2017 WOMEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 15- Saturday, March 18
- IUPUI Natatorium- Indianapolis, IN
- Psych Sheet
- Championship Central
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
- NCAA record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2016, 1:51.65
- American record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2016, 1:51.65
- U.S. Open record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2016, 1:51.65
- 2016 NCAA Champion: Ella Eastin (Stanford) 1:51.65
Stanford’s Ella Eastin is the 200 IM queen right now, and even Katie Ledecky can’t out-shine her in this event. As a freshman last season, she charged to new NCAA, American, and U.S. Open records with a gutsy swim to take the NCAA title. Her 1:51.65 in the final was over a full second ahead of 2nd place Kathleen Baker, and Eastin managed to out-split Baker, the 2016 Olympic 100 back silver medalist, on the back leg. The pair were also well ahead of the rest of the field: Baker went 1:52.95 in an A final where no other swimmer broke 1:54.
Eastin is the favorite here, and she’ll look to break her own NCAA, American, and U.S. Open records. However, the IM depth has grown since last year, and the field is closing in. While only Eastin and Baker broke 1:54 last year at NCAAs, six women have already done so this season. Last year, Eastin and Baker were the only women to have broken 1:54 prior to NCAAs.
Leading the chase pack is Madisyn Cox, the Texas senior who finished fourth last season at 1:54.80. She had come into the meet with a 1:54.29, but has been as fast as 1:52.82 this year, her lifetime best. Cox is a great racer, and her 1:52 this season is a testament to her potential to break up the Eastin-Baker up top. Also with intrigue is Tennessee freshman Meghan Small, who came in as the most heralded recruit of her class. She has international experience representing Team USA, and threw down a 2:11.26 in the LCM version of this race at the Pan Am Championships to win the silver medal. She hasn’t made much noise since then, but could be gearing up for a big NCAAs next week.
Texas A&M, which has been ridiculously deep in IM of late, has five qualifiers in this event, led by #5 Sydney Pickrem and #9 Bethany Galat. Both come in seeded faster than last year, with Pickrem seeded an entire two seconds faster than 2016. USC super frosh Louise Hansson, meanwhile, sits just behind Pickrem at 1:53.72 for the sixth and final seed under 1:54. With no SCY experience prior to this season, it’s hard to get a read on Hansson, but her unpredictability makes her a potentially very scary presence in this event.
The Virginia duo Kaitlyn Jones and Jennifer Marrkand makes another appearance (they’re both high seeds in the 200 fly) here, along with another ACC competitor, NC State’s Alexia Zevnik. Jones actually broke her hand during the Georgia Invite last season, and she looks stronger than ever coming up off of that injury.
Additional names to watch out for are Kentucky freshman Asia Seidt, who’s been having an incredible first season in college, USC’s Kirsten Vose, who isn’t flashy during season but usually has huge drops come taper, and Cal’s Celina Li, who isn’t seeded well (20th) but finished 8th in the A final last season.
TOP 8 PREDICTIONS:
|1||Ella Eastin||Stanford||1:52.34 (#1)||1:51.65|
|2||Kathleen Baker||Cal||1:52.74 (#2)||1:52.74|
|3||Madisyn Cox||Texas||1:52.82 (#3)||1:52.82|
|4||Meghan Small||Tennessee||1:53.31 (#4)||1:53.31|
|5||Sydney Pickrem||Texas A&M||1:53.64 (#5)||1:53.64|
|6||Kaitlyn Jones||Virginia||1:54.05 (#6)||1:54.05|
|7||Louise Hansson||USC||1:53.72 (#6)||1:53.72|
|8||Asia Seidt||Kentucky||1:55.02 (#10)||1:55.02|
Dark horse: Emily Escobedo (UMBC). It’s easy for people to write off a swimmer who they do not know, or who comes from a school we have never heard of. Don’t make that mistake here. Escobedo has quietly developed into one of the NCAA’s best breaststrokers, and her IM has really come along, too. Her 1:55.66 is a lifetime best, and don’t be surprised if this mid-major star blazes her way to an A final appearance here in the 200 IM.