2016 W. NCAA Picks: Ella Eastin Ready for 400 IM Domination

2016 WOMEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY

  • NCAA record: 3:56.54 — Katinka Hosszu (USC) —3/17/2012
  • American record: 3:57.89 — Caitlin Leverenz (Cal) — 3/17/2012
  • U.S. Open record: 3:56.54 — Katinka Hosszu (USC) —3/17/2012
  • 2015 NCAA Champion: Sarah Henry (Texas A&M) 4:02.47

Stanford freshman Ella Eastin had a big meet at the recent Pac-12 Championships, winning the 200 and 400 IM along with the 200 fly, rocketing herself to NCAA top seeds in both IMs and a 2nd seed in the 200 fly.

An elite IM’er despite being only a college freshman, Eastin had been stuck at a best time of 4:05.25 from 2013 until dropping a 4:01.04 at the Art Adamson Invite in November. She then smashed her personal record at Pac-12s with a 3:59.30 in finals to win the conference title. Last year’s winning time of 4:02.47 from Sarah Henry was the slowest since 2007, but Eastin was already under 4 minutes at Pac-12s. Even as just a freshman, she’s the clear favorite in this event.

Despite UGA’s Hali Flickinger going the 200 free route, the spots behind Eastin still look pretty crowded with talent. Texas’s Madisyn Cox broke out in the 200 IM this past summer in the big pool, and this year, she has been the Longhorns’ go-to swimmer when they need a big win in dual meets. Cox finished 5th in this event at NCAAs last year, but with graduation and Flickinger’s event change, she’s the fastest returning collegiate 400 IMer. OSU’s Lindsey Clary has been the fastest behind Eastin this year, however, and has also seen a steady improvement throughout the duration of her collegiate career.

Texas A&M lost 2015 400 IM champion Sarah Henry to graduation, but the Aggies have formed a three-pronged attack with the likes of Bethany GalatSydney Pickrem, and Lisa Bratton. Galat and Bratton are sophomores, while Pickrem is just a freshman, alluding to an exciting future for A&M in this event. All three of these swimmers are also excellent racers in the big pool, and they’ll all be in the mix for spots behind Eastin at NCAAs.

NCAA powerhouses Cal and Georgia won’t be completely shut out– the Golden Bears have Kelly Naze and Celina Li ready to fight for their place in the A final. Li is seeded with a 4:08.36 for 18th, though she’s been as fast as 4:05.13 (from 2014). Meanwhile, Bulldog Emily Cameron is the 7th seed and is in good position to qualify top 8 at NCAAs.

TOP 8 PREDICTIONS

SWIMMER SCHOOL SEED BEST TIME
Ella Eastin Stanford 1st – 3:59.30 3:59.30
Madisyn Cox Texas 4th – 4:04.67 4:03.63
Sydney Pickrem Texas A&M 5th – 4:05.32 4:05.32
Bethany Galat Texas A&M 3rd – 4:04.06 4:04.06
Lisa Bratton Texas A&M 6th – 4:05.44 4:05.44
Lindsey Clary Ohio State 2nd – 4:03.64 4:03.64
Emily Cameron Georgia 7th — 4:06.56 4:05.91
Amanda Carner Tennessee 14th — 4:07.68 4:05.97

Dark Horse: Minnesota sophomore Brooke Zeiger swam a 4:03.28 at the 2015 Big Ten Champs as a freshman and then went on to take 6th in the event at NCAAs with a 4:05.27 in finals. She hasn’t made any big splashes yet this year, and comes in seeded 16th with a 4:08.18. Perhaps she’s been tweaking her taper to drop at NCAAs rather than gain time, or maybe she’s just having an off season. Doubts aside, she’d be the favorite for 2nd place with her best time which was done just a year ago, so keep an eye on this Gopher at the big meet.

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4 Comments on "2016 W. NCAA Picks: Ella Eastin Ready for 400 IM Domination"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Madisyn Cox for the win! You heard it here first.

Cynthia mae Curran

IT could be if Eastin peak at pac 12.

Even if she did, and lets say she adds half a second, I still don’t see anyone else coming close to her in the 400 IM. Maybe in the 200.

SeanSwimmer

Predictions:
1. Ella Eastin 3:59.95
2. Sydney Pickrem 4:02.01
3. Bethany Galat 4:03.70

wpDiscuz

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studies and swims at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and has been in the pool ever since. He misses Vine.

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