Auburn's finish was its worst at the nationals since 1999.
Auburn co-head women's coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker said, "Maggie Bird had an outstanding mile today. It was the third fastest time in school history behind some pretty heavy hitters. I think we learned something about ourselves.
"You've got to congratulate Cal," she added. "They did an outstanding job. Their coach did a masterful job this weekend."
Bird swam a career-best time of 15:52.35 to finish fourth in the 1650 freestyle.
Freshman Micah Lawrence also finished in fourth place. Her time of 2:08.99 set a school record in the 200 breaststroke.