By Sofia Scekic
Senior Brooke Forde won two events for the Cardinal as No. 10 Stanford scored 1,445 points to earn a runner-up finish at the 2021 Pac-12 Championships. No. 1 California won 12 races over four days to capture its fifth Pac-12 title with 1,519.5 points.
On Wednesday, the first day of the competition, junior Daria Lenz got the Cardinal rolling with a score of 293.55 and a fifth place finish in the 1-meter dive. Senior Mia Paulsen also finished ninth with 285.60 points to combine for 45 points and give Stanford two top-10 diving finishes on day one.
Junior Allie Raab, Forde, junior Morgan Tankersley and senior Lauren Pitzer teamed up on Wednesday to swim to an A standard and second place finish in the 800 yard freestyle relay. The quartet finished in 6:58.6, over two and a half seconds behind California’s winning relay team. Freshman Janelle Rudolph, Raab, sophomore Emma Wheal and senior Lauren Green also finished second in the 400 yard medley relay with an A standard time of 3:30.08.
Thursday’s finals began in a similar manner to Wednesday’s, with Lenz once again as the top scorer for the Cardinal in the 3-meter dive. She dove her way to 335.55 points and a second place finish, as Paulsen scored 302.25 to earn a sixth place finish. Sophomore Julia Wortman also finished in 11th, her highest placing of the weekend, with a score of 281.15.
Forde and Tankersley started the Thursday evening’s swim portion with an exciting 1-2 finish in the 500 yard freestyle: Forde claimed the victory in 4:37.07 while Tankersley finished just .04 seconds behind her in 4:37.11. Both swimmers earned an NCAA B standard.
Stanford’s three swimmers in the 200 yard IM placed fourth through sixth, with senior Hannah Kukurugya leading the trio in 1:56.67. Rudolph earned a fifth place finish with a time of 1:58.01, and junior Zoe Bartel rounded out the group by finishing in 1:58.03.
In Thursday evening’s final individual event, junior Anya Goeders tied for fifth in the 50 yard freestyle in an NCAA B standard 22.28, and junior Amalie Fackenthal tied for seventh in 22.32. Those two teamed up with Green and Wheal in the 200 yard freestyle relay to finish second in an A standard of 1:27.81.
Paulsen started Friday evening’s session with a third place finish in the platform diving, scoring 285.10. Lenz finished one spot below Paulsen with a score of 275.15.
Forde then won her second event of the weekend, the 400 yard IM, in 4:02.57 as the only swimmer to earn an A standard in the event. Wheal followed up with a fifth place finish in the 100 yard butterfly. She completed the event in 52.23.
Forde and Tankersley battled once again in the 200 yard freestyle, with Forde swimming to a third place finish in 1:44.39 while Tanksersley finished just behind her in fourth place in 1:44.63.
In the 100 yard breaststroke, the Cardinal were led by Raab, who’s 58.74 was good for third. Sophomore Alex Crisera earned a third place finish of her own in the 100 yard backstroke, where she swam a B standard of 52.38. Crisera, Raab, Wheal and Fackenthal finished the night with a second place finish in the 200 yard medley relay. The team finished in 1:35.52, .34 seconds behind California. Both teams earned A standards.
At the end of the night, Forde was also named the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the fourth-straight Stanford athlete to win the award.
Tankersley started Saturday’s session with a bang, winning the 1650 yard freestyle by more than three seconds in 16:03.27. In the 200 yard backstroke, Crisera led the Cardinal squad with a fifth place finish in 1:53.67 while Fackenthal finished in seventh as the top scorer for Stanford in the 100 yard freestyle.
Raab found the podium once again in the 200 yard breaststroke, taking third in 2:07.31 while Bartel finished just behind her in fourth with a time of 2:08.26. Kukurugya also finished third in the second to last event of the night, the 200 yard butterfly, in 1:56.29. Wheal, Green, Raab and Tankersley completed the 200 yard freestyle relay, the final event of the weekend, in 3:15.33. Their time earned the quartet a fourth place finish.
The men’s diving team also competed this past weekend, with both junior Noah Vigran and junior Conor Casey earning victories. Vigran won his first conference title in the 3-meter dive (393.55) on Friday and took third on Saturday’s platform event with a score of 365.90, while Casey defended his title in Thursday’s 1-meter competition (413.55). He also scored 381.85 to finish third in the 3-meter dive.
The Cardinal women will compete next at the NCAA Championships, set to take place from March 17-20 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The men’s championship is scheduled from March 24-27.