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Cal Women’s Swimming & Diving in 2017 Pac-12 Championships

While the goal is clearly next month’s NCAA Championships, California Golden Bears certainly wouldn’t mind if they win the 4th Pac-12 Championship in program history this week.

Cal women's swimming
Golden Bears will be racing for a 4th Pac-12 team title in program history this week.
Cal Women’s Swimming Twitter

Wednesday Night Recap:

Golden Bears are firmly in 2nd place at the end of Day 1 after a pair of 2nd place finishes. Unfortunately, Stanford won both of those relays. Interestingly, Kathleen Baker, swimming in the relay that didn’t count toward this championship, had a better split than Amy Bilquist to lead off the 200 Medley Relay. The 200 Medley Relay would be the kind of event that the Bears need to win over Stanford in the NCAA to have a realistic shot at the team title.

The 800 Free relay was all Stanford as they set an American record (just another regular day for Katie Ledecky).

200 Medley Relay:

1 STAN-PC 'A' 1:36.53 1:34.32 64

1) Howe, Ally JR 2) Williams, Kim SO 3) Hu, Janet JR 4) Manuel, Simone SO 23.63 27.25 22.66 20.78

2 CAL-PC 'A' 1:35.19 1:34.42 56

1) Bilquist, Amy SO 2) Weitzeil, Abbey FR 3) Thomas, Noemie JR 4) Osman, Farida SR 23.81 27.00 22.52 21.09

-- CAL-PC 'B' 1:42.29 x1:35.99

1) Baker, Kathleen SO 2) Garcia Urzainqui, Marina SR 3) Murphy, Maddie FR 4) Hull, Valerie JR 23.57 27.76 22.90 21.76

800 Free Relay:

1 STAN-PC 'A' 6:55.54 6:49.42 64

1) Neal, Lia SR 2) Drabot, Katie FR 3) Eastin, Ella SO 4) Ledecky, Katie FR

24.07 50.02 1:16.68 1:43.34

23.74 50.10 1:16.52 1:43.43

23.91 49.91 1:16.09 1:42.37

23.02 48.42 1:14.45 1:40.28

2 CAL-PC 'A' 6:58.83 6:53.37 56

1) Baker, Kathleen SO 2) McLaughlin, Katie SO 3) Weitzeil, Abbey FR 4) Bilquist, Amy SO

24.02 50.01 1:16.26 1:43.17

23.81 50.34 1:16.78 1:42.82

23.17 49.05 1:16.04 1:43.84

23.54 49.95 1:16.66 1:43.54

Team Standings after 2 Events:

128 - Stanford

112 - Cal

108 - USC


Make no mistakes about it, for a team with NCAA team championship aspiration like the 2nd ranked California Golden Bears, the main focus of the entire year of training is to peak at the NCAA national championships - to be raced this year on March 15th-18th from Indianapolis, IN. The Bears will try to qualify even more swimmers for the NCAA championship in their last possible chance of the year, the Pac-12 championship this week from the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, WA. Should the Bears find themselves ahead at the end of the weekend in the team standing? I am sure the team will happily hang the 4th Pac-12 championship banner in Spieker next year.

A 4th Pac-12 title would match the number of NCAA team titles that Cal women’s swimming have won in history thus far. Cal Golden Bears won the Pac in 2009, 2012, and 2015; by comparison, the Golden Bears won the NCAA in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015. Certainly, a Pac-12 championship this week would be a good omen for the NCAA.

For the first time (and really, it’s about time!), the Pac-12 Championships (both the women’s and the mens’ next week) will be streamed live during the week until the Saturday night finals are broadcasted live on the Pac-12 Networks. Pac-12 Networks have done the broadcast via tape delay in the past few years - when all the results are spoiled via Twitter. The prelims on Thursday/Friday/Saturday will start at 10:30 AM PT. Final for all 4 days will start at 6 PM PT.

The meet starts on Wednesday night with two relays - the 800 Free relay and the 200 Medley relay.

The Thursday finals include: 500 Free, 200 IM, 50 Free, 200 Free Relay, and 1 meter diving.

The Friday finals include: 400 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Free, 100 Breast, 100 Back, 400 Medley Relay, and 3 meter diving.

The Saturday finals include: 1650 Free, 200 Back, 100 Free, 200 Breast, 200 Fly, Platform Diving, and the final event: 400 Free Relay.

The points distribution are the following. For individual events: winner gets 32 points, 2nd place get 28, then 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, and 22 for the A-Finalists. For the B-Finalists, they get 20, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11. For the C-Finalists (note that at the NCAA championship, only swimmers in the A and B finals will score points), points of 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 are awarded. Depth mattering more in the Pac-12 used to be the downfall for the Bears, who only had the top talent (like a Natalie Coughlin).

For the relays, the winning team will earn 64 points (double of an individual event). 2nd place will get 56 points, then 54, 42, 50, 48, 46, 44, to 42 points (only 9 of the 12 schools have a women’s swimming team - Washington, Colorado, Oregon are the exceptions.)

In 2016, USC Trojans edged Stanford won the first Pac-12 title in program history. Cal finished 3rd.

Just like how it will be at the NCAA, the question to ask is which/how many conference championships the Golden Bears will bring back to Berkeley at the end of the week. It is essentially a forgone conclusion that Golden Bears will win some kind of individual or relay Pac-12 title this week.

Back to defend their 2016 Pac-12 titles are Amy Bilquist in 200 Back and Farida Osman for the 50 Free (which she also won in 2015) and 100 Fly. Bears also won the 200 Free relay in 2016. Current Bears Celina Li has won the 400 IM in 2015. Canadian Calympian Noemie Thomas took the 200 Fly in 2015 as well.

A healthy Katie McLaughlin as well as US Calympians Kathleen Baker and Abbey Weitzeil are also good bets to challenge for several Pac-12 titles as well. Of course, don’t count out the Bears in any of the 5 relays. Bears are the only team in the country to be ranked in the top 3 NATIONALLY in all 5 relays.

2017 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships

Date: Wednesday - Saturday, February 22nd-25th

Time: Prelim (Thurs - Sat), 10:30 AM PT; Finals (Wed - Sat): 6:00 PM

Live Stream:, Wed - Saturday Prelim

TV: Pac-12 Networks (Saturday night at 6:30 PM PT)