Stanford Wins Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships
Feb. 27, 2010
LONG BEACH, Calif.- Stanford claimed its 17th Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championship on Saturday evening at the Belmont Shores Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif. Paced by seven individual event victories and three relay wins, Stanford amassed 1,489 points in collecting its first Conference crown since 2005. One season after winning their first-ever Conference championship, the California Golden Bears claimed second place with 1,341 points. USC tallied 1,298.5 points for third place and the Trojans' first appearance on the podium since 2003.
Cardinal co-captain Julia Smit nabbed Swimmer of the Meet honors. Her Championship feats included 3 individual wins - all in Pac-10 Championship meet-record fashion - and another trio of relay titles. Smit stroked to American and NCAA records in her victories in the 200 and 400 individual medleys before closing her meet program with a 200 backstroke title Saturday. She was a member of the nation's-best 200 freestyle relay, as well as the 400 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. Stanford's 800 freestyle relay, which Smit anchored on Wednesday, was second-best to USC.
On the fourth and final night of the 2010 Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships, California swimmers reigned supreme in the 1650 and 100 freestyles. Stanford outpaced a tight pack in the 200 breaststroke. And USC merited first and third place in the 200 butterfly. In the 400 freestyle relay, the final race of the competition, the event podium mimicked the Conference Championship podium announced just moments later.
Saturday's finals session commenced with the 1650 freestyle. The contest is considered the equivalent of a mile in swimming. Defending champion Lauren Boyle of California faced the two swimmers who flanked her on the podium of the 500 freestyle, which Boyle won on Thursday. In this distance, however, USC freshman Haley Anderson was ranked 10th in the country. Boyle and Anderson went stroke for stroke in the first 500 yards before the pace became too quick for Boyle. Anderson charged ahead and touched in 16:02.53 for her first Conference title. Boyle hung on for second place courtesy of a 16:09.72. Arizona senior Joni Keith, in her first Pac-10 Championship final, out-touched two-time Stanford All-American Kelsey Ditto from an outside lane to collect third place in 16:10.03.
Hannah Wilson, a junior, was one of three Golden Bears to post NCAA consideration times in the 100 freestyle championship final, swimming 48.02 to win. Sophomore Liv Jensen took third in a time of 48.42. Wilson, the 2008 Hong Kong Olympian, won Cal's sixth 100 free title at Pac-10s, following in the footsteps of Conference Championship record-holder Dana Vollmer. Stanford's Kate Dwelley (48.24) withstood strong challenges from a field separated by only 0.9 seconds to secure the silver.
'I knew it was going to be hard coming back [from last night],' said Wilson. But 'it was awesome and a lot of fun.'
When asked about Stanford's charge for the Conference crown, Wilson claimed, 'Every year is different. I think we're doing a great job. It's hard to compare this to last year. It was the first year we had ever won.'
Smit showcased her third Pac-10 Championship record-setting performance in the 200 backstroke. Turning nearly even with top-seeded Trojan Presley Bard at the halfway mark, Smit accelerated to a one-second advantage over the last 100 yards. She touched the wall in 1:50.76 to steal Natalie Coughlin's eight-year old meet record by .14 of a second. Bard, the Pac-10 winner in the 100 back, touched in 1:51.80, erasing teammate and fourth-place finisher Dina Hegazy's year-old school record in the race. Arizona's Ana Agy brought in the rest of the pack with a third-place 1:55.32.
USC's Katinka Hosszu, the owner of three World Championships medals - one gold and two silver - finally was able to add a Pac-10 title to the mix when she held off Stanford senior Elaine Breeden and junior teammate Lyndsay DePaul to win the 200 fly in 1:52.71. The contest was a dead heat through 175 yards with California's Sara Isakovic also in the mix. All four top finishers collected NCAA automatic times, the final difference between Breeden (2nd, 1:53.15), DePaul (3rd, 1:53.88) and Isakovic (4th, 1:53.99) equaling .08 of a second.
The Cardinal put an exclamation mark on the Pac-10 Championships, winning the final event, the 400 free relay, after Liz Smith's victory in the 200 breaststroke (2:07.65). It was the team's sixth win since 2001 in the breaststroke event, but first by Smith. California was runner-up in both events courtesy of Alexandra Ellis's 2:09.97 from Lane 2 in the breaststroke.
'This was a fun meet-- a championship meet and a great team effort,' said Stanford's fifth-year head coach and Olympic alumnae Lea Maurer, who won her first coaching title, after four Pac-10 titles as a swimmer. 'We had great leadership from every class, and that is what is necessary to pull off a successful meet.'
Women's Team Rankings - FINAL
1. Stanford, 1489
2. California, 1341
3. USC, 1298.5
4. Arizona, 1223.5
5. UCLA, 1015
6. Arizona State, 635.5
7. Oregon State, 413
8. Washington State, 318.5