BERKELEY, California, October 20. AFTER leading the University of Florida by a score of 135-108 following Saturday’s events, the University of California held off the Gators to win what turned out to be a lightning-fast meet as expected, 238-210, on Sunday.
Florida began the second day of competition on a high note, out-touching Cal in the opening 200 medley relay. Sinead Russell, Hilda Luthersdottir, Ellese Zalewski and Natalie Hinds combined forces to post a 1:42.25, just ahead of Cal’s Rachel Bootsma, Yvette Kong, Farida Osmun and Kaylin Bing, who finished in 1:42.41.
Florida kept the ball rolling by making up valuable points on Cal in the next event, the 1,000 free. Though Florida could not quite duplicate their 1-2-3-4-5 finish in the same event on Saturday, Cal still had no answer for Florida’s incredible depth in the event. Gators Danielle Valley (9:53.64) and Alicia Mathieu (9:56.29) finished well ahead of Cal’s Missy Franklin, who showcased her incredible versatility with a 10:03.94 in the event. Florida also placed swimmers in fourth through sixth to close the gap.
After finishing just outside the winning time in a couple of events yesterday, Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel rebounded in a huge way today, winning the 200 free in her first of three victories. Beisel’s time of 1:48.15 was actually about three seconds slower than the winning time posted by Franklin yesterday (1:45.19). Florida’s Lindsey McKnight (1:48.66) touched second, while Cal’s Rachael Acker rounded out the top three in 1:49.51.
Florida stretched their winning streak to four events in a row after Natalie Hinds snagged the 50 free in 23.09, slightly off her 22.82 from yesterday but still well ahead of Cal’s Kaylin Bing (23.58). Ellese Zalewski of Florida snuck in for third with a 23.61.
Beisel returned just two events later to smash the field in the 400 IM, posting the only sub-4:10 swim of the day at 4:09.54 and giving the Gators their fifth win in a row and a 170-166 lead. Beisel actually trailed at the halfway point, but used a superb breaststroke leg to overtake Cal’s Elizabeth Pelton, who touched in 4:13.65. Cal freshman Celina Li took third in 4:16.17. Cal now has three swimmers in the 4:13-second range, with Li, Pelton and Missy Franklin having all cleared 4:14 this season.
Florida’s winning streak would come to an end in the next event, as Li jumped out of the 400 IM and into the 100 fly, winning the event with a 54.33. Ellese Zalewski and Rachel Bootsma battled for second and third in the event, with Zalewski coming out on top, 55.76 to 55.88.
Heading into the 100 free, Florida’s Natalie Hinds was aiming for a sprint free sweep after winning both the 50 and 100 yesterday and 50 free again today. Elizabeth Pelton had other thoughts, however, as she out-touched Hinds, 49.96 to 50.00. Pelton and Hinds are two of only a handful of swimmers to have already cracked the 50-second mark this season. Rachael Acker from Cal posted a 50.25 for third.
The 100 back may have been the most intriguing event of the day, as the final 25 yards turned into a showdown between Cal’s Stephanie Au and Cindy Tran and Florida’s Sinead Russell. Russell turned third at the 50 but put on the afterburners to take the win in 54.41, only .04 ahead of Au. Tran, a multi-time NCAA champ in the event, swam a 54.57 for third.
After posting a 4:45.40 in winning the 500 free yesterday, Cal’s Missy Franklin couldn’t quite match her speed today, falling to Beisel, who cruised to a 4:45.91 for the win. Franklin hung on for second in 4:50.84, with teammate Celina Li closing in and finishing in 4:51.50.
Cal freshman Marina Garcia, last night’s winner of the 200 breast, showed she’s just as strong at the shorter distance with a 1:02.39. Hilda Luthersdottir turned first at the halfway point but faded to second in 1:02.50. Cal put an exclamation point on a successful meet with a solid outing in the 400 free relay. Missy Franklin, Caroline Piehl, Camille Cheng and Elizabeth Pelton dominated the event with a 3:21.27, ahead of Cal’s B squad (3:25.77).