Freshman Patrick Conaton posted a lifetime-best in the 200-yard backstroke and Stanford's relay units achieved a pair of NCAA A-cuts Wednesday to open the swimming portion of the Pac-12 Conference Championships in Federal Way, Wash.
Conaton's 1:40.48 in the 200 back came during a time trial, and the NCAA A-cut was over four seconds faster than his previous benchmark.
Peter Arnet dropped nearly 1 1/2 seconds from his lifetime best by going 44.29 for an NCAA B-cut in the 100-yard freestyle.
"Our senior class showed tremendous leadership tonight, and freshman Patrick Conaton, along with Peter Arnet, put this team on their young shoulders and showed us all what we have been working towards this year," said Ted Knapp, Stanford's head coach. "This promises to be an exciting meet."
USC holds a narrow lead over the six-team field. The Trojans hold 74 points through the first two events, followed by Cal (72) and Stanford (66).
Cal had the first win of the meet in the 200-yard medley relay, clocking in at 1:24.16. USC (1:24.39) came in second, while Stanford placed third in 1:25.13. Stanford's time was nearly a second faster than its 2014 standard.
The Trojans posted a victory in the 800 free relay, setting a Pac-12 Championships record in 6:12.51. Following the lead of Drew Cosgarea's 1:34.34, Stanford surged to second with an NCAA A-cut 6:14.98 and narrowly missed a school record. The Cardinal bettered the time from its third-place finish in the event at last season's NCAA Championships.
The meet continues Thursday at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center with prelims at 11 a.m. (PT) and finals beginning at 6 p.m. The 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle relay will be contested.
A late UC Davis rally capped by a three-run home run was too much for Stanford to overcome Monday as the Cardinal dropped a 7-4 decision at La Rue Field in Davis.
Stanford (12-11) held a 4-1 advantage through the first 2 1/2 innings but saw its lead slowly evaporate throughout the remainder of the game until the Aggies (7-10) erupted for four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take command.
Kayla Bonstrom continued her hot start to the season, going 3-for-4 with all four of Stanford's RBI. She was a triple shy of the cycle, doubling in the first inning, homering in the third and singling in the seventh. Bonstrom has at least one hit in 20-of-23 games this season.
Hanna Winter went 2-for-3 to extend her hitting streak to eight games, while Cassandra Roulund doubled to stretch her streak to six games.
UC Davis scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 7-4 lead. Bonstrom and Jessica Plaza reached base in the seventh with one out, but the Cardinal was unable to bring them home and cut into UC Davis' lead.
Stanford will look to get back in the win column this weekend when it plays host to the Louisville Slugger Classic. The Cardinal begins tournament play Friday at 6 p.m. (PT) against No. 17/17 Minnesota.