Top-ranked Women of Troy split weekend games
The USC womenâs swimming and diving team swam upstream to the Bay Area with showdowns against the No. 7 Cal Golden Bears on Friday and the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal on Saturday. The No. 1 Women of Troy (9-1, 5-1) entered the final month of regular-season action showing why they are on top of the collegiate rankings, pulling out a 155-145 victory over the Golden Bears. But on Saturday, USC suffered its first defeat of the season, losing 158-137 to Stanford.
The Women of Troy pulled out victories in eight of 16 events against Cal, with junior Stina Gardell sealing the win with a strong swim in the 200-yard individual medley. The two-time defending national champion Bears fell to 5-2 overall (2-2 in the Pac-12).
âI am very proud of the women,â USC head coach Dave Salo said. âThe keys to the win were some strong performances from [junior] Kasey Carlson and [freshman] Kendyl Stewart. We sealed the win with an outstanding swim from Stina Gardell, winning the 200 IM to seal the win before the relay. The divers, led by [freshman] Sam Adams, were critical to keep us in the meet and have a chance to win.â
The Golden Bears had a lead early in the meet, winning five of the first eight events to put the Women of Troy down 78-72 at the break, but USC quickly recovered.
USC secured its first win of the day in the 1000-yard freestyle as senior Haley Anderson took first (9:52.98) and junior Lynette Lim (9:53.20) took second.
Carlson also clocked in a big win, swimming the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.03. She came through once again as she earned her second win of the day in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 49.50.
Stewart had strong swims in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke events, taking second in both, while freshman Joanna Stenkvist finished third in the 200-yard backstroke (1:58.70) to earn valuable points for the Women of Troy. Stewart finished first in the 100-yard butterfly (52.88), her first top finish of the day and a key swim for USC.
The Women of Troy divers helped sustain the womensâ dominance throughout the day, as Adams and sophomore Haley Ishimatsu finished first and second, respectively, in 3-meter diving. In the 1-meter competition, Ishimatsu took first and Adams finished third.
The meetâs penultimate swim was the 200-yard IM, featuring the 2012 NCAA champions in Calâs senior Caitlin Leverenz and freshman Elizabet Pelton, along with USCâs Gardell. Gardell came through to edge out both Pelton and Leverenz to finish first with a qualifying time of 1:58.30. Gardellâs swim clinched the meet for USC.
After the impressive win against Cal, the Women of Troy were unable to keep the momentum going against the Cardinal. However, the powerhouse matchup between these two schools didnât disappoint. The Women of Troy ultimately fell to the Cardinal, 158-137. Anderson, a co-captain and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, won two events for USC.
The loss was the first of the season for the top-ranked Women of Troy. The Cardinal, on senior night, won their fifth-consecutive dual meet to improve to 7-1.
Anderson won the 1000 free (9:53.52) and 500 free (4:46.71). Redshirt sophomore Andrea Kropp earned nine points by finishing first in the 200 breast (2:11.73). Ishimatsu won the 1-meter dive with a score of 301.88.
Looking to bounce back, the Women of Troy have a break before hosting rival UCLA in the final regular-season showdown on Feb. 16 at noon.