California women's swimming and diving wins first Pac-12 championship since 2015
HOUSTON, TX. - After a back-and-forth battle across four days, CALIFORNIA emerged from the pack as the 2021 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming & Diving Champions at the University of Houston’s CRWC Natatorium. The Bears, who finished as runner-up to STANFORD during the past four conference championships, punctuated their win on Saturday evening with multiple swimming victories after diving competition from Tucson, Ariz., concluded on Friday afternoon.
For the meet, CALIFORNIA finished with 1519.5 points, while STANFORD (1445) and UCLA (1169) took second and third, respectively.
With the Conference championships moved from their typical home in Federal Way, Wash., swimmers and divers were separated by two states. This year’s competition also did not include Arizona State, which opted to redshirt its swimmers and divers for the abbreviated 2021 season.
Despite the unique circumstances, the Bears and Cardinal extended their string of dominance atop the Pac-12 Championships. Less than 17 points separated the two programs heading into the last evening of competition. STANFORD’s Morgan Tankersley (16:03.27) defended her title in the 1,650-yard freestyle event to begin the night, before the Bears came out on top in four of the final five events in Houston (200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard butterfly, 400-yard freestyle relay).
CALIFORNIA tied a school record with 12 event wins — including all five relays — matching its total from the program’s 2015 Conference championship. Junior Ema Rajic set a program record with a 58.45 time in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Alicia Wilson, Robin Neumann and Rachel Klinker earned their first career individual titles.
During Friday night’s competition, STANFORD senior Brooke Forde was honored with 2021 Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. A human biology major with a 3.95 grade point average, Forde made her mark at this year’s event with wins in the 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley events.
Forde was also the 2020 400-yard individual medley champion, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the event since former teammate Katie Ledecky (2017-18); her time of 4:02.57 is the fastest in the nation this season. Tankersley also defended her Pac-12 title with the 1650-yard freestyle victory, Stanford’s fifth-straight in the event, while freshman Isabel Gormley finished in third with a lifetime best (16:11.44).
UCLA’s third-place finish is the program’s highest since 2006, when the Bruins took second. On Wednesday, the team made history with a third-place showing in the 400 medley relay, its highest finish in the event in more than 20 years. Freshman Sam Baron also set a school record (51.65) in the 100-yard butterfly, while junior Claire Grover finished with four top-five finishes.
USC freshman Kaitlyn Dobler made a name for herself throughout the entire competition, clinching her first two individual Conference wins with first-place finishes in the 100 (57.85) and 200-yard breaststroke races. In doing so, she became the first Trojan freshman to win two Pac-12 titles since Rebecca Soni in 2006. Her 2:06.53 200-yard time in the latter was the eighth fastest time in the country this season. USC, who entered just 11 swimmers in this year’s competition, has won at least two Pac-12 individual women’s swimming and diving titles in 14 straight years.
WASHINGTON STATE senior Chloe Larson made history as the first Cougar to win a Pac-12 women’s swimming title, taking home the 50-yard freestyle (22.18), edging out three competitors by .06 seconds. As a team, the Cougars earned 533 points, jumping nearly 140 points compared to last year’s performance.
UTAH and ARIZONA placed fifth and sixth in the overall standings. The Utes’ fifth place finish was their best since joining the conference, with their divers earning the most points in school history at the meet (220). The Wildcats’ Delaney Schnell ran away with Diver of the Meet accolades after a record-breaking performance on the platform, and an additional win on the 1M.
2021 Pac-12 Women’s Swimmer of the Meet
CALIFORNIA’s Isabel Ivey captured three individual titles — the 100 butterfly, the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle — en route to Women’s Swimmer of the Meet honors. The two-time 2021 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Week also contributed to Cal’s relay wins in the 400-yard medley and 200 freestyle. For the meet, the Bears won seven individual titles, with Neumann, Wilson, Stadden and Klinker joining Ivey atop the podium.
Ivey is the first Cal women’s swimmer to win three individual conference championships since her former teammate Abbey Weitzel did so in 2019.
2021 Pac-12 Women’s Diver of the Meet
Competing in her team’s facility in her hometown, ARIZONA’s Schnell won two of the three diving events (1M, Platform) at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, this year’s Pac-12 Diving Championships host. Her accomplishments also included the Arizona school and Pac-12 record for platform dive in the prelims of the event. For the full release on Schnell’s winning-performance, along with USC sophomore Nike Agunbiade’s dominating win in the 3M event, click here.
For a full list of event winners — including NCAA Cut Times — across the 2021 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming Championships, see below:
800-yard Freestyle Relay
- CALIFORNIA: 06:55.99
- Robin Neumann, Ayla Spitz, Rachel Klinker, Alicia Wilson
400-yard Medley Relay
- CALIFORNIA: 03:26.70
- Isabelle Stadden, Ema Rajic, Isabel Ivey, Emily Gantriis
- Brooke Forde, STANFORD: 04:37.07 (NCAA B)
200-yard Individual Medley
- Alicia Wilson, CALIFORNIA: 01:53.65 (NCAA A)
- Chloe Larson, WASHINGTON STATE: 22.18 (NCAA B)
200-yard Freestyle Relay
- CALIFORNIA: 01:26.84 (NCAA A)
- Eloise Riley, Emily Gantriis, Elise Garcia, Isabel Ivey
400-yard Individual Medley
- Brooke Forde, STANFORD: 04:02.57 (NCAA A)
- Isabel Ivey, CALIFORNIA: 50.87 (NCAA A)
- Robin Neumann, CALIFORNIA: 01:43.40 (NCAA B)
- Kaitlyn Dobler, USC: 57.85 (NCAA A)
- Isabel Ivey, CALIFORNIA: 51.13 (NCAA B)
200-yard Medley Relay
- CALIFORNIA: 01:35.18 (NCAA A)
- Isabelle Stadden, Ema Rajic, Isabel Ivey, Emily Gantriis
- Morgan Tankersley, STANFORD: 16:03.27 (NCAA B)
- Isabelle Stadden, CALIFORNIA: 01:50.83 (NCAA B)
- Isabel Ivey, CALIFORNIA: 47.54 (NCAA B)
- Kaitlyn Dobler, USC: 02:06.53 (NCAA A)
- Rachel Klinker, CALIFORNIA: 01:52.82 (NCAA A)
400-yard Freestyle Relay
- CALIFORNIA: 03:11.27 (NCAA A)
- Eloise Riley, Robin Neumann, Elise Garcia, Isabel Ivey
2021 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming & Diving Final Totals
1. California, 1519.5
2. Stanford, 1445
3. UCLA, 1169
4. USC, 1006
5. Utah, 951.5
6. Arizona, 827
7. Washington State, 533