BERKELEY, Calif. – Swimming in the last home meet of her collegiate career, Caitlin Leverenz won four events to lead seventh-ranked California past No. 2 Stanford 154.5-145.5 on Saturday at the Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears’ lone senior won both breaststroke events, captured the 200 yard individual medley and swam the breaststroke leg of the winning 200 yard medley relay.
“We’re moving into a really important part of the season, and the thing I’m most proud of is we’re better than we were two weeks ago. I think, too, our depth — getting fourth instead of fifth and third instead of fourth — that shows that the next level of our athletes really did a nice job,” Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. “What a way for Caitlin to end her career at home.”
The Bears got off to a great start when they won the medley relay, as the quartet of freshman Rachel Bootsma, Leverenz, junior Cindy Tran and freshman Rachael Acker posted a winning time of 1:38.67.
Cal won five of the eight events before the first break and led at that point 78.5-71.5. Those events included freshman Elizabeth Pelton winning the 200 freestyle in an NCAA “B” cut qualifying time of 1:45.61, Leverenz taking the 100 breaststroke in an NCAA “B” time of 59.77, Bootsma clocking an NCAA “B” time of 1:57.66 to claim the 200 butterfly and junior diver Kahley Rowell posting a score of 285.15 to edge Stanford’s Stephanie Phipps (284.33) for the win on the 3-meter springboard.
The Bears won three of the next six events heading into the second break, leading by a slim margin 132.5-131.5. Those events included Pelton — who boasts the nation’s fastest time (1:48.90, NCAA “A”) in the 200 backstroke — capturing her second individual event of the day by taking the 200 back in an NCAA “B” time of 1:54.72, Leverenz — the defending NCAA champ in the 200 breaststroke — winning the 200 breast in an NCAA “B” time of 2:10.07 and Bootsma also winning her second individual event in narrowly beating Stanford’s Felicia Lee 53.25-53.48 in the 100 fly.
Cal clinched the Big Meet in the next to last event when Leverenz — also the defending NCAA champ in the 200 IM — won the 200 IM in an NCAA “B” time of 1:57.14. Pelton placed second (NCAA “B” time of 1:59.25) and freshman Kelly Naze finished third (2:00.07, NCAA “B”). The Bears led 148.5-135.5 at that point, and barring a disqualification in the 400-freestyle relay, would have won the Big Meet even if they just placed third in the event.
The Bears took second place with the quartet of Acker, Tran, Bootsma and Pelton posting an NCAA “B” time of 3:19.12 and third place, with junior Mikkel-Ane Stipe and sophomores Kaylin Bing, Camille Cheng and Caroline Piehl clocking a time of 3:22.49, after the Cardinal win in an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 3:16.96.
The win marked just the second time that Cal beat Stanford at home.