California’s Caitlin Leverenz Defends NCAA Championship 200 IM Title

Event coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 21. CALIFORNIA's Caitlin Leverenz managed to defend her title in the 200 IM, making her only the eighth female swimmer ever to duplicate NCAA titles in the event.

The American record-holder used a dominant 32.11 breaststroke split en route to a 1:53.39 for the win. That swim ties for the 11th fastest ever, and is just the second time the Golden Bears have won the event. With her second title in the event, Leverenz now ranks among the likes of Kristine Quance, Summer Sanders and Julia Smit: all of whom have won two 200 IM NCAA titles. Maggie Bowen, Tracy Caulkins and Martina Moravcova each claimed three 200 IM titles in their careers.

Leverenz led a much-needed Cal 1-2 as freshman phenom Elizabeth Pelton powered past Stanford's Maya DiRado for second with a 1:53.82 — just half-a-second off Pelton's top time of 1:53.39 that ranks her fifth all time. DiRado, who went out well under NCAA and American record pace with a 52.72 at the 100, wound up third in 1:53.86. That's a lifetime best for DiRado, clipping a bit from her 1:53.89 at last year's NCAAs. She was unable, however, to better her ninth all-time position as Dagny Knutson still stands eighth with a 1:53.82 from 2009.

USC's Stina Gardell (1:54.49), Florida's Elizabeth Beisel (1:54.65), Georgia's Melanie Margalis (1:54.71), Columbia's Katie Meili (1:54.72) and USC's Meghan Hawthorne (1:56.71) also vied for the national title in the stacked finale. Notre Dame's Emma Reaney blasted a 1:55.06 to win the B final, while UNC's Carolyn Blalock took 10th overall in 1:55.86.

Georgia remained in the lead with 109 points, while Southern California pulled into second with 77 points. California (70), Tennessee (51) and Arizona (47) made up the rest of the top five.