Stanford women’s swimming captures its third conference crown in four years, Ipsen named Pac-12 Championships Diver of the Meet
Defending national champion Cal might have narrowly beat Stanford during the regular dual meet season, but it was the No. 4 Cardinal that came out on top at the 2013 Women’s Swimming and Diving Pac-12 Championships, a four-day affair that began on Wednesday.
Stanford held a mere eight-point lead over USC—a lead at which the Trojans had been slowly chipping away—entering the last day of competition on Saturday. But a strong second-place finish by junior Maya DiRado in the 200-yard backstroke and a third-place effort by the 400-yard free relay team consisting of DiRado, sophomore Maddy Schaefer, junior Felicia Lee and senior Andi Murez provided large enough of a cushion for the Cardinal.
DiRado, the defending Pac-12 champion and NCAA runner-up in the 200 yard-backstroke, could not keep pace with Cal’s freshman sensation Elizabeth Pelton, whose time of 1:48.39 was only five hundredths of a second off the NCAA record. However, the junior already had one Pac-12 title under her belt going into the race. That gold medal was earned on Friday night, when she touched out 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Leverenze by one hundredth of a second, the smallest margin possible.
The Trojans wound up in second, 21 points behind Stanford’s 1,439.5 winning total. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears finished a distant third with 1,333.5 points to show for.
Mirroring the women’s success, the men’s team got off to an auspicious start at its own Pac-12 Championships. After sweeping the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events, sophomore diver Kristian Ipsen took second in the platform event on Saturday.
Ipsen beat out Arizona State’s Harrison Jones by five points in the 1-meter event. A day later, the Olympic synchronized diving bronze medalist won the 3-meter more comfortably, as his score of 442.15 bested that of Arizona State’s Rafael Quintero by almost 40 points.
The swimming portion of the men’s Pac-12 Championships kicked off on Sunday night, with Stanford trying to win its 32nd consecutive conference title. The Cardinal took second in the first event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay, with the time of 1:24.48, just six hundredths of a second behind gold-medal winner Cal. Sophomore star David Nolan led off the relay with a 21.38 backstroke split, the fastest time of the field, but Cal’s Tom Shields swam a blistering 19.86 butterfly leg to give the Golden Bears a lead that they would not relinquish.
Stanford then went on to finish third in the 800-yard freestyle relay, well behind USC and Cal. With Day One over, the Cardinal is currently sitting in second with 70 points, trailing the Bears’ 74 points.
The men’s swimmers will compete at the Pac-12 Championships through Wednesday, while the women’s team will taper down for the NCAA Championships, which begin March 21.
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