2006 PAC-10 Conference Women's Swimming Championships -- Day Two
Feb. 23, 2006
LONG BEACH, Calif. - USC's Kalyn Keller, who won the Pacific-10 Conference title in the 500-yard freestyle in 2004, regained her crown in the event during the second day of the Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships from Long Beach's Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool on Thursday evening. Stanford swimmers Kristen Caverly and Brooke Bishop captured conference titles in the 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle, respectively, after finishing second to different Cardinal teammates in those events last year.
After day two of the four-day meet, Arizona, which won Thursday's 200-yard freestyle relay, moved into first place in the team rankings with 474 points ahead of Stanford's 443 and UCLA's 410.
In Thursday evening's first race, USC's Keller made a move to take the lead at the 350-yard mark of the 500-yard freestyle and went on to win an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 4:41.89, the second-fastest time in the United States for the event this year behind Georgia's Laura Conway.
Keller had won the 500-yard freestyle as a freshman in 2004 in a Pac-10 Championship record time of 4:37.76. Last year she finished fourth in the event to Arizona's Emily Mason but was able to recapture her title this year.
'It's good to be back on top,' the USC junior said. 'I've gotten my confidence back and feel that I'm ready to hit it at NCAAs.'
Keller sat just off the early pace set by California's Ashley Chandler, the top seed heading into the final. After making her move and building up a 1.80 second lead with 100 yards to go, Keller had to hold off a late charge by another Golden Bear, Erin Reilly, to preserve the victory. Reilly finished 0.42 seconds behind Keller in an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 4:42.31, and Chandler was third in an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 4:45.43.
'I'm not rested, but I just wanted to go out there and beat Cal and win one for the team,' Keller said. 'We've got more girls than ever make NCAAs. Winning freshman year, it is always exciting because it is new. It is so much more of a team this year. So it makes it more exciting.'
Keller became the fifth multiple winner of the 500-yard freestyle, joining Stanford's Janet Evans, USC's Lindsay Benko, Stanford's Jessica Foschi and Arizona's Mason.
After Keller regained the Pac-10 500-yard freestyle title, Stanford swimmers recaptured conference titles in the 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle.
Cardinal senior Kristen Caverly won the first conference title of her career in the 200-yard individual medley after fellow Cardinal Caroline Bruce won the event last year as a freshman, with Caverly finishing second. Yet Bruce underwent shoulder surgery earlier this season and could not defend her conference title. However she was on hand to cheer her teammate to victory.
Caverly started more than a second behind the leaders after the butterfly leg but made up time in the backstroke and breaststroke portions to take a 0.52-second lead heading into the freestyle. She finished in an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 1:58.54.
'I think my strongest legs were my back and breast,' she said. 'I started a second behind in the fly. I just wanted to go out relaxed on fly, then get the lead and hold it home on free.'
Arizona's Whitney Myers, who had come into the Pac-10 Championships boasting the fastest collegiate time in the event this year, finished second in an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 1:58.50. USC's Rebecca Soni took third in 2:00.93.
Then in the 50-yard freestyle, Cardinal sophomore Brooke Bishop won the conference title that her former teammate Lacy Boutwell had captured the previous two years. Last year Bishop finished second to Boutwell.
'I was a freshman last year when [Boutwell] was a senior,' Bishop said. 'I looked up to her. She helped me a lot in practice, and I tried to do all the things she taught me.'
Bishop stopped the clock in an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 22.62 seconds, just ahead of Emily Silver's 22.65 seconds for Cal and Lacey Nymeyer's 22.70 seconds for Arizona.
Nymeyer was one of four Wildcats in the 50-yard freestyle finals along with Courtney Cashion, Jenna Gresdal and Anna Turner, and that quartet then teamed up to win the 200-yard freestyle relay on Thursday in an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 1:30.22. Arizona got off to a fast start courtesy of Cashion's opening leg of 22.56 seconds, which coincidentally would have been fast enough to win the 50-yard freestyle final. Cashion and Gresdal were also part of the Wildcats' conference title-winning team in the event last year.
The Stanford team of Madeline Rovira, Alexa Merz, Fiona O'Donnel-McCarthy and Bishop finished second in a time of 1:31.62. Cal's Reilly, Annie Babicz, Helen Silver and Emily Silver were third in 1:31.83.
The Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships continue on Friday with the 400-yard individual medley, the 100-yard butterfly, the 200-yard freestyle, the 100-yard breaststroke, the 100-yard backstroke, and the 400-yard medley relay. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. with the finals at 6 p.m. The Pac-10 Women's Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash., continue Friday with the 3-meter preliminaries and finals.
The team standings after the second day of competition (including Thursday's diving results): 1. Arizona (474 points); 2. Stanford (443); 3. UCLA (410); 4. USC (390); 5. California (357); 6. Arizona State (217); 7. Washington (193); 8. Oregon State (166); 9. Washington State (159).