2018 Women’s NCAA Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap


We’re on to day 2 finals of the 2018 Women’s NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio. Tonight, we’ll see swimmers battle for individual titles in the 500 free, 200 IM, and 50 free. The 200 free relay and 400 medley relay will bookend the session, while the women’s 1-meter diving finals will take place between the 50 free and 400 medley relay.

Stanford’s Katie Ledecky is chasing her own NCAA and American Record tonight in the 500 free. After her strong showing in the 800 free relay last night, anchoring in 1:39.87, swimming fans could see the first sub-4:24 tonight. Teammate Ella Eastin is in a similar boat, as she’s chasing her own records in the 200 IM, but she’ll be up against Cal’s reigning NCAA champ Kathleen Baker and Texas A&M’s SEC champ Sydney Pickrem. Another NCAA champ from Stanford, Simone Manuel, looks to defend her title in the 50 free. Manuel, the NCAA Record holder, will be up against American Record holder Abbey Weitzeil of Cal. Tennessee’s Erika Brown could surprise there as well, as she’s been on fire this season, as could local star Liz Li of Ohio State.


  • NCAA Record: Cal, 2017, 1:25.59
  • American Record: Stanford, 2018, 1:25.68
  • Championship Record: Cal, 2017, 1:25.59
  • 2017 Champion: Cal, 1:25.59
  1. GOLD: Stanford, 1:25.43
  2. SILVER: Cal, 1:25.50
  3. BRONZE: Tennessee, 1:27.10

It was a close battle between Cal and Stanford that came down to the last stroke, but the Stanford squad of Janet Hu (leadoff- 21.65), Simone Manuel (20.89), Lauren Pitzer (21.62), and Ally Howe (21.27) combined to take down the NCAA and American Records. That split by Manuel was the 6th fastest in history. She currently holds the fastest ever with a 20.78 from 2017 Pac-12s. Cal was also under the former records to take a narrow 2nd with Maddie Murphy (leadoff- 21.94), Amy Bilquist (21.08), Katie McLaughlin (21.47), and Abbey Weitzeil (21.01).

On the leadoff split, Tennessee’s Erika Brown and Ohio State’s Liz Li tied in 21.61 to give their teams an early edge. The Vols landed 3rd, while Ohio State wound up 7th. Virginia was 4th with a 21.27 anchor split from Caitlin Cooper. Louisville rounded out the top 5 with a 21.04 on the 2nd leg from Mallory Comerford.


  1. GOLD: Katie Ledecky (Stanford), 4:26.57
  2. SILVER: Katie Drabot (Stanford), 4:34.86
  3. BRONZE: Kirsten Jacobsen (Arizona), 4:35.04

Stanford’s Katie Ledecky swam to the 5th fastest time in history, dominating the field in 4:26.57. Leecky gave a huge nod and a fist pump to teammate Katie Drabot, who broke 4:35 for the first time to secure the Cardinal 1-2. Arizona’s Kirsten Jacobsen shaved another second off her time to round out the top 3. After a massive drop in prelims, Virginia’s Jenn Marrkand put up another lifetime best to take 4th in 4:35.21. Purdue’s Kaersten Meitz (4:36.83) was off her time from prelims, but still landed a spot in the top 5.

All-Time Top 10 Performances: Women’s 500 Free

Place Swimmer Time
1 Katie Ledecky 4:24.06
2 Katie Ledecky 4:25.15
3 Katie Ledecky 4:26.09
4 Katie Ledecky 4:26.46
5 Katie Ledecky 4:26.57
6 Katie Ledecky 4:26.58
7 Katie Ledecky 4:27.21
8 Katie Ledecky 4:27.54
9 Katie Ledecky 4:27.84
10 Katie Ledecky 4:27.88

Penn State’s Ally McHugh dropped almost 2 more seconds off her best time, winning the B heat in 4:36.17. Georgia’s Courtney Harnish was also sub-4:37. In her 3rd 500 free of the day, she put up her fastest time of the day in 4:36.91.


  1. GOLD: Ella Eastin (Stanford) 1:50.67
  2. SILVER: Kathleen Baker (Cal), 1:51.25
  3. BRONZE: Sydney Pickrem (Texas A&M), 1:52.35

Stanford’s Ella Eastin completetly blew away the American and NCAA Record to keep the Cardinal winning streak alive in 1:50.67. That took a second off the former record. Stanford has yet to lose a race at this meet.

Cal’s Kathleen Baker rolled to the early lead in 51.56 at the halfway mark, while Eastin trailed by half a second. Baker continued to extend her lead through breaststroke, but Eastin made up a 7-tenths deficit and blew by her on the free leg. Eastin outsplit Baker 26.35 to 27.60 on the free leg. Baker was also under the former American and NCAA Record with a lifetime best for 2nd place.

Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem shaved a few tenths from her best to take 3rd. Teammate Bethany Galat dropped a second to take 4th in 1:53.17, holding off Tennessee’s Meghan Small (1:53.18) by a hundredth. Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson dropped a few tenths for 5th in 1:53.54.

Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey was just hundredths shy of her lifetime best, swimming much faster than she did in prelims to win the B final in 1:53.53. That was the 5th fastest time of the night.


  1. GOLD: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 21.18
  2. SILVER: Erika Brown (Tennessee), 21.51
  3. BRONZE: Liz Li (Ohio State), 21.59

The NCAA Record barely survived Simone Manuel‘s finals swim tonight. Manuel was just .01 off her best, putting up the 3rd fastest time in history with a 21.18. She finished well ahead of the field, with Tennessee’s Erika Brown out-touching Ohio State’s Liz Li for 2nd.

All-Time Top 10 Performances: Women’s 50 Free

Place Swimmer Time
1 Abbey Weitzeil 21.12
2 Simone Manuel 21.17
3 Simone Manuel 21.18
4 Simone Manuel 21.20
5 Olivia Smoliga 21.21
6 Lara Jackson 21.27
7 Abbey Weitzeil 21.28 (T-6)
8 Liz Li 21.28 (T-6)
9 Liz Li 21.29 (T-8)
10 Simone Manuel 21.29 (T-8)

Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil, the American Record holder, was 4th in 21.67, followed by Texas A&M’s Béryl Gastaldello (21.74). Auburn’s Aly Tetzloff was the only swimmer in the field to clock a best time, touching in 21.77 to tie Virginia’s Caitlin Cooper for 6th.


  • NCAA Record: Kassidy Krug (Stanford), 2007, 361.55
  • Championship Record: Kassidy Krug (Stanford), 2007, 361.55
  • 2017 Champion: Alison Gibson (Texas), 332.60
  1. GOLD: Sarah Bacon (Minnesota)- 343.50
  2. SILVER: Julia Vincent (South Carolina)- 333.50
  3. BRONZE: Sharae Zheng (Nevada)- 325.25

Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon made her way to the top of the podium tonight, with South Carolina’s Julia Vincent and Nevada’s Sharae Zheng rounding out the top 3. Texas’ Alison Gibson (320.65) took 4th and Tennessee’s Rachel Rubadue (302.30) took 7th to help their teams in the battle for a top 5 spot.


  • NCAA Record: Stanford, 2018, 3:25.15
  • American Record: Stanford, 2018, 3:25.15
  • Championship Record: Stanford, 2016, 3:26.14
  • 2017 Champion: Stanford, 3:26.35
  1. GOLD: Stanford, 3:25.09
  2. SILVER: Indiana, 3:26.09
  3. BRONZE: Cal, 3:26.86

Stanford is still perfect at this meet, picking up their 5th title here. Ally Howe took the early lead in 50.34 ahead of Cal’s Kathleen Baker (50.66). They trailed Indiana after Lilly King‘s 56.02 breast split, but Kim Williams kept the Cardinal in the hunt with a 58.59 split. Janet Hu came through with a 50.36 fly split, but the Cardinal still trailed. Simone Manuel made up the gap, closing in 45.80 to lead them to a convincing victory and a new American and NCAA Record.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford had the fastest free split fo the night in 45.74 to help her team to 4th. Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson led off in 49.83 in the B heat, marking the 4th fastest 100 back of all time. That was just hundredths shy of her lifetime best 49.78 from Big Tens and the fastest 100 back of the night. USC’s Louise Hansson came up with the 2nd fastest 100 fly split ever, leading with a 49.24 fly split from the B heat.


  1. Stanford                          211   2. California                        147
  3. Texas                             109   4. Tennessee                       108.5
  5. Michigan                          101   6. Louisville                         99
  7. Texas A&M                          89   8. Virginia                           86
  9. Minnesota                          70  10. Indiana                            46
 11. Georgia                            45  11. Arizona                            45
 13. Ohio St                            40  14. Auburn                           34.5
 15. Wisconsin                          33  16. Kentucky                           32
 17. Southern Cal                       30  18. UNC                                25
 19. South Carolina                     23  20. Purdue                             18
 20. NC State                           18  22. University of Nevada               16
 23. Missouri                           15  24. Arizona St                         14
 25. Northwestern                       11  25. Denver                             11
 27. Arkansas                            9  27. Penn St                             9
 29. UCLA                                6  29. Rutgers                             6
 31. Louisiana State University          5  32. Alabama                             4
 32. Florida                             4  32. Virginia Tech                       4
 35. University of Miami                 2

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
bobo gigi
4 years ago

Quick thoughts

4X50 free relay. Stanford with 4 strong legs. Weird to put Simone in second instead of first or last but they won so they were right. 🙂

500 free. KL no surprise. Some people will be disappointed by the time. I’m not. We can’t expect her to break her crazy records every time she swims. It’s more and more unlikely. I don’t see her break her LCM records again in the future. And it would be logical. I think she has peaked in 2016. Mentally and physically. Her training with Bruce Gemmell was huge. Now she’s at Stanford with other coaches, other methods and she’s a student in one of the most prestigious universities in the world. She’s… Read more »

Jim C
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Actually, I expect her to break her 1500 LCM mark in Tokyo. .

Steve Nolan
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

“Quick thoughts”

*writes war & peace*

4 years ago

I literally can’t fathom Eastin’s 200 IM it is so ridiculously fast

4 years ago

Just realized the reigning ACC champ in the 200 IM didnt score in the event at NCAAs. Leah Godlman was 27th in the 200 IM prelims.

4 years ago

Feel sad for Cal and hope they bounce back. At the same time, I want to give props to Ali Harrison and Noemie Thomas for their big splits. ESP. to the freshman Ali for that big 58!

4 years ago

I thought Cal was winning?

Reply to  Swim
4 years ago

Stanford is winning by 64 points.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

I smell a troll…

Reply to  Swim
4 years ago

Let me start this over… I meant why is Cal in second place?

Reply to  swim
4 years ago

because stanford is winning by 64 points

Reply to  swim
4 years ago

I’m not following you. Everyone knew coming into the meet that barring their flights getting cancelled or a Norovirus outbreak or some combination of the two that Stanford was going to win this meet. Did you get a different vibe of expectation?

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Looking at the results from Pac-12 I thought Cal had a little more room(especially on day 1) for UP’s but I agree with you and the rest of the SwimSwam community that Stanford was going to win the meet.

Reply to  swim
4 years ago

I don’t know how, despite Cal dominating the relays @ pac-12, Stanford still won, stands to reason Stanford had more wiggle room.

4 years ago

is it just me or do a lot of “established” swimmers look pretty off today…

congrats to drabot for having a killer meet so far in regards to last year!!!

4 years ago

It looks like Weitzel didn’t bounce back from that 50 free in the relay 🙁 …too bad. Would have been an even more exciting race to watch if Baker had gone a similar split to last year and if Weitzel had been similar to Comerford/Manuel.

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 8 golds in Tokyo
4 years ago

Still think Ledecky will break 15 minutes?

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 …

Read More »