AUBURN, Ala. – A record-setting day for California propelled the defending NCAA champion into first place at the NCAA Championships on Thursday, the first day of the national meet. The Golden Bears captured the 400-yard medley relay and junior Caitlin Leverenz won the 200-yard individual medley to set NCAA and U.S. Open records, and senior Liv Jensen posted school and pool records in winning the second 50-yard freestyle title of her career.
Cal leads with 132 points, while Stanford and USC are tied for second with 118 points apiece. The top four teams hail from the Pac-12 Conference, as Arizona is fourth with 107 points.
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Sophomore Cindy Tran, Leverenz, senior Sara Isakovic and senior Katherine Raatz won the 400-yard medley relay final for Cal in a time of 3:28.10, surpassing the NCAA, U.S. Open, Pac-12, school and pool record of 3:28.14 that the same four Bears set in Thursday morning’s preliminary round.
Leverenz likewise set an NCAA, U.S. Open, Pac-12, school and pool record of 1:51.77 to win the 200 IM, her first individual title in three appearances at the NCAA Championships. Her time edged her previous school record of 1:52.43 set earlier this season.
Jensen, who claimed the 50 free at 2010 NCAAs, clocked a school- and pool-record time of 21.48 to win the sprint Thursday evening. She also broke her own school record (21.50) set last season.
After setting a school record and a pool record of 1:27.11 with the fastest 200-free relay in the prelim, the Cal quartet of freshman Kaylin Bing, Jensen, senior Colleen Fotsch and Raatz took second place in the final with a time of 1:27.22. Stanford broke the pool record in the final, winning in a time of 1:26.85.
Senior Shelley Harper took seventh place in the 500-free final with a time of 4:38.50. In the prelim, she recorded a time of 4:37.58 to move past Natalie Coughlin as the third-fastest Bear ever in the 500 free. Freshman Catherine Breed took 11th place in the final with a time of 4:38.05 and ranks as the fifth-fastest Bear in the 500 free.
Sophomore Kahley Rowell – only the second Cal women’s diver to qualify for the NCAA Championships – did not reach the Thursday night finals. She finished in 37th place in the prelim with a score of 227.55.