Sims, Vollmer Claim NCAA Titles; Bears Take the 800 Free Relay Title in NCAA Record Time; Cal Vaults to First Place
March 20, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, TX - The California women's swimming team capped off an amazing Friday night with team and individual performances for the ages as senior Dana Vollmer claimed an individual NCAA title in the 200-yard freestyle, while sophomore Amanda Sims won the NCAA title in the 100-yard butterfly.
The icing on the cake was in the 800-yard freestyle relay as Cal's foursome of Sara Isakovic, Hannah Wilson, Liv Jensen and Dana Vollmer clocked a new school, NCAA, NCAA Championship, American and U.S. Open record time of 6:52.69. Jensen set the tone early and finished her 200 yard split in 1:43.15 and Vollmer left no doubt with the last 200 yards with a scorching 1:41.75.
Auburn previously held the NCAA record with a time of 6:54.02 at the SEC Championships on Feb. 18.
Cal however is no stranger to dominance in the 800 free relay. For the sixth straight year, the Bears took home the Pac-10 title in the 800 free relay with a conference record time of 6:56.87. Additionally, Vollmer clocked a Pac-10, NCAA, Cal and American record time of 1:41.53 in the leadoff 200 yard leg of the freestyle.
As a team, Cal vaulted all the way to first place with 302 total points at the 2009 NCAA Championships at the Student Rec Center Natatorium hosted by Texas A&M. Georgia is in second place with 295.5 points and Arizona in third with 282.5.
Earlier in the day in the morning preliminaries, Vollmer clocked an NCAA Championship meet record time of 1:42.63 in the 200-yard freestyle - securing the top spot for the Championship final. That record didn't last long as she bested that mark with a time of 1:42.01 - a new NCAA Championship meet record. Vollmer simply turned on the jets in the final 50 yards, clocking a time of 25.54 to create separation from second-place finisher Morgan Scroggy (1:42.90). Vollmer already owns the NCAA, American and U.S. Open records with her time of 1:41.53 set at the 2009 Pac-10 Championship in February. The previous NCAA Championship meet record was held by SMU's Martina Maracova (1:43.08) back in 1997.
Already a legend in her own right at Cal, Vollmer also claimed an individual NCAA title in 2007 in the 100 butterfly.
Sara Isakovic also helped the Bears gain valuable points with a sixth place finish in the 200 free with a time of 1:43.30. Cal did not have anyone in the Championship final at last year's NCAAs.
In the consolation final of the 200 free, freshman Liv Jensen, who has made a name for herself this season, clocked a personal-best time of 1:44.81 for All-America honorable mention honors.
Although she didn't reach the finals of the 200 free, sophomore Erica Dagg swam a personal-best 1:45.44 in the prelims. Madison Kennedy also swam a personal-best time of 1:45.74 in the 200 free prelims. Lauren Boyle also claimed a personal-best in the 200 free prelims with a time of 1:46.20.
What a difference a year made for Sims in the 100 fly. At last year's NCAAs, Sims swam a time of 53.49 - good enough for 15th place. On Friday in the morning prelims, Sims got off on the right track by clocking a personal-best and top spot of 51.12. In the Championship final she held a slight lead over Stanford's Elaine Breeden after the third 50-yard leg by .10 seconds and just had enough left in the tank in the final 50-yard stretch with a dramatic 51.28 over Breeden who touched the wall in 51.34.
Cal also had Wilson and Vollmer in the Championship final of the 100 fly, with Wilson streaking to a third place finish time of 51.47 and Vollmer registering a fourth place showing time of 51.69.
Tara Thomas helped Cal get a few extra points with a 13th place finish in the consolation final with a time of 52.57.
Lauren Rogers claimed a second straight fourth place finish in the 100-yard backstroke with a new lifetime-best time of 51.69.
Alexandra Ellis, who placed 16th in the 100-yard breaststroke prelims with a personal-best time of 1:00.36, also placed 16th in the consolation final with a mark of 1:00.67.
Although she did not advance to the finals, Heather White swam a personal-best 4:12.12 in the 400-yard IM.
In the first event of the evening, Cal's foursome of Rogers, Ellis, Sims and Kennedy placed sixth in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:37.04.
Cal's highest finish ever in the NCAA Championships was a third place showing in 2007.
The NCAA Championship concludes tomorrow with the 1,650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard freestyle relay. The prelims get underway at 9:00 a.m. PT, while the finals take place at 5:00 p.m. PT.
All of the action can followed be on the NCAA Championship website at http://www.aggieathletics.com/ncaa2009/swimming/women/index.html