2016 Women’s NCAA Championships: Day 3 Finals Live Recap


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)

Top 3:

  1. Ella Eastin, Stanford – 3:58.40
  2. Lindsey Clary, Ohio State – 4:03.61
  3. 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

Top 3:

  1. Kelsi Worrell, Louisville – 49.43
  2. Sarah Gibson, Texas A&M – 50.61
  3. Farida Osman, California – 50.76

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)

Top 3:

  1. Brittany MacLean, Georgia – 1:42.42
  2. Mallory Comerford, Louisville – 1:42.54
  3. 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

Top 3:

  1. Lilly King, Indiana – 56.85
  2. Sarah Haase, Stanford – 57.36
  3. Miranda Tucker, Indiana – 58.10

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

Top 3:

  1. Rachel Bootsma, California – 50.28
  2. Courtney Bartholomew, Virginia – 50.73
  3. Ally Howe, Stanford – 50.86

Cal’s Rachel Bootsma used a big opening split to earn her third NCAA 100 backstroke title, knocking off top seed Courtney Bartholomew of Virginia.

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

Top 3:

  1. Sharae Zheng, Nevada – 404.70
  2. Pei Lin, Miami (OH) – 399.40
  3. 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

Top 3:

  1. Stanford – 1:34.81
  2. California – 1:35.11
  3. 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 WorrellThat’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 GibsonBehind 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:

  1. Georgia – 285
  2. California – 267.5
  3. Stanford – 265
  4. Texas A&M – 201.5
  5. Virginia – 196
  6. Louisville – 176
  7. USC – 156.5
  8. Indiana – 153
  9. T-9 Missouri – 106
  10. T-9 Arizona – 106

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5 years ago

ESPN3 stream stuck at loading.

Reply to  completelyconquered
5 years ago

I have collage pass. How can i watch the stream. It is not on schedule. I live outside US.

5 years ago

ESPN3 sucks, yes

Worrell 49.43. Yeah, she’s kinda good

5 years ago

I think we can all agree – Cal has missed their taper

Reply to  Swimdad
5 years ago

Hard to miss a taper when you’re swimming in lala land all year leading up to it.

Reply to  CraigH
5 years ago

Cal is more of a social team. If I was fast enough to swim for cal I wouldn’t because too many injuries as well.

Reply to  hswimmer
5 years ago

Over training…

Reply to  DRswimmer
5 years ago


Reply to  Swimdad
5 years ago

Agreed! They are still doing well, but it seems they might have over or under tapered a bit.

Reply to  Swimdad
5 years ago

I’d say it’s a mixed result for Cal so far. Bootsma and Thomas are swimming great.

Reply to  Danny
5 years ago

^^^This. Haters gotta’ hate, though, I guess…

Reply to  gobears
5 years ago

Not sure why there’s so much Cal-bashing going on. Not really fair to all the girls who’ve worked so hard. And still having some great performances.

5 years ago

Leah Neal 3rd 🙁 She had a huge lead at the 100 but stared to die!

Reply to  DRswimmer
5 years ago

She got 2nd.

Reply to  hswimmer
5 years ago

Dang it never mind well there goes my picks

5 years ago

56.8 WOW
She’ll be 1:05.1 at trials

5 years ago

Bootsma 50.28 for the win!
I’m sure she could’ve gotten Coughlin’s record in either her freshman, junior, or senior years if she didn’t swim the 100 fly, 30 minutes prior to the 100 back.

Reply to  Deraj
5 years ago

However, to be fair, Coughlin also swam her 49.97 100 back after swimming a 50.01 100 butterfly in 2002.

5 years ago

Lilly King continues to amaze, America doesn’t need to worry about breaststroke now!!

Reply to  DRswimmer
5 years ago

DRSWIMMER, who was really worried?! I mean really?! Lilly King is not the best long course swimmer and Tucker is right behind her, long course, and still 18. You have many other great breaststrokers who don’t drink Coke as stimulant prior to races as well. There was an article admitting she does that recently. She drinks a lot of caffine in that Coke right before a race, which is a stimulant, and should not be allowed. Way to go Indiana, promote stimulants! Granted it probably isn’t that effective, but it is still a technically a stimulant. I was never worried, and don’t want my kid drinking Coke and idolizing King promoting poor food choices and stimulant use. Just food (or… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Swimgeekgirl
5 years ago

Yes, that article.

5 years ago

U seem to be just Over the Hype – isn’t it ?

5 years ago

So forget the fact that King is a nice person and a good student…let alone a super fast swimmer. We are upset and “over the hype” because she drinks a Coke and that makes her not a good role model any more?? Really wow

Reply to  Swimmy
5 years ago

1. How do you know she is a nice person and student?
2. They have a point about caffeine.
3. Who are you to tell someone else how to parent?

This last reply sounds like an upset child, or perhaps personal aquaintance of Miss King.

Hasse, Tucker, and King all swam well. That is not a reason to question whom a parent let’s their kid idolize. I don’t let mine idolize Phelps over his past mishaps, same as I won’t let mine worship McDonald’s or Coke because King does. I don’t want my child to become overweight or unhealthy with those choices. That is my choice as a parent.

Overthehype also replied to other comments, so… Read more »

Reply to  swimanddiveparent
5 years ago

Good student because you can look up that she was student athlete of the year in Indiana and her GPA. She is nice because most people talk to one another at meets. And I agree with you on the phelps not being a fit role model but having a DUI and drinking a Coke are on two completely different levels. If drinking a Coke is the worst thing she ingests then she’s doing well. A lot of swimmers don’t always eat healthy for every meal day in and day out, we swim, it’s ok. And your kids had better not watch the Olympics then because McDonald’s is a sponsor and you sure see a lot of athletes carrying around those… Read more »

Judge Not
Reply to  Swimmy
5 years ago

It’s OK SWIMMY. I’m with ya – she seems like a good (and very normal) young lady and she is a crazy talented and competitive swimmer. As to Mommy (or Daddy) Dearest here giving you grief – go call your own parents and thank them 😉

Reply to  Judge Not
5 years ago

Thanks Judge Not. Haha I do thank them frequently! I just meant that the parents can suggest that drinking Coke isnt great for you but putting the studying and hard work in like Lilly King is good…..etc, that would be a good thing to say

Reply to  Judge Not
5 years ago

Swimmy you could have made your statement without the condescending tone. I also think her caffeine use and questionable swim tactics are not good examples.

Reply to  Swimmy
5 years ago

Overthehype is for March Madness. Poking fun at a name is immature and I believe against mod regulations as a former of bullying. I’m in awe at you all.

5 years ago

Since when are stimulants not allowed, especially caffeine? I would say a majority of elite level athletes use some sort of stimulant either in training or meets, whether it be coffee, tea, pre-workout, etc. I honestly can’t tell if you’re being serious. What your kid consumes your own problem. King is a great athlete and has every right to prepare for her races the way she wants to.

Reply to  broman
5 years ago


The levels may not be there depending on how much consumed but it is there broman. Better to be informed instead of ignorant please read.

Reply to  sweetspring
5 years ago

If used right before the race, she is using it as a stimulant and should be reprimanded as such. Rules are there for a reason. Morning coffee 3 or 4 hours before a race is not what’s being discussed. It is pre-swim stimulant use on deck…. If I’m understanding the arguement…

5 years ago

51.01 for bilquist. This is starting to look as bad as my march madness bracket

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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