2023 NCAA DI Women’s Championships: Day 4 Prelims Overreactions


With the final prelims session of the 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships wrapped up, it’s time to overreact to some of the biggest storylines of the morning. 

Kate Douglass Going 1:59

After breaking NCAA, American, and US Open Records in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM already this week, Virginia senior Kate Douglass was the heavy favorite entering today’s 200 breaststroke. Some, including SwimSwam’s Yanyan Li, have been insistent that she will go under 2:00 this season, becoming the first swimmer to ever break the barrier in the event. 

Though there were some doubts about this entering the meet, Douglass’ performances here have proven she’s in possibly the best form she’s ever been in, which is a scary thought for what could be brewing. The hopes of her going 1:59 tonight were solidified during prelims, as she dropped perhaps the most casual 2:02.60 we’ve ever seen en route to claiming the top seed in the event by three seconds. 

Douglass has already broken the US Open, NCAA, and American Records once this season with her 2:01.43 from the ACC Championships. Will she break it again? Most certainly. Will she go sub-2:00? Only time will tell. 

Rhyan White In Trouble 

Last season, Alabama superstar had a strong NCAAs performance, finishing 10th in the 100 butterfly, 3rd in the 200 backstroke, and 4th in the 100 backstroke against some of the strongest fields in NCAA history in those events. She went on to have a very successful summer, winning a bronze medal in the LCM 200 backstroke at the 2022 World Championships.

However, this week, White has been struggling to show that same form. She started off her individual events by swimming a 51.98 in the 100 butterfly, failing to make finals in the event and adding over a second on to her time from last season (50.85). Coming off of that race, she swam the 100 backstroke and only managed an 8th place finish out of prelims, barely squeaking into the A-final with s 51.15. In the 100 backstroke finals, she was even slower, only going 51.26, almost three seconds behind winner Gretchen Walsh and almost a half-second slower than her season best. Even more concerns were raised this morning when White was only a 1:52.70 in the 200 backstroke prelims, barely making it back for the B-final in 15th after finishing 3rd last season and adding over 4 seconds to her best time of 1:48.06. 

Though her performance in the 100 backstroke was far from her best, White’s performance in the 200 backstroke this morning left many scratching their heads. Is she injured? Did she miss her taper? Unlike last season, the US National Championships do not fall close to NCAAs, meaning there’s little chance White wouldn’t be rested for this meet to help her chances of making the World Championships. But, if White’s form here is indicative of anything, it’s that she’ll need some serious improvement to retain her spot on the World Championships team, especially with the likes of Phoebe Bacon, Regan Smith, and Claire Curzan all in the race. 

Team Battle Not Over Yet

Yes, the NCAA title is pretty much locked up by the Virginia women at this point after a strong prelims performance. The battle behind them, however, is far from over. 

Texas currently sits in second with 272.5 points, with Stanford close behind at 239 points. Given Texas’ strong diving group and their depth in the 200 butterfly, the team should have no problem holding off the Cardinal. However, with some strong swims tonight, Stanford could bring the race a little tighter, despite their athletes being “off” this meet. 

The real race is shaping up to be the battle between Louisville and NC State for 4th, with Ohio State also not completely out of the picture. Currently, Louisville holds a slim 1.5 point lead over NC State, with scores of 191.5 and 190, respectively. A 200 freestyle relay DQ cost NC State a large chunk of points, which very well may cost them in this battle. To tighten the race, both teams have 3 A-finalists tonight, while NC State has 2 B-finalists to Louisville’s 1. It may very well come down to the 400 freestyle relay to decide which team gets to hoist a trophy tonight. 

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Swim Alchemist
1 day ago

Hope Rhyan White bounces back. She hasn’t looked great since International Team Trials in April 2022, where she was money. Will be interesting to see where she trains going forward.

Reply to  Swim Alchemist
1 day ago

Love to Rhyan. Such a wonderful swimmer.

1 day ago

Rhyan White beating Regan Smith in the women’s 100 meter backstroke?


About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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