By James Hemker
After the first two days of competition at the Pac-12 women’s swimming and diving championships, top-ranked Stanford finds itself in a familiar position: first place. Despite strong individual performances, however, the Cardinal have yet to win an event.
After barely making it into the 500-yard freestyle finals by .04 seconds, sophomore Morgan Tankersley placed second in the event. Tankersley’s final time of 4:35.99 — which broke her personal-best by a second — was almost four seconds faster than her morning prelim swim.
Arizona State’s Emma Nordin and Cierra Runge sandwiched Tankersley to fill out the podium in first and third, respectively. Stanford then took spots four through six, as juniors Brooke Forde (4:37.09) and Lauren Pitzer (4:37.19) swam a close battle with senior Erin Voss (4:39.81) in their wake.
The Cardinal found success in their first night on the boards, with three divers scoring in the top five. Junior Mia Paulsen (325.65) outperformed sophomore Carolina Sculti (324.85) by less than a point to claim the silver on the 1-meter board. Paulson, who had the fifth-highest preliminary score, improved the most from morning to evening with a 33.35 point increase. Sophomore Daria Lenz (302.30) was just half a point off from making it a 2-3-4 run for Stanford, instead placing fifth.
Sophomore Anya Goeders inched herself up the school’s 50-yard freestyle record books when she stopped the clock at 21.91. The new career-best gave Goeders the bronze in the event, and the time is tied for seventh-fastest in program history.
In the 200-yard IM, it was sophomore Zoe Bartel against the rest of the conference. Bartel finished the morning with the 11th fastest time and completed her evening by winning the B-final in a time of 1:58.21. The only other Cardinal listed in the event, senior Allie Szekely, scratched before the morning races. The team’s other star IM-er is Forde, who competed in the 500 free just beforehand.
Thus far, the relays have gone the way of Stanford’s rivals. Cal claimed both the 400-yard medley relay and the 200-yard free relay, while USC touched first in the 800-yard free relay. The Cardinal earned podium finishes in all three, coming in third in the 800 free relay (6:56.88) and 400 medley relay (3:31.58), and second in the 200 free relay (1:28.32).
With another two days and 14 events left in the conference championships, Stanford leads with 504 points. The Golden Bears trail with 437 points, and USC is in third at 397.