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Cal Women Swimming and Diving at Pac-12 Championships: 4 relay wins, Baker wins 200 IM and 200 Back

Golden Bears take 2nd place behind Stanford.

The Cal quartet of Kathleen Baker (back), Abbey Weitzeil (breast), Noemie Thomas (fly), and Amy Bilquist (free) won the 2018 Pac-12 200 medley relay title on Wednesday night.
Cal Athletics Twitter (photo by Chuckarelei)

The perennial Pac-12 and NCAA contender, Cal Women’s Swimming and Diving, is vying for Pac-12 titles at the Pac-12 Championship this week (Wednesday through Saturday). Golden Bears opened the meet on Wednesday night by winning both relays, besting Stanford and their Olympic star power of Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky.

This post will be updated daily with the results from that day. I’ll keep a running list of the Cal Pac-12 titles earned at this meet at the bottom.

The Pac-12 championships involves scoring by the 3 finals for each individual events - meaning that the top 24 swimmers can score points.

After the end of the meet:

As expected, Cal Women’s Swimming and Diving takes 2nd place at the 2018 Pac-12 Championships. Along the way, the Golden Bears won 4 of 5 relays and Cal junior Kathleen Baker picked up two individual Pac-12 titles in 200 IM and 200 Back.

Overall, the Golden Bears had a great team record as many Bears, who were on the bubble for making the NCAA, were able to improve their time tremendously to hopefully book a spot on the travel team to Columbus, OH for the NCAA championships in 3 weeks.

On Saturday, Baker kept the Cal dominance in 200 Back by claiming this event for the Bears for the 6th straight year; she bested teammate Amy Bilquist (who won this event two years ago) and Keaton Blovad. Abbey Weitzeil was just edged by Stanford’s Simone Manuel in the 100 Free; freshman Robin Neumann and senior Valerie Hull were also in the A-Final. Bears had finalists in 200 Breast (freshman Ali Harrison) and 200 Fly (Canadian Calympian Noemie Thomas and Katie McLaughlin). Cal closed the Pac-12 championship the same way that they opened it, with a relay victory as Bilquist, McLaughlin, Baker, and Weitzeil were able to hold off a Stanford quartet that included both Ledecky and Manuel.


Saturday after Prelims:

Kathleen Baker has the top time for 200 Back; Baker is the defending NCAA champ in this event. Bilquist and Blovad are also in the A-Final. Stanford does have 4 A-Finalists with Ally Howe and Janet Hu (the winners of 100 Back in the Pac-12 for the past two years). Mykannen is in B, while Krivokapic-Zhou and Light are in C for the Bears.

Three Bears led by Abbey Weitzeil are in the 100 Free A-Final. Joining Weitzeil, who took 2nd seed from the prelims behind Stanford’s Simone Manuel, are freshman Robin Neumann and senior Valerie Hull. Maddie Murphy just missed out on the A-Final and will be the top seed in B.

200 Breast A-Final will see Cal freshman Ali Harrison, who got the last qualification spot. Maija Roses and Dani Dilsaver are in the B-Final. Alexa Buckley made the C-Final.

Noemie Thomas and Katie McLaughlin will represent the Bears in the 200 Fly A-Final, where the top two seeds are Stanford’s Katie Drabot and Ella Eastin. Cal freshman Sarah Darcel posted a B-qualification time but landed 9th (in the B-Final).

Also on deck for tonight is the 1650 Free where Chenoa Devine is the 13th seed. We will also see how the new Legends Aquatic Center helps the Cal divers in platform diving (now that the Bears no longer need to go to Stanford to train for this event). The meet will close with the 400 Free Relay.

Friday Results:

Somewhat disappointingly, Cal was not able to add to their Pac-12 titles on Friday. Nevertheless, plenty of Bears set some personal record and I think the Cal contingency that will make the Columbus trip for the NCAA Championships got a bit bigger after today.

Stanford, unfortunately, had a good day with Ledecky winning 400 IM and 200 Free. Janet Hu managed to upset Kathleen Baker for the 100 Back title. Stanford also broke Cal’s relay dominance by taking the 400 medley relay by just a hair over the Bears.

Through 14 events, Stanford has locked up the team title with Cal locking up the 2nd place. Looking ahead of Saturday, 1650 Free is a Ledecky lock. 200 Back might be a two-Bears race between Baker and Bilquist. Another Cal vs. Stanford showdown between Manuel and Weitzeil is likely for the 100 Free final. Noemie Thomas has won the 200 Fly Pac-12 title before. Bears are also a good bet for the meet ending 400 Free relay.

Let’s hope that the Pac-12 title count will increase on Saturday.

Friday after Prelims:

For 400 IM, Cal freshman Sarah Darcel is in the A-Final against 6 Stanford swimmers, including top seed Katie Ledecky. In the B-Final, Chenoa Devine and Danie Dilsaver will represent the Bears. Courtney Mckkanen is in the C-Final. Darcel, Devine, and Dilsaver have posted NCAA b-qualification times. It would be nice if they can increase their best time in the finals tonight to make the NCAA for this event.

For 100 Fly, Cal junior Noemie Thomas is a real contender as she’s got the 2nd seed behind USC’s Hansson. Katie McLaughlin and Maddie Murphy are also in the A-Final, which has just one Stanford Cardinal (Ally Howe). Ali Harrison and Jasmine Mau have posted b-qualification time and made the B-Final. Mau, a senior now, made the NCAA in her freshman year but not the last two years; she will likely need to improve on this time to affirm a spot in the NCAA championships. Krivokapic-Zhou will represent the Bears in the C-Final.

Robin Neumann and Abbey Weitzeil are in the A-Final for the 200 Free - top two spots by some significant time difference go to Ledecky and Manuel of Stanford. Jenni Campbell is in the C-Final for the Bears.

For 100 Breast, Ali Harrison and Maija Roses qualified in the 7th and 8th spots for the A-Final. Harrison and Roses are also in the NCAA bubble and may need to improve on these times to make the NCAA. Alexa Buckley and Natalie Tuck will swim for the Bears in the B and C-finals, respectively.

Four Cal Bears are in the 100 Back A-Final, lead by the defending NCAA champ in Kathleen Baker. Baker is joined by Bilquist, Blovad, and freshman Sophia Krivokapic-Zhou (who may be in the bubble for this event at the NCAA). Aislinn Light and Jasmie Mau are in the B-fianl (with b-qualification times). Mykkanen is the top prelim finisher in the C-Final.

3-meter diving and the 400 medley relay (Cal only has the 3rd best seed time for this event) are also on deck for tonight.

For the 3-meter diving, Cal Bears divers just miss out on the final. Thai finished 9th, LaMay is 11th, and Cacao is 16th. By comparison, Stanford has 3 finalists.

Thursday Results:

Phoebe LaMay finished 6th in the 1 meter diving for the Bears.

In the 500 Free, Chenoa Devine took 6th, Robin Neumann took 8th, and Katie McLaughlin took 10th.

In the 200 IM, it’s a pair of Golden Bears at the top as the defending NCAA champ Kathleen Baker took this event with freshman Sarah Darcel 2nd. Sophomore Keaton Blovad took 6th.

In the 50 Free, top seed Calympian Abbey Weitzeil had to settle for 2nd behind Stanford’s Simone Manuel. Cal’s Amy Bilquist took 3rd place with a personal record. Maddie Murphy took 6th.

In the Thursday night closing 200 Free relay, Golden Bears make it 3 for 3 by winning another relay. The quartet of Maddie Murphy, Amy Bilquist, Katie McLaughlin, and Abbey Weitzeil won this one over a Stanford quartet that included Simon Maneul. Weitzeil’s split of 21 second is the fastest amongst the 4 Bears and 4 Cardinal.

Thursday after Prelims:

500 Free will see Cal’s Robin Neumann and Chenoa Devine challenge the heavy favorite in Stanford’s Katie Ledecky. Stanford also has Lauren Pitzer, Ella Eastin, Megan Byrnes, and Erin Voss in the A-Final.

B-Final will have Cal’s Katie McLaughlin against two Stanford swimmers (Stevens and Kukurugya).

200 IM does have Cal’s Kathleen Baker as the top overall seed, both before and after today’s prelim. In addition to Baker, Cal also has freshman Sarah Darcel and sophomore Keaton Blovad in the A-Final. Stanford’s Katie Drabot is the 2nd seed. She is joined by Furdies Ally Howe, Brooke Forde, and Kim Williams in the A-Final.

200 IM B-Final will see Cal’s Danie Dilsaver vs. Stanford’s Allie Szekely. Cal senior Maija Roses just made the scoring finals by qualifying 24th; she will swim in the C-Final.

50 Free will be a race between Cal’s top seed Abbey Weitzeil and Stanford’s Simone Manuel. Weitzeil best Manuel at the season ending meet at Stanford. Bears also have Bilquist and Maddie Murphy in the A-Final. Stanford have Janet Hu as their 2nd A-Finalist.

In the 50 Free B-Final, Cal has Valerie Hull and Noemie Thomas. Stanford have three swimmers in the C-Final.

The 200 Free relay will close out night 2 of the 2018 Pac-12 Championships.

Wednesday Results:

What else can you say other than “wow”? Cal Bears start the meet by winning both relays of the night.

The Cal quartet of Baker, Weitzeil (swimming breaststroke rather than free), Thomas, and Bilquist (three Calympians and one likely future one in Bilquist) beat their Stanford rival who had Olympian Simone Manuel as the anchor in the meet opening 200 Medley Relay. Bears led after the backstroke leg by Baker and never looked back.

Bears also took the 2nd relay of the night, with both juniors Baker and Bilquist pulling a double duty and swam again. The Golden Bears did better than their Stanford rival who used all 4 new swimmers, including Katie Ledecky as the anchor. The Cal quartet of freshman (and Dutch Olympian) Robin Neumann, Baker, Katie McLaughlin, and Bilquist had the lead on Stanford throughout the race. Ledecky was not able to close the gap on Bilquist in the end.

HOW TO WATCH has the stream of all the prelim and finals (except for Saturday night, when it will be on the Pac-12 Networks). LINK TO STREAM

LINK TO LIVE STATS (Swimming results only)

The daily prelim starts at 10:30 AM PT, while the daily final starts at 6 PM PT.

2018 Pac-12 Titles for Cal Women’s Swimming and Diving

  • 200 Yard Medley Relay - Kathleen Baker - back, Abbey Weitzeil - breast, Noemie Thomas - fly, Amy Bilquist - free, 1:34.13 which is a new Pac-12 Record

1) Baker, Kathleen JR 2) Weitzeil, Abbey SO

3) Thomas, Noemie SR 4) Bilquist, Amy JR

23.59 50.17 (26.58) 1:12.91 (22.74) 1:34.13 (21.22)

  • 800 Yard Freestyle Relay - Robin Neumann, Kathleen Baker, Katie McLaughlin, Amy Bilquist, 6:52.62 top time in NCAA this year

1) Neumann, Robin FR 2) Baker, Kathleen JR

3) McLaughlin, Katie JR 4) Bilquist, Amy JR

23.97 49.85 (49.85) 1:16.59 (1:16.59) 1:43.38 (1:43.38)

2:06.70 (23.32) 2:32.67 (49.29) 2:59.17 (1:15.79) 3:26.67 (1:43.29)

3:50.07 (23.40) 4:16.67 (50.00) 4:43.40 (1:16.73) 5:09.96 (1:43.29)

5:32.90 (22.94) 5:58.99 (49.03) 6:25.98 (1:16.02) 6:52.62 (1:42.66)

  • 200 Yard Individual Medley - Kathleen Baker, 1:52.70
  • 200 Yard Freestyle Relay - Maddie Murphy, Amy Bilquist, Katie McLaughlin, Abbey Weitzeil, 1:25.87, Pac-12 Record

1) Murphy, Maddie SO 2) Bilquist, Amy JR

3) McLaughlin, Katie JR 4) Weitzeil, Abbey SO

21.96 43.20 (21.24) 1:04.87 (21.67) 1:25.87 (21.00)

  • 200 Yard Backstroke - Kathleen Baker, 1:48.27
  • 400 Yard Freestyle Relay - Amy Bilquist, Katie McLaughlin, Kathleen Baker, Abbey Weitzeil - 3:09.04

1) Bilquist, Amy JR 2) McLaughlin, Katie JR

3) Baker, Kathleen JR 4) Weitzeil, Abbey SO

22.84 47.79 (47.79) 1:10.43 (22.64) 1:35.22 (47.43)

1:57.61 (22.39) 2:22.69 (47.47) 2:44.45 (21.76) 3:09.04 (46.35)