2017 WOMEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 15- Saturday, March 18
- IUPUI Natatorium- Indianapolis, IN
- Defending Champions: Georgia (results)
- Psych Sheet
- Event Schedule
- Championship Central
- NCAA record: Katie Ledecky (2017)- 4:25.15
- American record: Katie Ledecky (2017)- 4:25.15
- U.S. Open record: Katie Ledecky (2017)- 4:25.15
- 2016 NCAA Champion: Leah Smith, Virginia, 4:31.33
Katie Ledecky‘s dominance in the distance freestyles is already unquestionable, but after her stunning performances during the regular season and conference meet, swimming fans may see her take it to a whole new level once she’s tapered for the NCAA Championships.
At the 2017 Pac-12 Championships last month, Ledecky posted a scorching 4:25.15 to break the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Record, dominating the field by over 10 seconds. She’s practically untouchable in this event, leaving extremely little doubt that we’ll see her on top of the podium. The question swimming fans are asking right now is how fast she’ll go to get there. There’s a very good chance we’ll see her break 4:25.
Ledecky is the only woman to have ever broken 4:30 in this event. She owns 9 out of the top 10 fastest performances of all time. The only other swimmer to hold a place on that list is Virginia’s Leah Smith, who returns to the NCAA stage as the defending champion. For the last few seasons, Smith has been toying with the 4:30-barrier, and will look to become the 2nd woman to ever accomplish a sub-4:30 swim.
For what it’s worth, there’s 1 person who’s chosen a swimmer besides Ledecky in this race in our Pick ‘Em Contest – and that contestant chose Smith, the two-time defending champion.
Behind Ledecky and Smith, the race for 3rd gets interesting. Michigan’s powerhouse distance duo of G Ryan and Rose Bi are 2 of the top competitors for that spot. Ryan had a breakout swim at the Big Ten Championships, blasting a 4:34.40 to win the title. They’ve been slightly faster than that though with a 4:34.28 from the 2016 Georgia Fall Invite, so they may not have shown all their cards yet heading into NCAAs. Teammate Bi, a 2016 All-American in this race, put up a 4:34.62 at the UGA Invite this season.
Wisconsin’s Cierra Runge and Stanford freshman Katie Drabot enter with times in the 4:35-range. Runge could be a major player in this race if she gets back down to her best time, which stands at a 4:31.90 from her freshman season at Cal. After deciding to transfer, Runge took a redshirt last season to focus on long course, so she could have a big swim in store for the NCAA Championships.
Drabot, on the other hand, is in her freshman season. She had a huge swim at Pac-12s, knocking 5 seconds off her best time. In her first meet ever breaking the 4:40-barrier, she dropped her final time down to a 4:35.69, finishing 2nd only to Ledecky.
After battling a neck injury last season, Cal’s Katie McLaughlin has been back on form this season with her 4:36.04 from Pac-12s. She enters the meet as the 7th seed, just ahead of Texas’ Big 12 champion Joanna Evans (4:36.97). Also challenging for one of those finals slots, though, will be Louisville’s Mallory Comerford (4:37.47), who had performed very well all season. Comerford has a great balance of speed and endurance, and could definitely wind up with All-American status in this race.
Other big contenders in this race include Purdue’s Big Ten champ Kaersten Meitz (4:37.45), Ohio State’s runner-up Lindsey Clary (4:37.65), and NC State’s Hannah Moore (4:38.07). Both Clary and Moore were All-Americans in this race last season.
TOP 8 PREDICTIONS:
|1||Katie Ledecky||Stanford||4:25.15 (#1)||4:25.15|
|2||Leah Smith||Virginia||4:30.81 (#2)||4:30.37|
|3||Cierra Runge||Wisconsin||4:35.55 (#5)||4:31.90|
|4||G Ryan||Michigan||4:34.28 (#3)||4:34.28|
|5||Rose Bi||Michigan||4:34.63 (#4)||4:34.63|
|6||Katie Drabot||Stanford||4:35.69 (#6)||4:35.69|
|7||Katie McLaughlin||Cal||4:36.04 (#7)||4:36.04|
|8||Mallory Comerford||Louisville||4:37.47 (#10)||4:37.47|