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
Early heats of the timed finals in the 1650 free begin at 3:30 Eastern Time. You can follow live updates on the afternoon heats here.
One of the tightest NCAA team battles in recent history has Georgia, California and Stanford all in the hunt for the team trophy heading into the final night of action.
Georgia leads the way, using a sneaky 200 free win from Brittany MacLean last night as a microcosm of their entry into the team race as an underrated threat rising to the top. MacLean is up for a 1650 title tonight, but will have to beat out 500 free champ Leah Smith of Virginia.
Also in line for a second individual title for Georgia is junior Olivia Smoliga, who broke the NCAA record in the 50 free and leads the 100 free after prelims.
Defending champs Cal sit second heading into tonight, with Amy Bilquist looking to get back to her Pac-12 time for a shot at the 200 back title. Kentucky’s Danielle Galyer leads that event out of prelims.
And perhaps the favorites coming into the meet, Stanford’s loaded roster is still trying to dig itself out of the points hole created by a DQ in the 200 free relay. Lia Neal is the 2-seed in the 100 free and Ella Eastin the same rank in the 200 fly. The freshman Eastin has already won NCAA titles in both of her events so far this week.
As for the top individual seeds, Kelsi Worrell of Louisville is chasing her second-straight sweep of the 100 and 200 fly races. She set a new American 100 fly record last night and isn’t far off the 200 mark heading into tonight. And Indiana freshman Lilly King crushed the first-ever 56 in the 100 breast last night and is the leader of the 200 breaststroke on day 4.
Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event updates of all the action from Atlanta. And follow @SwimSwamLive on Twitter for even more NCAA coverage.
1650 FREE – FINALS
- NCAA Record: Leah Smith, Virginia, 15:23.30
- American Record: Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital, 15:13.30
- U.S. Open Record: Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital, 15:13.30
- Championship Record: Brittany MacLean, Georgia, 15:27.84
Pool Record: Jessica Thielmann, Florida, 15:50.74
- 2015 Champion: Leah Smith, Virginia, 15:34.46
Virginia’s Leah Smith won her second consecutive NCAA mile title, doubling up on her 500 free win from day 2 with a 15:32.72 in the meet’s longest race.
That’s 7 seconds slower than Smith went in winning the ACC title, but still shattered the pool record and won the national title by almost 7 seconds.
Georgia’s Brittany MacLean finished second overall in 15:39.29 – that caps an outstanding senior campaign for the Bulldog, who was second in the 500 and won the 200 in a major photo finish last night.
Michigan freshman Rose Bi had a great swim, cutting five seconds to go 15:45.26 for third, and NC State showed off its freestyling range with a 4th-place 15:47.20 from Hannah Moore.
Indiana senior Haley Lips was the top swimmer out of the afternoon heats and held on for fifth overall in 15:50.54. The entire top 5 were under the pool record prior to this week’s meet.
Lips kicked off a run of Big Ten swimmers to round out the top 8. Big Ten champ Lindsey Clary, last night’s 400 IM runner-up, was 15:50.66 for sixth, competing for Ohio State. Wisconsin’s Danielle Valley went 16:00.43 for 7th and Minnesota sophomore Brooke Zeiger nabbed an All-America slot in 16:00.64 for 8th. Fellow Big Ten swimmer Gillian Ryan was 9th for Michigan.
Team Points Race: MacLean’s big finish helped Georgia pull away from Cal – they now lead the meet by 37.5. Cal and Stanford remain just 2.5 apart with neither scoring any milers. Meanwhile Virginia jumped past Texas A&M for fourth on Smith’s second event win.
200 BACK – FINALS
- NCAA Record: Elizabeth Pelton, California, 1:47.84
- American Record: Elizabeth Pelton, California, 1:47.84
- U.S. Open Record: Elizabeth Pelton, California, 1:47.84
- Championship Record: Elizabeth Pelton, California, 1:47.84
Pool Record: Courtney Bartholomew, Virginia, 1:49.87
- 2015 Champion: Missy Franklin, California, 1:47.91
- Danielle Galyer, Kentucky – 1:49.71
- Courtney Bartholomew, Virginia – 1:50.29
- Kennedy Goss, Indiana – 1:50.37
An incredible 200 backstroke battle came right down to the wire, with Kentucky junior Danielle Galyer and Virginia senior Courtney Bartholomew swimming to a tie at the 150-mark.
Galyer roared home, though, for Kentucky’s first NCAA swimming title of all-time, going 1:49.71 and becoming just the 10th woman ever under 1:50 in the event. Galyer now sits 6th all-time.
Bartholomew was 1:50.29 for second place, off her lifetime-best 1:49.35 from last spring. She did hold off a surging Kennedy Goss of Indiana, though – Goss had the field’s second-best closing split and came within a tenth of silver, finishing third in 1:50.37.
The only better closer than Goss was fourth-place Lisa Bratton, who was 27.74 on the final 50 but was too far out of the top pack to jump into the top three. Bratton would finish in 1:50.80, just ahead of Cal’s Amy Bilquist (1:50.88), who was the top seed coming into this meet after winning Pac-12s.
Michigan sophomore Clara Smiddy was 6th in 1:51.01, followed by NC State’s Alexia Zevnik (1:51.06) and Georgia’s Kylie Stewart (1:51.20).
Texas’s Tasija Karosas won the B final, some redemption after a disappointing meet so far. She was a declared false start in the 100 back Friday while coming in with a time that would have scored. Then she gained two seconds in prelims of this event to fade to 15th. Her finals swim was great, though, just off a season-best in 1:50.89.
Team Points Race: A strong event for Cal pulled them to 25.5 back of Georgia, with Stanford dropping off a bit – the Cardinal are now 42 behind UGA, but do have a strong 100 freestyle event up next.
100 FREE – FINALS
- NCAA Record: Simone Manuel, Stanford, 46.09
- American Record: Simone Manuel, Stanford, 46.09
- U.S. Open Record: Simone Manuel, Stanford, 46.09
- Championship Record: Simone Manuel, Stanford, 46.09
Pool Record: Natalie Coughlin, 46.85
- 2015 Champion: Simone Manuel, Stanford, 46.09
Smoliga used the speed that earned her a 50 free title on day 2 to power away early in 22.40. Neal, who said she’s been focusing on her front-end speed and led much of the 200 free last night, gave chase with a 22.45 at the turn, but Smoliga was able to better maintain that speed, finishing in 46.70 – tied for the 7th-best swim of all-time.
Neal wound up going 47.00,just off her lifetime-best of 46.8 from last year’s NCAA meet.
USC’s Kasia Wilk touched out Texas A&M sophomore Beryl Gastaldello for third, 47.35 to 47.38. Behind them, another touchout, this time Michian’s Ali DeLoof (47.54) over Florida’s Natalie Hinds (47.59), who won bronze in this event last year while swimming about four tenths faster.
Cal’s Farida Osman and USC’s Anika Apostalon rounded out the championship heat in a Pac-12 showdown, with Osman going 47.63 to Apostalon’s 47.72.
Texas sophomore Rebecca Millard won the B final, exactly matching her prelims time with a 48.03.
Team Points Race: Smoliga’s win has Georgia firmly in the driver’s seat, up 28.5 on Cal and 45 on Stanford. Though Cal is still second, Stanford is probably the bigger threat to catch Georgia, with roughly 30 points expected in tonight’s platform diving event compared to none for Georgia or Cal. Virginia and Texas A&M continue to duel for fourth, with the Cavs leading the Aggies by 10.5.
200 BREAST – FINALS
NCAA Record: Emma Reaney, Notre Dame, 2:04.06 American Record: Emma Reaney, Notre Dame, 2:04.06 U.S. Open Record: Emma Reaney, Notre Dame, 2:04.06 Championship Record: Emma Reaney, Notre Dame, 2:04.06 Pool Record: Lilly King, Indiana, 2:06.43
- 2015 Champion: Kierra Smith, Minnesota, 2:04.56
- Lilly King, Indiana – 2:03.59
- Miranda Tucker, Indiana – 2:06.27
- Emily Escobedo, UMBC – 2:06.43
In a huge coup for Indiana, the Hoosiers took down NCAA, American, U.S. Open and NCAA meet record plus the top two spots in the women’s 200 breaststroke. Most of that came courtesy of Lilly King, the freshman sensation who smashed the national record by about half a second with a 2:03.59.
King completes a breaststroke sweep of the meet and becomes Indiana’s first national champion in the 200 breast. Her time takes down the national records previously held by Notre Dame’s Emma Reaney from 2014.
Her freshman teammate Miranda Tucker went 2:06.27 for second place, giving IU a rookie sweep of gold and silver on the national stage.
UMBC junior Emily Escobedo was 2:06.43 in one of the best swims we’ve seen from a mid-major conference swimmer this year. She takes home bronze, beating out Stanford senior Sarah Haase (2:06.50).
Texas A&M finished two inside the top 7, with Bethany Galat going 2:07.18 for fifth and Esther Gonzelz 2:08.49 for seventh. That should help them make a leap in the team battle against Virginia, especially with Cavalier Laura Simon, last year’s runner-up, fading all the way to 16th.
Georgia continued to stockpile points, getting 13 from 6th-place finisher Annie Zhu (2:08.18). And in a freshman-heavy event, USC frosh Kirsten Vose was 2:10.42 for 8th place.
Missouri went 1-2 in the B final, with Katharine Ross winning in 2:07.24.
Team Points Race: Georgia is looking better and better out front, now 41.5 up on Cal and 43 ahead of Stanford. The Cardinal should be passing up Cal at any point for second place, especially with a title contender in the next event. Currently, Cal is in second place by just 1.5 points over Stanford. Texas A&M also leapfrogged Virginia for fourth, while Indiana made a big move past USC into 6th place.
200 FLY – FINALS
- NCAA Record: Elaine Breeden, Stanford, 1:49.92
- American Record: Elaine Breeden, Stanford, 1:49.92
- U.S. Open Record: Elaine Breeden, Stanford, 1:49.92
- Championship Record: Elaine Breeden, Stanford, 1:50.98
- Pool Record: Kelsi Worrell, Louisville, 1:50.61
- 2015 Champion: Kelsi Worrell, Louisville, 1:51.11
- Kelsi Worrell, Louisville – 1:50.96
- Ella Eastin, Stanford – 1:51.04
- Megan Kingsley, Georgia – 1:53.10
In a big showdown of multi-time NCAA champions, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell hung on for a gritty 200 fly title over Stanford freshman Ella Eastin.
Worrell, the defending NCAA champ in this event, is mostly known as a sprinter, and used her elite speed to build a lead of a full second at the halfway mark. But the versatile Eastin, who won the 200 and 400 IMs earlier this week, started reeling Worrell in big-time over the final 50. Worrell dropped from a 28.3 to a 30.3 in her final split, while Eastin was 29.0, but it was Worrell who won the Cardinal vs. Cardinal matchup 1:50.96 to 1:51.04.
That’s three tenths off Worrell’s prelims swim, but still ranks in as the third-fastest swim of all-time. Eastin, meanwhile, moves to #4 all-time with the 7th-fastest swim in history.
With her win, Worrell finishes a two-year sweep of the butterfly races at the NCAA level.
Eastin’s runner-up swim was big for Stanford, but Georgia fired back with places 3 and 4. Megan Kingsley was 1:53.10 and Hali Flickinger 1:53.32 as the Bulldogs continue to roll towards another NCAA title, which would be their third in the past four years.
California also had two in the final. Kelly Naze tied Texas A&M’s Sarah Gibson for fifth at 1:53.55, while Noemie Thomas was 1:54.84 for 8th. In between, Virginia Tech’s Klaudia Nazieblo went 1:53.77 for 7th.
Stanford made a charge through the B final, getting the heat win from Lindsey Engel in 1:54.13.
Team Points Race: Georgia is up 48 on Stanford at the moment, though that margin should shrink considerably during the diving portion. Stanford and Cal are now exactly tied at 332 points apiece, though Cal has no divers in the final compared to two for the Cardinal.
Texas A&M is up 21 on Virginia, while Indiana continues to roll in 6th place, ahead of USC and Louisville to close out the top wave of programs.
Platform Diving – Final
- Gracia Leydon-Mahoney, Stanford – 346.15
- Yu Zhou, Minnesota – 331.80
- Mara Aiacoboae, Arizona State – 2898.10
There was good and bad for Stanford’s title hopes in the platform diving. At the top, sophomore Gracia Leydon-Mahoney jumped from the 2nd prelims qualifying spot to the NCAA title, a gain of 3 points for the Cardinal. On the other hand, senior Lilly Hinrichs fell from 3rd to 6th, a loss of three points – that left Stanford even compared to prelims seeds.
The total haul of 33 points puts them within striking distance of Georgia, but with a 15-point gap, they’ll either have to count on a Georgia DQ or winning the event while Georgia takes 7th or 8th.
Minnesota’s Yu Zhou continued to rebound well from a 1-meter disappointment,taking the silver medal. She’s one of three Golden Gophers to score in this event in a big boost for the Big Ten program.
Bronze went to Arizona State’s Mara Aiacoboae, who beat out Northwestern freshman Olivia Rosendahl.
400 FREE RELAY – FINALS
- NCAA Record: Stanford, 3:08.54
- American Record: Stanford, 3:08.54
- U.S. Open Record: Stanford, 3:08.54
- Championship Record: Stanford, 3:08.54
Pool Record: USC, 3:10.97
- 2015 Champion: Stanford, 3:08.54
- USC – 3:09.69
- Georgia – 3:10.82
- Texas A&M – 3:11.91
USC capped off the meet with a historic swim taking their first women’s 400 free relay title in NCAA history. That came courtesy of a blistering 46.77 split from Anika Apostalon on the anchor leg.
USC was 3:09.69, a huge improvement from last year when the Trojans were just 3:16.7 and missed the A and B finals. Chelsea Chenault (47.87) was the lone holdover from that 2015 relay. Apostalon joined the team in a transfer from San Diego State, freshman Kirsten Vose (47.45) joined the program in recruiting and senior Kasia Wilk chipped in a 47.60 leadoff leg fro USC.
Needing nothing more than a 6th-place finish to ice their team points win, Georgia rose all the way up to second, going 3:10.82. Olivia Smoliga continued to sizzle, leading off ina field-best 46.87 to give Georgia an early lead. Also impressive on that relay: distance freestyler and NCAA 200 free champ Brittany MacLean was 47.64 on her leg, one of the better splits in the field.
Texas A&M held off Stanford in the waning yards to take 3rd, 3:11.91 to 3:12.08. A&M had a 47.19 leadoff leg from French import Beryl Gastaldello and a 47.71 anchor job from Sarah Gibson. Stanford, the two-time defending champs in this event, made a huge push on Lia Neal‘s 47.17 anchor leg, but couldn’t quite pass up the Aggies.
NC State (3:12.61) and Cal (3:12.84) took 5th and 6th, with the former getting a 47.91 leadoff from Alexia Zevnik and a 47.53 from anchor Courtney Caldwell and the latter seeing 100 back champ Rachel Bootsma split 47.83 and Farida Osman 47.53.
Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell was an impressive 47.33 on the leadoff leg, combining with freshman Mallory Comerford (47.76) to help the Cardinals go 3:13.21 for 7th. And TEnnessee rounded out the A final in 3:13.42, getting a 47.86 from anchor Faith Johnson.
We’ll update these scores as each event happens.
A big team effort helped Georgia earn its third NCAA title in the last four years. That 200 free relay DQ by Stanford on day 1 turned out to be a backbreaker, costing the team 40 points when they ultimately finished 19 away from the NCAA title.
Cal finished 3rd and an impressive run from Texas A&M brought them to within 50 of the defending champion Golden Bears. Virginia rounded out the top 5, 45 back of the Aggies.
USC’s final-event victory powered them past Indiana into 6th place, with the Hoosiers holding onto 7th over surging Louisville. Further back, NC State and Michigan rounded out the top 10, just nipping Missouri.
Final Team Scores (through 400 free relay):
1. Georgia 414 2. Stanford 395 3. California 358 4. Texas A&M 309 5. Virginia 264 6. Southern Cali 244.5 7. Indiana 228 8. Louisville 220 9. NC State 155 10. Michigan 150 11. Missouri 139 12. Arizona 120 13. Tennessee 111 14. Ohio St 84 15. Texas 79 16. Minnesota 70 17. UCLA 68 18. UNC 66 19. Florida 63.5 20. Nevada 56 21. Wisconsin 49 22. Kentucky 40 23. Purdue 35 24. Miami University (Ohio) 33 25. Virginia Tech 23 25. Penn St 23 27. Lsu 21 28. Alabama 20 29. South Carolina 18 29. Umbc (W) 18 31. Arizona St 16 32. Northwestern University 15 33. Auburn 14 34. Harvard 11 34. Kansas 11 34. Air Force (W) 11 37. Denver 10 38. Iowa 9 39. University of Nebraska-Lincoln 7 40. Miami (Fl) 6 40. Smu 6 42. Pittsburgh 4 42. University of Hawaii (W) 4 44. Wyoming (W) 3 44. Eastern Mich 3 46. Cincinnati 2 47. Florida Gulf 1 47. Rutgers 1