Bears can check the done box next to one of their goal of the season, winning the Pac-12 team title. In addition to winning only the 3rd Pac-12 title in program history (compares to 3 NCAA titles already), the Bears get some always great to have momentum heading to the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, MN on March 20-22.
Despite a self-inflicted setback on Thursday night, thanks to a DQ in a relay (which are worth double points), the Bears have come together as a team with everyone contributing points to rally past our Bay Area rival in Leland Stanford Junior University.
After a successful morning where the Bears placed 11 swimmers in the A-Finals (compare to only 6 for 'Furd), mathematically, you have to figure that a Pac-12 team title is inevitable. When everything is all said and done, the Bears are triumphant with a final team total of 1552.5, a 188.5 point win over 2nd place Stanfurd and the rest of the Pac. For the meet, the Bears finished with a total of 5 individual wins and 3 relays wins.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, freshman Calympian Missy Franklin was named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet after winning 3 individual events and swam in 3 winning relays (while setting 4 Pac-12 records).
Oops, I forgot the spoiler alert for those hoping to not know the result when watching the Pac-12 Networks' tape-delayed coverage on Monday at 9 PM PT.
List of Pac-12 Titles won by Cal in the 2014 Pac-12 Championships
- 800 Free relay - Franklin, Acker, Piehl, Pelton in 6:53.57 - a Pac-12 record (breaking a previous record held by a Cal quartet of Vollmer, Kennedy, Boyle, Wilson)
- 500 Free - Missy Franklin in 4:35.73 - a Pac-12 record
- 200 Free - Missy Franklin in 1:42.29 - a Pac-12 record
- 100 Back - Rachel Bootsma in 51.19
- 400 Medley relay - Tran (back), Li (breast), Bootsma (fly), and Franklin (free) in 3:29.23
- 200 Back - Elizabeth Pelton in 1:52.18 (not as good as her record setting time last year)
- 100 Free - Missy Franklin in 47.17 - a Pac-12 record (breaking Dana Vollmer's record from 2009)
- 400 Free relay - Bing, Acker, Piehl, and Franklin in 3:11.49
Final Team Rankings
1. University of California, Berk 1552.5
2. Stanford University 1364
3. University of Southern Calif 1327
4. University of CA - Los Angeles 936.5
5. Arizona, University of 933.5
6. Utah, University of 758
7. Arizona State University 461.5
8. Washington State University 346
9. Oregon State University 309
In the Cal loaded 200 Back A-Final (again without Missy Franklin since she is swimming the 100 Free next), Elizabeth Pelton was the winner. Sophomore Pelton matched the feat achieved by her fellow teammate sophomore Rachel Bootsma, by repeating as the Pac-12 champion. Bootsma was able to repeat as the 100 Back winner.
200 Back award winners! @CalAthletics' Elizabeth Pelton wins 2nd-straight title in the event #pac12champ pic.twitter.com/cxoEJwCpd7— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 2, 2014
The bulk of the Bears' point from this event came from Melanie Klaren, Stephanie Au, Kelly Naze, and Sophia Batchelor finishing 3 through 6. Cindy Tran added the 10th place finish for the Bears.
For the 3rd straight day, Missy Franklin set another Pac-12 record. This time it is by winning the 100 Free.
.@calathletics picks up another win Missy Franklin sets a #pac12champ meet record with a 47.17 #pac12swim pic.twitter.com/puGtUYFJaI— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 2, 2014
Rachel Acker and Kaylin Bing finished 6th and 7th for the Bears in the 100 Free A-Final. With those results, the Bears built up a ~200 point lead on Stanfurd.
In the marathon swimming event of the 1650 free, Cal's Catherine Breed finished 8th. In 200 Breast, Cal's freshman Marina Garcia finished 5th. In 200 Fly, Rachel Bootsma got on the podium with a 3rd place finish. Sophia Batchelor added an 8th place finish for the Bears in 200 Fly.
Even in platform diving, Cal's Kahley Rowell was able to finish 2nd (ahead of Furd's Hinrichs who was 4th) to score more points for the Bears.
To cap things off, the Bears finished the day with another relay win. This time, the quartet of Kaylin Bing, Rachael Acker, Caroline Piehl, and Missy Franklin were able to win the 400 free relay.
On Friday, knowing that it would take a full team effort to win the team title, 22 of 25 competing Bears were able to score points. In 3 of the 6 swimming events, Cal was able to win the event, including the double points in the relay (400 Medley). While Stanfurd did score victories in the other three swimming events, the Cal team as a whole scored more points to take the lead at the end of 14 events.
Heading into the final day of competition on Saturday, the Bears had a 1019.5 to 967 team point lead on rival Stanfurd.
London 2012 Calympian Rachel Bootsma was able to shake off a somewhat inconsistent year of swimming to defend her 100 Back title (which Missy Franklin did not compete in). The sophomore has now won the Pac-12 100 Back title twice.
Instead of swimming the backstroke where the Bears are loaded. Missy Franklin is helping the team out by focusing on the freestyle. For the second consecutive day, Missy Franklin set a Pac-12 record. This time it is in 200 Free.
For the 400 medley relay, the Cal quartet of Rachel Bootsma (fly), Missy Franklin (free), Celina Li (breast), and Cindy Tran (back) won the Pac-12 title.
Podium for the 400 Medley Relay: 1) @CalAthletics 2) @stanfordwswim 3) @ArizonaSwimming #pac12champ pic.twitter.com/sknJCaAExg— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 1, 2014
On Thursday, the Bears fell to 3rd place at the end of the day, thanks to a DQ in the 200 Free relay. To be fair, the Bears were going to trail Stanfurd at the end of the day regardless, thanks to Furd's dominance in the 1 meter diving event. Nevertheless, the task to win the Pac-12 team title became much tougher without the 64 point from a relay win (had there not been a DQ, the Bears would have edged Arizona).
Nevertheless, Cal did win an individual title on Thursday with Missy Franklin winning the 500 Free while also setting a Pac-12 record.
ICYMI: @CalAthletics' Missy Franklin set a #pac12swim champs record in the 500 free. Video: http://t.co/c5oKkGzHcZ pic.twitter.com/d2bJ9NBT65— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) February 28, 2014
On Wednesday, the first day of competition. The Bears came in second in the 200 medley relay but capture the Pac-12 title in the 800 Free Relay (and a Pac-12 record).
The record breaking quarter for the Bears were Caroline Piehl, Rachael Acker, Missy Franklin, and Elizabeth Pelton.
Your winners for the 800 freestyle relay! @cal_athletics #pac12champ pic.twitter.com/grjgAaOMKT— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) February 27, 2014
Caroline Piehl was interviewed after the race.