Cal Wins 4 More Pac-12 Titles Friday Night
HOUSTON – On the third night of the Pac-12 Championships, Cal repeatedly found its way to the top of the podium, capturing four conference titles to go with four second-place finishes.
Isabel Ivey was the big individual winner, claiming both the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke, while Robin Neumann won the 200-yard freestyle, and the Golden Bears closed out the session with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay – their fourth relay crown in as many races at the meet.
The winner of the day was Ivey, who built an early lead in the 100 fly and was comfortably up by more than a second heading into her final 25 yards. She finished in a season-best 50.87, just a 0.05 off her lifetime best. Rachel Klinker came through with a PR 51.79 for third, while Elise Garcia captured the B final in 52.78.
"It's pretty challenging mentally, but I'm just taking it one at a time," Ivey said after the race with the 100 fly still ahead. "I just wanted to go all out in the first 50 and just hold on and really emphasize my underwaters the whole way through."
The 100 back proved to be a battle between teammates Ivey and Isabelle Stadden. Although Ivey held the lead throughout, the pair was never more than 0.2 seconds apart at any turn. In the end, Ivey, the defending champion, claimed the title in 51.13, with Stadden in second at 51.17. Freshman Tea Laughlin came up for fourth place in 52.51.
Neumann, a senior, captured her first career individual crown when she raced to a win in the 200 free, hitting the final wall in 1:43.40. She led a contingent of four Bears in the A final, with Ayla Spitz taking the runner-up position (PR 1:44.10), Eloise Riley placing sixth (1:47.56) and Emily Gantriis in seventh (1:47.61).
"It feels good to finally get that win," said Neumann, who had five career third-place finishes at the Pac-12 meet before tonight. "It's been a long time coming. Finally, my senior year getting a first place means a lot. The plan was to go all-out, just hold on, get that easy speed and just finish it hard. It hurt, but that's the point of a 200."
Stadden, Ema Rajic, Ivey and Gantriis earned a victory in the 200 medley relay in 1:35.18. The same foursome also won the 400 medley relay earlier in the meet. In addition, the Bears have 2021 titles in the 200 free relay and 800 free relay, and will go for a sweep in the 400 free relay Saturday night.
Rajic earned a runner-up finish in the 100 breaststroke, taking down the Cal school record for the fourth time this year when she hit the wall in 58.45. Senior Ali Harrison also had a spot in the A final and finished sixth in a season-best 1:00.40.
In the 400 individual medley, Alicia Wilson touched in 4:04.22 to place second and duplicate her result from 2020. In addition, Sarah DiMeco came through in the sixth spot in 4:12.67.
At the Pac-12 diving meet being held in Tucson, Arizona, Briana Thai posted her third top-5 finish of the championships, taking fifth place on platform. Earlier, she captured third on the 1-meter board and fourth on the 3-meter board.
The Pac-12 Championships conclude on Saturday, and the final session will be televised live on Pac-12 Los Angeles, Pac-12 Mountain, the Pac-12 Now app and Pac-12.com starting at 4:30 p.m. PT.