March 18, 2013
Thursday-Saturday, March 21-23, in Indianapolis
BERKELEY - California wings its way to Indianapolis this week to attempt to win its third straight national title - and fourth in five years - at the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships held from Thursday, March 21, to Saturday, March 23, at the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI. Decorated head coach Teri McKeever brings 14 Golden Bears - including previous NCAA individual champions in senior Caitlin Leverenz and junior Cindy Tran - to the Hoosier State for the Bears, who ended the regular season with a No. 2 national ranking.
Cal won the NCAA crown in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Fans can watch live finals action from this year's NCAAs on Friday and Saturday on ESPN3.com starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. Finals begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT each night in Indianapolis, while preliminary events begin at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT each day. Please check ESPN3.com prior to the start of each broadcast, as start times are subject to change.
Cal's 13 swimmers and one diver - by class - heading to NCAAs are the lone senior Leverenz, who was the Swimmer of the Meet at the 2012 NCAA Championships; juniors Tran, Stephanie Au and diver Kahley Rowell; sophomores Kaylin Bing, Catherine Breed, Camille Cheng, Melanie Klaren and Caroline Piehl; and freshmen Rachael Acker, Rachel Bootsma, Lauren Driscoll, Kelly Naze and Elizabeth Pelton.
McKeever - the 2012 U.S. Olympic head coach and Coach of the Meet at 2012 NCAAs - is in her 21st season as Cal's head coach. Her staff includes sixth year associate head coach Kristen Cunnane and third-year diving coach Todd Mulzet. McKeever led Cal to a third-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships that ended on March 2 in Federal Way, Wash., after coaching the Bears to a 7-2 dual-meet record (4-2 in the Pac-12).
The regular season ended on a high note, as Leverenz led Cal to a 154.5-145.5 victory over Stanford in the last home meet of her career at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Scouting the Bears Most of the Cal swimmers have qualified to swim in specific individual events - listed below - though they may not swim in each event depending on the relay and other needs of the team.
Here is a look at each Golden Bear heading to NCAAs:
Rachael Acker, freshman, Palo Alto, Calif. - the Pac-12 champion in the 200-yard freestyle, Acker has qualified to swim the 100 and 200 freestyles at the NCAA Championships; among the field at NCAAs, she holds the 12th-fastest 100-free time (48.40) and 11th-fastest 200 free time (1:44.66)
Stephanie Au, junior, Hong Kong - the Hong Kong Olympian (2008 & 2012) is qualified to swim the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes; among the field, she brings the fifth-fastest time in the 100 back (51.92) and the 20th-best time in the 200 back (1:53.71)
Kaylin Bing, sophomore, Roseburg, Ore. - qualified to swim the 50- and 100-yard freestyles; has the 16th-fastest time in the 50 free (22.22) and the 23rd-fastest time in the 100 free (48.78) in the NCAA field
Rachel Bootsma, freshman, Eden Prairie, Minn. - a 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter medley relay, Bootsma qualified to swim the 100- and 200-yard butterflies and the 100-yard backstroke in her first NCAAs; holds the second-fastest time in the field in the 100 back (50.54) and the seventh-best times in the 100 fly (51.78) and 200 fly (1:54.97); edged second-place teammate Cindy Tran for the 100-back title at Pac-12s, 50.64-51.43
Catherine Breed, sophomore, Pleasanton, Calif. - qualified to swim in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles; holds the 25th-best time in the 200 (1:45.55) and 30th-fastest time in the 500 (4:42.10) in the NCAA field; at 2012 NCAAs, she claimed All-America honors with Cal's second-place 800-yard freestyle relay and honorable mention All-America laurels by taking 11th in the 500 free and 14th in the 200 free
Camille Cheng, sophomore, Beijing, China - another 2012 NCAA veteran who the Bears will rely on to swim relays; at last year's national meet, she placed 41st in the 200-yard freestyle; more recently took seventh in the 200 free, placed 15th in the 100 free and swam on a fast 800-yard freestyle relay (7:07.45) for Cal's B team at the Pac-12 Championships
Lauren Driscoll, freshman, Cooper City, Fla. - one of five members of Cal's heralded freshmen class competing at NCAAs, Driscoll is qualified to swim in the 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley
Melanie Klaren, sophomore, Laguna Niguel, Calif. - qualified to swim in the 500-yard freestyle and 100- and 200-yard backstrokes; earned honorable mention All-America honors at 2012 NCAAs when she took 12th in the 100 back and 10th in the 200 back
Caitlin Leverenz, senior, Tucson, Ariz. - the defending NCAA champ in the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard breaststroke has qualified to swim in the 200- and 400-yard IMs and in the 200-yard breaststroke at this year's NCAAs; the Swimmer of the Meet at last year's NCAAs and Pac-12s, Leverenz also won an Olympic bronze medal in the 200-meter IM last summer and took home last year's Honda Sports Award for Swimming
Kelly Naze, freshman, Englewood, Colo. - qualified to swim in the 200- and 400-yard individual medleys; has the 30th-best time in the 200 IM (1:57.90) and the 22nd-fastest time in the 400 IM NCAA field (4:10.10)
Elizabeth Pelton, freshman, Towson, Md. - the 2013 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet (after winning the 200 IM and 200-yard backstroke), Pelton has qualified to swim in the 200-yard individual medley, 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard freestyle at NCAAs; she holds the most (2) fastest times in individual events heading into NCAAs of any Cal swimmer in the field, including in the 200 IM (1:53.39) and 200 back (1:48.39); Pelton earned the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month award for November, a CollegeSwimming.com's Counsilman Hunsaker Swimmer of the Week honor and two California Muscle Milk Student Athlete of the Week accolades
Caroline Piehl, sophomore, Centennial, Colo. - qualified to swim in the 200-yard freestyle with the 21st-best time in the field (1:45.29); earned honorable mention All-America honors with a 13th-place finish in the 200 free at 2012 NCAAs, and she also placed second with Cal's 800-free relay last season; at this year's Pac-12s, she took third in the 200 free
Kahley Rowell, junior, Dove Canyon, Calif. - took second in the recent NCAA Zone E Diving Qualifying Meet to qualify to dive in all three events (one-meter springboard, three-meter springboard and platform) at NCAA Championships; last season, she became the first Golden Bear in 21 years to dive at NCAAs, and her fifth-place finish in the platform final clinched Cal's 2012 team title
Cindy Tran, junior, Westminster, Calif. - the two-time defending NCAA champ in the 100-yard backstroke has qualified to swim in the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes and the 100-yard butterfly; she holds the fastest time in the field in the 100 back (50.42) - just .12 seconds ahead of the second-fastest swimmer: teammate Rachel Bootsma (50.54); also brings the 12th-fastest times in both the 200 back (1:53.24) and 100 fly (52.05) to NCAAs; took second (51.43) behind teammate Rachel Bootsma (50.64) in the 100 back at Pac-12s
200-Yard Freestyle Relay - seventh seed (1:28.78)
400-Yard Freestyle Relay - second seed (3:12.37)
800-Yard Freestyle Relay - fifth seed (6:58.95)
200-Yard Medley Relay - seventh seed (1:36.29)
400-Yard Medley Relay - third seed (3:29.86)
Head coach Teri McKeever - The Golden Bear boss became the first woman to claim the role of U.S. Olympic swimming head coach in 2012, when she led the U.S. women's contingent in London. She became the first woman to coach in any capacity on a U.S. Olympic swimming team when she worked as a U.S. assistant in the 2004, a role she duplicated in the 2008 Olympics. She was also the first woman to serve as a U.S. head coach at a major international meet, when she led the women's national team in the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships.
Prior to her 2012 Olympic summer, McKeever led Cal to its second straight - and third in four years - NCAA team title after coaching the Bears to the team crown at the inaugural Pac-12 Championships. She earned the Coach of the Meet award after each set of 2012 championships. The Pac-12 honor marked McKeever's fifth conference laurel, including awards in 1999, 2002, 2009 and 2011. In 2002, McKeever garnered the American Swimming Coaches Association Coach of the Year award.
NCAA Championship Info
TRIALS--THURSDAY (11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT)
FINALS--THURSDAY (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
TRIALS--FRIDAY (11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT)
FINALS--FRIDAY (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
TRIALS--SATURDAY (11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT)
FINALS--SATURDAY (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
Rowell Qualifies for Second-Straight NCAAs
Golden Bear freshman Sara-Lina Boushakra finished in 10th place with a score of 449.60 but did not qualify for NCAAs. The rookie from San Mateo, Calif., had a breakout meet, qualifying for the 12-diver platform final with a score of 220.70. Boushakra finished in 42nd and 43rd place on the one-meter and three-meter springboard, respectively, on the first two days of competition.
Rowell, the platform specialist out of Dove Canyon, Calif., powered through her list, breaking the 600 mark over 10 dives - with five dives each in the preliminary round and the final. Last year, she became the first Cal women's diver to qualify for the national meet in 21 years, and at NCAAs she placed fifth on the platform to earn All-America honors.
She notched a score of 228.90 to place third in the prelim, while Boushakra was 11th with a score of 220.70.
Rowell earned her top score (67.20) in the final with her first dive - a back two and a half somersault with a one and a half twist in the pike position. But her favorite dive in the final was her second - an armstand back two somersault with a one and a half twist in the free position.
Cal Takes Third at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships
Pelton took home the 200 backstroke with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:48.39 that was just five hundredths of a second off of the NCAA record, but Pelton set a slew of records - American, Pac-12, Pac-12 meet and school - in her own right. For her sterling efforts at the four-day conference championships, Pelton earned the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet title.
Leverenz - the defending NCAA champion in the 200-yard breaststroke and last year's Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet - won her third-straight conference crown in the 200 breaststroke with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 2:07.25. Prior to Saturday's finals, the conference named Leverenz its Pac-12 Women's Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The public health major currently boasts a 3.13 grade-point average. She earned Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention in 2011 and 2012.
Back in the pool, Bootsma won the 200-yard butterfly in an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:54.97, and Pelton, Bootsma, Rachael Acker and Kaylin Bing won the 400-yard freestyle relay in an NCAA A time of 3:12.37 to end the night.
In leading off the 400-free relay, Pelton posted an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 48.00 in her opening 100-free.
Cal won a total of seven titles at the Pac-12 Championships, including Pelton capturing the first in the 200-yard individual medley on Feb. 28, Acker winning the 200-yard freestyle on March 1 and Bootsma winning the 100-yard backstroke also on March 1. Leverenz, Cal's lone senior, was the only non-freshman Bear to win a 2013 Pac-12 individual title.
The Bears placed a total of 13 entries in A finals on March 2, with four in the 200 backstroke. Besides Pelton's triumph, Tran posted an NCAA B time of 1:53.42 to take third, Melanie Klaren clocked an NCAA B time of 1:54.07 to finish fourth and Stephanie Au swam a time of 1:55.13 in seventh place. Both Cal divers finished in the top four of the platform final, as Kahley Rowell was third (262.05) and freshman Sara-Lina Boushakra took fourth (257.40).
The other A finalists who scored important points for the Bears included Catherine Breed (16:23.10, NCAA B) and Lauren Driscoll (16:25.19, NCAA B), who placed 6-7 in the 1650 free, and Acker (48.41, NCAA B) and Bing (48.72, NCAA B), who took fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 100 free.
Last Time at the NCAA Championships
The Bears scored 412.5 points, while second-place Georgia had 366, third-place USC tallied 325.5, fourth-place Stanford scored 318 and fifth-place Arizona collected 299.
Leverenz's 200-breaststroke win gave Cal a total of seven individual/relay titles at NCAAs, including her victory in the 200-yard individual medley, senior Liv Jensen's win in the 50 free, sophomore Cindy Tran's repeat title in the 100 backstroke and senior Sara Isakovic's championship in the 100 butterfly as well as Cal's 200- and 400-yard medley relay wins.
The morning preliminaries set up Cal for its fantastic finish in tonight's finals. While Georgia clawed back to within 16 points of the Bears at 332-316 after the 100 freestyle - in which Jensen took fifth place in a time of 47.69 - the Bears surged ahead over the next three finals - the 200-yard individual medley, 200 butterfly and platform.
Leverenz won her second individual NCAA title of the meet and of her career when she broke her school record in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:04.76. That was also just one hundredth of a second from tying the NCAA, American, U.S. Open and Pac-12 record held by U.S. Olympian and former USC star Rebecca Soni. Three Bulldogs scored in the 200-IM B final, but Leverenz's overall win increased Cal's lead by two points to 352-334.
The 200 fly featured two Bears and no Bulldogs, with Isakovic placing fourth in a time of 1:54.38 and senior Shelley Harper tying for 13th at 1:56.32. Cal led Georgia, 370.5-334.
When Rowell - the first Cal women's diver to reach NCAAs in 21 years - scored 292.20 points to take fifth in the platform, Cal led Georgia by 50.5 points - 384.5-334, and Cal won its NCAA championship. Even a relay victory, which would have scored 40 points, would not have helped Georgia.
The Bears took fifth in the 400-free relay, with the quartet of freshman Kaylin Bing, senior Katherine Raatz, Isakovic and Jensen clocking a time of 3:12.53. Georgia was third (3:11.56). Stanford won in an American record of 3:10.77, leaving Cal's 2009 NCAA, U.S. Open and conference record of 3:09.88 intact.
In the first event of the night, freshman Catherine Breed finished 32nd in the 1650 free with a time of 16:36.94. In the second final, freshman Melanie Klaren notched a 10th-place finish for the Bears. Klaren's time of 1:53.99 made her the fifth-fastest 200 backstroker in Cal history.
Seniors Jensen, Isakovic, Harper, Raatz and Colleen Fotsch ended their Cal careers at NCAAs.