Dec. 3, 2012
BERKELEY - Fresh off a record-setting performance at the Georgia Fall Invitational, first-year swimmer Elizabeth Pelton earned the California Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week honor this week. One of the most sought after recruits in the nation before coming to Cal and a member of Teri McKeever's talented freshman class this season, Pelton stood out in the Athens, Ga., meet even on a roster full of stars.
In winning the 200-yard backstroke with the nation's current fastest time of 1:48.90, the freshman broke her own American record (1:49.16) and surpassed Natalie Coughlin's school record (1:49.52) on the final day of the meet on Dec. 2. Pelton also won the 200-yard individual medley with the nation's fastest time of 1:53.39, to edge second-place teammate, U.S. Olympian and defending NCAA champion Caitlin Leverenz (1:54.30). That finish made Pelton the second-fastest Bear ever in that event behind Leverenz (1:51.77).
Additionally in Athens, the freshman anchored Cal's victorious 400-yard medley relay. That relay's time of 3:29.86 along with Pelton's times in the 200 back and 200 IM were automatic NCAA qualifying times.
A product of Towson, Md., Pelton also placed third in the 100 back with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 51.26, took third in the 200 freestyle (1:44.04, provisional NCAA qualifying time), swam on the second-place 400-free relay (3:13.66, NCAA A qualifying time), swam on the second-place 800-free relay (7:02.78, NCAA A), anchored Cal's fifth-place 200-medley relay (1:39.49) and led off the Bears' fifth-place 200-free relay (1:31.75).
Cal finished 1-2-3 in the 100-back final, with junior Cindy Tran winning it (50.42) and freshman Rachel Bootsma taking second (50.54). Pelton's 100-back time of 51.26 - currently the third fastest in the nation - made her the fourth-fastest swimmer in Cal history behind Coughlin (49.97), Tran (50.31) and Bootsma (50.54).
Pelton and the Cal women's swimmers return to competition in the New Year with a Pac-12 dual meet on Jan. 25 against No. 13 Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.
2012-13 California Muscle Milk Student-Athletes of the Week