2021 NCAA Women’s Championships: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap


Last night, Virginia continued to steamroll ahead in the team race, while a heated battle for second has formed between NC State, Texas and Cal.

The Wolfpack staged another upset win, this time in the 200 medley relay, their second-ever relay title in program history to go along with their 400 medley relay victory.

After Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil broke the 49-second barrier in an otherworldly 100 fly last night, her third-round battle with Virginia’s Kate Douglass today in the 100 free will be intriguing. Douglass beat her in the 50, but not by much; how much does each star have left in the tank? Cal’s Isabel Ivey is another dangerous name here, and her sprint free looks solid based only on her 200 free relay performance.

Meanwhile, Douglass’s senior teammate Paige Madden is the only swimmer in the meet who might claim a third victory after wins in the 500 free and 200 free, but she has this morning off as she prepares for the final heat of the mile tonight.

NC State’s stroke specialists, Katharine Berkoff in the back and Sophie Hansson in the breast, look like potential double winners in the 200 version of their respective strokes. Alabama’s Rhyan White will be waiting in the 200 back, though, as well as Cal freshman Isabelle Stadden.

Finally, it’s anyone’s race in the 200 fly, though Kelly Pash of Texas and Olivia Carter of Michigan have looked the best this weekend among the top contenders.


  • NCAA Record: Beata Nelson (Wisconsin), 1:47.24 – 2019
  • American Record: Regan Smith, 1:47.16 – 2019
  • U.S. Open Record: Regan Smith, 1:47.16 – 2019
  • Meet Record: Beata Nelson (Wisconsin), 1:47.24 – 2019
  • 2019 Champion: Beata Nelson (Wisconsin), 1:47.24
  • 2020 Top Performer: Rhyan White (Alabama), 1:48.06

Top 8

  1. Rhyan White (Alabama) – 1:50.18
  2. Katharine Berkoff (NC State) – 1:50.31
  3. Phoebe Bacon (Wisconsin) – 1:50.32
  4. Isabelle Stadden (Cal) – 1:50.33
  5. Reilly Tiltmann (Virginia) – 1:51.40
  6. Emma Muzzy (NC State) – 1:51.45
  7. Emma Atkinson (Virginia Tech) – 1:51.48
  8. Sophie Sorenson (Kentucky) – 1:51.74

Heat seven was all Rhyan White (Alabama) and Katharine Berkoff (NC State), as White held strong against a charging Berkoff under the flags, 1:50.18 to 1:50.31. They’ll be the top two seeds tonight.

In heat six, freshmen Phoebe Bacon of Wisconsin, Isabelle Stadden of Cal and Emma Atkinson of Virginia Tech duked it out. Bacon got the touch by .01 over Stadden, 1:50.32 to 1:50.33, while Atkinson faded a bit to third at 1:51.47, Bacon and Atkinson dropping from seed.

Heat five saw four women battle it out, with Emma Muzzy and Kate Moore of NC State, Sophie Sorenson of Kentucky and Reilly Tiltmann of Virginia. It was Tiltmann, the freshman, at 1:51.40 with the strong finish over Muzzy (1:51.45), Sorenson (1:51.74) and Moore (1:52.12). Tiltmann dropped over a second from seed.

In heat four, Michigan’s Mariella Venter got things moving with a big 1:52.21, dropping almost two seconds from her seed time. As Michigan pushes to maintain a top eight finish, this was a big swim for them.

NC State got two up into this A-final, huge as they try to hold on to second in tonight’s finals. Mid-major B-finalists include Ioanna Sacha (Houston) and Susan Lagrand (Oakland), Sacha at 1:53.16 and Lagrand at 1:53.48.


  • NCAA Record: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 45.56 – 2017
  • American Record: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 45.56 – 2017
  • U.S. Open Record: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 45.56 – 2017
  • Meet Record: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 45.56 – 2017
  • 2019 Champion: Mallory Comerford (Louisville), 46.24
  • 2020 Top Performer: Erika Brown (Tennessee), 45.83

Top 8

  1. Kate Douglass (Virginia) – 46.54
  2. Isabel Ivey (Cal) – 47.30
  3. Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) – 47.34
  4. Morgan Scott/Cora Dupre (Alabama) – 47.88
  5. Kylee Alons (NC State) – 47.89
  6. Kalia Antoniou (Alabama) – 47.96
  7. Chloe Stepanek (Texas A&M) – 48.06

Kate Douglass meant business in the final heat, dropping from seed with a lifetime best and school-record 46.54. She was 22.4/24.1, blistering on the back-half. Morgan Scott was second in the heat at 47.88, as the Crimson Tide swelled with three swimmers into this A-final.

Cal’s Isabel Ivey took heat seven with a 47.30, leading Cora Dupre (Alabama) and Kylee Alons (NC State) under 48 seconds. Dupre was 47.88 and Alons 47.89.

In heat six, Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil dropped a 47.34, winning the heat easily and dropping .02 from seed. Alabama’s Kalia Antoniou was second in 47.96, also getting under 48.

Grace Countie of UNC continues her stellar meet– the junior won heat three with a 48.15, dropping .72 from seed.

Mid-major alert: Houston’s Mykenzie Leehy dropped .05 from seed to qualify for the B-final at 16th (48.56).


  • NCAA Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2:02.60 – 2018
  • American Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2:02.60 – 2018
  • US Open Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2:02.60 – 2018
  • Meet Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2:02.60 – 2018
  • 2019 Champion: Lilly King (Indiana), 2:02.90
  • 2020 Top Performer: Sophie Hansson (NC State) – 2:05.59

Top 8

  1. Sophie Hansson (NC State) – 2:05.56
  2. Alex Walsh (Virginia) – 2:05.64
  3. Ella Nelson (Virginia) – 2:05.80
  4. Mona McSharry (Tennessee) – 2:06.37
  5. Zoie Hartman (Georgia) – 2:06.42
  6. Alexis Wenger (Virginia) – 2:06.65
  7. Andrea Podmanikova (NC State) – 2:06.67
  8. Noelle Peplowski (Indiana) – 2:06.71

This is one of, if not the, deepest event in the country. It took a 2:06 to make the A-final, which is quite fast; a 2:08.4 made the A-final in 2019.

In the final heat, Sophie Hansson of NC State goes 2:05.56 to take the top time of the morning. Her teammate Andrea Podmanikova also gets into the A-final, much-needed points for the Wolfpack as Cal and Texas were shut-out of this A-final.

Tennessee freshman Mona McSharry took down Molly Hannis’s school record here, going a lifetime best 2:06.37 for fourth overall.

Virginia freshman Alex Walsh was out in a big 59.89 at the first 100, and her teammate Ella Nelson pulled up right behind her at the finish. Walsh was 2:05.64 ahead of Nelson’s 2:05.80. Georgia’s Zoie Hartman (2:06.42) and Indiana’s Noelle Peplowski (2:06.71) were both under 2:07, too.

Joining Walsh and Nelson in the A-final will be a third Cavalier, as Alexis Wenger clocked a new best of 2:06.65 (by a second) to nab sixth overall.

In the first circle-seeded heat, three swimmers went under 2:08, led by Kentucky sophomore Gillian Davey (2:07.06). Texas freshman Anna Elendt was second (2:07.40) and Georgia’s Danielle Dellatorre third (2:07.51).

Sophie Angus (Northwestern) won a tight heat in heat four, going 2:08.78, the third 2:08 of the morning.

In heat three, 400 IM champion Brooke Forde was out hard in 1:01.42, and she turned in a time of 2:08.61 for the top time through the first three heats.

SDSU’s Klara Thormalm had a big swim in heat two, hitting a 2:08.85 for the win. She’s been faster, with a personal best of 2:08.30 from the 2020 Mountain West Championships.


  • NCAA Record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2018, 1:49.51
  • American Record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2018, 1:49.51
  • U.S. Open Record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2018, 1:49.51
  • Meet Record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2018, 1:50.01
  • 2019 Champion: Louise Hansson (USC), 1:50.28
  • 2020 Top Performer: Louise Hansson (USC), 1:51.26

Top 8

  1. Olivia Carter (Michigan) – 1:53.19
  2. Taylor Pike (Texas A&M) – 1:53.32
  3. Kelly Pash (Texas) – 1:53.38
  4. Dakota Luther (Georgia) – 1:53.43
  5. Emma Sticklen (Texas) – 1:53.56
  6. Olivia Bray (Texas) – 1:53.83
  7. Izzy Gati (Kentucky) – 1:53.86
  8. Abby Harter (Virginia) – 1:53.90

In the final heat, Texas A&M’s Taylor Pike dropped a half-second from seed to beat the field, going 1:53.32 to take the #2 spot in the A-final tonight.

Meanwhile, Texas surged, as Kelly Pash (1:53.38) and Olivia Bray (1:53.83) made it into the A-final at third and sixth, respectively.

Georgia’s Dakota Luther was 1:53.43 to win heat six, coming back on Kentucky’s Izzy Gati (1:53.86) and Cal’s Rachel Klinker (1:54.20).

In heat five, Olivia Carter of Michigan and Emma Sticklen of Texas battled it out, with Carter using her expected final 50 speed to pull out the win. Carter was 1:53.19 to Sticklen’s 1:53.56.

Kentucky gets one into the A-final with Izzy Gati, while Virginia freshman Abby Harter squeaks in at eighth in 1:53.90.

Notre Dame’s Coleen Gillilan dropped from seed, going 1:53.94 to just miss the A-final at eighth, while Navy’s Sydney Harrington earned a spot in the B-final with a 1:55.36 this morning.

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1 year ago

Texas might very well win the team title without winning any individual title. Has that ever happened before?

1 year ago

So happy for Carol and ladies competing hard. Hope they end up 3rd. Carol recruited very well last 3 years, and this will help recruitment even more. Hook’em.

1 year ago

For tonight
1 – dub
3 – possibles
Go Pack! 🐺🐺🐺🐺

Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

How many DQs?

Reply to  Whoa
1 year ago

Hopefully none for UVA

Reply to  Whoa
1 year ago

Why you wishing negative stuff

1 year ago

Texas flyers locked in some spots!

Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

For all the furore over Swimseam leaving Klinker out of their picks, they actually predicted it :O

Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

2 freshmen and a sophomore in 200 fly. And a breaststroke freshman. Bright future. Carol solved breastroke problem – free sprint next.

1 year ago

For tonight, 1650 aside, looks lke:
UVA – 6/0
NCSU – 5/1
Texas – 3/1
Cal – 2/3

and based on 1650 seeds
UVA – 1/0
NCSU – 0/1
Texas – 1/0
Cal – 0/1

and only UVA has a swimmer seeded among next 16 (17th)

Reply to  Wahooswimfan
1 year ago

It’s going to be a great team race tonight outside of 1st. Texas is 3/2 before the mile and diving. It looks like Cal, NCS, and Texas are in different relay heats too.

Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

and NCSU will drop from seed time as they will be substituting Alons and Berkoff in since they doid not swim the 800 FR. Neither of these was on the 400 FR at the ACC Championship so they will be replacing Maccausland (48.59) and Rowe (48.83) – and drop 3-4 seconds probably.

Reply to  Wahooswimfan
1 year ago

They’ll probably swim Rowe over Arens since Rowe had no swims this morning and she’s a senior.

David Berkoff
Reply to  lightning
1 year ago

Or Sophie.

Reply to  Wahooswimfan
1 year ago

That Alabama relay has gotta be the favorite now with 3 swimmers up in 1 Free

Reply to  lightning
1 year ago

The race is basically Alabama depth vs Kate Douglass.

Reply to  Wahooswimfan
1 year ago

They’ll go:


1 year ago

Interesting how the 200 fly results look almost nothing like the 100 fly results. Backstroke and breaststroke still mostly the same swimmers in 100 as 200 but sprint fly is more like sprint free. 200 fly is its own unique event with a lot of specialists who don’t excel elsewhere.

Huddie Murray
Reply to  Patrick
1 year ago

Been that way for years….

Reply to  Huddie Murray
1 year ago

Conger and schooling spoiled us

1 year ago

Theory: being out of the water forced swimmers to focus more on dryland training, which is why we’re seeing breaststroke get so fast. The more I see, the more I’m convinced that the most important thing to a fast breast is to be jacked. This is why every other stroke has gotten slower this year while breast keeps getting better.

Last edited 1 year ago by Hmmmm
Reply to  Hmmmm
1 year ago

I agree with you, but it goes COMPLETELY against what I would’ve said before the pandemic. I feel like breast is the most technical stroke, so time in the water would’ve mattered most. But I guess massive breaststrokers like Peaty, McHugh, and Finnerty prove that being jacked helps

Reply to  Hmmmm
1 year ago

Yes, but how do you explain the beast that is Lilly King??????!!!!!

1 year ago

I remember in the 2016 olympics some of my non-swim friends were surprised by how “normal’ Lilly King looked.
Thought to be fair, some people are incredibly strong & muscular and don’t “look” strong. I had a friend once who got injured and couldn’t lift for about ~6 months and lost 50 pounds of muscle, yet physically she looked the exact same. I would never have guessed she was that strong, could be s similar thing happening with King

1 year ago

Indiana, er Alabama, crushing the 100 Free… must be tough to see those points for the Crimson Tide instead of the Hoosiers

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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