2020 W. NCAA Previews: Weitzeil Aiming for 2nd Sub-21 to Defend 50 Free Title

2020 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

50 FREESTYLE

Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil, the reigning NCAA Champion, made history this season as the first woman to break 21 in the 50 free. Weitzeil turned in a 20.90 at the Minnesota Invite, breaking the American and NCAA Record. At the 2020 Pac-12 Championships, Weitzeil took down the Pac-12 Meet Record in 21.03, but hyper-extended her arm on the finish, causing her to scratch the rest of the meet. She suffered a similar injury at last season’s NCAAs, and had to swim the final day with a taped up arm.

Tennessee’s Erika Brown won the SEC title for the 3rd-straight season, putting up the 3rd fastest time in history with her 21.03. She’s the 2nd fastest performer in history and is looking for her first NCAA title. SEC runner-up Anna Hopkin put up a 21.19 at midseason and remains the 4th fastest performer ever. She was off her time at SECs, but swam a blistering 20.27 split on the 200 free relay anchor for the fastest in history. Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil is another title threat after becoming the 8th fastest woman in history with her 21.30 at Big Tens.

A handful of teams have multiple potential finalists. Auburn’s sprint group had a strong showing at SECs. Julie Meynen swam a lifetime best 21.54 at SECs, just ahead of Claire Fisch with a lifetime best 21.60. NC State has 2017 ACC Champion Ky-Lee Perry, whose season best is a 21.78 but she’s been as fast as a 21.57 from last season’s NCAAs. Teammate Kylee Alons is the 2020 ACC Champion with a lifetime best 21.63. In additional to MacNeil, Michigan has a top-8 threat in Daria Pyshnenko, who set a lifetime best 21.82 at Big Tens.

There are quite a few of the top-ranked swimmers in this event from the ACC. Virginia’s Kate Douglass, the 5th fastest in the event this season, has opted for the 200 IM instead. Teammate Morgan Hill, the ACC runner-up and 2019 ACC Champion, comes in at the 9th seed in 21.76. Her best is a 21.68 from last season’s ACC meet. Duke’s Alyssa Marsh is the 11th seed after clocking a 21.78 at ACCs.

The 12th-19th seeds are bunched into the 21-high range. If they have a good morning swim, they could end up in the final. Ohio State’s Freya Rayner comes in with a 21.85, her lifetime best from Big Tens. Aside from Weitzeil, USC’s Marta Ciesla (21.86) and Stanford’s Anya Goeders (21.91) are the top swimmers coming in from the Pac-12.

TOP 8 PICKS:

Place Swimmer Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Abbey Weitzeil (Cal) 20.90 20.90
2 Erika Brown (Tennessee) 21.03 21.03
3 Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) 21.30 21.30
4 Anna Hopkin (Arkansas) 21.19 21.19
5 Ky-Lee Perry (NC State) 21.78 21.57
6 Julie Meynen (Auburn) 21.54 21.54
7 Kylee Alons (NC State) 21.63 21.63
8 Sarah Thompson (Missouri) 21.53 21.53

Darkhorse: Maddie Murphy (Cal) – Murphy is ranked just 30th with her season-best 22.14. However, her best is a 21.76 from her freshman season NCAAs (2017). Murphy won the B final in 2019. She’s been a staple relay sprinter for Cal. Last season, she led off their record-smashing 200 free relay in 21.82.

In This Story

23
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
23 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
IM FAN
1 year ago

I’m worried about her arm injury. It might not effect her too much, but Brown is close enough that that minuscule effect could cost her. I’m taking Brown.

Andy
1 year ago

Lauren, any word on Weitzel’s injury?

Jimbo
1 year ago

Let’s go Murphy and Weitzeil!

SwimmerTX
Reply to  Jimbo
1 year ago

GO BEARS!!

Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Erika Brown WILL win, will break the shabby 20.9 of Weitzel and will show class by not splashing water in her face. I say Weitzel finishes 5th IF SHE FINALS. Brown should win 5 golds at this meet – 3 individual and 2 relays. Go GIRLIE VOLS!!!!

C’mon
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

You’re embarrassing them…

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  C’mon
1 year ago

Oh come on and take a chilly pill for your stiff-necked attitude – can’t a person just tease little without everyone getting so touchy??? I say BROWN wins, Abby gets 5th and I stand by that prediction of which I am entitled.

Pkwater
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Dang dog that’s rough. Is Abby known to splash water in the face of the people she beats? Weitzeil is the queen still until someone dethrones her.

Jimbo
Reply to  Pkwater
1 year ago

I’m kinda thinking all the jokers of SwimSwam. Like the person who only roots for nc state and the other guy for Virginia and the other one for Stanford and now this guy are all the same person

swimgeek
Reply to  Jimbo
1 year ago

Exactly. I seriously doubt any of these troll artists are actually affiliated with the schools they seem to support.

Josh
Reply to  Pkwater
1 year ago

OK-I saw this a few months back:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7xu1dxYy8Y&t=48s
You can see Maggie close her right eye right after the splash

I didn’t say anything back then because I knew it wasn’t intentional and Macneill knows it’s not intentional. I think anyone looking from the outside would think so too

ACC fan
Reply to  Josh
1 year ago

Thank you for the video. DEFINITELY NOT a delibrate splash. And what’s more guys do this all the time and no one thinks anything of it. When women do it there is usually some kind of commentary. go ahead and download me but there is definitely a double standard about women’s post-race behaviors.

SWIMFAN
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

This is harsh. Weitzeil in my opinion is a very humble competitor. Does this mean you think anyone who celebrates after breaking an American record is not classy? I say weitzeil is standing strong until proven otherwise, also depends on her arm injury from the Pac 12s

John
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Oof… you definitely do not speak for the Tennessee program. Someone get this man out of here.

Yozhik
Reply to  John
1 year ago

Someone?! What about you?
I see, not safe 😀

Swimfan
1 year ago

Brown is coming in hot with all the momentum. This is going to be the most exciting race of the weekend!

swimfan210_
1 year ago

Yeah I know we are all concerned about Abbey’s arm. Still, something tells me that Abbey will have a good meet despite her injury at Pac-12s. If she can drop a 46.07 anchor split at the same meet where she injures her arm (last year) I think she’s not about to get ruined. Still, Brown is a great competitor but because she often adds some time at NCAAs I think Weitzeil has the title.
Will be interesting Hopkin vs MacNeil for third. Of course MacNeil might not be 100% tapered because of Canadian Olympic Trials but she can surely swim fast no matter what. Also Michigan looks pretty focused on NCAAs after what happened at B1Gs. But I feel… Read more »

Yup
1 year ago

What stroke will Erika swim?

swimfan210_
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

what?

Relaysfordayzzzz
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

Because one time at NCAA she dove in for a free relay and started swimming fly 😂

Jimbo
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

I think they mean between fly and free on the medley relays

Silent Observer
1 year ago

I would personally swap Perry and Alons. I think, after watching ACCs, Alons has the hotter hand.

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 »