2019 Women’s NCAA Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

2019 WOMEN’S DIVISION I NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Tonight is the first full night of finals at the 2019 Women’s NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas. Swimmers are set to compete in the first individual finals of the meet in the 500 free, 200 IM, and 50 free. Tonight’s relay action includes the 200 free relay and 400 medley relay. Divers are set to compete in the 1-meter finals between the end of the 50 free and start of the 400 medley relay.

ASU’s Cierra Runge was once the NCAA Record holder in the 500 freestyle, but tonight she’s looking for her first NCAA title in the event. She’s the top seed for the final. Stanford’s Ella Eastin chases her own American Record and a 3rd NCAA title in 4 years in the 200 IM. The 50 free will feature a battle of the fastest 2 women in history: Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil, the American Record holder and fastest ever, and Tennessee’s Erika Brown, the NCAA Record holder and #2 all-time.

200 FREESTYLE RELAY

  • NCAA Record: Stanford (Hu, Manuel, Pitzer, Howe), 2018 – 1:25.43
  • American Record: Stanford (Hu, Manuel, Pitzer, Howe), 2018 – 1:25.43
  • Meet Record: Stanford (Hu, Manuel, Pitzer, Howe), 2018 – 1:25.43
  1. GOLD: Cal- 1:24.55
  2. SILVER: Michigan- 1:26.25
  3. BRONZE: Stanford- 1:26.50

Cal ran away with this one on the back half and obliterated the NCAA Record and American Record by nearly a full second, combining for a 1:24.55. Maddie Murphy got things started with a 21.82, followed by Katie McLaughlin in 21.37. Both of their back-half legs were sub-21, as Amy Bilquist took the lead for the Bears with a 20.87 and Abbey Weitzeil closed in a blistering 20.49.

That split by Weitzeil was the 2nd fastest relay split ever, just 4 hundredths shy of the fastest in history. The fastest ever is Simone Manuel’s 20.45 from last season. That’s also the fastest Weitzeil has ever been on a relay, hinting that she may have a breakthrough in the 50 free and crack her own record tonight.

Tennessee (1:27.31) was out the fastest as they led with Erika Brown‘s 21.35, but Michigan pulled ahead with Catie Deloof‘s 21.59 on the 2nd leg. While the Bears moved ahead for the win on the back half, Michigan held on for 2nd with a 21.44 from Siobhan Haughey on the 3rd leg. Tennessee wound up 6th.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford put up a 21.00 on the 2nd leg to help her team to 4th in 1:26.71, but Stanford (1:26.50) ran them down for 3rd. Freshmen Amalie Fackenthal (21.45) and Anya Goeders (21.66) stepped up for the Cardinal to seal 3rd place.

Duke (1:28.37) had a relay in finals for the first time ever tonight. They finished 12th overall and 4th in the B final, with Alyssa Marsh putting up the fastest split of the heat in 21.38 on the 2nd leg. Winning that heat was USC (1:27.32) with a 21.58 from Tatum Wade on the 2nd leg.

500 FREESTYLE

  1. GOLD: Brooke Forde, Stanford, 4:31.34
  2. SILVER: Paige Madden, Virginia, 4:32.98
  3. BRONZE: Mackenzie Padington, Minnesota, 4:35.21

Virginia’s Paige Madden and Stanford’s Brooke Forde were neck-and-neck with 200 to go, but Forde started to pull away across the last 100. She had never broken 4:37 before today, but she’s now an NCAA champion and the 5th fastest performer in history after winning with a 4:31.34. Madden also made a huge drop today, dropping from a 4:38 coming into the meet to a 4:32.98 for 2nd place tonight.

Minnesota’s Mackenzie Padington ran down Cierra Runge (4:35.39) on the back half, clipping her best time from prelims with a 4:35.21. Padington’s time was a new Minnesota school record. The only other woman under 4:36 tonight was teammate Chantal Nack, who was just off her prelims swim in 4:35.88. Nack had also held the Minnesota school record for a short time as she set it in prelims.

Runge was formerly the 5th fastest in history with a 4:31.90 from 2015, and remains 6th all-time after tonight. The top 3 swimmers tonight were the only ones to improve from their prelims times, and are all currently sophomores at their respective schools.

Arizona’s Hannah Cox used her back-end speed to top the B-final field. Before prelims this morning, Cox hadn’t gone a best time in this event since 2015. She snapped her best time in prelims, but blew it away tonight with a drop of nearly 2 seconds in 4:36.04. Rose Bi of Michigan took it out with the lead and held on for 2nd with a 4:37.12. Stanford’s Katie Drabot and Arizona’s Kirsten Jacobsen, both A finalists in this race in 2018, tied for 3rd in the heat at 4:37.87.

200 IM

  1. GOLD: Beata Nelson, Wisconsin, 1:50.79
  2. SILVER: Ella Eastin, Stanford, 1:51.81
  3. BRONZE: Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M, 1:51.84

Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson pulled off the upset with a huge swim, dropping over a second from her best to become the 2nd-fastest performer ever in this event. Nelson was out quick in 23.94, and used her backstroke speed to move into the lead with a 27.67 split. The work she’s done on breaststroke really paid off, as she continued to pull ahead of Stanford’s 2018 champion Ella Eastin through the back half. Nelson hit the wall in 1:50.79, just a tenth shy of the American Record.

Eastin had outsplit Nelson on the back leg, splitting a 27.07 to outpace her 2018 record split by 4 tenths, but still trailed as she was behind on the fly leg. She wound up 2nd in 1:51.81, holding off Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem (1:51.84). Nelson’s swim was the 2nd fastest ever, while Eastin’s swim was the 10th fastest performance in history.

USC’s Louise Hansson, the 100 fly NCAA Record holder, was out with the lead in 23.86. Hansson wound up just outside of the top 3 in 1:52.14, moving up to 9th fastest all-time. Behind her, South Carolina’s Emma Barksdale and Kentucky’s Asia Seidt tied for 5th in 1:53.54.

Cal freshman Izzy Ivey was over a second ahead of the rest of the B final field tonight. She broke ahead of the field on the breast split, and continued to build her lead as she closed for a 1:53.87. That was her first swim sub-1:54. She’s now dropped 3 seconds since she officially joined the Bears at midseason.

50 FREESTYLE

  • NCAA Record: Erika Brown (Tennessee), 2019 – 21.15
  • American Record: Abbey Weitzeil, 2016 – 21.12
  • Meet Record: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 2017 – 21.17
  1. GOLD: Abbey Weitzeil, Cal, 21.02
  2. SILVER: Erika Brown, Tennessee, 21.23
  3. BRONZE: Mallory Comerford, Louisville, 21.49

It’s been 3 years since Abbey Weitzeil set the American Record in this pool. Tonight, she finally broke that record again, along with the NCAA Record. Weitzeil remains the fastest woman in history, taking a tenth off her best in 21.02. She now owns 4 of the 10 fastest times ever. Tennessee’s Erika Brown, who held the NCAA Record before tonight, was 2nd in 21.23 with the 9th-fastest performance in history.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford clipped over a tenth off her best to take 3rd in 21.49. Michigan freshman Maggie MacNeil was just a hundredth back in 21.50. Comerford was just a hundredth shy of making the all-time top 10 performers list in this event.

There was just a hundredth between 4th and 5th, as well as 5th and 6th.  Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin touched in 21.51 for 5th, while Cal’s Amy Bilquist popped a lifetime best 21.52 for 6th place. NC State’s Ky-Lee Perry dropped a hundredth off her best time for 7th in 21.57. Freshman teammate Kylee Alons finished 8th tonight in 21.89.

WOMEN’S 1-METER DIVING:

  1. GOLD: Sarah Bacon, Minnesota, 363.20
  2. SILVER: Maria Polyakova, UCLA, 346.90
  3. BRONZE: Alison Gibson, Texas, 338.65

Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon repeated as champion, breaking the NCAA points record with 363.20 points. The former mark was a 361.55 set 12 years ago by Stanford’s Kassidy Krug at the 2007 NCAA Championships. Minnesota has now moved into the top 10, sitting 9th ahead of Texas A&M.

400 MEDLEY RELAY

  • NCAA Record: Stanford, 2018 – 3:25.09
  • American Record: Stanford, 2018 – 3:25.09
  • Meet Record: Stanford, 2018 – 3:25.09
  1. GOLD: Cal- 3:25.24
  2. SILVER: Indiana- 3:27.01
  3. BRONZE: Michigan- 3:27.49

Amy Bilquist took it out for Cal (3:25.24) in 50.84, giving the Bears the lead, but Lilly King roared back for Indiana (3:27.01) with a 55.67. That’s just a hundredth shy of the fastest 100 breast relay split ever, which she set at Big Tens. Cal’s Katie McLaughlin pulled the Bears nearly even with Indiana as she split a 50.00 on the fly. Abbey Weitzeil dove in and immediately took the lead, blowing away the field with her 45.87 anchor split to give Cal the win.

Louisville also got a sub-46 anchor split, as Mallory Comerford (45.96) helped them to 5th place. Michigan rounded out the top 3, with Maggie MacNeil putting up a 50.34 on the fly. NC State took 4th place, getting a 57.37 breast split from Sophie Hansson. Stanford’s Taylor Ruck anchored in 45.80, the fastest anchor split of the field, as the Cardinal finished 6th.

USC won the B heat, with Louise Hansson leading off in 51.04. Texas A&M was disqualified for the Lochte Rule after touching 3rd in the B final.

TEAM SCORES THROUGH DAY 2:

  1. Stanford                        173.5   2. California                        173
  3. Michigan                          129   4. Louisville                        100
  5. Texas                              87   6. NC State                           86
  7. Southern Cali                      83   8. Minnesota                          76
  9. Tennessee                          69  10. Virginia                           66
 11. Indiana                            54  12. Auburn                             52
 13. Arizona                          48.5  14. Texas A&M                          44
 14. Wisconsin                          44  16. Kentucky                         31.5
 17. UCLA                               31  18. Arkansas                           29
 19. Georgia                            28  20. Arizona St                         25
 21. Florida                            21  22. Ohio St                            18
 23. Duke                               16  24. Missouri                           14
 25. South Carolina                   13.5  26. Lsu                                13
 27. Kansas                             11  28. Purdue                              7
 29. University of Miami                 3  30. UNC                                 2

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Togger

Will Runge have added a twist to proceedings and transferred between heats and finals?

Badgerfan

Stop it. Just stop being so ignorant.

marklewis

Cierra looked solid in the prelims, swimming a consistent pace from start to finish. Brooke was matching her stroke for stroke, but they were swimming three lanes apart. Tonight they will swim side-by-side.

It should be a tight field until someone makes a move and we’ll see who has the best finishing kick.

googoodoll

Hoping for a fast final tonight – prelims were disappointing for the most part.

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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