2018 Women’s NCAA Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap


The 2018 Women’s NCAA Championships will come to a close tonight with day 4 finals. Swimmers will compete individually in the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, and 200 fly, with the 400 free relay coming at the end of the session.

Stanford’s Katie Ledecky looks for a distance sweep as the defending champion in the 1650 free. After becoming the 6th fastest performer ever with her time from prelims, Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson is the top seed for the 200 back, but she’ll be up against Cal’s defending NCAA champ Kathleen Baker. The 100 free will see a matchup between defending champ Simone Manuel of Stanford and Louisville’s Mallory Comerford. Indiana’s Lilly King will chase her own record in the 200 breast. Stanford’s Ella Eastin will race for potential back-to-back titles in the 200 fly. She could go 3-for-3 in event wins and American Records this week.


  1. GOLD: Katie Ledecky, Stanford, 15:07.57
  2. SILVER: Ally McHugh, Penn State, 15:36.27
  3. BRONZE: Hannah Moore, NC State, 15:40.68

Stanford’s Katie Ledecky was far under American Record pace through the 500, flipping in 4:31.87. That was almost 5 seconds under her record pace. At the 1000, she was 9:05.89, still seconds below record pace. She had completely lapped everyone else in the field by the 1300-yard mark. She had fallen off her record pace with 150 yards to go, but still won the race by an extremely large margin.

Interestingly, in the closing 200 yards, Ledecky and Penn State’s Ally McHugh were neck-and-neck, but Ledecky had 2 fewer lengths left than McHugh. She had lapped McHugh, but McHugh began to move back up on her. Ledecky finished in a dominant 15:07.57, marking the 3rd fastest swim ever for a win on her birthday. Interestingly, Ledecky has been faster in-season in both of her record-setting swims since she got to Stanford, going in the 15:03-range midseason and the 15:07-range at NCAAs in the last 2 years.

Penn State’s McHugh had a huge swim, putting up a lifetime best 15:36.27 to become the 8th fastest swimmer in history. NC State’s Hannah Moore also had a big swim, dropping 7 seconds to take 3rd in 15:40.68.

Michigan’s G Ryan, who swam in the afternoon heats, made their way into the top 8 with a 15:50.95.


  • NCAA Record: Elizabeth Pelton (Cal), 2013, 1:47.84
  • American Record: Elizabeth Pelton (Cal), 2013, 1:47.84
  • Championship Record: Elizabeth Pelton (Cal), 2013, 1:47.84
  • 2017 Champion: Kathleen Baker (Cal), 1:48.44
  1. GOLD: Kathleen Baker, Cal, 1:47.30
  2. SILVER: Asia Seidt, Kentucky, 1:49.24
  3. BRONZE: Beata Nelson, Wisconsin, 1:49.27

Cal’s Kathleen Baker flipped well under record pace for the early lead in 25.17. She kept pulling ahead, still under record pace with a 52.31 halfway. She was still crushing it in 1:19.47 with 50 yards to go. She never let up, swimming to a new American and NCAA Record of 1:47.30 to win it. She was well ahead of the field, as Kentucky’s Asia Seidt finished in 1:49.24 behind her. Seidt came through on the back half to run down Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson (1:49.27) for 2nd.

Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton (1:50.74) was 4th, out-touching Michigan’s Clara Smiddy (1:50.80) at the finish.


  1. GOLD: Simone Manuel, Stanford, 45.65
  2. SILVER: Mallory Comerford, Louisville, 46.20
  3. BRONZE: Abbey Weitzeil, Cal, 46.74

Stanford’s Simone Manuel was just a tenth shy of her lifetime best as she dominated to win another sprint title in 45.65. Manuel, in her last year of collegiate swimming, was teary-eyed in her final NCAA post-race interview as she expressed her gratitiude for her teammates. Louisville’s Mallory Comerford clipped her lifetime best to take 2nd in 46.20. Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil threw down a 46.74 for 3rd, just a tenth off her season best.

Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey turned in a lifetime best 46.91 for 4th, breaking 47 for the first time. Texas A&M’s Beryl Gastaldello also broke 47 for the first time, falling slightly behind Haughey on the back half to take 5th in 46.98. Tennessee’s Erika Brown put up a personal best 47.08 for 6th.


  • NCAA Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2017, 2:03.18
  • American Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2017, 2:03.18
  • Championship Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2017, 2:03.18
  • 2017 Champion: Lilly King (Indiana), 2:03.18
  1. GOLD: Lilly King, Indiana, 2:02.60
  2. SILVER: Bethany Galat, Texas A&M, 2:03.26
  3. BRONZE: Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M, 2:05.79

Indiana’s Lilly King was under her record pace up front in 26.96. She was right on record pace at the 100 in 58.39. She held steady through the back half, smashing the American Record in 2:02.60. Texas A&M’s Bethany Galat, who started to close in on the back half, was just shy of the former record in 2:03.26. Teammate Sydney Pickrem was 3rd in 2:05.79, followed by Michigan’s Miranda Tucker in 2:06.73.


  • NCAA Record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2018, 1:49.51
  • American Record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2018, 1:49.51
  • Championship Record: Elaine Breeden (Stanford), 2009, 1:49.92
  • 2017 Champion: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 1:51.35
  1. GOLD: Ella Eastin, Stanford, 1:50.01
  2. SILVER: Katie Drabot, Stanford, 1:51.73
  3. BRONZE: Louise Hansson, USC, 1:52.25

USC’s Louise Hansson, the 100 fly champ, pushed the early lead in 24.52. Hansson flipped in 52.54 at the 100, nearly a second under record pace. Hansson lead through the 125-yard mark, but Stanford’s Ella Eastin pulled ahead with 50 yards to go. Eastin surged ahead to take the win by nearly 2 seconds in 1:50.01. Teammate Katie Drabot swam a lifetime best 1:51.73 to make it a Cardinal 1-2. Hansson held on for 3rd in 1:52.25, followed by Cal’s Katie McLaughlin (1:52.64) and Georgia’s Megan Kingsley (1:52.66).

Virginia’s Jenn Marrkand demolished the field in the B final, touching in 1:51.81 to take over a second off her former best. That makes her the 9th fastest performer ever in this event.


  • Championship Record: Haley Ishimatsu (USC), 2013, 396.75
  • 2017 Champion: Olivia Rosendahl (Northwestern), 335.30
  1. GOLD: Olivia Rosendahl, Northwestern, 346.15
  2. SILVER: Murphy Bromberg, Texas, 335.30
  3. BRONZE: Eloise Belanger, UCLA, 300.65

Northwestern’s Olivia Rosendahl repeated as the platform champ. Texas’ Murphy Bromberg wound up 2nd, helping the Longhorns come within 5 points of Louisville. As it stands, Louisville is 5th and Texas is 6th, so the final relay will determine which team snags a spot in the top 5. Both teams are in the A final of the 400 free relay.


  • NCAA Record: Stanford, 2017, 3:07.61
  • American Record: Stanford, 2017, 3:07.61
  • Championship Record: Stanford, 2017, 3:07.61
  • 2017 Champion: Stanford, 3:07.61
  1. GOLD: Stanford. 3:07.94
  2. SILVER: Cal, 3:08.05
  3. BRONZE: Virginia, 3:10.53

Mallory Comerford took the early lead for Louisville in 46.67, followed by Texas A&M’s Beryl Gastaldello in a lifetime best 47.11. Cal had taken over the lead by the 2nd leg with Abbey Weitzeil‘s 46.37 split, and Kathleen Baker kept bringing the Bears up on the 3rd leg in 47.21. They were under record pace going into the final leg. Katie McLaughlin anchored for Cal in a speedy 46.88, but Stanford’s Simone Manuel roared through the anchor split to win it for Stanford. Manuel’s 45.47 was just .02 shy of the fastest relay split ever.


  1. Stanford                          593   2. California                        373
  3. Texas A&M                         299   4. Michigan                          267
  5. Louisville                        232   6. Texas                           221.5
  7. Tennessee                       180.5   8. Indiana                           169
  9. Virginia                          161  10. Minnesota                         157
 11. Georgia                           135  12. Southern Cal                      127
 13. Ohio St                           123  14. Kentucky                           97
 15. Missouri                           86  16. Auburn                           82.5
 17. Wisconsin                          78  18. NC State                           70
 19. Purdue                             51  20. Arizona                            46
 20. South Carolina                     46  22. Northwestern                       40
 23. Arizona St                         34  24. University of Nevada               33
 25. UNC                                32  26. UCLA                               31
 27. Arkansas                           30  28. Hawaii                           29.5
 29. Penn St                            26  30. Alabama                            23
 31. Denver                             20  32. Eastern Mich                       18
 33. Virginia Tech                      14  33. Miami University                   14
 35. Nebraska                           11  35. Florida                            11
 37. Wyoming                             9  38. Louisiana State University          8
 39. Akron                               6  39. Rutgers                             6
 41. Notre Dame                          4  42. Duke                                3
 42. Florida St                          3  44. West Virginia                       2
 44. University of Miami                 2

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bobo gigi
5 years ago

Quick thoughts.

1650 free. KL is done! 😆 😆 Please. 3rd fastest swim ever. She has put her records at such a high level that you can’t ask her to break them every time she swims. Especially now that she’s older and older. 🙂 Cool to win on her birthday. It’s tough for me to read that some fans here call her meet an “off-meet”. 4.26 in the 500 free/3.58 in the 400 IM/15.07 in the 1650 free. I take that every week. 😆 Now logically like all other great young female mid-distance/distance swimmers, it’s iikely to see her not match her level of her youngers years as she’s older. But she has such a big margin. Of course the… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Always interesting, Bobo.

Sean Sullivan
5 years ago

I wonder if Meehan thought about using Howe on that last relay. 21.0 with a flying start on the 4×50, seems to me like she might have given them a little more breathing room, and maybe they could have broken their record from last year.

Reply to  Sean Sullivan
5 years ago

Doesn’t work like that. A great 50 freestyler is not necessarily a great 100 freestyler. See Michael Andrew. Howe split 21.2 last year and has never ever swam on their 400 free relay A team.

5 years ago

I hate to be THAT guy (and I’m sure I’ll get some beg votes for it), but Ledecky only had a 2 LENGTH lead, not lap lead…

Reply to  Takinpics
5 years ago

Oops… neg (stupid iPhone autocorrect)

Reply to  Takinpics
5 years ago

Isn’t 2 lengths the same as a lap?

Bearly Breathing
5 years ago

Is this the time or place to point out that Florida scored only 3 swimming points? This is after being shut out completely last year.

Reply to  Bearly Breathing
5 years ago

At this point any number of points is a victory

Reply to  Bearly Breathing
5 years ago

All 3 points from Dressel’s sister in the 1back

Reply to  Bearly Breathing
5 years ago

Lots of people on here said they they would be much improved. I bet if it was a split program, UF would fire the women’s coach!!!

5 years ago

wow. seeing this team awards ceremony makes you realize how much smaller Cal’s team is compared to the other top-4 teams

5 years ago

The parents and other relatives should jump in also…like Poppie’s Pond.

5 years ago

Stanford will definitely miss Simone Manuel.

5 years ago

Katie looked so defeated after that relay, Cal gave it their absolute best, and that split from Mclaughlin is no joke.

Reply to  Kaez
5 years ago

I am sure she wasn’t happy about being pulled from relay!

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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