Pac-12 women's swimming, men's diving championships preview
Five Pac-12 teams are ranked in the final regular season College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Top-25 poll released on Feb. 19. No. 1 Stanford topped the season-ending poll for the fifth-straight year. Three Pac-12 teams rank in the top-10 to tie the most of any conference with Stanford joined by No. 4 CALIFORNIA and No. 8 USC. The Trojans won their final dual meet of the season to jump from No. 24 to a top-10 spot. No. 17 ARIZONA STATE and No. 24 UCLA also made the jump from previously unranked to finishing in the top-25, and ARIZONA received four votes.
Stanford is the defending Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving champion, marking three consecutive conference championships for the Cardinal. In 2019 Stanford went on to its 11th NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving national title, also marking the Cardinal’s third-consecutive first-place finish. Stanford became the first school to pull off the three-peat since Auburn’s stretch from 2002-2004. The Cardinal will also be vying to pull off a four-peat in the NCAA finals, a record that has not been achieved since Stanford’s own five-peat from 1992-1996.
ARIZONA: The Wildcats recorded three dual-meet wins in the 2019-20 season, including victories over Hawai’i, Denver and Northern Arizona. The Wildcats are led by seniors Hannah Cox and Ayumi Macias. Cox recorded her top-time in the 400-yard individual medley at the Minnesota Invitational with a time of 4:11.94, good for 49th in the NCAA. Macias recorded her top times at the Minnesota Invitational in both the 500- (4:42.46) and 1,650-yard freestyle (16:19.74).
ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils recorded three dual-meet victories in the 2019-20 season, including a regular-season finale win over rival Arizona (181-103). Arizona State is led by Emma Nordin who ranks 10th in the NCAA in the 1,650 free and also leads the Pac-12 with her time of 15:58.90. Nordin was the anchor for ASU’s top 800 free relay (Cierra Runge, Erica Laning, Kendall Dawson, Nordin) which ranks 13th in the NCAA at 7:01.31. Runge ranks 10th in the NCAA in the 500 free with her time of 4:37.26 and 17th in the 1,650 free with a time of 16:05.75.
CALIFORNIA: No. 2 California has finished in the top-three at the NCAA Championships for 11 years in a row, the longest current streak in the country. Cal has been the National runner-up to Stanford for three-consecutive years. The Golden Bears went 7-1 overall during the 2019-20 season and only dropped one dual meet in Conference action to then-No. 5 Stanford. Senior standout Abbey Weitzeil lowered her own American record in the 50-yard freestyle to 20.90 seconds, becoming the first woman ever to break the 21-second barrier. Weitzeil is the reigning Pac-12 champion in the 50, 100 and 200 free, and 200 free relay. Weitzeil was an Olympian in the 2016 games and has her eyes set on Tokyo for 2020. Robin Neumann holds the 13th-fastest time in the country in the 200 free with a time of 1:44.05.
STANFORD: No. 1 Stanford went a perfect 7-0 in 2019-20 and marked its fifth-consecutive undefeated regular season. The Cardinal extended its dual-meet win-streak to 36-consectuive victories, dating back to Feb. 24, 2015. The Cardinal is led by head coach Greg Meehan who has never finished lower than second at the Pac-12 championships. Meehan is the 2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Swimming head coach and is a four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Katie Drabot the highest-ranked Pac-12 women’s swimmer in the 500 free this season, her time of 4:35.84 is good for second in the country. Drabot is ranked third in the NCAA in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:53.14, and 17th in the 200 free with a time of 1:44.38. Amalie Fackenthal is ranked T-22nd in the country in the 100 free, with a time of 48.22. Daria Lenz is the Cardinal’s top-diver in the 1-meter event, with the Pac-12’s highest score of 308.10 and the platform event (273.05). Mia Paulsen is the Cardinal’s top-diver in the 3-meter event, with the Pac-12’s highest score of 346.85.
UCLA: The Bruins went 7-3 during the 2019-20 regular season, featuring four-consecutive dual-meet wins over UTAH, UC Santa Barbara, Arizona and Arizona State. Claire Grover recorded the T-24th-best time in the NCAA in 50 free with a time of 22.13. Grover’s 50 free time is good for second in the Pac-12. Rachel Rhee owns UCLA’s fastest time in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:00.55 (62nd in NCAA).
USC: USC recorded five wins in 2019-20, ending the regularseason with a 181-119 win over rival over UCLA. USC’s Louise Hansson recorded the 10th-best time in the NCAA in the 100 free with a time of 47.82 and the 16th-best time in the 200 free with a time of 1:44.25. Hansson is the reigning Pac-12 100 fly champion and, NCAA and Pac-12 record-holder, with a time of 49.34. Naomi Gowlett is USC’s top diver in the women’s 1-meter event with a score of 291.00.
UTAH: The Utes recorded their best regular-season finish in three years, finishing 6-3. Utah ended its dual-meet competition with a 152-148 win over BYU. Utah divers own four of the top-seven Pac-12 marks in the women’s platform diving event, led by Carmella DeCecco with a score of 227.65. DeCecco is ranked sixth in the Pac-12 in the 1-meter diving event with a score of 273.45.
WASHINGTON STATE: Washington State recorded three wins this season and looks to improve upon its eighth-place finish in last year’s Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships. Mackenzie Duarte competed in last season’s NCAA Championships last season (100 and 200 breast), and was the Cougars’ first NCAA participant since 2010. Lauren Burckel recorded WSU’s best times of the season in the 100 (1:01.10) and 200 breast (2:11.69) at the Phill Hansel Invitational.
MEN'S DIVING: The men's diving competition will again feature some of the nation's top talent. ARIZONA STATE's Youseef Selim and Silja Kansakoski are looking to defend their 2019 Pac-12 Titles. Selim, last year’s 1-meter and platform champion, was named Pac-12 Diver of the Week three times this season. STANFORD's Conor Casey is also looking for repeat success after finishing first in the Men's 3-meter in 2019. Utah's Tony Chen is looking to impress after helping the Utes to a five dual-meet win streak, and earning two Pac-12 Diver weekly honors.