2011 Women's Swimming & Diving SCIAC Preview

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The 2011 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships will be hosted by Occidental College Sunday to Tuesday, Feb. 20-22 at the Belmont Olympic Plaza in Long Beach and is sure to be an exciting event.

Entering Championship weekend, the team to beat is clearly Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (7-0) who are the seven-time defending SCIAC Champions. The Athenas are currently ranked No. 9 in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division III rankings.

In a three-way tie with 5-2 dual-meet records are Occidental College, Pomona-Pitzer, and the University of Redlands. Currently in the fifth spot is Cal Lutheran University (3-4), followed by Whittier College (2-5), the University of La Verne (1-6) and rounded out by Caltech (0-7).

For the most in-depth coverage, please see below for Day-by-day and event-by-event previews. The complete psych sheet can be found here.

Day 1 – Sunday

200 Free Relay
The top seed and returning champion in the event is CMS who enters the event with a time of1:39.02. Also fighting for the title will be UR (1:41.61), PP (1:42.18), Oxy (1:43.21) and WC (1:43.91), as each school is currently clumped together within roughly two seconds of one another.

500 Freestyle
Leading the field is sophomore, top seeded and defending champion, Lauren Zehner (UR) with a time of 5:15.79. She is followed closely by Whittier’s Erin Batholomew who enters with a 5:17.18 seed time. Not out of the hunt will be a trio of CMS swimmers in Emma Jones (5:18.91), Carliann Brashier (5:20.85) and Tara McIntyre (5:20.96) who was last year’s runner up. Rounding out the top eight swimmers to watch are freshman Danielle Holstein (PP), 2010 third place finisher Whitney Dawson (CMS), and senior Kelley Cooper (UR).

200 Individual Medley
The heavy favorite and potential SCIAC record-breaker is freshman Michele Kee from CMS as she holds a current time of 2:08.86, which is an NCAA “B” cut. The current SCIAC record set in 2006 by Cathleen Penney (UR) is a 2:06.59. The remaining seven swimmers fighting for SCIAC recognition are separated by less than three seconds. The group is led by sophomore Olivia Graham (CMS) with a 2:14.45 with defending SCIAC champion McKenzie Nakamura (UR) in the hunt with a 2:15.88. The next two swimmers are from CMS and are each in the 2:16 range with Erin MacLean and Heidi Wolfgruber entering the meet with times of 2:16.13 and 2:16.25, respectively. Occidental looks to puts two swimmers in the finals in  Mallory Ryan (2:16.30) and Caroline Chang (2:16.95). Rounding out the field likely will be Pomona-Pitzer’s Dana Kingman (2:17.43).

50 Freestyle
In what is sure to be an exciting and quick 50 free, the defending SCIAC champion, sophomore, Allie Bollella is currently seeded seventh with a time of 25.16. The top seed entering the preliminaries is freshman Helen Liu (CMS) as she swam a 24.32 earlier this season. Next in line are the senior Kathryn McIntosh (UR – 24.67) and freshman Haley Von Schottenstein (WC – 24.69), who are separated by just two hundredths of a second. Also in the hunt will be a pair of PP swimmers in freshman Alex Lincoln (24.83) and junior Kristen Lindbergh (25.05). Also set to contend are senior, 2010 third place finisher Jenny Rinker (CMS) who holds a time of 25.12 and freshman Kristie Howard (CMS) in 25.28.

400 Medley Relay
With a six second lead over their closest competition, CMS’s relay team enters the meet heavily favored with a time of 4:02.15. Battling for second place will be a quartet of schools in UR (4:08.46), PP (4:09.90), Oxy (4:10.03) and WC (4:10.56).

Three-Meter Diving
In her first SCIAC Diving Preliminary meet, Occidental’s Jessica Robson grabbed the top honor with a 410.15 as the only diver to surpass the 400-point plateau. Carmen Lundell (CMS) placed second with a 398.30, the same spot in which she finished her campaign at the 2010 SCIAC Championships. Rounding out the top-three is senior defending SCIAC champion Sarah Sharpe who scored 383.15 at prelims held on Saturday, Feb. 12 at Pomona-Pitzer. Rounding out the top eight divers are Kelly Chang (CMS), Shelby Mann (UR), Amanda McCadden (ULV), Rachel Price (Oxy) and Margaret Allen (CIT).

Day 2 – Monday

200 Medley Relay
Top seeded CMS holds a time of 1:50.22 entering the finals. Stacked up within 1.5 seconds of one another is UR (1:54.12), PP (1:54.23), WC (1:54.39) and Oxy (1:55.51). Not to be counted out is a CLU team that currently has a time of 1:56.92.

400 Individual Medley
After swimming the 200 IM on day one, freshman Michele Kee (CMS) is slated to contend for the 400 IM title as well with a No. 1 seed time of 4:42.05. Behind Kee is teammate Olivia Graham with a 4:43.72. A bid to earn the third spot are the final five swimmers, led by Whittier’s Erin Bartholomew (4:47.50), followed by Kelley Cooper (UR), Michelle Camburn (UR), Dana Kingman (PP), Michelle Utama (UR) and Heidi Wolfgruber (CMS).

100 Butterfly
In a field dominated by first year college swimmers, Michele Kee again highlights the pack with a time of 57.77, which is a NCAA “B” qualifying cut as well as the top seed. CMS swimmers also hold the second and third spots in Helen Liu (58.43) and Annika Jessen (58.52). Also swimming for the podium is Haley Von Schottenstein (WC – 59.60),with 2010 SCIAC runner-up Lauren Zehner (UR - 59.61) right on her heels. Rounding out the field will be freshman Erin MacLean (CMS), Kathryn McIntosh (UR) with defending conference champion and National runner-up, Katie Bilotti from CMS seeded eighth with a time of 1:00.57.

200 Freestyle
The 2010 runner-up, Emma Jones (CMS), is seeded first with a time of 1:57.69 and the third place finisher a year ago, Kristen Lindbergh (PP) is seeded second in a 1:59.47. Freshman teammate, PP Alex Lincoln (1:59.78), is right on her heels. Redlands’ Jessica Medvec (2:00.18), Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Tara McIntyre (2:00.41) and Occidental’s Juliet Suess (2:00.87) are just behind. The final two swimmers in the event will likely be Erin Bartholomew (WC) and Mallory Ryan (Oxy) in times of 2:01.00 and 2:01.01, respectively. Also swimming the event this weekend will be 2010 event champion Allie Bollella (2:01.84).

100 Breaststroke
Top seed Haley Von Schottenstein (WC) leads the field with a time of 1:07.39. Neck-in-neck right behind the leader are Emma Jones (CMS – 1:08.59), McKenzie Nakamura (UR – 1:08.74) and Caroline Chang (Oxy – 1:08.93), each contending for a spot on the podium. Rounding out the field are Kelli Miller (CLU), Ching Tung (CMS), Lauren Craig (UR) and Elica Sharifnia (CMS).

100 Backstroke
Dominated by the Athenas, Else Cheng (1:00.21), Helen Liu (1:00.25), third place finisher a year ago Jenni Rinker (1:00.49), and runner up Tessa Dover (1:01.12) will battle for the top spot. Redlands’ looks to place a pair of swimmers in the top eight as well with Caitlin Michaels (1:01.79) and Jessie Chansler (1:01.90) swimming for the Bulldogs. Dannielle Shiomoto (PP) enters with a time of 1:02.19 while Shelby Brooks (CLU) rounds out the field with a 1:02.61.

800 Freestyle Relay
With a 7:53.76, CMS is seeded nearly 10 seconds ahead of second place Redlands (8:03.49). Challenging UR will be the Sagehens from PP who secured a seed time of 8:06.14.

One-Meter Diving
Occidental’s trio of Sarah Sharpe, Jessica Robson and Marisa Pulcrano earned a 1-2-3 finish at the Diving Preliminaries on Sunday, Feb. 13. All three divers hit NCAA qualifying marks while Sharpe, the defending 2010 SCIAC champion set a new SCIAC record with a 443.85. The previous record, 426.15, held by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Pam Tanase was set in 1987. Robson (415.70) and Pulcrano (405.60) were the only other athletes to score over 400 points on their 11-dive lists. Pulcrano, a senior, was second to Sharpe in the event last year. The final five divers on day two will be Carmen Lundell (CMS), Sheyenne Machida (CLU), Kelly Chang (CMS), Rachel Price (Oxy) and Amanda McCadden (ULV).

Day 3 – Tuesday

1650 Freestyle
The mile will be paced by 2010 runner-up Carliann Brashier from CMS with an 18:11.07. Her closest competitor is Erin Bartholomew from Whittier who swam an 18:17.01 earlier this season. Pomona-Pitzer’s Danielle Holstein is the No. 3 seed with a time of 18:29.13. Five other finalists in the event will be Kayla Desai (UR), Tara McIntyre (CMS), Michelle Camburn (UR), defending champion Whitney Dawson (CMS) and Dana Kingman (PP).

200 Backstroke
Jenni Rinker (CMS) holds the fastest time of 2011 with a 2:11.40, The next four swimmers are locked in a tight race, separated by just 11 hundredths of a second entering the weekend. Defending SCIAC champion Tessa Dover from CMS is currently second in 2:13.06 followed by Caitlin Michaels (UR – 2:13.11). Tied with a time of 2:13.17 are Jessie Chansler (UR) and Else Cheng (CMS). Also stepping up to the blocks will be Julia Ticus (PP), Shelby Brooks (CLU) and Dannielle Shiomoto (PP).

100 Freestyle
Michelle Kee from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps holds the top spot at 53.32 followed by teammate Jenni Rinker who holds a time of 54.23. Pomona-Pitzer’s Alex Lincoln will contend for the title entering at 54.27. The middle of the pack includes Emma Jones (CMS), Helen Liu (CMS) and Kathryn McIntosh (UR) who are all within 11 hundredths of a second of one another. Rounding out the field will likely be a pair of Sagehens in Morgan Ingemanson and Kristen Lindbergh.

200 Breaststroke
The only swimmer under 2:30 in the field is Olivia Graham (CMS), as she currently holds a time of 2:29.68. Haley Von Schottenstein (WC) and McKenzie Nakamura (UR) will compete against one another again, with very close seed times of 2:30.40 and 2:30.47, respectively. The group of CLU’s Kelli Miller (2:31.95) and the Bulldog duo of Tiana Singley (2:32.08) and Josefina Navarro (2:32.36) are separated by less than four tenths of a second. The final two competitors in the event will be Oxy’s Caroline Chang (2:33.87) and Redlands’ Michelle Utama (2:33.96).

200 Butterfly
Battling for the top two spots in the final individual race of the event will be newcomer Annika Jessen from CMS and defending champion Lauren Zehner from UR who are three seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Jessen enters with a seed time of 2:10.20 while Zehner swam a 2:10.38 earlier this winter. Stepping up to the blocks to close out the meet will also be Charlotte Dohrn (PP), Erin MacLean (CMS), Tiffany Martin (ULV), Michelle Utana (UR), Mallory Ryan (Oxy) and Kelsey Atkinson (PP).

400 Free Relay
Set to defend another title from a year ago, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is sure to pace the pack with a seed time of 3:36.69. Following the Athenas’ should be either Pomona-Pitzer (3:41.49) or Occidental College (3:45.83) who look to battle for second place.

Article by Tracy Maple, Sports Information Director