Golden Bears Sit in Third Place after First Day of NCAA Championship Competition
March 19, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, TX - The California women's swimming team had a very productive first day of competition, including a school record in the 200-yard freestyle at the 2009 NCAA Swimming Championships at the Student Rec Center Natatorium. Cal garnered 126 points - good enough to stand in third place after six events. Arizona leads the overall competition with 141.5 points, followed by Georgia with 133. Stanford is in fourth place with 105 points.
'We're really pleased with our efforts tonight,' said head coach Teri McKeever. 'We had three swimmers in the top-8 of the 50 free - the first time that has ever happened. You can't say enough about the performances of the team tonight. Everyone is in good spirits and we want to be ready for another good day of competition tomorrow.'
California's foursome of Liv Jensen, Hannah Wilson, Madison Kennedy and Dana Vollmer lowered their school record in the Championship final of the 200-yard freestyle relay with a second-place finish time of 1:26.48. The same foursome swam a then school-record 1:27.05 in the morning preliminaries.
Arizona barely edged the Golden Bear quartet with a winning time and NCAA record 1:26.20.
Freshman Sara Isakovic, who broke Natalie Coughlin's 2003 record in the 500-yard freestyle in the morning prelims with a time of 4:36.79, placed fourth in the Championship final to earn All-America honors with a time of 4:37.79. Lauren Boyle reached the `B' Consolation final and finished 11th with a personal-best time of 4:38.02 - good enough for honorable mention All-America honors. Isakovic's fourth place finish was the highest for a Cal swimmer since Erin Reilly's third place finish in 2006.
Blake Hayter garnered an overall 22nd-place finish in the 500 free with a personal-best time of 4:41.81, eclipsing her previous best time of 4:42.05 set in 2007.
Though she did not qualify for the Championship final, junior Heather White swam a personal-best time of 1:58.43 in the morning preliminaries of the 200-yard IM, surpassing her previous best time of 2:0046 set at the Pac-10 Championship.
Cal boosted its point total and added to its All-American count after having three swimmers in the Championship final of the 50-yard freestyle. Kennedy nearly broke her own school record (21.87) with a fifth-place showing of 21.94. Jensen touched the wall in seventh with a time of 22.17 and Wilson followed in eighth with a time of 22.35. Wilson set a personal-best time of 22.06 in the morning preliminaries.
The Bears only had one swimmer (Kennedy) reach the finals of the 50 free at last year's NCAA Championship.
Tara Thomas, who didn't reach the Championship final, did swim a personal-best mark of 22.47 in the 50 free prelims. Erica Dagg also swam in the prelims of the 50 free and clocked a time of 22.57. Lauren Rogers swam a time of 22.78.
In the final event of the evening, Cal garnered another 134 points with a second place finish in the 400-yard medley relay with a second place time of 3:30.27. The quartet of Rogers, Alexandra Ellis, Wilson and Vollmer nearly broke the school record time of 3:30.18 set in 2007. The Bears had a fifth place showing (with a time of 3:34.05) in the 400 medley relay at last year's NCAA Championship.
The action continues on Friday with morning prelims beginning at 9:00 a.m. PT and finals starting at 5:00 p.m. PT. Friday's slate include the 200-yard medley relay, the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 800 free relay.
All of the action, including live stats, schedule and championship information can be found at: http://www.aggieathletics.com/ncaa2009/swimming/women/