California crowned 2014 Pac-12 women's swimming and diving champions
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – The fourth and final day of the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Men’s and Women’s Diving Championships at the Weyerhaeuser King Country Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. lived up to all the hype as the athletes left it all out on the deck in the race to the Pac-12 title. Broken records, program milestones and multi-award winners were the themes of a day that culminated with CALIFORNIA winning its third Pac-12 Championship in program history and the second in the last three years.
Entering day three third in the team standings behind USC and Stanford, the Bears dominated the last half of the meet, using day four to take control and secure the title with a total of 1552.5 points. Stanford, who led the first two days, had an impressive week despite coming up short in the final tally, ending the championships as the second-place finisher (1,364). USC (1327) wasn’t too far behind the Cardinal, finishing 37 points shy of Stanford for third place. UCLA (936.5), ARIZONA (933.5), UTAH (758) finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, followed by ARIZONA STATE (461.5), WASHINGTON STATE (346) and OREGON STATE (309) to round out the final standings.
The night started off with the most grueling event of the meet, the 1,650-yard freestyle, which provided one of the noteworthy results of the night as Oregon State sophomore Samantha Harrison became the first Beaver in program history to win an event—individual or relay—at the Pac-12 Championships. Her time of 15:55.57 was not only a career-best but ranks third in Pac-12 Championship history in the event. Arizona freshman Tjasa Oder posted a 15:59.88 to take second while UCLA sophomore Katy Campbell took third with a time of 16:05.95.
In the 200-yard backstroke, Cal sophomore Elizabeth Pelton defended the Pac-12 title she won as a freshman, recording a time of 1:52.18. Wildcat sophomore Bonnie Brandon gave Pelton all she could handle, pushing her to the very end but finishing just a half a second behind Pelton at 1:52.50. Pelton’s teammate Melanie Klaren took third with a 1:53.85.
Next up was the 100-yard freestyle final—an event loaded with Olympians, NCAA champions and Pac-12 champions galore. It was Missy Franklin who stole the show, though, setting a Pac-12 meet record with a 47.17 en route to winning her third individual title of the event. Fellow 2012 Olympian, Stanford freshman Lia Neal, took second (47.53) while the defending champion in the event, Arizona’s senior Margo Geer, took third (47.68).
The first-place finishers in the next two events—the 200-yard breastroke and the 200-yard butterfly—are Cardinal teammates and were both multi-award winners this week, collecting five titles between the two of them. Junior Katie Olsen nabbed the top finish in the 200 breaststroke, winning with a time of 2:08.39. Olsen also won the 100-yard breaststroke on Thursday, marking her first and second career Pac-12 titles and the first Cardinal to win both breaststroke events since 2004. Olsen’s teammate, senior Maya DiRado, turned in a stellar week, capping her final stint at the Pac-12 Championships by winning three individual events. Earlier in the week, she stood atop the podium after wins in the 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard individual medley. On Saturday, she again reached the podium, earning her sixth-career Pac-12 title after posting a 1:53.60 in the 200-yard butterfly.
By the time the 400-yard freestyle relay—the final event of the meet—rolled around, the Bears had the championship safely in their corner. Regardless, the relay team of Kaylin Bing, Rachael Acker, Caroline Piehl, and Franklin left no that the Bears would be the undisputed 2014 Pac-12 Champions as they pulled in one final win at this year’s event, touching the wall at 3:11.49, a little over half a second in front of the second-place Arizona relay team (Brandon, Geer, Pazevic and Finnegan). The Wildcats beat out a stacked Stanford quad of Maddy Schaefer, DiRado, Felicia Lee and Neal, who earned third with a 3:12.55.
The men’s and women’s platform diving displayed the most spectacular dives of the weekend with some new and familiar names finding their way to the top of the podium. The men’s final featured some of the most decorated divers in Pac-12 history, including Olympic bronze medalist and this year’s one-meter winner Kristian Ipsen (Stanford) and Arizona’s Raphael Quintero, the defending champion in the event. The day belonged to a newcomer, however, as Arizona State freshman stole the show in his Pac-12 Championship debut. The first-year diver arrived on the ASU campus just a few short months ago and found himself on the top of the standings at the end of six rounds in the final to earn his first-career Pac-12 title. His 455.20 far out-paced the 424.95 of Quintero and the 421.60 of Ipsen, who were second and third, respectively.
The women’s platform final produced another multi-award winner at the meet as USC standout Haley Ishimatsu picked up her second title of the week and her second-consecutive individual championship in the platform event. On Friday, Ishimatsu won the three-meter final and followed that performance today by breaking a Pac-12 meet record to tally her third-career Pac-12 title as just a sophomore. Her 340.20 shattered the previous Pac-12 meet record of of 322.65, set by Stanford’s Meg Hostage in 2011.
At the conclusion of the night, the annual awards of Pac-12 Swimmer and Men’s and Women’s Divers of the Meet were awarded to three deserving recipients. Ipsen earned the Diver of the Meet award after three-podium finishes in three diving events this week, earning first in one-meter, second in three-meter and third in the platform. In no surprise, Ishimatsu was named the women’s Diver of the Meet after winning two of three of the diving event on the women’s side (three-meter and platform). The Swimmer of the Meet went to Franklin, who won three individual awards in addition to winning all three relays she competed in. Franklin also set meet records in the 500-freestyle and the 100-freestyle.
NCAA Championships are set for March 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minn.