California wins Pac-12 championship
Divers allow Bears to pull away from second-place Stanford
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Bolstered by two individual wins and strong diving finishes on the platform on the final day of competition, California captured the 2012 Pac-12 championship on Saturday. It is the Golden Bears’ second overall title after also winning in 2009.
Battling Stanford for the lead throughout the evening, Cal held a slim five-point margin with two events remaining. Kahley Rowell and Alissa Barker both competed in the platform finals, picking up 47 points for the Bears. Altogether, Cal counted 79 points from its divers in the event. The Bears also placed third in the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, to win the four-day meet with 1389.5 points to the Cardinal’s 1341.5.
USC finished third (1225), followed by Arizona (1171), UCLA (1087.5), Arizona State (790.5), Utah (485), Oregon State (326.5) and Washington State (239.5).
USC junior Haley Anderson opened the evening with her third consecutive 1,650 freestyle championship, crushing the meet record with a time of 15:41.52. The previous record was 15:48.99 by former Trojan Kailyn Keller in 2004. ASU sophomore Tristan Baxter was second (16:05.50) and Cal freshman Catherine Breed finished third (16:10.13).
Stanford sophomore Maya DiRado defended her title in the 200 backstroke, touching the wall in 1:52.77. Arizona sophomore Sarah Denninghoff was the runner-up in 1:53.21 while Wildcat junior Lauren Smart took third (1:54.45).
Cal senior Liv Jensen also defended her title, winning the 100 freestyle in 21.70. She brought her individual medal total to three after also winning the 50 freestyle on Thursday. Arizona sophomore Margo Geer finished second (47.78), and Stanford senior Betsy Webb rounded out the top three (48.38).
Cal junior Caitlin Leverenz, who was named Swimmer of the Meet, won her second straight 200 breaststroke crown in 2:05.49. She also won the 400 individual medley and swam on the winning 400 medley relay. USC sophomore Stina Gardell placed second in 2:09.48 and her teammate, junior Jessie Schmitt took third in 2:10.57.
USC senior Katinka Hosszu added another title to her decorated career, capturing her third consecutive 200 butterfly in 1:52.26. She closed her conference career with seven individual wins. Fellow Trojan senior Tanya Krisman finished second (1:54.78) and Cal senior Sara Isakovic took third (1:54.87).
ASU senior Elina Eggers won her second platform title, scoring 308.35 in the final to finish ahead of USC senior Victoria Ishimatsu (282.45) and UCLA freshman Emma Ivory-Ganja (277.55). Ishimatsu won Women’s Diver of the Meet for the fourth straight year after taking gold on both springboard events.
Stanford won the meet’s final event, the 400 freestyle relay, in 3:12.34. Freshman Maddy Schaefer, senior Sam Woodward, junior Andi Murez and senior Betsy Webb won the event for the Cardinal. Arizona finished second in 3:13.81, and Cal celebrated its team title after finishing third in 3:16.80.