2016 Women’s NCAA Championships: Day 3 Prelims Real-Time Recaps


Day 3 of the 2016 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships (or the day formerly known as day 2)  will be a day of significance if the Stanford Cardinal or the Cal Golden Bears hope to chase down the Georgia Bulldogs for the NCAA title. Stanford will be a heavy favorite in the day’s first and last events, where freshman Ella Eastin, who’s already cracked a 200 IM record this week, will chase more records in the day’s longest race, the 400 IM; and to close the session in the 200 medley relay, where Stanford broke the American, U.S. Open, and NCAA Records at the Pac-12 Championships already in February.

Cal will rely on a pair of projected A-finalists in both the 100 fly and 100 back, while Georgia will try and hold them all off by using their 5 scoring-potential entries in the 200 free individual event. Day 3 also brings a high standard of record watch to the McAuley Aquatic Center. While the 200 free record done by Missy Franklin last year looks pretty safe, liverally every other available swimming record is in play Friday:

  • Kelsi Worrell broke the 100 fly record last year, and her early results have been better at this year’s meet (49.81)
  • Courtney Bartholomew was just six-tenths from Natalie Coughlin’s backstroke record last season , and Rachel Bootsma at 50.03 was just .06 away. Bootsma’s been very quiet so far this week. (49.97)
  • Lilly King, while only a freshman, is just a tenth away from Breeja Larson’s 100 breaststroke record, and already has the two fastest relay splits in history from this meet (57.23)
  • While Katinka Hosszu’s 3:56.54 seems a long way off for Stanford freshman Ella Eastin, she’s proven to be on fire so far this week. Hosszu’s all-time best is 3:56.54, but Caitlin Leverenz’s American Record of 3:57.89 is only a second-and-a-half away.

400 IM – Prelims

  • 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)

After a win and a record-setting performance in the 200 IM on Thursday evening, Stanford freshman Ella Eastin looked dominant in prelims of the women’s 400 IM on Friday morning. Eastin was as big of a favorite in this race as anybody was in any race coming into this weekend, and that held true in prelims of the women’s 400 IM with a top-qualifying 4:03.28 that puts her two seconds ahead of the next-fastest qualifier. That time is faster than anybody else has been at any meet this season.

Besides her record chase, the big story for finals of this race will be the Texas A&M Aggies putting 3 swimmers into the A-Final. In a meet where A-Final spots have been fairly evenly-distributed to date, the Aggies made the first dominant heat in the morning of the 400 IM, with Bethany Galat qualifying 2nd in 4:05.41, Sydney Pickrem qualifying 3rd in 4:05.61, and Lisa Bratton qualifying 7th in 4:07.50. The now-graduated Aggie Sarah Henry won this race at NCAAs last year.

Ohio State’s Lindsey Clary qualified 4th in 4:05.61 by placing second to Pickrem in the most competitive heat of the morning. Minnesota’s Brooke Zeiger swam 4:05.74 for her team’s first A-finalist of the meet. Georgia’s Emily Cameron qualified 6th in 4:07.22, and the last spot after Bratton went to Kansas senior Chelsie Miller in 4:07.60. Top 8 Finalists:

  1. Ella Eastin, Fr, Stanford – 4:03.28
  2. Bethany Galat, So, Texas A&M – 4:05.41
  3. Sydney Pickrem, Fr, Texas A&M – 4:05.61
  4. Lindsey Clary, Jr, Ohio State – 4:05.71
  5. Brooke Zeiger, So, Minnesota – 4:05.74
  6. Emily Cameron, Jr, Georgia – 4:07.22
  7. Lisa Bratton, So, Texas A&M – 4:07.50
  8. Chelsie Miller, Sr, Kansas – 4:07.60

100 Fly – Prelims

  • 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 – 50.10, Rachel Komisarz, 2008, ABSC
  • Defending Champion – 49.81, Kelsi Worrell, 2015, Louisville

Louisville senior Kelsi Worrell, the record holder in this 100 fly, swam her second-fastest, and THE second-fastest time in history with a 49.88 in prelims of the women’s 100 fly. The time broke the Pool Record held by her former coach Rachel Komisarz at 50.10. Worrell was out in 23.57, which was almost identical to the 23.58 that she opened in en route to her record-setting swim in prelims of last year’s NCAA Championships.

Just like Texas A&M did in the 400 IM, the Cal Golden Bears made a big move in prelims of the women’s 100 fly with three swimmers into the A-Final: Canadian Noemie Thomas swam 50.79 for the 2nd spot; Egyptian Farida Osman swam 51.30 for the 5th spot; and American Rachel Bootsma swam 51.56 for the 7th spot. Meanwhile, the Stanford women held serve by putting one swimmer in the A-Final (Janet Hu – 4th, 51.13) and one swimmer into the B-Final (Lindsey Engel – 13th, 52.05).

Georgia’s Kylie Stewart qualified 8th in 51.58, making 7 of the 8 finalists coming from teams that are in the thick of the battle for a coveted top-5 team finish. The other finalist was North Carolina junior Hellen Moffitt, who pushed-through in 6th with a 51.44. She had a breakout meet at the ACC Championships while racing against Worrell, where she became the 6th-fastest swimmer of all-time.

Top 8 Finalists

  1. Kelsi Worrell, Sr, Louisville – 49.88
  2. Noemie Thomas, So, Cal – 50.79
  3. Sarah Gibson, Jr, Texas A&M – 50.84
  4. Janet Hu, So. Stanford – 51.13
  5. Farida Osman, Jr, Cal – 51.30
  6. Hellen Moffitt, Jr, UNC – 51.44
  7. Rachel Bootsma, Sr, Cal – 51.56
  8. Kylie Stewart, So, Georgia – 51.58

200 Free – Prelims

  • 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)

A star-studded 200 free final will feature the champions of each of the four major collegiate conferences: the SEC Champion Brittany MacLean was the top qualifier in 1:43.31; the Pac-12 champion Lia Neal was the 3rd qualifier in 1:43.56; ACC champion Mallory Comerford was thie 4th qualifier in 1:43.63; and Big Ten champion Haley Lips qualified 5th in 1:43.89. In addition, last night’s 500 free champion Leah Smith qualified 7th in 1:44.01

MacLean had the best individual performance of any swimmer in the 800 free relay on Wednesday evening, splitting 1:41.46 on a winning Georgia anchor.

Among the swimmers among them are MacLean’s fellow Georgia swimmer Hali Flickinger, who qualified 2nd in 1:43.45. Flickinger was the runner-up in the 400 yard IM on Friday of last year’s NCAA Championship meet, and this year dropped that event to focus on the 200 free. So far, the move looks like at least a neutral one, though the top 6 qualifiers from perlims were all 1:43s.

Louisville’s freshman Comerford (1:43.63 – 4th) and Haughey will represent the rookies in the A-final, while Indiana’s Haley Lips (1:43.79 – 5th) and Kennedy Goss (1:44.29 – 8th) gives the Big Ten three A-finalists: more than any other conference.

The biggest miss in prelims was USC freshman Kristen Vose, who added two seconds to go 1:45.37 and finish 18th in prelims; and Cincinnati’s Jacquie Keire, who added a similar two seconds to finish 21st in 1:45.62.

Top 8 Finalists:

  1. Brittany MacLean, Sr, Georgia – 1:43.31
  2. Hali Flickinger, Sr, Georgia – 1:43.45
  3. Lia Neal, Jr, Stanford – 1:43.56
  4. Mallory Comerford, Fr, Louisville – 1:43.63
  5. Haley Lips, Sr, Indiana – 1:43.79
  6. Leah Smith, Jr, Virginia – 1:43.89
  7. Siobhan Haughey, Fr, Michigan – 1:44.01
  8. Kennedy Goss, So, Indiana – 1:44.29

100 Breast – Prelims

  • NCAA Record – 57.23, Breeja Larson, 2014, Texas A&M
  • American Record – 57.23, Breeja Larson, 2014, Texas A&M
  • U.S. Open Record – 57.23, Breeja Larson, 2014, Texas A&M
  • Championship Record – 57.23, Breeja Larson, 2014, Texas A&M
  • Pool Record – 58.72, Emma Reaney, 2015, Notre Dame
  • Defending Champion – 58.32, Sarah Haase, Stanford

The women’s 100 breaststroke final will be a story of a freshman against a senior, with both now standing among the fastest-ever in the event.

The freshman is Lilly King from the University of Indiana, who swam 57.15 to mark the fastest time in this event in the history of swimming. The time cleared Breeja Larson’s old record of 57.23 done at the 2014 NCAA Championships.

For Stanford’s Sarah Haase, the senior and defending champion, a prelims 57.73 is her lifetime best and makes her the 4th-fastest performer in history behind only King, Larson, and Alia Atkinson.

King was lightning-fast opening up in the first 50 yards in prelims, and while she certainly gave nothing back in the closing lap, Haase will have to keep pace (she was four-tenths back) early to have a chance at beating the top qualifier.

After those two came a pair of Missouri Tigers: junior Katherine Ross swam 58.15 to qualify 3rd and senior Abby Duncan qualified 4th in 58.41.

Indiana got two A-finalists in a second-straight event when freshman Miranda Tucker qualified 5th in 58.91. She and King will have the opportunity to train together and push each other for the next four years in Bloomington as the country’s best breaststroking duo.

Virginia’s Laura Simon qualified 6th in 59.00, Louisville’s Andee Cottrell qualified 7th in 59.09, and Purdue’s Emily Fogle qualified 8th in 59.24.

The B-Final of this race will feature two underclassmen mid-major swimmers: UMBC junior Emily Escobedo (59.71) and Eastern Michigan freshman Delaney Duncan). Escobedo’s swim was the first in her program’s history under 1 minute in this race in her third-straight NCAA Championship meet (no other Retriever had ever been to two-straight meets).

  1. Lilly King, Fr, Indiana – 57.15
  2. Sarah Haase, Sr, Stanford – 57.73
  3. Katharine Ross, Jr, Missouri – 58.15
  4. Abby Duncan, Sr, Missouri – 58.43
  5. Miranda Tucker, Fr, Indiana – 58.91
  6. Laura Simon, Jr, Virginia – 59.00
  7. Andee Cottrell, Jr, Louisville – 59.09
  8. Emily Fogle, Sr, Purdue – 59.24

100 Back – Prelims

  • 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

A year of training, and the implementation of the new backstroke start wedges, have had a huge impact on the times on day 3 of the 2016 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.

Last year, only two swimmers were under 51 seconds in the 100 backstroke; this year, the top five swimmers were all under that barrier headed into the A-Final.

Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew qualified 1st in 50.60, and close behind in a tie for 2nd is Ally Howe of Stanford and  the defending champ Rachel Bootsma of Cal in matching 50.85s.

The fastest swimmer in the regular season, Cal’s Amy Bilquist, was safely into the A-Final in 50.96, and Tennessee junior transfer Kira Toussaint made her third-straight NCAA A-Final with a 50.97.

In total, the A-qualifying cutoff this year was six-tenths faster than last year, which is a huge shift in context. Also making the top 8 was NC State’s Alexia Zevnik (51.13), Missouri’s Nadine Laemmler (51.14), and Stanford’s Janet Hu (51.16).

Top 8 A-Finalists

1. Courtney Bartholomew, Sr, Indiana – 50.60
2. Ally Howe, So, Stanford – 50.85
2. Rachel Bootsma, Sr, Cal – 50.85
4. Amy Bilquist, Fr, Cal – 50.96
5. Kira Toussaint, Jr, Tennessee – 50.97
6. Alexia Zevnik, Jr, NC State – 51.13
7. Nadine Laemmler, Jr, Missouri – 51.14
8. Janet Hu, So, Stanford – 51.16

200 Medley Relay – Prelims

  • 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 – 1:35.88, Virginia, 2015 ACCs
  • Defending Champion – 1:35.15, Cal

The day closed with another Pool Record, this one coming in the women’s 200 medley relay at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal in 1:35.59.

That’s well short of the time they swam at the Pac-12 Championships which was an NCAA Record of 1:34.15, and unlike the 400 medley relay, in this race they used their top relay in prelims (after slipping up and missing the A-Final last year).

Close behind them is a veteran Virginia relay in 1:35.70, buoyed by a 37.75 leadoff from Ellen Thomas. Cal was 3rd in 1:36.12, and Texas A&M qualified 4th in 1:36.22.

Missouri (1:36.40), Louisville (1:36.45), Arizona (1:36.83), and Georgia (1:36.88) round out the A-Final. That includes a 22.21 fly split from Kelsi Worrell that was actually faster than her freestyle anchor went (22.25).

Indiana sita stop the B-Final in 1:36.93, including an all-time 26.10 breaststroke split from Lilly King.

Top 8 Finalists

  1. Stanford, 1:35.59
  2. Virginia, 1:35.70
  3. Cal, 1:36.12
  4. Texas A&M, 1:36.22
  5. Missouri, 1:36.40
  6. Louisville, 1:36.45
  7. Arizona, 1:36.83
  8. Georgia, 1:36.88

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It looked like Kelsi Worrel gave a little shrug suggesting she wasn’t entirely happy.


Is it just me, or is the livestream for todays prelims not working?


I had no trouble.


Cal team seems to be a bit off this meet. Sad to see Elizabeth Pelton underperforming as well as many other team members. Noemie Thomas is having a fantastic year though, excited to see how she transitions into Olympics.

Cal Bears Fans

I think only Pelton is underperforming. Others like Thomas and Boostma are doing great.

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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