FEDERAL WAY, Washington, March 2. THE Stanford Cardinal claimed its 19th league title as the squad held off a late charge by Southern California. Meanwhile, California's Elizabeth Pelton put an exclamation point on the meet with an American record in the 200-yard backstroke event.
Pelton nearly made history tonight, moving to within .05 seconds of Gemma Spofforth as the fastest 200-yard backstroker of all time. Pelton already owned the American record in the event with a 1:48.90 from the Georgia Fall Invitational in November 2012. She lowered that mark, however, with a 1:48.39 during the Pacific 12 finale this evening. She split the swim 25.97, 53.28 (27.31), 1:20.71 (27.43), 1:48.39 (27.68) en route to taking down her national mark. That swim just missed Spofforth's NCAA record of 1:48.34 set in 2009 during the techsuit era.
Pelton plowed right past Natalie Coughlin's Pacific 12 record of 1:49.52 set in 2002 for California, and crushed Julia Smit's meet record of 1:50.76 set in 2010.
Stanford's Maya Dirado took second to Pelton tonight in 1:51.65, also an NCAA A cut time, while California's Cindy Tran finished third in 1:53.42. California claimed big points in the event as Melanie Klaren (1:54.07) and Hoi Shun Au (1:55.13) took fourth and seventh in the distance dorsal.
Southern California's Haley Anderson became the first woman in Pacific 12 history with a career sweep of the 1650-yard freestyle to open the night. The open water Olympian took home her fourth crown with a strong time of 15:58.59. That swim cleared the NCAA A cut time, putting her in position to make a run for the NCAA title. Arizona State's Tristin Baxter took home second-place honors with a 16:02.86, while UCLA's Lauren Baker earned third in 16:08.01.
Arizona's Margo Geer ripped off a sterling 47.59 to win the 100-yard freestyle, nearly beating Dana Vollmer's meet record of 47.19 set for California in 2009. Stanford's Maddy Schaefer (47.85) and Andi Murez (47.86) took second and third in the finale, all beating the NCAA A cut time.
California's Caitlin Leverenz cruised to the 200-yard breaststroke title with a time of 2:07.25 in what proved to be a deep and fast pool of talent in the finale. Southern California's Stina Gardell took second in 2:08.22, while Arizona State's Alex Popa finished third in 2:08.31. USC's Andrew Kropp (2:08.68) rounded out the top four as all four cleared the NCAA A cut time in the event. That was Leverenz's third straight victory in the event at Pacific 12s.
California's Rachel Bootsma, who has proven to be an all-around commodity for head coach Teri McKeever with way more than just sprint backstroke ability, prevailed in the 200-yard fly with a time of 1:54.97. UCLA's Noelle Tarazona placed second in 1:55.45, while Southern California's Jasmine Tosky touched third with a 1:55.49. Heading into the platform diving break, the Women of Troy only trailed Stanford by about 40 points.
Southern California's Haley Ishimatsu rolled to the platform title with a 310.35, while UCLA's Emma Ivory-Ganja earned second with 273.90 points. California's Kahley Rowell (262.05) and Sara Boushakra (257.40) took third and fourth as USC pulled to within 20 points of Stanford heading into the final race.
California's Elizabeth Pelton (48.00), Rachael Acker (48.39), Kaylin Bing (48.24) and Rachel Bootsma (47.74) closed out the field with Bootsma tearing home for the win in the 400-yard freestyle relay as Cal posted a 3:12.37. Arizona's Margo Geer (47.63), Bonnie Brandon (48.42), Megan Laferty (48.07) and Kait Flederbach (48.30) took second in 3:12.42, while Stanford's Andi Murez nearly powered the Cardinal to a win with a sizzling 47.09 anchor. Stanford's Maddy Schaefer (48.21), Maya Dirado (48.80), Felicia Lee (48.53) and Murez finished third in 3:12.63. Stanford's clean finish, along with USC's fourth-place 3:16.62 clinched the team title for the Cardinal. Arizona and California demonstrated remarkable depth as their B squads also posted NCAA A cuts.
Southern California 1418.5
Arizona State 786.5
Oregon State 297
Washington State 189