Cal Women's Swimming and Diving NCAA Championship Recap + ESPNU Broadcast Open Thread

Rachel Bootsma (left) and Elizabeth Pelton (right) both won an individual NCAA Championship last weekend. - Al Bello

In case you missed it among the various Cal Athletics event last week, here is the post recapping how Cal Women's Swimming and Diving did at the NCAA last week. You can also catch the action on ESPNU this evening. GO BEARS!

TV Broadcast of the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championship:

Channel: ESPNU

Time: 7 PM PT

After winning the last two NCAA Championships and 3 of the last 4 (the only 3 in program history, by the way, despite a very long history of aquatic success), the Bears went to Indianapolis last week with the hope of a three-peat.


Twice runner-ups to the Bears, the Georgia Bulldogs, broke through and won this year's NCAA team title. Bears finished a very strong 2nd place. SInce we are not jaded like UCLA or completely apathetic like Furd, Cal fans should still be quite pleased with the result. In particular, this year's squad only had one senior, Calympian Caitlin Leverenz (more about her below), and was also led by two freshmen swimming stars in Elizabeth Pelton (Swimmer of the Meet) and Rachel Bootsma. Things are looking particularly bright for the program, with the incoming of swimming phenom/superstar Missy Franklin. Perhaps, the trio of Franklin, Bootsma, and Pelton can emulate their swimming idol, Cal great Natalie Coughlin, and inspire the next generation of swimming stars to come to Berkeley, 8 years from now.

For those interested in the times (and the splits), a complete result of the entire meet can be found here.

Here is my preview/open thread for day 1, day 2, and day 3. Most of the information here has to do with points breakdown, etc.

2013 Individual NCAA Champions:

Caitlin Leverenz:

The lone senior on this year's very talented squad, Leverenz, an Calympian in the London 2012 games, was looking to close out her illustrious collegiate career on a high note. The 200 IM bronze medalists in the London 2012 game became an individual NCAA Champion yet again in this event.

Leverenz also scored points for the Bears in swimming the breast legs for the 2nd placed Cal in both the 400 medley relay and the 200 medley relay. Individually, Leverenz also finished 3rd in the 400 IM and 6th in 200 Breast.

With the CGB, Hall of Fame nomination coming up and Leverenz being eligible as a graduating senior, here are the NCAA Championship that Leverenz has earned in her Cal career (I'm restricting to only her NCAA titles here, otherwise there are too many accolades to list).

2013 200 IM

2012 200 IM

2012 200 Breast

2012 200 Medley Relay

2012 400 Medley Relay

2012 NCAA Team Championship

2011 200 Medley Relay

2011 400 Medley Relay

2011 NCAA Team Championship

In 2012, Leverenz also won the Honda Sports Award for Swimming, NCAA Swimmer of the Meet and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year awards. While the NCAA Team Championships won has more to do with the depth of the Cal swim team rather than individual performances, you do have to give Leverenz plenty of credit for being a huge part of those teams.

Rachel Bootsma:

Freshman Rachel Bootsma is the other Calympian on this year's squad. She narrowly beat out fellow Bear, Elizabeth Pelton, at the US Olympics Swim Trial last year in 100 Back to make the Olympics squad. With her swim in the prelim part of the 400 medley relay, Bootsma has an Olympic gold from 2012 London (she also finished 11th in the 100 Back).

Following the footstep of her idol, Natalie Coughlin, Bootsma won the 100 Back in dominant fashion at the NCAA this year, preserving the title in the Cal swimming family (Cindy Tran won this last year). She will face a very tough challenge to retain this title next year against Missy Franklin.

In addition to her 100 back prowess, Bootsma performed very well in butterfly (and has great potential to win NCAA titles in fly in her future). By the tiniest of margin, Bootsma finished 2nd in the 100 Fly. Individually, she also finished 6th in the 200 Fly. Rachel also swam the butterfly leg of the 400 medley relay (2nd place), in addition to the backstroke leg of the 200 medley relay (also 2nd place), and legs in the 200 and the 400 Free relays.

That's 3 different strokes that she has swam and scored points for the Bears, and she is only a freshman.

Elizabeth Pelton:

Pelton was named the Swimmer of the Meet for her all around contribution during the weekend. After losing out to Bootsma in the 100 Back, Pelton unselfishly switched to the 200 Back and 200 Free to give the Georgia swimmers some direct competition.

The highlight for Pelton is clearly her winning the 200 Back, but her most impressive result might have been her 2nd place finish in the 200 Free (breaking up a trio of Georgia swimmers who are better known for that event). Pelton also finished runner up to teammate Leverenz in the 200 IM. Pelton was also a huge part of the Cal relays, swimming in 4 of the 5 relay events.

Here is her interview after winning the 200 Back.

More interview, this time with Cal Coach Teri McKeever:

Other Cal Swimmers and a Diver:

For the Bears to finish 2nd, it was clearly a team effort. For the second consecutive year, Bears got points from diving thanks to the work of Kahley Rowell. Bears also got plenty of important points from other swimmers making it to the A and B Finals. Freshman Rachael Acker give the Bears another Freestylist to compete against the likes of Georgia with her 100 Free A Final performance. Here are the full list of Cal results that scored points:

200-Yard Freestyle Relay
5. Cal A (Kaylin Bing, Cindy Tran, Elizabeth Pelton, Rachel Bootsma) 1:28.31.

500-Yard Freestyle
12. Catherine Breed 4:39.72.

200-Yard Individual Medley
1. Caitlin Leverenz 1:53.39. 2. Elizabeth Pelton 1:53.82.

400-Yard Medley Relay
3. Cal A (Cindy Tran, Caitlin Leverenz, Rachel Bootsma, Elizabeth Pelton) 3:29.47.

200-Yard Medley Relay
2. Cal A (Rachel Bootsma, Caitlin Leverenz, Cindy Tran, Kaylin Bing) 1:35.53.

400-Yard Individual Medley
3. Caitlin Leverenz 4:02.98.

100-Yard Butterfly
2. Rachel Bootsma 51.68.

200-Yard Freestyle
2. Elizabeth Pelton 1:42.13. 7. Caroline Piehl 1:45.14. 9. Rachael Acker 1:44.33. 14. Catherine Breed 1:46.01.

100-Yard Backstroke
1. Rachel Bootsma 50.13. 5. Cindy Tran 51.92. 12. Stephanie Au 51.88. 13. Melanie Klaren 52.12.

800-Yard Freestyle Relay
3. Cal A (Rachael Acker, Caroline Piehl, Catherine Breed, Elizabeth Pelton) 6:57.44.

200-Yard Backstroke
1. Elizabeth Pelton 1:47.84. 11. Melanie Klaren 1:53.05.

100-Yard Freestyle
6. Rachael Acker 48.29.

200-Yard Breaststroke
6. Caitlin Leverenz 2:07.41.

200-Yard Butterfly
6. Rachel Bootsma 1:55.57.

Platform Diving
8. Kahley Rowell 271.25.

400-Yard Freestyle Relay
3. Cal A (Elizabeth Pelton, Kaylin Bing, Rachael Acker, Rachel Bootsma) 3:11.58.

Final team score:

Team	        Points
1. Georgia	477
2. California	393
3. Tennessee	325.5
4. Texas A&M	323.5
5. Arizona	311
6. Florida	305
7. USC	        291
8. Stanford	246
9. Texas	186
10. Minnesota	141

More interesting swimming tidbits:

Swimswam got an economics professor to analyze the correlation between the "pysch sheet" (pre-meet qualifying time) and the final result.

More Cal Swimming Action this week!

Congratulations to Coach Teri McKeever and the entire Cal Women's Swimming and Diving Team! Be sure to check back here starting tomorrow, as the 2nd ranked Cal Men's Swimming and Diving Team is going for a third consecutive NCAA team championship.


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