FEDERAL WAY, Washington, February 27. MISSY Franklin of California broke the Pac-12 meet record in the women’s 500 free to start the night, but it wasn’t enough to hold the team lead as Stanford soared by the Bears on night two to take the lead with 507 points. USC is now in second with 448 points, while Cal sits third with 400.5 points following a disqualification in the 200 free relay.
After entering the second finals session in a tie with rival Stanford, Cal freshman Missy Franklin ensured that the Bears wouldn’t be tied for long. Franklin cruised to a new Pac-12 meet record in the women’s 500 free, touching first in 4:35.73 to easily outdistance Arizona’s Bonnie Brandon (4:38.45) and USC’s Chelsea Chenault (4:39.30). The previous meet record stood at 4:36.52, set by USC’s Haley Anderson in 2012. Franklin has been faster this season with a 4:34.63 from December’s AT&T Winter Nationals, as has Brandon, who swam a 4:35.43 at the Texas Invite last semester. Chelsea Chenault’s top time this season is a 4:38.96, also from the Texas Invite. With Franklin’s win, Cal pulled ahead of Stanford, 196-172, through three events.
Stanford fought back in the next event, as senior Maya DiRado put her stamp on the women’s 200 IM with a 1:54.67. DiRado qualified fifth in the event but posted the second-fastest freestyle split of the championship heat to overtake Cal’s Celina Li, who came in second at 1:54.89. Elizabeth Pelton, also from Cal, took third in 1:55.65. Cal had four swimmers in the top eight, amassing a huge number of points to take a 313-274 lead over Stanford.
A rare upset took place in the women’s 50 free, as USC senior Kasey Carlson took down defending Pac-12 and NCAA champion Margo Geer of Arizona, 21.74 to 21.90. That took .16 off Carlson’s best this season, as she had been a 21.90 at the Texas Invite. Geer’s top time this season still stands at 21.78, also from the Texas Invite. Stanford’s Maddy Schaefer picked up third in 22.10.
In the diving well, Stanford’s Stephanie Phipps earned a 10-point win with a total of 332.25 points. Arizona freshman Michal Bower took second in her Pac-12 debut with 322.75 points, while USC’s Haley Ishimatsu claimed third with 320.70 points. Stanford placed four divers in the championship final to pull 50-plus points ahead of Cal going into the final relay.
Geer avenged her second-place finish with her Arizona teammates in the 200 free relay. Bonnie Brandon (22.50), Geer (21.32), Alana Pazevic (22.05) and Gracie Finnegan (21.89) swam to a winning time of 1:27.76, the second-fastest time in the country this year behind Georgia’s 1:27.09 from the SEC Championships last weekend. USC, which got off to a solid lead thanks to Carlson’s leadoff of 21.93, finished second in 1:28.03, just ahead of Stanford’s 1:28.07. Notably, Cal’s A-relay touched first in 1:27.71 but was disqualified for a false start, a huge blow to their overall point total. The Bears already trailed Stanford by more than 50 points going into the relay and did not pick up any points with the disqualification.
Stanford finished the night with a comfortable 59-point lead over USC, 507 to 448. Cal finds itself in third with 400.5 points after day two and has a very large hole to climb out of.