With the Cal family and supports in the stand all decked out in Gold for Day 2, the California Golden Bears women's swimming team had a golden day in the pool, winning 4 more NCAA titles (2 individual and 2 relays) while rewriting more of the record book. By the end of the night, the Bears find themselves with a comfortable 84 point lead on the Georgia Bulldogs. A strong Saturday morning of prelims should effectively seal the deal on the 4th NCAA team title in program history.
A standing O by the Cal fans here in Greensboro for the 200 medley relay champs! pic.twitter.com/0WYcck1473— Cal W Swim/Dive (@CalWSwim) March 20, 2015
Here are your links to view the meet online: (videos link below are also available as On Demand)
Prelims for all 3 days and Thursday evening session (FREE): NC State website
Friday evening session: WatchESPN
Saturday evening session: WatchESPN
Live results: Meet Results
My preview, including the scoring for this meet can be found here.
Day 1 recap and Day 2 live comment is found here.
Let's start by focus on the 4 newest titles (42nd and 43rd individual titles and 16th and 17th relay titles in program history).
200 Medley Relay - Rachel Bootsma (back), Marina Garcia (breast), Noemie Thomas (fly), and Farida Osman (free)
Just like Night 1, the Bears won the opening relay of the night behind yet another incredible anchor leg swum by sophomore Calympian (Egypt) in Farida Osman. With a split of 21.09, Osman was able to once again overtake another team (this time, it was the Louisville Cardinals) on the last leg. Junior Rachel Bootsma, warming up for the 100 Back later in the night, started the Bears with a fast first leg. After sophomores Marina Garcia from Spain and freshman Noemie Thomas from Canada kept the Bears just slightly behind the next lane neighbors in Louisville, Osman did her thing.
Coincidentally, the Stanford Cardinal who were the defending champs in this relay failed to qualify for the A-Final with a poor morning swim. With a slightly different lineup for the evening's B-Final, Stanford actually had a better time than the Golden Bears in winning the official 9th place of this race.
200 Free - Missy Franklin (record breaking speed of 1:39)
With the ESPN coverage starting tonight (they will also stream the final night via ESPN3 with a broadcast on ESPNU at some later time), the focus of the coverage is rightfully on Missy Franklin. After winning the 200 IM (not her specialty) and be a part of the winning 200 Free relay, Missy's first showcase of her incredible talent is in the 200 Free, an event that she won at the last year's NCAA.
With a supposed possible challenge from Stanford's Simone Manuel, Missy Franklin out of the gate left no doubt who will win this race. The bigger question was whether Franklin would be able to beat her own record and go under the 1:40 time. Missy Franklin achieved both, to the excitement of both her, her teammate, and everyone at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Mr. and Mrs. Franklin are also very proud of this emotional moment:
Mom and Dad Franklin are all cheers and tears after Missy's 200 free victory. pic.twitter.com/9wdyhqIIyp— Cal W Swim/Dive (@CalWSwim) March 21, 2015
From her postrace interview on ESPN:
On swimming like it's her last NCAA meet
"I can't even believe that. I do, I want to finish with a bang. I've been thinking about that [1:] 39 literally all season so to finally get it - words can't describe."
On the importance of the win for Cal
"That's the most important thing - I got my hand to the wall and got the most points I could for my team and that's what matters most."
In case you couldn't tell, Missy Franklin really wants this team title that has eluded her and the Bears in 2014. This title would be the cherry on top of the treat that is going to college at University of California, Berkeley. With all the hype and attention that was on the team last year, the 3rd place team finish in 2014 must have felt a bit bitter. Missy Franklin and the entire Cal team have swum like they have a chip on their shoulder - out to prove that the this team is as good as the hype. She has brought her A-game to this meet, just like the rest of the Golden Bears swimming team.
100 Back - Rachel Bootsma
The other Calympian to get a Gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics on the current Cal squad is junior Rachel Bootsma. Boostma won this race two years ago but struggled all season last year (which was a particular shame given the NCAA took place in her hometown and pool in Minneapolis, MN). She was able to reclaim the title today with her best time all season (and 3rd best time of her career) at 50:03. With the 2016 Rios game looming, Bootsma took a huge step on Saturday night toward reasserting herself as a repeat Olympian.
800 Free Relay - Cierra Runge, Camille Cheng, Elizabeth Pelton, and Missy Franklin
With two of the three Cal A-finalists (freshman Runge and Missy Franklin) in the 200 Free and a B-finalist (Cheng), the Bears came into this event as the heavy favorite to bring home the title. Merely an hour after her record breaking 200 Free swim, Missy Franklin nearly matched that mark with a split of 1:40.05. The Bears beat the runner-up in Stanford by nearly 4 seconds to comfortably close out Day 2 in style.
Now that we have highlighted the wins, it is important to point out how it has been a full team effort by all 16 Cal swimmers who qualified for this meet (Note: I actually did not notice until now that Cal diver Eleanor Smart has also qualified for the platform diving which will take place today). Just through day 2, 15 of the 16 Bears have scored points for the Bears either in the individual events or via the relays. That is pretty incredible.
By the end of day 2, here is the team standings.
1. California 383.5
2. Georgia 299.5
3. Stanford 264
4. Virginia 168
5. Texas A&M 153.5
6. Louisville 151
Let's look at the rest of the events on Day 2.
200 Free Relay
Cal got the win and Georgia finished 5th. That's 12 points in favor of the Bears. Bears temporarily took the lead after this event.
Junior Kelly Naze managed to snag the last qualifying spot in the B-Final to insure that the Bears will score points. She did more than that by finishing 2nd in the consolation finals to score 7 points, finishing ahead of the Georgia swimmer who also in that race.
Sarah Henry of Texas A&M was able to hold off two Georgia Bulldogs for the win in this event. Thanks!
Cal's Celina Li didn't have a good prelim swim and missed out on the finals.
Georgia got a 32 point edge on the Bears in this event, but it would have been worse if not for Naze's great swim.
Missy Franklin was not the only record breaker on Saturday. Louisville's Kelsi Worrell broke the 100 Free record and she did that twice on the day. Worrell became the first woman to go below the 50 second mark and she did that in the morning prelim. Worrell improved slightly on that in the evening by posting a time of 49.81.
Cal's Farida Osman was the Pac-12 Champion in this event. She finished 4th in this race.
In the B-Final: Rachel Bootsma won the B-Final and freshman Jasmine Mau finished 13th to both earn All-American honorable mention honor in addition to scoring some key points in the team race.
Georgia only had a B-finalist who was edged by Bootsma. Bears got 21 point edge on the Bulldogs to really close the gap.
For a program that has traditionally been known as a powerhouse in backstroke, the Bears are really really strong in the 200 Free this year. In addition to Missy Franklin's win, Bears got two more A-Finalists in Cierra Runge and senior Caroline Piehl. Runge finished 4th while Piehl had a better swim in the morning to qualify for the A-Final but still earns an 8th place finish.
In the B-final, Camille Cheng (part of the 800 free relay later) won the consolation race. Junior Rachael Acker earned a spot in the B-final as well with a great morning swim. She finished 7th for 15th place overall all.
Georgia only had 1 swimmer who finished 3rd in the consolation. The Bears leapfrogged the Bulldogs here and took a 42 point lead.
Stanford's Sarah Haase won a close race over Alabama's Burchell.
Cal's Marina Garcia (who swam the breaststroke in the 200 medley relay) won her morning heat but that was still just the 39th best time.
No Georgia Bulldogs in this event either.
Rachel Bootsma got the win for the Bears. Teammates senior Melanie Klaren finished 3rd while Liz Pelton finished in a tie for 5th with Georgia's lone representative in Olivia Smoliga.
Georgia got another swimmer in the B-Final but she finished 7th (15th overall).
3 meter diving
Yu Zhou of Minnesota won this event.
800 Free Relay
It was Cal, Stanford, Georgia in the top 3 of this race.
Bears can seal the team title basically with a strong morning.
#15 Women 1650 Free
Cierra Runge won the Pac-12 in this event. She has the top qualifying time but will face a strong challenge from the 500 Free winner in Virginia's Leah Smith.
#16 Women 200 Back Finals
One of Missy Franklin or Liz Pelton is probably the favorite here, along with Virginia's Courtney Bartholomew.
#17 Women 100 Free Finals
Farida Osman may challenge Stanford's Simone Manuel here.
#18 Women 200 Breast Finals
This is a stronger event for Cal's Marina Garcia. A B-Final berth is possible.
#19 Women 200 Fly Finals
Canadian freshman Noemie Thomas may have a shot at the A-final here. Fellow freshman Jasmine Mau and junior Rachel Bootsma are also potential point scorers for the Bears.
#20 Women Platform Diving Finals
With an 8th place finish at the NCAA Zone E meet, sophomore Eleanor Smart has qualified for the NCAA for the first time. She is probably not going to score points though.
#21 Women 400 Free Relay Finals
It would likely not matter by this point, but it would be fun to close out the meet with another relay win. Bears are certainly capable of this although Stanford is the favorite here.
List of NCAA Titles won in 2015
- 200 Free Relay - Kaylin Bing, Missy Franklin, Rachel Bootsma, and Farida Osman
- 200 IM - Missy Franklin
- 200 Medley Relay - Rachel Bootsma (back), Marina Garcia (breast), Noemie Thomas (fly), and Farida Osman (free)
- 200 Free - Missy Franklin
- 100 Back - Rachel Bootsma
- 800 Free Relay - Cierra Runge, Camille Cheng, Elizabeth Pelton, and Missy Franklin