2017 W. NCAA Picks: Ledecky, Manuel Headline 200 Free



  • NCAA record: Missy Franklin (2015)- 1:39.10
  • American record: Missy Franklin (2015)- 1:39.10
  • U.S. Open record: Missy Franklin (2015)- 1:39.10
  • 2016 NCAA Champion: Brittany MacLean (Georgia)- 1:42.42

The 200 free field at the 2017 Women’s NCAA Championships should be significantly faster than it was a year ago. Stanford’s Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky are the heavy favorites, and both have already been 2 seconds faster than what it took to win the NCAA title last season. At the Pac-12 Championships last month, Manuel (1:40.37) out-touched Ledecky (1:40.50), who was on the back end of her 400 IM/200 free double. In Indianapolis, we’ll get to see a fresh Ledecky take on Manuel, as she won’t be swimming the 400 IM.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford, Wisconsin’s Cierra Runge, and Stanford’s Lia Neal, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in 2016, will look to challenge that duo. Comerford became the 8th fastest performer of all time in this event when she won the ACC Championships in 1:41.70. Runge, who boasts a personal best 1:42.73, placed 4th in this event in 2015 before taking a redshirt last season. Neal enters the meet as the 8th seed, but has been as fast as 1:42.50 in her career.

Other returning All-Americans include Virginia’s Leah Smith, Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey, and Indiana’s Kennedy Goss. Smith is the defending champion in the distance freestyles, but she’s also placed in the top 8 of this event for the last 2 seasons. As a freshman in 2016, Haughey swam to a 5th place finish at NCAAs and earned an Olympic semifinal spot in the long course version of this race.

It should be a good race for those last few spots in the top 8, with a handful of other womenentering with times in the 1:43-range. Cincinnati’s Jackie Keire, the 6th seed, comes in with a personal best 1:43.19 from the Bearcat Midseason Invite. Cal teammates Kristen Vredeveld (1:43.66) and Katie McLaughlin (1:43.75) are seeded just outside of the top 8. Stanford freshman Katie Drabot (1:43.78) and USC freshman Stanzi Moseley (1:43.98) will be looking to turn heads in their first NCAA meet.


Place Swimmer Team Seed Best Time
1 Katie Ledecky Stanford 1:40.50 (#2) 1:40.50
2 Simone Manuel Stanford 1:40.37 (#1) 1:40.37
3 Mallory Comerford Louisville 1:41.70 (#3) 1:41.70
4 Siobhan Haughey Michigan 1:42.49 (#4) 1:42.49
5 Lia Neal Stanford 1:43.34 (#8) 1:42.50
6 Leah Smith Virginia 1:43.29 (#7) 1:42.87
7 Cierra Runge Wisconsin 1:43.18 (#5) 1:42.73
8 Katie McLaughlin Cal 1:43.75 (#10) 1:43.01

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Ledecky 1:39.76


If Katie was 1:40.50 very shortly after racing the 400 IM then has to be a decent chance she could break the American record.

Swimmer A

Ah, the one preview I’ve been waiting for. Ledeckey vs. Manuel vs. 1:39.10.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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