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


The 2019 Women’s NCAA Championships continues this morning in Austin, Texas with the first prelims session. Swimmers are set to compete in the 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, and 400 medley relay. This morning will also include prelims of the women’s 1-meter diving event.

One of the most exciting races to come is the women’s 50 free, where we’ll see NCAA Record holder Erika Brown (Tennessee) go up against American Record holder Abbey Weitzeil (Cal). The 200 IM will feature reigning NCAA champion and American Record holder Ella Eastin of Stanford. The 500 free could be close between several women, with ASU’s Cierra Runge, a former NCAA Record holder in the event, being one of the top standouts.


  • 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

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Cal- 1:26.25
  2. Louisville- 1:26.72
  3. Tennessee- 1:26.89
  4. Stanford- 1:26.91
  5. Michigan- 1:26.92
  6. NC State- 1:27.12
  7. Texas- 1:27.33
  8. Auburn- 1:27.40

Cal (1:26.25) was the fastest team through, with Maddie Murphy leading off in 22.20. Katie McLaughlin (21.37) and Amy Bilquist (21.57) took on the middle legs, while 50 free American Record holder Abbey Weitzeil anchored in 21.11. That secured the heat 3 win and the top seed for the Bears. Taking 2nd in that heat was Michigan (1:26.92) with a 21.40 anchor from Siobhan Haughey.

Heat 1 saw a close race between Louisville (1:26.72) and Tennessee (1:26.89). Mallory Comerford had the Cardinals ahead of Tennessee after her 20.94 split on the 2nd leg, which was the fastest split of prelims. Tennessee’s Erika Brown chased them down on the anchor leg, however, closing in 21.13. Comerford’s speed on the relay bodes well for her individual 50 free later on. She’ll be swimming that event instead of the 500 free this time around. The only other swimmer to break 21 on a split this morning was Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin (20.97).

In heat 2, Stanford’s Taylor Ruck got the early lead with a 21.70 on the leadoff, with NC State’s Ky-lee Perry (21.79) just behind. They were still nearly dead even through the 2nd leg as Stanford got a 21.5 from Lauren Pitzer and NC State’s Kylee Alons put up a 21.45. The Wolfpack pulled slightly ahead with Sirena Rowe (21.73) going 3rd, but Stanford came back for the win as Anya Goeders (21.73) anchored.


Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Cierra Runge, ASU, 4:34.64
  2. Brooke Forde, Stanford, 4:34.97
  3. Chantal Nack, Minnesota, 4:35.47
  4. Paige Madden, Virginia, 4:35.65
  5. Mackenzie Padington, Minnesota, 4:35.70
  6. Lauren Pitzer, Stanford, 4:35.80
  7. Evie Pfeifer, Texas, 4:36.04
  8. Courtney Harnish, Georgia, 4:37.30

ASU’s Cierra Runge, a former NCAA Record holder in this race, and Stanford’s Brooke Forde battled closely into the finish in the penultimate heat. Runge got her hand to the wall 1st in 4:34.64, followed by Forde in 4:34.97. That was a lifetime best by 2.5 seconds for Forde. Minnesota’s Chantal Nack also had a big swim in that heat. Nack touched 3rd in 4:35.47, taking a second off her best. Teammate Mackenzie Padington also dropped nearly a second to win the first circle seeded heat in 4:35.70.

In the final heat, top seed Lauren Pitzer (4:35.80) of Stanford trailed Virginia’s Paige Madden (4:35.65) after the first 100. Pitzer tried to make her move on the final 100, but came up just short as both women qualified for the championship heat. That heat also included Texas’ Joanna Evans (4:37.44) and Arizona’s Kirsten Jacobsen (4:38.55), who have both swim in the NCAA finals of this event before, but will swim in the consols heat tonight.

Texas’ Evie Pfeifer dominated heat 4, touching in 4:36.04. She’ll likely return to the final after placing 6th as a freshman in 2018. Pfeifer dropped almost a full second from her lifetime best. Stanford’s Katie Drabot, who took 2nd in this event at last season’s NCAAs, was 2nd in the heat with a 4:39.07.

There were a couple of freshman winners in the first few heats. Indiana’s Noelle Peplowski picked up a win in heat 3, dropping half a second in 4:41.51. In heat 1, Georgia freshman Maddie Homovich reached in for the win in 4:46.41. That was about a second shy of her seed time.

200 IM

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Ella Eastin, Stanford, 1:52.46
  2. Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M, 1:52.75
  3. Beata Nelson, Wisconsin, 1:52.83
  4. Louise Hansson, USC, 1:53.50
  5. Asia Seidt, Kentucky, 1:53.51
  6. Emma Barksdale, South Carolina, 1:53.52
  7. Meghan Small, Tennessee, 1:54.54
  8. Bailey Andison, Indiana, 1:54.75

Stanford’s Ella Eastin (1:52.46), the reigning NCAA champion, got the job done in heat 8, breaking 1:53 for the first time this season in 1:52.46. She took it out with the lead and held strong on the back half, doing just enough to win it. Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem (1:52.75), the SEC runner-up and a returning finalist who placed 3rd in 2018, followed closely. USC’s Louise Hansson, the Pac-12 champion, took 3rd in that heat with a 1:53.50.

Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey touched 1st in the final heat with a 1:53.88, but was ultimately disqualified for multiple dolphin kicks on her breaststroke pullout. That made Tennessee’s Meghan Small, the SEC champion, the heat winner with her 1:54.54. It also bumped Indiana’s Bailey Andison (1:54.75) into the top 8 as Haughey, who finished 9th in this race in 2018 and is the 10th fastest of all time in the event, would have been 7th.

Wisconsin’s Big Ten champion Beata Nelson took heat 7, touching just half a second short of her best in 1:52.83. Between Eastin, Small, Pickrem, and Nelson, we’ll be seeing 4 of the fastest women ever battle it out in tonight’s final.

Georgia’s Danielle Della Torre ran down Ohio State’s Kristen Romano (1:57.02) on the back half to win heat 5, breaking 1:57 for the first time in 1:56.66. In the last of the heats before the circle seeds, Virginia’s Abby Richter nearly matched her lifetime best, coming within .02 of the mark in 1:55.94.


  • NCAA Record: Erika Brown (Tennessee), 2019 – 21.15
  • American Record: Abbey Weitzeil, 2016 – 21.12
  • Meet Record: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 2017 – 21.17

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Abbey Weitzeil, Cal, 21.24
  2. Erika Brown, Tennessee, 21.30
  3. Maggie MacNeil, Michigan, 21.49
  4. Amy Bilquist, Cal, 21.60
  5. Anna Hopkin, Arkansas, 21.63
  6. Mallory Comerford, Louisville, 21.64
  7. Ky-Lee Perry, NC State, 21.66
  8. Kylee Alons, NC State, 21.87

Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil, the American Record holder in this event, came through with the 8th fastest performance in history to win heat 6 with a 21.24. Tennessee’s Erika Brown, the NCAA Record holder, was a few hundredths back as she won heat 7 with a 21.30. Weitzeil still owns 3 of the 10 fastest performances ever, having knocked off her previous #10 performance down to #11, and is the fastest all time. We’ll see the 2 fastest swimmers in the history of the event go head-to-head tonight, as Brown is #2 on that list.

Cal’s Amy Bilquist won heat 5 in 21.60, clipping a few hundredths off her best. Louisville’s Mallory Comerford is another top contender, touching with the 6th fastest time this morning in 21.64.

We’ll see 3 freshmen in the final tonight. The fastest newcomer was Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil, who put up a lifetime best 21.49 to qualify 3rd. Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin was the 5th fastest of prelims in 21.63, while NC State’s Kylee Alons picked up the 8th spot for finals in 21.87. NC State got 2 in with junior Ky-Lee Perry taking 7th overall in 21.66.

Duke’s Alyssa Marsh (21.92) and Stanford’s Anya Goeders (21.98) broke 22 for the first time as both qualified for the B final. That was a new school record for Marsh.


  • NCAA Record: Stanford, 2018 – 3:25.09
  • American Record: Stanford, 2018 – 3:25.09
  • Meet Record: Stanford, 2018 – 3:25.09

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Michigan- 3:27.17
  2. Indiana- 3:27.89
  3. Cal- 3:28.03
  4. NC State- 3:28.20
  5. Louisville- 3:28.47
  6. Virginia- 3:29.71
  7. Minnesota- 3:29.93
  8. Stanford- 3:30.19

Michigan came through with the top time of the morning in 3:27.17, getting the fastest fly split of the field as Maggie MacNeil put up a 49.94 in heat 2. Indiana (3:27.89) took the heat 3 win, getting the fastest breaststroke split of the field from Lilly King in 56.47.

The final heat saw Cal (3:28.03) and NC State (3:28.20) battle closely for the win. NC State was ahead of the Bears by over a second until Katie McLaughlin put up a 50.26 fly leg for Cal. They were just a tenth behind the Wolfpack as the anchors dove in, and Abbey Weitzeil secured the win with a 46.77 to Ky-Lee Perry‘s 47.10.

The fastest freestyler this morning was Louisville’s Mallory Comerford in 45.98. Texas got the fastest back split from Claire Adams, who led off in 51.44.


There was a swim-off for the alternate spot in the 200 IM between Cal’s Alicia Wilson and Indiana’s Mackenzie Looze. Looze came from behind on the freestyle leg to take a narrow victory, 1:56.11 to 1:56.26. They were both faster than their prelims times (1:56.54).

1-Meter Diving

Top-16 finishers:

  1. Sarah Bacon, Minnesota, 346.05
  2. Brooke Shultz, Arkansas, 331.70
  3. Alison Gibson, Texas, 324.60
  4. Maria Polyakova, UCLA, 321.55
  5. Elizabeth Cui, LSU, 300.30
  6. Brooke Madden, Florida, 300.05
  7. Vicky Xu, Kansas, 299.25
  8. Eloise Belanger, UCLA, 299.05
  9. Delaney Schnell, Arizona, 297.40
  10. Emily Bretscher, Purdue, 296.75
  11. Jessica Parratto, Indiana, 296.65
  12. Carolina Sculti, Stanford, 296.55
  13. Daria Lenz, Stanford, 296.40
  14. Haley Farnsworth, Stanford, 293.20
  15. Alicia Bagg, Miami, 292.45
  16. Phoebe Lamay, Cal, 290.95

UCLA qualified two divers to the A-final on the one-meter board this afternoon, and Stanford got three into the B-final.

Texas, after having divers in third place, sixth place, and tenth place after three rounds, ended up with just one athlete, Alison Gibson, in either final.

Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon, the defending 1-meter champion, is the top qualifier heading into tonight. Behind her is defending 3-meter champion Brooke Shultz, out of Arkansas. Gibson, third this morning, was the 2017 champion on 1-meter.

Also of note: Kansas’ Vicky Xu, a senior competing in her first and only semester of NCAA diving, made the A-final in the seventh spot.

Less than three points separated the 7th and 13th-place qualifiers this morning. After Xu’s 299.25 was Eloise Belanger with a 299.05, then Delaney Schnell with a 297.40, then Emily Brescher with a 296.75. In 11th was Indiana’s 2016 10-meter platform Olympian Jessica Parratto with a 296.65, in 12th was Carolina Sculti with a 296.55, and in 13th Daria Lenz with a 296.40.

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5 years ago

I can’t imagine how slim the statistical likelihood is that there would be two swimmers with the same first name (different spelling) from the same school seeded 7th and 8th in the same event, especially at a meet of this caliber PLUS with the name being a bit unique. So interesting to me!
Ky-lee’s club team is one in my area so she’s got my vote – but best of luck to all the swimmers in what is sure to be an exceptionally exciting race!

5 years ago

Did any swim geek score it out yet?

Reply to  Jared Anderson
5 years ago

I meant for today’s prelims.

2 Cents
5 years ago

Dang, a lot of hate for UVA here. I think they had a pretty good morning. Maybe its because they just got the best (or 2nd best) girl from HS to commit this week.

What no one has said yet, is that the SEC looks horrible. No one there is dropping time, and their relays are not stacking up with the rest of the ACC. They dont have any team in the 400MR final tonight. They did get 2 in the 200FR A heat, but they only had 8th as their best in the 800FR. SEC looks bad and like each team was done after their conference meet. Maybe Brown and Small can bring back some hope or pride… Read more »

Reply to  2 Cents
5 years ago

Your observations are keen. Not sure why al the UVA hate either. Regarding the poor SEC performance at this point; I have to believe it has much to do with the excitement and psychic energy many teams expelled at the SEC meet. It is a 5 day combined event with Men and Women side by side. Fast forward to a 3.25 day singe sex meet with fewer fans in the seats…much less exciting environment. A measure will be the meet next week. Rather sad that most of the SEC competitors are slower at the NCAA meet.

2 Cents
Reply to  googoodoll
5 years ago

The ACC definitely had that same feel as SECs although was just single sex but closer in time to this meet. I am not sure about the B1G or Pac but I would guess B1G was a hotly contested meet and the Pac was just ehh as far as who cares who wins. ACCs was a very tight meet and 3 teams really went in there to try to win it, so I’m not sure what to think at this point. Clearly Madden either missed her ACC taper or didn’t fully rest until NCAAs. Comerford is good to go and based on her history I think it is safe to say now that she didnt fully rest for ACCs. NC… Read more »

5 years ago

Thoughts on Stanford’s eve 400 M.R. line-up? 8th place finish this morning wasn’t so great, but they have lots of room for improvement. Switch it up big time?: Ruck on back, probably keep Bartel on breast, then Eastin on fly and Pitzer on Free? They have so many options, but their breast and fly legs seem to be a bit off, which then might require a shift for Ruck….and Eastin. Only down side for Pitzer on free is that she’ll have the 500 free final in the eve. I’m curious to see what Greg puts together.

Cal could swam out Bilquist for Blovad, keep the rest the same. They should be a bit faster this evening then.

Michigan and NC… Read more »

Reply to  SwimminIsGood
5 years ago

Good question. They certainly do have options…ill will say that if it wasn’t for Ruck they wouldn’t have even made the A final. She passed 2 or 3 teams on the last leg just in that heat.

Commerford had a great split, as did Maggie Mcniell

Reply to  SwimminIsGood
5 years ago

They should sub in the B squad. Fackenthal on fly and Goeders on free. Not worth the effort to try and move up 2 spots. All freshman relay.

5 years ago

Rough start for A&M. Texas is looking good.

Reply to  fluidg
5 years ago

I know, I am sad, but hoping for better outcomes. I am rooting for Sydney P. to finish well–imagine how poorly they would do without her.

Reply to  fluidg
5 years ago

Several SEC teams look rough. Florida also falling hard all around, but given where they are, it probably made the most sense to peak at SECs and just see what they had left here

Texas looks okay… wouldn’t be surprised if Pfiefer is the only one that goes season bests given what’s been swum so far.

Reply to  Random123
5 years ago

And Georgia? Won NCAAs in 16, then 7th in 17th then 11th in 2018….this year looks to be worse?!?!

5 years ago

McLaughlin must split under 50 tonight for sure

5 years ago

Multiple dolphin kicks for Haughey. I believe it. UM tells their swimmers to take a kick right off the wall where its difficult to see because of the waves and then another on the pullout. Been doing it for years.

Reply to  Meeeeee
5 years ago

which, if true, would be counter productive. doing a fly kick right after the push off would slow you down

5 years ago

Chantal NACK! Ladies and Gentlemen. Calling it here she’s gonna take it tonight! #ToughAsNails

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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