a pool-record time of 1:27.36. The 2010 NCAA champion in the 50-yard freestyle, Jensen also broke her own school record in the sprint final when she posted a time of 21.50. Auburn's Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace won the 50 free in a time of 21.38.
Leverenz, who swam a time of 1:55.17 in the morning preliminary race, posted a time of 1:55.22 to take fifth place in the 200-yard individual medley final. USC's Katinka Hosszu, the reigning Pac-10 champion in the event, won the 200 IM in a pool-record time of 1:53.39.
Cal did not place a Bear in the 500-free final. Senior Katie Kastes posted a time of 4:41.36 to finish 19th and junior Shelley Harper, in her first trip to NCAAs, finished 20th with a time of 4:41.62 in the 500-free prelims.
"Winning both relays is huge," Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. "With Liv dropping a half second in a year in the 50 free - that's a really significant swim. She did a great job on both relays and was big for us tonight. We had some really solid swims in the morning - in the 500 free, those were lifetime bests and Cal top-10 times for both Katie Kastes and Shelley Harper. That was a Cal top-10 time for Sara Isakovic in the 200 IM."
Isakovic, a junior, swam a time of 1:59.26 in 27th place in the 200-IM prelims.
"We're very pleased with where we are right now," McKeever added. "As we expected, it's going to be a close meet. We have to take it one session at a time and do our best. I'm proud of all of them."
The national meet will continue on Friday at 9 a.m. PT with prelims in the 200-yard medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and three-meter diving.
NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships
200-Yard Individual Medley
^Cal school record