The No. 3 Cardinal women’s swimming and diving team claimed second place at this year’s Pac-12 Championship meet. The team put up an incredible fight over the four-day meet, but in the end, Cal was able to eke out a 1,629.5-1401 victory. The win was the Bears’ third championship in the last four seasons.
However, the meet certainly wasn’t without its highlights and victories for the Card. Freshman powerhouse Simone Manuel proved that she’s a threat to be reckoned with, especially in the 100-yard freestyle. Manuel clocked a Pac-12 record time of 46.70 in that event. Stanford also broke the existing school record in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:10.69.
“This morning an was up and down four, but tonight was fantastic,” said head coach Greg Meehan after the last day of the meet. “Simone and Lia were electric in the 100 free, Lilly Hinrichs had a stellar performance on platform and we ended the session as best as possible.”
Olympic medalist Missy Franklin secured the win in the 200-yard freestyle for Cal with a 1:41.09, edging Manuel by six-hundredths of a second. Cal’s other big wins came in the 400-yard intermediate medley, where it claimed first and second place, and the 100-yard backstroke, which Cal’s Rachel Bootsma won by a full second.
The tournament wasn’t decided on solely the last day of competition, though. The Cardinal started off in second at the end of night one, after losing to Cal in both the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle.
“I’m really pleased with our session tonight,” said head coach Greg Meehan after the first day. “We had some great splits on our relays; Jane Hu and Sarah Haase in particular were awesome on the medley.”
Day two, however, was all about diving. Junior Alex Clay earned the top spot in the three-meter dives to help hold Stanford’s second-place spot through another day. Clay notched a score of 363.95 and cruised to victory over second place Samantha Pickens of the University of Arizona, who scored a 352.95. Clay showed the widest margin of improvement between the prelims and the finals amongst all the competitors — her score jumped 50 points between the two rounds.
“Clay was a hammer winning the three-meter dive,” Meehan said.
But the meet was only halfway over and the Cardinal trailed the No. 1 Bears 535-479.5. The feature win on day three for the Card was junior Sarah Haase’s first-place strike in the 100-yard breaststroke. Haase recorded a 58.60, beating UCLA’s Allison Wine by over a second. Stanford managed to edge Cal in the 400-yard medley relay to end the night with two big wins.
However, the Card were still in second when the final night of competition rolled around, and were unable to close the gap despite a pair of wins. The second-place finish qualifies the team for the NCAA tournament later this month. Last year, Stanford made it all the way to the finals before falling to eventual national champion Georgia.
Contact Carlie Tenenbaum at carliet ‘at’ stanford.edu.