Teams Ready for 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming & Men’s and Women’s Diving Championships
The 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, which will once again showcase NCAA Champions and Pac-12 standouts, will be held Feb. 27 - March 2 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. Two-time defending NCAA and Pac-12 Champion STANFORD headlines six nationally ranked programs in the nine-team field.
Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the final College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Top 25 poll released on Feb. 13. No. 1 Stanford topped the season-ending poll for the third-straight year after the Cardinal was ranked third in the previous two polls of the 2018-19 season. Three Pac-12 teams rank in the top-10 to tie the most of any conference with No. 6 CALIFORNIA and No. 10 ARIZONA. The Wildcats won their final dual meet of the season to jump from receiving votes to a top-10 spot. No. 15 USC, No. 18 ARIZONA STATE and No. 25 UCLA also appear in the poll.
Stanford went on to claim its 10th NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving national title in record fashion as the Cardinal amassed 593 points and recorded 13 event victories to tie the all-time record. The last time a school earned as many event wins at nationals was by Stanford in 1993. Pac-12 teams claimed the top two spots with CALIFORNIA recording a runner-up finish with 373 points. USC placed 12th at NCAAs while Arizona tied for 20th, Arizona State placed 23rd and UCLA came in 26th.
ARIZONA: The Wildcats closed out the 2018-19 regular season with a win against rival Arizona State (180.5-119.5) to finish with a 4-5 dual meet record. Arizona is led into the postseason by captain Daniela Georges and junior Hannah Cox. Georges holds the ninth-fastest time in school history in the 400-yard individual medley and the fastest time on the team in the 200 backstroke. Cox won the 1,000 freestyle seven times this season after opening the year with a perfect 5-0 record in the event and owns the school record with a time of 9:32.24. The Wildcats won their inaugural meet at the school’s new pool with a 150-107 victory over Washington State. The win was highlighted by two event sweeps as the Wildcats earned all three podium spots in the 50 free and 100 fly.
ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils ranked No. 18 in the final CSCAA top-25 poll for the team’s highest season-ending finish in two years. Arizona State notched 21 B-Cuts during the year and look to improve at the Pac-12 Championships with the addition of junior transfer Cierra Runge, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist. Runge swam a personal best and broke a seven-year school record in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:44.04 while teammate Ashley McCool won the 3-meter springboard with a score of 344.63 for her third victory in the event this season as the duo swept the Pac-12 Swimmer and Diver of the Week awards on Feb. 13. ASU opened the year with a dual meet win over Oregon State by recording a top finish in all 14 events and sweeping finishes in five of the 12 individual events.
CALIFORNIA: No. 6 California has finished among the top three at the NCAA Championships for 10 years in a row, the longest current streak in the country. The Golden Bears’ went 7-2 overall during the 2018-19 season and only dropped one dual meet in Conference action to No. 1 Stanford. Abbey Weitzeil played a key role in Cal’s 170-129 win over USC as the senior contributed to four event wins and set a Cal dual-meet record and Spieker Aquatics Complex record in the 50 free at 21.92. On Senior Day, Weitzeil swam the 100 free in 48.06, which matched the Cal dual-meet record and broke the Spieker Aquatics Complex mark, set by Stanford’s Olympic gold medalist, Simone Manuel. Senior Katie McLaughlin won five individual races in five different events during Cal’s sweep of Arizona State (190-110) and Arizona (179-118) to earn Pac-12 Women’s Swimmer of the Week on Jan. 30. McLaughlin will represent Team USA at the 2019 World Championships. Veteran Phoebe LaMay, a three-time NCAA qualifier, is well prepared for the Conference championship after she scored for the Golden Bears on 1-meter, 3-meter and platform at the 2017 and 2018 Pac-12 Championships.
OREGON STATE: The Beavers enter the 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship with a fresh look as the team leans heavily on its underclassmen and rookie talent as the roster is composed of 10 freshman and seven sophomores. Freshman duo Kristina Schneider and Cali Rowland each recorded with a pair of top three finishes as Oregon State dropped its final duel meet of the season against Utah. Oregon State split a pair of meets in its final homestand of the season, taking a win over the University of Idaho and a narrow loss against Washington State. The Beavers ended their home campaign with a 159.5-96.5 win over the Vandals, highlighted by junior Arianna Letrari and freshman Lindsay Swail’s first place finishes in the 200 fly (2:07.31) and 50 free (24.30), respectively.
STANFORD: No. 1 Stanford (7-0, 7-0 Pac-12) capped off its fourth-straight undefeated regular season, winning 30-consecutive dual meet dating back to Feb. 14, 2015. Seniors Kim Williams, Leah Stevens and Ella Eastin highlight the Cardinal lineup and combine for 23 All-American honors. Stanford looks to three-peat as Conference championships for the first time since claiming 13th straight when the league first began in 1987 and would tie Arizona (2006-08) as the only two schools to accomplish the feat. Eastin set three pool records in her final home weekend and collected six first-place victories in Stanford’s dual meet wins over No. 20 UCLA (163-128) and No. 14 USC (187-107). The senior broke a nine-year-old mark, by clocking in at 4:03.23 in the 400-yard individual medley versus the Bruins. Williams, a team captain this season, has earned six All-America accolades over her career, including three individual national titles and three Pac-12 titles. Sophomore Brooke Forde won four events in four different events in Stanford’s desert sweep, claiming the 1000 free and 200 fly at No. 21 Arizona (195-99), and picked up wins in the 400 individual medley and 500 free versus Arizona State (198-96).
UCLA: The Bruins went 8-3 in dual meets this season and opened the year with eight-straight wins for their best start to a season since 2012-13. UCLA went 5-0 in the month of January with victories over San Diego, Harvard, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and Oregon State. The Bruin Diving Invitational capped off a successful January as divers swept the weekend that featured a field of 60 divers. Maria Polyakova topped the 3-meter championship on Friday before teammate Eloise Belanger won the platform and 1-meter championships on the following two days while qualifying for NCAA Zones in all three events. The reigning conference diver of the year, Belanger collected two Pac-12 Diver of the Week honors this season and has totaled six honors in her career. Emma Schanz claimed UCLA’s final individual event win against USC in the 100 back (53.47) for her best time in this year and an NCAA B Cut.
USC: The Trojans have posted numerous strong NCAA consideration times and have even registered a handful of automatic qualifiers as they finished the dual meet season at 7-2 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12. USC finished second at the 2018 SMU Classic with five individual A heat victories and then combined for three individual races as well as one relay victory in the 2018 Texas Invitational. USC is led by defending junior NCAA 100 fly champion and Trojan co-captain Louise Hansson and fellow co-captain in senior Lily Dubroff. Hansson holds eight times among the NCAA’s top 25 fastest times, including the nation’s leading times in the 200 fly (1:51.52) and second leading in the 100 fly (49.80). Senior Riley Scott won three events in USC’s 181-117 victory over crosstown rival UCLA to close out the regular season.
UTAH: Utah builds momentum heading into the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship with five-straight dual meet victories after dropping the first three meets to ranked Pac-12 teams. The Utes quickly rebounded and have not lost since October, finishing 5-4 overall and 2-4 in Pac-12 meets. Utah bested UNLV (147-96) in non-conference action as senior Jordan Anderson, the school record holder in the 400 IM, capture first place in the event at 4:22.95 and freshman Emma Lawless topped the podium in the 200 fly with a time of 2:02.87. The Utes closed out the season with victories over Washington State and Oregon State. The Utes dominated in a 167-93 win at Washington State taking 13 of the 14 events at Gibb Pool. Four of the five seniors swam in the winning 200 free relay Darby Wayner, Gillian St. John, Ianire Casarin and Jordan Anderson in a time of 1:35.67.
WASHINGTON STATE: WSU collected four dual meet wins over San Diego, Idaho, Northern Arizona and Oregon State as the Cougars look to improve from their eighth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships last year. Mackenzie Duarte led the Cougars in their seventh-straight win over Oregon State with three individual events. Duarte now has 12 individual wins this season and ranks in the WSU all-time top-10 in the 100 and 200 breast. In the Cougars’ final home meet of the season, lone senior Linnea Lindberga led the 200 medley relay team alongside teammates Lauren Burckel, Sophia Balamaceda, and Chloe Larson, to the fourth-fastest time this season. Sophomore Taylor McCoy won all three of her individual events to earn 27 points in Washington State’s 150-107 loss at No. 14 Arizona to earn Pac-12 Swimmer of the Week on Jan. 23. McCoy continues to see success in the pool, leading the Cougars with 14 individual wins this season while ranking in WSU’s all-time top-10 in the 100 and 200 back and 400 IM.