2017 Women’s NCAA Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


The 2017 Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships continue this morning with prelims of the 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, 400 medley relay, and 1-meter diving.

Defending champion Leah Smith will look to break 4:30 in the 500 free after toying with the barrier over the last couple of seasons, but Stanford freshman Katie Ledecky looks unstoppable in the event. American Record holder Ella Eastin will go up against Cal’s Kathleen Baker and Texas’ Madisyn Cox in the 200 IM. Finally, a loaded 50 free field will feature sprint stars Olivia Smoliga (Georgia), Simone Manuel (Stanford), Abbey Weitzeil (Cal), Farida Osman (Cal), and Liz Li (Ohio State).


  • NCAA record: Arizona (2009)- 1:26.20
  • American record: Arizona (2009)- 1:26.20
  • U.S. Open record: Arizona (2009)- 1:26.20
  • Meet Record: Arizona (2009)- 1:26.20
  • 2016 NCAA Champion: Cal- 1:26.80
  1. Stanford- 1:26.15
  2. Cal- 1:26.67
  3. Georgia- 1:26.90
  4. NC State- 1:27.32
  5. Auburn- 1:27.51
  6. Louisville- 1:27.65
  7. (T-7) Arizona- 1:27.88
  8. (T-7) Wisconsin- 1:27.88

Stanford’s Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, Janet Hu, and Ally Howe roared to a new NCAA and American Record this morning, turning in a 1:26.15 to shave .05 off the former mark set by Arizona in 2009.

Cardinal Splits:

While Stanford is a big title threat, it’s worth noting that Cal was as fast as 1:26.67 this morning without star sprinter Abbey Weitzeil. The Bears has 6 women split sub-22 before this meet, so they got the opportunity to rest Weitzeil for tonight.

In prelims, Cal fielded Farida Osman (21.61), Amy Bilquist (21.68), Valerie Hull (21.63), and Kristen Vredeveld (21.75). They’ll likely swap out Vredeveld for Weitzeil, who has been as fast as 21.12 from a flat start. The Cardinal, on the other hand, will likely keep their lineup the same, since they used their 4 fastest swimmers in prelims.

Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga had the fastest leadoff split, touching in 21.43. Teammate Chantal Van Landeghem brought it home hard with a 21.34. Tennessee’s Maddy Banic (21.42) put up a 21-low on the 3rd leg to help the Volunteers finish 10th. Louisville’s Mallory Comerford posted a 21.27 on the 2nd leg.

The fastest split of the field, however, came from Ohio State’s Liz Li, who turned in a 21.19 on the 2nd leg.

Notably, the UNC Tarheels had the 6th fastest relay this morning, but were disqualified for an early takeoff on the final relay exchange. That eliminated a potential 8th place swimoff between Arizona and Wisconsin, as both teams made it in at 1:27.88.


  1. Katie Ledecky (Stanford)- 4:28.37
  2. Leah Smith (Virginia)- 4:31.10
  3. G Ryan (Michigan)- 4:36.46
  4. Mallory Comerford (Louisville)- 4:36.91
  5. Hannah Moore (NC State)- 4:37.12
  6. Rose Bi (Michigan)- 4:37.81
  7. Danielle Valley (Wisconsin)- 4:38.07
  8. Kennedy Goss (Indiana)- 4:38.09

Katie Ledecky smashed the Pool and Meet Records this morning, cruising her way to a 4:28.37. Ledecky holds the 10 fastest performances of all time in this event. This morning, she tied her Pac-12 prelims swim with the 8th fastest swim ever.

Virginia’s Leah Smith, the defending NCAA champion and former Meet Record holder, was also under the old Pool Record this morning with her 4:31.10.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford and NC State’s Hannah Moore each put up new best times to qualify 4th and 5th respectively. Michigan’s distance duo of Rose Bi and G Ryan landed 2 final spots for the Wolverines. Wisconsin’s Cierra Runge, who finished 2nd in this race in 2015, missed out on the final with a 4:41.38 for 25th, but teammate Danielle Valley will be representing the Badgers in the championship heat.

Other notable names who missed the top 8 this morning include Ohio State All-American Lindsey Clary (4:39.33), Cal’s Katie McLaughlin (4:41.16), and Stanford’s Katie Drabot (4:41.56). Clary will swim in the B final, but McLaughlin and Drabot finished 22nd and 28th respectively.

Texas’ Lauren Case and Air Force’s Genevieve Miller have a potential swimoff for 16th, as they tied this morning in 4:39.97.


  1. Madisyn Cox (Texas)- 1:53.34
  2. Sydney Pickrem (Texas A&M)- 1:53.69
  3. Bethany Galat (Texas A&M)- 1:54.20
  4. Ella Eastin (Stanford)- 1:54.20
  5. Kathleen Baker (Cal)- 1:54.61
  6. Louise Hansson (USC)- 1:55.01
  7. Alexia Zevnik (NC State)- 1:55.30
  8. Asia Seidt (Kentucky)- 1:55.59

Texas senior Madisyn Cox has looked good all season, and today was no exception as she led prelims of the 200 IM with a new Pool Record time of 1:53.34. The only other swimmer to break 1:54 this morning was Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem, who took 2nd just ahead of teammate Bethany Galat.

Stanford’s American Record holder Ella Eastin and Cal’s Kathleen Baker, who went 1-2 in this race last season, cruised in for the 4th and 5th spots. We’ll get to see some fresh faces in the final, as USC freshman Louise Hansson and Kentucky’s Asia Seidt both earned a spot in the championship heat.

Tennessee freshman Meghan Small narrowly missed out with a 1:55.71 for 9th place. Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton (1:55.92), who finished 5th in this race last season, took 11th, while USC’s Kirsten Vose, who placed 3rd in 2016, wound up 53rd in 2:00.39.


  1. Liz Li (Ohio State)- 21.52
  2. Olivia Smoliga (Georgia)- 21.56
  3. Simone Manuel (Stanford)- 21.57
  4. Abbey Weitzeil (Cal)- 21.62
  5. Caroline Baldwin (UNC)- 21.80
  6. Chantal Van Landeghem (Georgia)- 21.81
  7. Farida Osman (Cal)- 21.83
  8. Maddie Murphy (Cal)- 21.84

It took a 22.04 to make the top 8 in the 50 free last season, but this season a 22.04 wouldn’t even have made the B final. It took a 21.84 to make the top 8, and a 22.00 to tie for 16th. That tie was between Cal’s Amy Bilquist and USC’s Anika Apostalon, who will swimoff for a scoring swim tonight.

The top 3 this morning were all in the 21.5-range, led by Ohio State’s Liz Li in a new Pool Record time of 21.52. Swimming on either side of her tonight will be Georgia’s defending champ Olivia Smoliga and Stanford’s sprint star Simone Manuel.

The Cal Bears are looking strong in this event after putting 3 swimmers into the final. American Record holder Abbey Weitzeil qualified 4th ahead of UNC’s Caroline Baldwin and Georgia’s Chantal Van Landeghem, while Cal teammates Farida Osman and freshman Maddie Murphy came in at 6th and 7th respectively.

Murphy turned in a personal best 21.84 to edge out Arizona sprint standout Katrina Konopka, who took 9th in 21.85. Other notable names in the B final include Tennessee’s Maddy Banic (21.92) and Stanford’s Lia Neal (21.94).

**UPDATE: USC’s Apostalon won the swimoff in 21.80, while Cal’s Bilquist broke 22 for the first time in 21.94**


  • NCAA record: Stanford (2016)- 3:26.14
  • American record: Team USA (2016)- 3:25.60
  • U.S. Open record: Team USA (2016)- 3:25.60
  • Meet Record: Stanford (2016)- 3:26.14
  • 2016 NCAA Champion: Stanford- 3:26.14
  1. Cal- 3:27.97
  2. Georgia- 3:28.00
  3. Louisville- 3:28.24
  4. Texas A&M- 3:28.26
  5. Stanford- 3:29.14
  6. Texas- 3:29.50
  7. USC- 3:29.77
  8. Indiana- 3:30.18

Cal led the way through 400 medley prelims, with Kathleen Baker (50.81), Marina Garcia (59.53), Noemie Thomas (51.22), and Abbey Weitzeil (46.41) combining for a 3:27.97.

Aside from Weitzeil, we saw a handful of 46 splits, including a blistering 46.18 from Louisville’s Mallory Comerford. Georgia’s Chantal Van landeghem (46.61), Texas’ Rebecca Millard (46.80),and Stanford’s Lia Neal (46.48) were also sub-47.

Indiana’s Lilly King was the fastest breaststroker this morning with a 57.12. Cal’s Kathleen Baker (50.81) and Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga (50.96) were the top backstrokers. Texas A&M’s Sarah Gibson clocked a 50.16 for the fastest fly split.

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5 years ago

Does anybody know what’s going on with Florida? Very poor performance so far. . No relays participating ????

5 years ago

Lilly King split and is seeded two seconds faster than any other breastroker. Let that sink in for a minute. She might win the 100 by a body length and a half.

5 years ago

Will there be any way to rewatch finals if one cannot watch them live?

Reply to  Anonymous
5 years ago

Anonymous – if you have access to ESPN3, you should be able to log in and watch them after the fact.

Reply to  Braden Keith
5 years ago


Johnny j
5 years ago

Cal will beat Stanford tonight on 200 Free Relay. No doubt about it. Even with Weitzeil far from her best, Cal has the edge

The Grand Inquisitor
5 years ago

UCLA could save a lot of money by cancelling their swim program and just sending their divers to NCAAs. Would have no adverse impact to team placing.

Reply to  The Grand Inquisitor
5 years ago

Yes . UCLA attracts the show biz ppl .Their gymnasts are crowd pleasers also . Dull sports like swimming attract no ooohs & aaahs . There are stunt jobs & Cirque & LV for income boosts .

Meet demographics
5 years ago

Is there a resource that breaks down the racial/ethnic demographics of the participants at the NCAA Championship swim meet?

Reply to  Meet demographics
5 years ago

100% human race!

Jim C
Reply to  Wahooswimfan
5 years ago

Dolphins would have an unfair advantage.

Swim Guru
Reply to  Meet demographics
5 years ago

It would be interesting to know how many are from outside the USA, just like SwimSwam did the breakdown for the D2 championship meet.

Meet demographics
Reply to  Swim Guru
5 years ago

I’d like to see longitudinal data on demographics at the NCAAs. Decade by decade, are we making competitive swimming more accessible as evidenced by demographic trends in participation at NCAAs? Analyze this by race, by nationality, etc. Parse this data by conference or region, by university, etc. This type of annual report by SwimSwam staff accompanying these annual conference and NCAA meet updates could give all readers more insight into areas for improving diversity.

5 years ago

Cal might just win this meet! Most didn’t think they had a shot. This is why they swim the meet. Both teams are loaded. Great race for 3rd to 7th!

Reply to  korn
5 years ago

Still think this isn’t gonna be too close; Cal had some bad misses in the 500 and 2 IM that would have really helped

5 years ago

No Tasija Karosas for Texas in either relay this morning.

Know It All
Reply to  USASwimerror?
5 years ago

might save her for the final

Reply to  Know It All
5 years ago

good move after a 1:42 200 last night….

Reply to  USASwimerror?
5 years ago

makes sense, I’m not sure how good of a fifty swimmer she is and they have claire adams too so she can get some rest

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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