2016 WOMEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 16 – Saturday, March 19
- McAuley Aquatic Center – Atlanta, GA
- Prelims 10AM/Finals 6PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Cal – Results
- Championships Central
- Live stream: All prelims, Wednesday finals, & Thursday finals (Other sessions will be on ESPN3)
- Live results
It’s day 3 of the NCAA Championships, and Friday night’s madness should rival even that taking place in college basketball. Stanford freshman Ella Eastin looks for her second title of the meet in the 400 IM, while her teammate Sarah Haase shoots for a repeat 100 breast title against new American record-holder Lilly King.
Kelsi Worrell is back up to her old tricks, breaking 50 seconds once again in prelims of the 100 fly. She’s on track to lower her American record in the final.
Meanwhile, wide open races in the 200 free and 100 back should be wildly unpredictable: The top six qualifiers in the 200 free are separated by just half a second, while the 100 back pits Olympian and two-time NCAA champ Rachel Bootsma against top-seeded Courtney Bartholomew with an American record and potential 49-second swims on the line.
Stanford also leads the 200 medley relay after breaking the American record back at the Pac-12 Championships. The Cardinal needs a big rebound after DQ’ing their winning 200 free relay last night.
400 IM – Finals
- NCAA Record – 3:56.54, Katinka Hosszu, 2012, USC
- American Record – 3:57.89, Caitlin Leverenz
- U.S. Open Record – 3:56.54, Katinka Hosszu, 2012, USC
- Championship Record – 3:56.54, Katinka Hosszu, 2012, USC
Pool Record – 4:00.62, Dagny Knutson, 2008
- Defending Champion – 4:02.47, Sarah Henry, Texas A&M (graduated)
- Ella Eastin, Stanford – 3:58.40
- Lindsey Clary, Ohio State – 4:03.61
- Emily Cameron, Georgia – 4:03.66
Make it two for two for Ella Eastin. The Stanford freshman stayed perfect for her individual NCAA career, winning the 400 IM title in a huge swim of 3:58.40. Eastin is one of seven women in history to break four minutes in the event, and still sits 6th all-time, though she moved much closer to Elizabeth Beisel’s 3:58.35 for the #5 position.
Eastin crushed this race from the get-go, jumping out to a lead of more than a full second over the butterfly leg alone. She expanded that to about four seconds by the end of the backstroke, effectively ending the race by the halfway point.
Second would go to Lindsey Clary of Ohio State, who went 4:03.61. That caps off a nice junior season for Clary, who was 14th last year in just 4:08.
Emily Cameron of Georgia was pushing hard down the stretch, nearly running down Clary, but the junior ran out of pool, settling for third in 4:03.66.
A pair of Texas A&M teammates nabbed the next two spots, with freshman Sydney Pickrem (a national record-holder for Canada in the long course version of this event) and sophomore Bethany Galat going 4:04.26 and 4:05.17.
As grueling an event as the 400 IM is, the entire top 6 managed to better their prelims swims at night. Included in that group was Minnesota sophomore Brooke Zeiger at 4:05.38, just under her prelims swim.
Texas A&M’s third A finalist, Lisa Bratton, was seventh in 4:07.93 and Kansas senior Chelsie Miller rounded out the heat in 4:08.69.
The top returning swimmer in the field from last year, Texas’s Madisyn Cox rebounded from a tough morning swim that saw her miss the A final. Cox hit a 4:05.78 at night, still off of last year’s 4:03, but plenty fast enough to take 9th overall.
Team Points Race: Georgia still leads the team points race by just over 40, but Texas A&M and Cal are in a dead heat for second. The Aggies sit just one point up on the Golden Bears. Stanford, still reeling from the loss of 40 relay points on a DQ last night, have already clawed their way back up to fourth, 20 back of the second-place battle.
100 Fly – Finals
NCAA Record – 49.81, Kelsi Worrell, 2015, Louisville American Record – 49.81, Kelsi Worrell, 2015, Louisville U.S. Open Record – 49.81, Kelsi Worrell, 2015, Louisville Championship Record – 49.81, Kelsi Worrell, 2015, Louisville Pool Record – 48.88, Kelsi Worrell, 2016, Louisville
- Defending Champion – 49.81, Kelsi Worrell, 2015, Louisville
After rattling her own American record this morning, Louisville senior Kelsi Worrell crushed the mark at night, going 49.43 to push closer to the 49-second barrier than the once-hallowed 50-second mark she shattered for the first time in history last year.
Worrell was unstoppable in the front half of this race, going 23.09 – that’s almost half a second faster than she took out her record-setting race last year.
Texas A&M junior Sarah Gibson earned runner-up honors in 50.61 to complete one of the more unique stories of the year. Purely a distance freestyler for her first two years of college swimming, Gibson exploded in the butterfly this year, winning the SEC title and rising all the way up to #2 in the nation.
Cal’s Farida Osman was 50.76 in pushing Gibson for the second spot. The Egyptian national record-holder, Osman was out a tick faster than Gibson but couldn’t quite hang on for second. Her points will come through big for Cal, though, with her teammates Noemie Thomas (51.39) and Rachel Bootsma (51.40) taking 6th and 7th, respectively.
Stanford’s Janet Hu was 51.03, taking fourth in a nice sophomore year drop. UNC’s Hellen Moffitt (5th in 51.16) and Georgia’s Kylie Stewart (8th in 51.68) surrounded the two Cal teammates at the end of the heat.
Annie Ochitwa, part of a great freshman class for a reloading Arizona team, won the B final in 51.02.
Team Points Race: The defending team champs, Cal is starting to turn up the heat in the points. The Golden Bears are now just 12.5 back of Georgia for the team lead. Texas A&M is 41.5 back of the leader in third, with Stanford 54 behind in fourth.
200 Free – Finals
- NCAA Record – 1:39.10, Missy Franklin, 2015, Cal
- American Record – 1:39.10, Missy Franklin, 2015, Cal
- U.S. Open Record – 1:39.10, Missy Franklin, 2015, Cal
- Championship Record – 1:39.10, Missy Franklin, 2015, Cal
Pool Record – 1:42.80, Hali Flickinger, 2016 (800 free relay leadoff)
- Defending Champion – 1:39.10, Missy Franklin, 2015, Cal (turned pro)
- Brittany MacLean, Georgia – 1:42.42
- Mallory Comerford, Louisville – 1:42.54
- Lia Neal, Stanford – 1:42.58
Georgia’s Brittany MacLean might be the owner of some of the best photo finish wins in NCAA history.
In 2014, she used an absurd final 50 to pass up Missy Franklin for the 500 free title. And in 2016, she did it again, crushing a 25.7 on her final split to emerge from a tight field and win the 200 free championship.
MacLean rocketed from 4th place at the 150 turn all the way into the lead, rolling in at 1:42.42 to earn gold as well as redemption after injuries severely limited her in her junior season a year ago.
Louisville freshman Mallory Comerford had herself a great swim, going 1:42.54 for the silver medal. Comerford has been an outright revelation as a freshman for the Cardinals, dropping her best time in this event from a 1:47.6 all the way to 1:42 over the course of her rookie year alone.
Stanford’s Lia Neal, the top returner from 2015, wound up third while actually going a few hundredths faster than she did a year ago. Neal was 1:42.58, after going out very fast – she led the entire field through the 150 by almost a full second, but fell off in the final split to the field’s only 27-second leg.
Georgia continues to rack up big points through the freestyle races, with Hali Flickinger taking fourth in 1:43.32. Flickinger was an All-American 400 IMer last year, but jumped into this race in 2016 for the Bulldogs.
Michigan freshman Siobhan Haughey was 1:43.35 for fifth, just ahead of 500 free champ Leah Smith of Virginia (1:43.50). Indiana’s Haley Lips (1:43.72) and Kennedy Goss (1:44.75) rounded out the championship heat.
A tight battle in the B final saw Georgia’s Meaghan Raab top the field in 1:44.62.
Team Points Race: Wins in both the A and B finals helped Georgia put some space between themselves and Cal – they now lead by just over 50. Texas A&M is roughly 20 back of Cal, with Stanford now only 7.5 behind the Aggies in fourth.
100 Breast – Finals
NCAA Record – 57.15, Lilly King, 2016, Indiana American Record – 57.15, Lilly King, 2016, Indiana U.S. Open Record – 57.15, Lilly King, 2016, Indiana Championship Record – 57.15, Lilly King, 2016, Indiana Pool Record – 58.72, Emma Reaney, 2015, Notre Dame
- Defending Champion – 58.32, Sarah Haase, Stanford
Indiana freshman Lilly King earned the night’s second American record, going 56.85 to become the first woman ever under 57 in a flat-start 100 breaststroke.
King has been shattering barriers all week: her 56.7 split on the 400 medley relay was the fastest ever swum, but now looks pedestrian compared to her 56.8 without the advantage of a relay start. She was out in a blazing 26.4, a time that will likely top nearly all the 50 breast splits on the 200 medley relay later tonight.
Not to be lost in that commotion, Stanford senior Sarah Haase moved into the top 10 swims of all-time with a 57.36. That’s just a tenth off the previous American record set by Olympian Breeja Larson back in 2014. Haase now holds the 7th-fastest swim of all-time behind 3 of King’s swims this year, 2 from Larson and 1 from Alia Atkinson.
And two more swimmers came within a few tenths of joining the exclusive 57-second club as well. King’s Indiana freshman teammate Miranda Tucker was 58.10, which should put her in a tie with Olympian Rebecca Soni for the title of 10th-fastest 100 breaststroker of all-time. Missouri’s Katherine Ross, who won the team’s first SEC swimming title ever last month, was 58.22 for fourth.
Ross’s teammate Abby Duncan went 58.50 for fifth in a big event for the Tigers. Louisville’s Andee Cottrell (58.78) and Virginia’s Laura Simon (58.91) reprised their battle from the ACC Championships, and Purdue’s Emily Fogle was 8th with a 59.20.
Iowa’s Emma Sougstad took the consolation heat title in 59.00, topping Alabama’s Bridget Blood in a tight race.
Team Points Race: Georgia and Cal remain unmoved in the top two spots despite neither team scoring a breaststroker. Stanford has now passed up Texas A&M for second and is lurking 11.5 points back of Cal with a handful of big events left for tonight.
100 Back – Finals
- NCAA Record – 49.97, Natalie Coughlin, 2002, Cal
- American Record – 49.97, Natalie Coughlin, 2002, Cal
- U.S. Open Record – 49.97, Natalie Coughlin, 2002, Cal
- Championship Record – 49.97, Natalie Coughlin, 2002, Cal
Pool Record – 50.58, Courtney Bartholomew, 2015, Virginia
- Defending Champion – 50.03, Rachel Bootsma, Cal
- Rachel Bootsma, California – 50.28
- Courtney Bartholomew, Virginia – 50.73
- Ally Howe, Stanford – 50.86
Other than a rough sophomore campaign, Bootsma finishes her career all but untouchable in this event, winning national titles in 3 of 4 seasons. Her 50.28 tonight was just off her best of 50.03 from last year, but still registers as the 5th-best swim of all-time. Bootsma now owns the #3, #4 and #5 swims on that list.
Bartholomew was second in 50.73, adding a tenth from her prelims swim. Continually among the top contenders, the Virginia senior has always been just a tick behind Bootsma in this event, but will have one more chance for an individual NCAA title in tomorrow’s 200 back, where she’s among the favorites.
Stanford’s Ally Howe joined that duo under 51 seconds. The sophomore was 50.86, staying consistent with her 50.85 from prelims.
Amy Bilquist, the Cal freshman who is perhaps the biggest threat to Bartholomew in the 200 tomorrow, finished fourth in 51.01, touching out Pac-12 rival Janet Hu of Stanford (51.06).
NC State’s Alexia Zevnick provided the Wolfpack their first A finalist of the night with a 51.31 for 6th, followed by Mizzou’s Nadine Laemmler (51.82) and Tennessee’s Kira Toussaint (51.86), both of whom transferred out of mid-major programs this year and wound up as All-Americans with their new teams.
Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga had one of the biggest disappoinments this morning, missing the A final after lighting up the 50 free to the tune of a new NCAA record a night earlier. She responded in a big way, winning the B final tonight in 50.58, a time that would have earned her 2nd overall in the championship heat.
Team Points Race: Things are really tightening up at the top, with Stanford starting to put the heat on the top two. Georgia sits at 259, up just 26.5 on Cal (233.5) with Stanford making a run up to 213 points. A&M is starting to settle back into fourth with 173.5, and Virginia is making its move, pulling to within 8 points of the Aggies.
3-meter diving – Final
- Sharae Zheng, Nevada – 404.70
- Pei Lin, Miami (OH) – 399.40
- Kahlia Warner, Florida – 387.20
Nevada’s Sharae Zheng won the 3-meter title, beating out 2015 champion Yu Zhou of Minnesota. Zhou ended up 5th overall. Zheng now holds gold medals in both springboards and can go for the sweep tomorrow on platform.
Miami of Ohio junior Pei Lin maintained second place from last year, with Florida’s Kahlia Warner taking third and UCLA’s Maria Polyakova fourth.
Team Points Race: Of the top 5 teams, Stanford and Georgia added diving points tonight. The Bulldogs only got 2 from sophomore Olivia Ball, but they still lead Cal by 27.5. Stanford has now crept to within 10 of the Golden Bears with one event to go on the night.
200 Medley Relay – Finals
- NCAA Record – 1:34.15, Stanford, 2016 Pac-12s
- American Record – 1:34.15, Stanford, 2016 Pac-12s
- U.S. Open Record – 1:34.15, Stanford, 2016 Pac-12s
- Championship Record – 1:34.24, Cal, 2012 NCAAs
- Pool Record – 1:35.59, Stanford, 2016 NCAAs
- Defending Champion – 1:35.15, Cal
- Stanford – 1:34.81
- California – 1:35.11
- Louisville – 1:35.36
The American record-holders coming into the NCAA Championships, Stanford played things a little safer at the national championships after DQing their 200 free relay. Luckily for the Cardinal, they were still good enough to win by three tenths even with three relatively slow relay exchanges (0.40, 0.27 and 0.31).
Stanford went 1:34.81, about seven tenths off their American record. Sarah Haase was the key difference-maker, splitting 26.38 for the best breaststroke leg of the A final with 100 breast champ Lilly King of Indiana relegated to the B heat. (King split 26.05 there).
Stanford was near the top of the pack in every other split: Ally Howe was 24.16 on backstroke, Janet Hu 22.79 on fly and Lia Neal 21.48 on freestyle.
California jumped out to an early lead on Rachel Bootsma‘s 23.36 backstroke leg, a time that appears to be the fastest known 50 backstroke split in history. They lost a lot of ground on breaststroke, but Noemie Thomas‘s 22.68 on fly and Farida Osman‘s field-best 21.12 anchor job pulled the Bears back into second with a 1:35.11.
Louisville took third on a 22.55 fly leg from Kelsi Worrell. That’s not as fast as her 21.9 from last year, which was the fastest fly split in history, but still bettered the field in that stroke. Louisville was 1:35.36, beating out ACC rivals Virginia, who went 1:35.80 on a 23.9 backstroke slit from Courtney Bartholomew.
Texas A&M was 1:36.37, getting a 22.7 on fly from Sarah Gibson. Behind them were the teams from Arizona (1:36.44), Georgia (1:36.48) and Missouri (1:36.82).
USC rolled to a big B final win in 1:35.94, getting a 22.79 fly split from Kendyl Stewart to take the lead and never give it back.
Team Points Race: Things have really tightened up with one day of racing left to go. Georgia still leads, but defending champs Cal are just 17.5 points back. Meanwhile Stanford’s relay win vaulted them into third place, just 2.5 behind Cal and 20 away from Georgia.
Texas A&M and Virginia are also dueling, with the Aggies sitting 5.5 points up on the Cavaliers. Louisville could conceivably get into that hunt as well, with a 20 point gap keeping them below Virginia and another 20 point gap putting them ahead of USC.
Based on our scoring projections after prelims, Georgia has improved 18 points from their prelims seeds. Cal actually improved some as well, though just half a point, while Stanford rose 3.5. With all three teams clearly showing up to swim at finals, tomorrow night’s team battle could turn out to be one for the ages.
Top 10 Teams:
- Georgia – 285
- California – 267.5
- Stanford – 265
- Texas A&M – 201.5
- Virginia – 196
- Louisville – 176
- USC – 156.5
- Indiana – 153
- T-9 Missouri – 106
- T-9 Arizona – 106