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NCAA Div. I Women: Stanford Squeaks by Cal, 151-149 -- February 11, 2001

By Bill Bell

BERKELEY, Calif., Feb. 10. DESPITE another sterling three-for-three performance by standout Cal rookie Natalie Coughlin, Stanford's Lady Cardinal won the "Battle of the Bays" here today, edging the Golden Bears, 151-149. It was the final tune-up for both teams before the Pac-10 championships in Federal Way, WA. the final weekend of this month.

Stanford's win was its 26th in this not-quite 30-year rivalry against only two losses. The Cardinal, ranked third in the nation, is 6-1 (4-1 in the Pac-10) while Cal, fourth in the national poll, drops to 6-3 (3-2 in the Pac-10).

As has been her wont all season starting with the Longhorn Invitational back in December, Coughlin is simply unbeatable. In five Pac-10 meets she has won all 15 of her races, and at Texas she was five for five -- including wins in the 200 free, 100 back, both flys and the 200 IM. Going into the conference championships Coughlin leads the country in the 200 free (1:45.35), 100 back (52.79), 100 fly (52.36), 200 fly (1:55.93) and 200 IM (1:58.35). For good measure she ranks second in the 200 back to Arizona's Olympic gold medalist, Beth Botsford, but that could change come Pac-10s and/or NCAAs.

Coughlin wasn't the only freshwoman standout, however. Stanford had its own star in breaststroker Tara Kirk, who set a Spieker Aquatics Complex, Pac-10 and 17-18 National Age Group Record in the 100 breast with her school-record 59.51 -- breaking the mark of 1:00.45 she had set just a week earlier against USC. She also won the 200 in 2:13.31, another pool record.

Interestingly, the old NAG 100 record was 1:00.31 by Cal's Staciana Stitts, a Sydney Olympian, who set her mark en route to the title at last year's Pac-10s. Stitts, who has just returned to competition after missing most of the season due to a back injury, was second here in 1:03+. When these two get together "for real" in Federal Way and then three weeks later at the NCAA Championships on Long Island, it's likely the American-NCAA Record (59.05) by Georgia's Kristy Kowal will take a major, major hit.

How good is 59.51? It makes Kirk the second-performer, third-performance all-time. Kowal's 59.05 that won NCAAs three years ago at Minneapolis ranks No. 1; her 59.25 that won a second-consecutive NCAA title two years ago at her home pool in Athens is No. 2. Not even the incomparable Kowal ever went 59.5 in a dual meet. In fact, Kirk's 1:00.45 was the fastest dual-meet time until today; with Penn State rookie Kristen Woodring's 1:00.48 against Purdue last November No. 2. Woodring could also be a factor at NCAAs, and is likely to break the Big 10 record (1:00.32 by Minnesota's Gretchen Hegener)during next week's league championships.

Kirk's 59.51 surpasses the 59.80 pr by Sydney gold medalist Megan Quann from last year, which is still the 15-16 NAG record. So the Cardinal star has finally overtaken her longtimeWashington rival, at least in one event.

While Stanford won nine of 16 swimming races, the key to its victory lay in diving, where the Cardinal went one-two on both boards. Sophomore McKenzie Murphy was tops here, winning the one meter (281.40) and the three meter (288.375).

Coughlin's wins were in the 200 free (1:48.07), 100 fly (52.36) and 200 IM (1:59.31). Her fly win was also her pr (breaking her old standard of 52.37 from last year); a Spieker Pool- and dual-meet record (breaking the 52.68 by Hyman from '99); and a Golden Bear school record (previous was Marylyn Chiang's 52.40 from the '99 NCAAs). Her 200 IM win was a pool and meet record too, with the old standards held by former Golden Bear Joscelin Yeo (2:01.20), now sitting out the season at Texas.

Hyman was no slouch herself, winning the 100 back in a pool- and dual-meet record 53.66, her seasonal best. She also was second in the 100 fly (season-best 52.68), and runner-up in the 200 IM (career-best 1:59.90). Hyman's pr in the 100 fly is 51.34, No. 2 performer-performance all-time. The time was done en route to the NCAA title as a freshman in Minneapolis four years ago, and she went 51.77 to win as a soph a year later in Athens. Only ex-Cardinal Jenny Thompson's American record (51.07 from the '98 Kerr-McGee Invitational) is faster. When Hyman swam that 51.34 it broke the old American-NCAA record of 51.75 by Arizona's Chrissy Ahmann-Leighton from the '92 Championships in Austin. Hyman split 23.54 for her opening 50 vs. Thompson's 23.90. If she can perhaps control her first half, a sub 51.0 would appear to be in the offing.

Hyman's winning backstroke effort (53.66) breaks her old pr of 53.68 she swam as a high school senior four years ago -- and was at that time the national record. Were she ever to swim this race fully tapered, shaved and rested, it's likely former Card teammate Catherine Fox's American record (52.47 from '99 NCAAs) would be a goner. Cal's Chiang, a Canadian Olympian, holds the NCAA-U.S. Open record (52.40).

Cal junior Haley Cope, last season's Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, won the 50-100 frees (23.36-50.95) and teammate Kyoko Yokouchi, a freshman from Coach Dave Salo's Irvine Novas program, won the 200 back in a seasonal-best 2:00.17.

Stanford set a pool record en route to winning the 400 medley relay (nation-leading 3:43.01) and Cardinal Shelly Ripple won the 200 fly (pr 1:58.70) while taking runner-up in the 200 back (2:00.75) and third in the 200 IM.

Arizona is defending Pac-10 champ, its first-ever title. Stanford had won the title every year since Coach Richard Quick's arrival in Palo Alto from Texas for the start of the 1988-89 season. Will the Cardinal wrest away the crown from the mighty Wildcats in Federal Way the last weekend of the month? In a dual meet at Tucson last month Stanford incurred its sole loss of the season.


RESULTS
400 Medley Relay:
1) Stanford (Ripple, Kirk, Hyman, Theis) 3:43.01
2) Cal (Yokouchi, Stitts, Henriques, Harper) 3:52.33
3) Cal (Finlay, Mariani, McAdoo, Mattos) 4:01.45

1000 Freestyle
1) Foschi, Stanford 10:16.16
2) Carr, Stanford 10:16.63
3) Sissener, Cal 10:20.65
4) Brigham, Stanford 10:27.80
5) Barnard, California 10:31.99
6) Blakemore, Stanford 10:35.03
7) Kim, California 10:49.83

200 Freestyle:
1) Coughlin, California 1:48.07
2) Foschi, Stanford 1:49.99
3) Becks, California 1:51.84
4) Thies, Stanford 1:52.88
5) Mitchell, California 1:55.02
6) Umetsu, Stanford 1:55.05

100 Backstroke:
1) Hyman, Stanford 53.66
2) Cope, California 54.36
3) Finlay, California 56.87
4) Oakland, Stanford 57.47
5) Baumgarten, Stanford 57.75
6) Champion, Stanford 58.88
7) Henriques, California 59.10

100 Breaststroke:
1) Kirk, Stanford 59.51 NAG Record, Girls 17-18
2) Stitts, California 1:03.59
3) Mariani, California 1:05.01
4) Rais, Stanford 1:05.72
5) Yokouchi, California 1:05.99
6) Blakemore, Stanford 1:13.93

200 Butterfly:
1) Ripple, Stanford 1:58.70
2) Sissener, California 2:03.44
3) Griffith, California 2:04.48
4) McAdoo, California 2:06.21
5) Carr, Stanford 2:08.66
6) Brigham, Stanford 2:14.57

50 Freestyle:
1) Cope, California 23.36
2) Harper, California 23.64
3) Bennett, Stanford 23.92
4) Mattos, California 23.96
5) Becks, California 24.04
6) Baumgarten, Stanford 24.33
7) Kirk, California 25.09

1 Meter Diving:
1) Murphy, Stanford 281.4
2) Sones, Stanford 244.5
3) Sermer, California 229.5
4) Sowa, Stanford 228.675
5) Flynn, California 225.375
6) Urioste, California 224.7
7) Varner, Stanford 196.5
8) Westoby, California 185.025

100 Freestyle:
1) Cope, California 50.95
2) Becks, California 51.55
3) Harper, California 51.76
4) Thies, Stanford 52.05
5) Baumgarten, Stanford 52.38
6) Bennett, Stanford 53.22
7) Mitchell, California 53.73

200 Backstroke:
1) Yokouchi, California 2:00.17
2) Ripple, Stanford 2:00.25
3) Finlay, California 2:03.81
4) Oakland, Stanford 2:04.04
5) Henriques, California 2:07.42
6) Umetsu, Stanford 2:10.62

200 Breaststroke:
1) Kirk, Stanford 2:13.31
2) Stitts, California 2:17.88
3) Mariani, California 2:19.45
4) Rais, Stanford 2:20.73
5) Blakemore, Stanford 2:38.44

500 Freestyle:
1) Foschi, Stanford 4:51.49
2) Carr, Stanford 4:58.28
3) Thies, Stanford 4:59.24
4) Sissener, California 4:59.34
5) Yokouchi, California 5:05.21
6) Barnard, California 5:11.56
7) Kim, California 5:13.42

100 Butterfly:
1) Coughlin, California 52.36
2) Hyman, Stanford 52.68
3) McAdoo, California 56.82
4) Griffith, California 56.94
5) Champion, Stanford 58.67
6) Henriques, California 1:01.25
7) Brigham, Stanford 1:01.81

3 Meter Diving:
1) Murphy, Stanford 288.375
2) Sones, Stanford 271.65
3) Sowa, Stanford 254.7
4) Flynn, California 240.525
5) Urioste, California 231.15
6) Sermer, California 221.025
7) Westoby, California 220.725
8) Varner, Stanford 183.45

200 IM:
1) Coughlin, California 1:59.31
2) Hyman, Stanford 1:59.90
3) Ripple, Stanford 2:02.92
4) Griffith, California 2:03.63
5) Stitts, California 2:05.32
6) Oakland, Stanford 2:09.21
7) Mariani, California 2:14.39

400 Freestyle Relay:
1) California (Cope, Becks, Mattos, Mitchell) 3:28.85 2) Calif. (Harper, McAdoo, Griffith, Coughlin) 3:29.54
3) Stanf.(Foschi, Baumgarten, Bennett, Umetsu) 3:31.47 4) Stanford (Carr, Champion, Oakland, Brigham) 3:40.48