2023 WOMEN’S PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Day 3 foreplay heat sheet
It’s day three of competition at the PAC-12 Championships in Federal Way, Washington, with heats of 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 free, 100 chest and 100 back kicking off this session. Stanford gained a substantial lead in the team race, with Cal and USC still battling for second place. Meanwhile, Arizona will try to get back on track after swimming just one individual final on Thursday: Year Two Alyssa Schwengelwho placed 21st in the 50 freestyle.
After swimming the 50 freestyle exhibition yesterday, the Stanford rookie Claire Curzan competed in his first outstanding individual races of the competition. She will face the 100m butterfly/100m backstroke double and is a title threat in both events. In the 100 butterfly, she is ranked second behind her teammate Torri Huske, the defending champion who won the 50 freestyle title last night. In the 100 backstroke, Curzan is the top seed, but Cal’s star backstroke Isabelle Stadt is sure to set herself up to face the Cardinal Olympian in the final.
The 400 IM seed belongs to another Stanford freshman, Lucy Bellwhose start time of 4:08.37 is just ahead of Lea Polonski (4:08.91). Both competed in the 200 IM ‘A’ final on Day 2, with Polonsky winning the event and Bell taking fifth place. ASU had a big day yesterday, so watch the sophomore Charlie Brown— the #4 seed — to make a move. In the 100m butterfly, Sun Devil Lindsay Looney probably won’t have the sprint speed to match Curzan and Huske, but after falling two seconds in the 500 freestyle, Looney is clearly composed and should be right in the middle of the action in this event.
Midway through the session, two defending NCAA champions are seeded in their events –Taylor Ruck in the 200 free and Kaitlyn Dobler in the 100 breast. At this meet last year, Dobler won the 100 breaststroke by more than two seconds. There could be a similar gap this year, as Dobler is ranked at 56.94, nearly two seconds ahead of her No. 2-seeded teammate. Isabelle Odgers.
Meanwhile, Ruck didn’t race the 200 freestyle at the PAC-12s last year, opting instead for the 100 backstroke. She’s in a similar position to Dobler, as her 1:43.11 start time is more than a second faster than the No. 2 seed, Cal’s freshman year. Kayla Wilson at 1:44.35.
Women’s 400 IM — preliminaries
- NCAA record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (STAN) – 2018 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (STAN) – 2018 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 Championship record: 3:56.53, Katie Ledecky (STAN) — 2018 PAC-12 Championships
- NCAA Cup ‘A’: 4:03.62
- 2022 NCAA Invitational Time: 4:11.60
- Paige McEachern (UCLA) – 4:08.22
- Lucy Bell (STAN) – 4:10.38
- Crochet Charlotte (STAN) – 4:10.57
- Sam Tadder (STAN) – 4:10.58
- Justina Kozan (USC) – 4:11.07
- Ashley McMillan (USC) – 4:11.21
- Lea Polonsky (CAL) – 4:12.07
- Rosie Murphy (UCLA) – 4:12.89
Sophomore at UCLA Paige McEachern had a big swim out of the ranked first circle, clocking a new personal best 4:08.22 to qualify first for the finals. The Bruin bettered the 4:09.49 she swam at Ohio State’s midseason invite earlier this season. She has a two-second gap between her and the rest of the field, led by the Stanford freshman Lucy Bell (4:10.38).
Bell teammate Crochet Charlotte was entered without time and therefore swam in the first run. She swam 4:10.57, which was the best time of the morning in the unseeded heats. Maceachern and Bell both swam faster, but Hook’s time was still good for the No. 3 seed heading into the finals.
Sam Tadder is the third Stanford swimmer to make the championship run, clocking 4:10.58 to touch just one-hundredth off Hook’s time.
After finishing just off the podium in the 200 IM, Justina Kozan hit 4:11.07 to qualify fifth, while the 200 IM champion Lea Polonski placed seventh (4:12.07).
Women’s 100m butterfly — preliminaries
- NCAA Record: 48.84, Kate Douglass (UVA) – 2023 ACC Championships
- CIP-12 record: 49.17, Torri Huske (STAN)—2022 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 Championship record: 49.34, Louise Hansson (USC) — 2019 PAC-12 Championships
- NCAA Cup “A”: 50.92
- 2022 NCAA Invitational Time: 52.35
- Torri Huske (STAN) – 50.91
- Claire Curzan (STAN) – 51.01
- Gabby Dang (UCLA) – 51.85
- Mia Kragh (CAL) – 51.92
- Julia Heimstead (ARIZ) – 52.29
- Lizzy Cook (CAL) – 52.48
- Emma Wheal (STAN) – 52.54
- Gigi Johnson (STAN) – 52.82
Stanford’s dynamic duo Torri Huske And Claire Curzan had relaxed morning swims. The two qualified as the top two seeds for the finals, separated by a tenth of a second, with Huske ahead at 50.91 and Curzan at 51.01. It’s Huske’s only individual race today, as we’ll see Curzan later in the 100 backstroke.
Joining them in the championship final are their teammates Emma Whal (52.54) and Gigi Johnson (52.82), so half the heat will be on Stanford’s caps.
In the final round, UCLA senior Gaby Dang touched second place behind Huske with a personal best 51.85, marking his first under-52 swim. That puts her as the third seed going into tonight’s final, just ahead of Cal sophomore Mia Kragh. With his time of 51.92, Kragh was just off his season best time of 51.80.
Arizona secured its first individual “A” runner-up in the competition, as Julia Heimstead shaved eight hundredths off his lifetime record with a 52.29. Through two events, they have a high/mid/low line of 1/1/3.
Women’s 200m freestyle — preliminaries
- NCAA record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (CAL) – 2015 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (CAL) – 2015 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 Championship record: 1:40.37, Simone Manuel (STAN) — 2017 PAC-12 Championships
- NCAA Cup ‘A’: 1:42.84
- 2022 NCAA Invitational Time: 1:45.42
- Taylor Ruck (STAN) – 1:44.19
- Kayla Wilson (STAN) – 1:44.51
- Mia Motekaitis (CAL) – 1:44.58
- Natalie Mannion (STAN) – 1:44.88
- Morgan Tankersley (STAN) – 1:44.95
- Ayla Spitz (CAL) – 1:45.00
- Julia Heimstead (ARIZ) – 1:45.16
- Lillie Nordmann (STAN) – 1:45.37
Stanford continues to flex its depth, placing five swimmers in the 200 freestyle championship final. The field is led by the defending NCAA champion Taylor Ruck, who clocked 1:44.19 to claim lane four for the final. It should be a close race though, as the first to seventh seeds are separated by less than a second.
Only 0.07 seconds separates Kayla Wilson And Mia Motekaitis, who clocked times of 1:44.51 and 1:44.58 to qualify for second and third place. Motekaitis’ time is just one-tenth off the best record she set at this meet last year.
Meanwhile, Wilson’s fellow freshman at Stanford Nathalie Mannion won the No. 4 seed with a new personal best of 1:44.88. It’s almost a full second off the best time she’s swum mid-season, and marks her first time under 1:45.
Heimstead, of Arizona, won a tough straight 100 butterfly/200 freestyle and walked away with two personal bests and two final “A” spots. In the 200 freestyle, she posted a time of 1:45.16, cutting her previous mark of 1:45.50 mid-season.
Women’s 100m Breaststroke — Preliminaries
- NCAA record: 55.73, Lilly King (IU) – 2019 NCAA Championships
- CIP-12 record: 56.93, Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 2022 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 Championship record: 57.31, Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 2022 PAC-12 Championships
- NCAA Cup “A”: 58.10
- 2022 NCAA Invitational Time: 59.87
- Kaitlyn Dobler (USC)-57.78
- Isabelle Odgers (USC) – 59.75
- Claire Grover (UCLA) – 59.92
- Jade Neser (CAL) – 1:00.37
- Allie Raab (STAN) – 1:00.48
- Eva Carlson (UCLA) – 1:00.53
- Iza Adame (ASU) – 1:00.80
- Emily Lundgren (WSU) – 1:00.92
Teammates Kaitlyn Dobler And Isabelle Odgers defended their top seeds 1-2 in the 100m breaststroke. Dobler, who is both the defending NCAA and PAC-12 champion, clocked 57.78, while Odgers was just under two seconds behind at 59.75. Both won their respective heats and although they each added around eight tenths to their start times, they should be faster tonight.
UCLA also broke the one-minute mark Claire Grover. Grover’s preliminary time of 59.92 is 0.42 seconds off her lifetime best, so we could see her speed up in the final as well. On Day 2, she took third place in the 50 freestyle.
Allie Raab, a silver medalist last year, swam a season-best 1:00.48 to comfortably advance to the “A” final in fifth place. Having the 200 free and the 100 chest back to back really highlights where Stanford’s strengths are: In the 200 free, they have five “A” finalists, and here they have just one. It’s not exactly news, but it’s still interesting to see in action.
First-year student Emilie Lundgren gave Washington State its first individual “A” finalist of the competition, advancing to the championships final in 1:00.92.
Women’s 100m backstroke — preliminaries
- NCAA record: 48.74, Katharine Berkoff (NCSU) – 2022 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 record: 49.23, Regan Smith (STAN) — 2022 NCAA Championships
- PAC-12 Championship record: 49.50, Regan Smith (STAN) — 2022 PAC-12 Championships
- NCAA Cup “A”: 50.89
- 2022 NCAA Invitational Time: 52.46
- Claire Curzan (STAN) – 50.17
- Isabelle Stadt (CAL) – 51.24
- Lucie Nordmann (STAN)/Annika McEnroe (CAL) – 51.97
- Aria Bernal (USC) – 52.60
- Gigi Johnson (STAN) – 52.77
- Alex Crisera (STAN) – 52.90
- Hanna Henderson (USC) – 52.95