Lauren Boyle Wins 500 Free on Day 2 of Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 25, 2010

LONG BEACH, Calif. - California senior Lauren Boyle won the 500-yard freestyle title, and a strong team effort propelled the Golden Bears to second place after the second day of the Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships on Thursday at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Sophomore diver Molly Hayes contributed to Cal's move up the standings, taking fifth place in the one-meter springboard final on the first day of the Pac-10 Diving Championships on Thursday at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Complex in Federal Way, Wash.

Cal was in fourth place after the first night of finals on Wednesday. Stanford leads after two days with 510 points. USC is currently third at 435.

Boyle swam a Cal career-best and NCAA consideration time of 4:38.77 to win the 500 free. Bears senior Blake Hayter took fourth in an NCAA consideration or B time of 4:42.61 and sophomore teammate Sara Isakovic taking eighth in an NCAA B time of 4:47.93.

'Lauren swam a great race,' Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. 'That's her third career individual Pac-10 title and first in the 500 free. Blake Hayter probably ensured her trip to NCAAs, so that was huge to pick that up. Getting three in the top eight was great.'

A product of the Auckland suburb of Whenupai in New Zealand, Boyle is in the final weeks of a stellar Cal career. Boyle's time tonight eclipsed her previous Cal PR of 4:38.99 that she swam when she took 11th place in the 500 free at the 2009 NCAA Championships. A 2008 Olympian, the outstanding distance swimmer ranks third on Cal's all-time 500-free list behind Natalie Coughlin (4:37.62) and school record-holder Isakovic (4:36.79).

Boyle, who is Cal's record-holder in the 1650 free, won the last two 1650-free titles at Pac-10s; this year's 1650 final is set for Saturday, Feb. 27.

Showing the depth of their program, the Bears had a freshman and senior finish 6-7 in the 200-yard individual medley final. Caitlin Leverenz clocked an NCAA B time of 1:57.37 and Heather White placed right behind her with an NCAA B time of 1:57.96. Stanford's Julia Smith swam an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:52.31 to win the race.

'In the 200 IM, Heather White's lifetime best will probably get her invited to NCAAs,' McKeever said. 'Caitlin also swam a PR tonight. Courtney Eronemo in the morning swam a lifetime best in the IM, and for seniors to swim lifetime bests at this stage is pretty impressive.'

Cal sophomore Liv Jensen continued her strong performances at the conference meet, taking second in the 50 free with an NCAA B time of 22.09. Junior Hannah Wilson was fifth with an NCAA B time of 22.35. Stanford's Betsy Webb won the sprint with an NCAA B time of 22.04.

The Cal A squad of Wilson, sophomore Colleen Fotsch, junior Erica Dagg and Jensen posted an NCAA consideration time of 1:28.70 to finish second in the 200-free relay, the final event of the night in Long Beach.

'Liv obviously did a nice job taking second in the 50,' McKeever said, 'and the 200-free relay finish, that's the second-best time in the country. Colleen helped out in the relay, doing a great job with Hannah, Liv and Erica. We're really counting on them in the relays.'

In Washington, Hayes posted NCAA zonal qualifying scores in the one-meter final and prelim, in which she also finished fifth (271.90). USC's Victoria Ishimatsu won the one-meter title with a score of 332.80.

'Molly's dialed in, just mistake free,' Cal diving coach Ben Herdt. 'I know I say that a lot, but when you're doing six different dives, the chance for error is pretty big. On women's one meter, the degree of difficulty is real similar between the divers, so it's really dependent on how you perform. It's a great accomplishment for her. And with Kelsey and Laura placing 10th and 11th, they were scoring a lot of team points there also.'

McKeever added, 'We did a nice job, and we had good energy. The divers did a great job, and Molly was awesome, and Kelsey and Laura were great, too. It's interesting that we're in second place now. Last year we had never won before, and our best finish since I'd been here had been third place.

'Stanford did a great job. USC is swimming very well. UCLA is having a great meet. Arizona picked up a lot of their standards early, so the Wildcats are in a little different place. The Pac-10 is really showing itself to be the deepest and most impressive conference. That sets us up well for NCAAs.'

The Pac-10 swim meet will continue on Friday with the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 400-medley relay, while Pac-10 diving continues on Friday with the three-meter springboard.

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