INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 22. CALIFORNIA Olympian Rachel Bootsma put on an underwater clinic en route to the second-fastest time ever in the 100-yard backstroke.
Bootsma dropped a 24.48 at the 50, before coming home in 25.65 to take the title in 50.13 at the NCAA Division I Women's Championships. Only former Golden Bear Natalie Coughlin has been faster with her legendary 49.97 from the 2002 NCAA Championships.
Bootsma cut nearly half-a-second from her personal best time of 50.54 from November, and jumped from fourth all-time in the event. That's California's eighth 100 back title, keeping the crown in Golden Bear hands for the third straight year following back-to-back wins from Cindy Tran in 2011 and 2012. Other California wins came by way of Marylyn Chiang (1999) and Coughlin (2001, 02, 03, 04).
Florida's Sinead Russell turned in a strong second-place time of 51.46 to move into a 13th-ranked tie with Rachel Goh in the all-time performer charts. Indiana's Brooklyn Snodgrass raced to third in 51.52, reminiscent of the likes of former Hoosiers Leila Vaziri and Kate Zubkova. Snodgrass is now 16th all time.
Stanford's Felicia Lee (51.58), Tran (51.92), Texas A&M's Paige Miller (51.93), Missouri's Dominique Bouchard (52.23) and Texas A&M's Tess Simpson (52.60) took fourth through eighth, while Virginia's Courtney Bartholomew smoked the B final in 51.63.
California had a huge event, with a two up and two down performance that included Hoi Shun Au (51.88) and Melanie Klaren (52.12) taking 12th and 13th overall, as the Golden Bears pulled to within three points of Georgia, 256-253. Tennessee stood third with 219.5 points, while Arizona (205) and Texas A&M (188) held fourth and fifth heading into diving.