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Stanford Women Win PAC-10

California

Hannah Wilson won the 100-yard freestyle and California withstood strong challenges from Arizona and USC to finish in second place at the Pac-10 Women’s Swimming Championships on Saturday night at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. The Golden Bears were unable to repeat as Pac-10 champions but still produced strong performances at the conference meet as well as two Pac-10 titles – Wilson’s and senior Lauren Boyle’s in the 500 freestyle on Feb. 25. At the conclusion of the four-day
meet, the Golden Bears collected 1341 points to trail only conference champion Stanford, which had 1489 points. USC claimed third place (1298.5 points) and Arizona was fourth (1223.5).

The results included Saturday’s Pac-10 Women’s Diving Championship performances at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Complex in Federal Way, Wash. None of the Bears in Washington reached tonight’s platform final, with junior Laura Sanford recording Cal’s top prelim finish in 10th with a score of 216.30. Arizona State’s Elina Eggers won the final with a score of 308.75.

In Long Beach, Wilson, a junior, was one of three Bears to post NCAA-consideration times in the 100-freestyle championship final, swimming 48.02 to win. Sophomore Liv Jensen took third in a time of 48.42 and junior Erica Dagg was eighth in 49.36. Wilson, the 2008 Hong Kong Olympian, won Cal’s sixth 100-free title – and second straight – at
Pac-10s. The other Bears to win the 100 free were Dana Vollmer (2009), Emily Silver (2007), Natalie Coughlin (2003-04) and Haley Cope (2001).

Cal’s other conference title this year came from Boyle, who became only the second Bear – after Sarah Anderson in 1989 – to win the 500 free at the conference meet.

Boyle had a shot at her second win of the meet and her straight third 1650-free title at Pac-10s, but the 2008 New Zealand  Olympian took second in the 1650 with an NCAA-consideration and Cal season-best time of 16:09.72. Bears senior Blake Hayter placed seventh with her season-best and NCAA-consideration time of 16:25.78. USC’s Haley Anderson won with an NCAA-B time of 16:02.53.

Senior teammate Heather White posted Cal’s season-best time in the 200 backstroke, with an NCAA-B 1:57.85. Stanford’s Julia Smit claimed the title with an NCAA-meet record and automatic NCAA-qualifying time of 1:50.76. That topped the previous conference-meet record of 1:50.90 set by former Cal star Natalie Coughlin in 2002.

Bears finished 2-3 in the 200 breaststroke, with senior Alexandra Ellis clocking an automatic NCAA-qualifying time of 2:09.97 in second place and freshman Caitlin Leverenz swimming an NCAA-B time of 2:10.51 in third. Leverenz’s time is her Cal personal record and keeps her in second place on the Bears’ all-time record books behind Ellis’ school-record 2:09.51. Stanford’s Liz Smith won the race with an NCAA-qualifying 2:07.65.

Cal put two Bears – sophomore Sara Isakovic (4th, 1:53.99, NCAA A) and junior Amanda Sims (6th, 1:56.44, NCAA B) – in the 200-butterfly final. Isakovic’s time is also her Cal personal record and moved her past former Cal great Mary T. Meagher into fourth place in the Bears’ all-time record book. USC’s Katinka Hosszu won the 200 fly (1:52.71, NCAA A).

In the meet’s final event, the 400-free relay, the Bears foursome of Wilson, Isakovic, Dagg and Jensen finished second behind Stanford (3:12.83, NCAA A) with the nation’s third-fastest time. That time of 3:14.66 (NCAA A) ranks Cal behind only the Cardinal and Georgia (3:14.09, NCAA A) at this point of the season.

“I’m really proud of the way the girls raced,” Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. “Hannah did an exceptional job. She had a great, great morning swim in the 100 free and came back and backed it up tonight and had a great relay, too. Alexandra Ellis was awesome, Sara’s 200 fly was good and Liv did a nice job getting in the 100 free and in the relay.

“We’re in a good situation. It was the first time since I’ve been coaching that we’ve ever gotten second place, too. We definitely had to step up tonight because USC and Arizona had a great session. USC was exceptional in diving. I’m excited to see where we can be in a couple weeks. We were in a different situation this year – people are chasing us. Last year, we were the ones chasing. But once people are coming after you, you’re in a different place. I was proud to see we handled it well.”


Oregon State

Michaela Ahlin finished 11th in the 200 butterfly to highlight Washington State’s performance during the fourth and final day of the Pacific-10 Conference Swimming Championships.
 
Shelbi Luchini (2:02.81) and Danielle Palumbo (2:03.08) moved into sixth and eighth, respectively, on the all-time WSU list in the 200 back. Sarah Hicks also recorded her season-best time 2:11.37 in the event.
 
Rachael Krager (17:19.74) and Breezy Gonzales (17:26.84) each posted their fastest time of the season in the 1650 free. Gonzales added a season-best 2:08.83 in the 200 butterfly.
 
In the 100 free, Rugile Mileisyte and Talor Whitaker advanced to the “C” Final. Jennifer Dean (51.46) Evelina Bieleckaite (51.88), Melissa Bogert (51.97), Pam McGhee (52.87), Kelsey Bruggman (54.26) and Andrea Emde (55.00) each turned in a season-best time.
 
Shawna Keller earned a spot in the “C” Final of the 200 breast and notched her season-best time of 2:19.94. The WSU 400 free relay finished seventh in 3:22.42. The Cougars finished eighth at the event.


USC

Sophomore Katinka Hosszu and freshman Haley Anderson each won their first career conference titles, leading 11 different USC swimmers and divers who made finals appearances on the last day of the 2010 Pac-10 Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday (Feb. 27).

The No. 9 Trojans claimed third place in the ultra-competitive Pac-10 meet with 1298.5 points, their best finish since also finishing third in 2003. No. 1 Stanford (1489) took first and was followed by No. 5 Cal (1341), USC, No. 4 Arizona (1223.5), UCLA (1015), Arizona State (635.5), Oregon State (413) and Washington State (318.5).

USC posted strong final days both at the swimming championships held in Long Beach, Calif., as well as the diving held in Federal Way, Wash., where sophomore Victoria Ishimatsu was named Diver of the Meet.

Hosszu, the owner of three World Championships medals – one gold and two silver – finally was able to add a Pac-10 title to the mix when she held off Stanford senior Elaine Breeden and junior teammate Lyndsay DePaul to win the 200y fly in 1:52.71. Hosszu had finished either second or third in her previous five Pac-10 finals.

DePaul was second with 50 yards to go, but Breeden’s final 50 led the field, though enough only to secure second place (1:53.15) while DePaul touched third (1:53.88) for her third top 5 finish of the meet.

For Hosszu, the win was USC’s first in the 200y fly since Kaitlin Sandeno in 2004 and her winning time was just off Sandeno’s school record of 1:52.63. Joining Hosszu and DePaul in the final were sophomore Tanya Krisman (seventh, 1:56.97) and freshman Yumi So (eighth, 1:56.99), each making their Pac-10 finals debut.

As for Anderson, she led wire-to-wire in the 1650y to win USC’s first crown in the event since 2005 and its sixth overall. She won the race in a personal best 16:02.53, and was never seriously challenged by second-place finisher Lauren Boyle (16:07.21) of Cal or third-place finisher Joni Keith of Arizona (16:10.03). Trojan junior Ellie Doran shaved some 15 seconds off her personal best time to finish a career-best sixth in the race in 16:14.75.

In the 200y back final, USC junior Presley Bard and senior Dina Hegazy finished second and fourth, respectively. Bard, the Pac-10 winner in the 100y back, touched in 1:51.80, erasing Hegazy’s year-old school record in the race (1:53.27). Hegazy, making her second consecutive appearance in the final, took fourth in 1:55.63.

At the diving pool in Washington, Ishimatsu followed her titles in the 1- and 3-meter springboard with a finals appearance on platform, where she finished fifth with 258.20 points. Sophomore Michela Fossati-Bellani turned in her second straight finals appearance and was seventh (232.45) while senior Alexis DeMond also was a finalist, finishing eighth (231.60) in her fourth career Pac-10 finals.

In the 100y free, freshman Christel Simms won the consolation heat in 49.81, a personal best. In the 200y breast, freshmen Jordan Danny (2:13.84) and Jessica Schmitt (2:13.95) took 10th and 12th, respectively.

USC finished off the meet with two more school records in the 400y free relay as Bard, DePaul, Hosszu and freshman Kate Shumway took third in 3:16.22, shattering the 2002 school mark of 3:18.76. Bard’s lead-off leg of 48.31 also broke Rhi Jeffrey’s 2006 record of 48.60.


Stanford

In a total team effort, Julia Smit was named the Pac-10 Conference's Swimmer of the Meet and No. 1-ranked Stanford won its first conference title since 2005.

The Cardinal took home 10 Pac-10 titles over the four-day event, which included three individual wins by Smit (200 IM, 400 IM and 200 back) and relay titles in the 400 free, 200 free and 400 medley relays. Stanford finished with 1489 points, ahead of Cal (1341) and USC (1298.5).

“This was a fun meet-- a championship meet and a great team effort,” said fifth-year head coach and Olympic alumnae Lea Maurer, who won her first coaching title, after four Pac-10 titles as a swimmer. “We had great leadership from every class, and that is what is necessary to pull off a successful meet.”

The Cardinal put an exclamation mark on the Pac-10 Championships, winning the final event, the 400 free relay, after Liz Smith (200 breaststroke) and Smit (200 backstroke) won individual titles earlier in the evening.

Smit closed out her Pac-10 Championship career with eight individual titles, winning the 200 backstroke by breaking her third school-record in as many days. Her time of 1:50.76, broke her own mark set earlier this year of 1:52.13.

For the meet, she was an unanimous selection for the meet's top honor, receiving a standing ovation at the event's conclusion after breaking two of her own American, school, NCAA and Pac-10 records in the 200 and 400 individual medleys as well as another school-record in the 200 backstroke. She was also a part of two relay wins, the firsts of her career.

Showing a continued dominance in the 200 breaststroke, Smith's time of 2:07.65 was just five-tenths slower than school-record holder Tara Kirk's 2004 time of 2:07.13. It was the team's sixth win since 2001 in that event, but first by Smith.

“It was a big boost to team moral to see some new faces steal wins,” said Maurer, who also saw solid performances from underclassmen Betsy Webb, Sam Woodward and Andi Murez.

Senior Elaine Breeden, finished second in the 200 butterfly with a mark of 1:53.15. Breeden, who won the 100 fly on Friday, finishes her Pac-10 career with five titles.

Showing a dominance all year in the sprints, the Cardinal placed four swimmers in the finals of the 100 freestyle. Kate Dwelley finished second (48.24), followed by career-bests by Webb (48.51) for fourth and Murez for fifth (48.53). Woodward was sixth (48.87). The quartet gave the Cardinal 103 points midway through the Saturday finale.

In the final diving event, in Federal Way, WA, defending platform champion Carmen Stellar was fourth with 258.35 points. On the men's side, Brent Eichenseer was third with a tally of 391.85.

With the meet virtually won by Stanford, Smit, Murez, Webb and Kate Dwelley raced to a time of 3:12.83 in the 400 free for the team's 10th title of the championship. For Webb, it was her third relay title.


Washington State

Michaela Ahlin finished 11th in the 200 butterfly to highlight Washington State’s performance during the fourth and final day of the Pacific-10 Conference Swimming Championships.
 
Shelbi Luchini (2:02.81) and Danielle Palumbo (2:03.08) moved into sixth and eighth, respectively, on the all-time WSU list in the 200 back. Sarah Hicks also recorded her season-best time 2:11.37 in the event.
 
Rachael Krager (17:19.74) and Breezy Gonzales (17:26.84) each posted their fastest time of the season in the 1650 free. Gonzales added a season-best 2:08.83 in the 200 butterfly.
 
In the 100 free, Rugile Mileisyte and Talor Whitaker advanced to the “C” Final. Jennifer Dean (51.46) Evelina Bieleckaite (51.88), Melissa Bogert (51.97), Pam McGhee (52.87), Kelsey Bruggman (54.26) and Andrea Emde (55.00) each turned in a season-best time.
 
Shawna Keller earned a spot in the “C” Final of the 200 breast and notched her season-best time of 2:19.94. The WSU 400 free relay finished seventh in 3:22.42. The Cougars finished eighth at the event.

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