Cal returns to top of podium
Bears win five individual titles on way to 29.5-point advantage
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AUSTIN, Texas -- California captured its second team title in three years in the NCAA Championships at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center on Saturday. The Golden Bears clinched their team victory by taking third place in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the last race of the meet. Cal collected a school-record 424 points to edge second-place Georgia (394.5 points). USC finished third (351) and Stanford was fourth (272).
The Bears also won their first NCAA team crown in the Lone Star State, reaching the top podium in College Station, Texas, on the campus of Texas A&M in 2009. As in 2009, the 2011 Cal squad won five national titles -- the 100-yard butterfly (senior Amanda Sims), 100-yard backstroke (freshman Cindy Tran), 200- and 400-yard medley relays and 200-yard freestyle relay.
Cal had a pair of freshman in the first final Saturday night -- the 200-yard backstroke. Deborah Roth, who took second in the 100-backstroke final on Friday, finished eighth in the 200 with a time of 1:53.80, while Stephanie Au won the consolation final in a time of 1:53.33. Au's time places her fourth on Cal's all-time list.
Wisconsin's Maggie Meyer won the race in a time of 1:50.76.
Three Bears swam in the 100-yard freestyle finals, with senior Hannah Wilson clocking a time of 48.12 to take seventh and junior Liv Jensen placing eighth in a time of 48.32. Senior Erica Dagg finished 10th with a time of 48.17.
Auburn's Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, also the 50 free champ, won the 100 free in a time of 47.07.
Sophomore Caitlin Leverenz broke her own school record in the 200-yard breaststroke, posting a time of 2:06.23. Leverenz took the lead in the latter half of the final, but a tight finish resulted in Minnesota's Haley Spencer winning in a time of 2:06.12.
Sims, junior Sara Isakovic and senior Katie Kastes swam in the 200-yard butterfly finals, poising Cal to capture the team title in the relay. Sims, who won the 100 fly on Friday, finished fifth in the 200 with a time of 1:54.2. Sims finished her Cal career as the third-fastest swimmer in the 200 fly with her prelim time of 1:53.17.
Isakovic also swam in the 200 fly A final, placing seventh in a time of 1:54.88, while Kastes, swimming in her final event as a Bear, finished 12th with a career-best time of 1:56.77. Kastes' time made her the ninth-fastest 200 flyer in school history.
USC's Katinka Hosszu, also the Pac-10 champion in the 200 fly, won her third national title in a pool-record time of 1:51.69.
The Cal quartet of Wilson, Isakovic, Dagg and Jensen clocked a season-best time of 3:12.20 to take third in the 400-free relay. Georgia won the relay in an American- and pool-record time of 3:11.03. Cal set the NCAA record of 3:09.88 when it won the national team title in 2009.