By Dan D’Addona.
The Stanford-Cal rivalry has been perhaps the best rivalry in the water — especially in recent years.
Both teams have been national title contenders for the past few years and both teams feature some of the biggest names in women’s swimming.
The rivalry renewed on Saturday for Stanford’s senior day and the No. 1 Cardinal sent their seniors off with a big win, topping No. 4 Cal 186-110.
Another big win came outside of the pool as the Pac-12 rivals teamed up to raise more than $1,800 for Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, thanks to donations from the 2,018 fans in the crowd as well as online donations. Donations are still being accepted here.
Stanford (8-0, 7-0) finished the dual meet season unbeaten for the third straight season. The Cardinal has won 23 consecutive dual meets dating back to Feb. 14, 2015, against — of course — rival Cal.
Prior to the meet, the Cardinal celebrated the contributions of eight seniors — Kassidy Cook, Sammy Gallagher, Gracia Leydon Mahoney, Alex Meyers, Simone Manuel, Janet Hu, Ally Howe and Lindsey Engel. The class has combined for nine Pac-12 All-Academic selections, 59 All-America honors and led the Cardinal to the program’s first national championship in 19 years.
The Cardinal started strong as three Stanford seniors — Howe, Hu and Manuel — and freshman Grace Zhao broke the pool record in the 200-yard medley relay at 1:37.18. Manuel took the anchor leg and made up a deficit in a dramatic finish that broke a six-year-old pool record.
Howe and Hu each celebrated their final home meet with individual facility records, while Manuel added another victory. Hu, who also won the 100 butterfly at 51.93, broke her pool record in the 100 backstroke. She hit the wall at 51.63, just ahead of Howe (51.92), and her old mark of 51.83. Meanwhile, Howe ends her career as the Avery record holder in the 200 back. She tapped the wall at 1:53.67 and broke the standard held by Cal’s Amy Bilquist (1:53.80) since 2016. And in the 100 free, Manuel won with a finish of 48.45, and still holds the pool record in that event at 47.38.
Sophomore Katie Ledecky pulled off another incredible double in the 1000 and 200 free. She won the 1000 free it 9:13.74, 30 seconds ahead of the field. Ledecky jumped right back in the water for the next event, winning the 200 1:43.00. Ledecky also cwon the 500 free in 4:34.54.
On the boards, sophomore Haley Farnsworth swept both events. She won the 1-meter with a score of 303.00 and was tops on the 3-meter with a score of 336.75.
Zhao edged Kim Williams (1:01.72) and won her third straight in the 100 with a finish of 1:01.27, while Brooke Forde edged Zhao in the 200 with a winning time of 2:12.07.
Junior Ella Eastin won the 200 butterfly in 1:53.79 and the 200 individual medley at 1:56.84.
Cal had some record-setting performances as well. Abbey Weitzeil won the 50-yard freestyle and helped Cal’s 200 free relay to victory.
Weitzeil, a sophomore who owns the American record in the 50 free, touched out Manuel, 22.04 to 22.13, to win in a pool record.
In the 200 free relay, the foursome of Maddie Murphy, Weitzeil, Katie McLaughlin and Bilquist crushed the Cal dual record in the event, finishing in 1:28.36, which was also a Stanford pool record. The former Cal dual mark was 1:31.49 set in 2009.