FEDERAL WAY, Washington, February 28. AFTER trailing Stanford by more than 100 points after last night’s finals session, the University of California came storming back tonight with huge points in the 100 fly, 200 free and 100 back to take the lead in the Pac-12 Championships by 52.5 points. Missy Franklin added her second meet record, while Stanford also got three wins in another exciting night of racing.
Stanford’s Maya DiRado opened the evening with a clean sweep of the individual medley events. After winning the 200 IM last night, DiRado built an insurmountable lead in the 400 IM tonight to grab the double with a 4:01.72. That time is less than a second off her season best of 4:00.88 from the Art Adamson Invitational, which ranks third in the country this season. USC’s Stina Gardell finished second in 4:04.27, also just off her season-best of 4:03.56. Cal’s Celina Li rounded out the top three in 4:07.68.
Stanford kept the ball rolling in the next event, as senior Felicia Lee made her final 100 fly at the Pac-12 Championships one to remember. Lee hit the wall in 51.26 to edge USC’s Kendyl Stewart, who came in at 51.36. Lee cut more than a second off her previous best this season and shot up to third in the nation with that time, while Stewart lowered her season-best by .03. Cal’s Rachel Bootsma took third in 52.06. Cal had three swimmers in the championship final and overtook USC for second in the team standings following the event, with Stanford in first.
Cal’s Missy Franklin picked up her second win and second Pac-12 meet record in the next event, dominating the 200 free in 1:42.29. That lowered the previous meet record of 1:42.68, set by former Cal Bear and US Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer in 2009. Franklin has been much faster this season though, with a 1:41.40 from the UNLV Fall Invitational. Two other freshmen took the next two spots in the event, as Stanford’s Lia Neal came in third at 1:43.62 and USC’s Chelsea Chenault took third in 1:43.91. Cal, which trailed Stanford by more than 100 points going into tonight, had four swimmers in the top eight and overtook Stanford for the team lead.
In the women’s 100 breast, Stanford junior Katie Olsen had a breakthrough swim, clearing the NCAA ‘A’ standard in the event and winning in 59.17. Olsen had not broken 1:00 this season until prelims, and just missed breaking 59 tonight. She’s now tied for eighth in the NCAA with that effort. USC’s Kasey Carlson touched ahead of Olsen at the 50 but couldn’t hang on, taking second in 59.44. Carlson already has a 58.61 from the Texas Invite last semester. Arizona’s Eve Sarris rounded out the top three in 1:00.37.
Several swimmers who also competed in the 100 fly earlier in the night made a second appearance in the 100 fly final. Among them were the first and third-place finishers in that event, Stanford’s Felicia Lee and Cal’s Rachel Bootsma. The two swimmers flip-flopped this time, however, as Bootsma came out ahead in the 100 back with a 51.19, while Lee took second in 51.29. Cal’s Cindy Tran was also in the mix with a 51.44 for third. With four swimmers in the top five, Cal extended their lead over Stanford to 63.5 points through 12 events.
In diving action, Haley Ishimatsu topped the championship field by slightly under nine points, posting 347.25 points to take the 3-meter title. Stanford’s Stephanie Phipps claimed second with 338.50 points, with USC’s Samantha Adams in third with 337.70.
After clawing their way back from more than 100 points down, Cal made sure to end the evening on a winning note. The foursome of Cindy Tran (51.28), Celina Li (59.68), Rachel Bootsma (51.76) and Missy Franklin (46.51) swam a 3:29.23 to win the 400 medley relay in the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season. Stanford nearly had enough but settled for second with Maya DiRado (52.39), Katie Olsen (59.15), Felicia Lee (51.24) and Lia Neal (46.87) touching in 3:29.65. Arizona picked up third in 3:32.21.
The team standings have shifted dramatically from last night, as Cal now leads with 1019.5 points. Stanford is now second with 967 points, while USC is third with 896.