2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Championship: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap

2023 NCAA WOMEN’S SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

DAY 3 PRELIMS HEAT SHEET

The third day of the 2023 women’s NCAA DI Swimming and Diving Championships will be kicking off shortly in Knoxville. This morning’s action will include prelims of the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, and 100 back. This afternoon, prelims of 3-meter diving will take place as well.

Before we get into this session, let’s take a look at how the team standings are shaping up through the first two days of the meet.

TOP 10 TEAMS THRU DAY 2

  1. Virginia – 208.5
  2. Texas – 162
  3. Louisville – 117
  4. Stanford – 106
  5. Ohio State – 93
  6. Indiana – 83
  7. Florida – 76
  8. Cal – 74
  9. UNC-Chapel Hill – 73
  10. Georgia – 66.5

Virginia expanded their lead through the second day of the meet, entering this morning up 46.5 points on Texas. At this point, the only team that could potentially stand a chance of taking down Virginia is Texas, but they’ll have to make some big moves today in order to have a shot.

After taking third in the 200 IM last night, Virginia’s Alex Walsh will be in the hunt for the 400 IM title today. This morning, Walsh will be swimming next to Virginia teammate Ella Nelson, who is the top seed with her season best of 3:59.33. Walsh has a personal best of 3:57.25, which she swam to win the event at last year’s NCAAs.

The 100 fly has been one of the most highly anticipated races of these championships. It will mark the first time we get to see Virginia’s Kate Douglass and LSU’s Maggie MacNeil go head-to-head at this meet. The pair of superstars have raised the stakes even further, as they both set new NCAA Records last night, MacNeil in the 50 free and Douglass in the 200 IM. Douglass broke MacNeil’s NCAA Record in the 100 fly last month, swimming a 48.84, which comes in under MacNeil’s mark of 48.89.

It’s not just Douglass and MacNeil to watch out for, however. Stanford’s Torri Huske has already been 49.25 in the 100 fly this season, making her the third seed coming into the meet. Huske has also been swimming very well this week, having taken second in the 200 IM, touching under the previous NCAA Record along with both Douglass and Walsh.

Tennessee sophomore Brooklyn Douthwright comes in as the top seed in the 200 free this morning, having a season best of 1:42.45. Stanford senior Taylor Ruck will be looking to defend her title in the event after winning it in 1:41.12 last year. Ruck has been a little off so far at this meet, however, having split 1:42.23 off a relay start on the 800 free relay on Wednesday and finishing 19th in the 50 free yesterday. It should also be noted that Ruck had a good swim on the 200 free relay last night, splitting 21.39 on the third leg, so perhaps the momentum of her meet is shifting.

The 100 breast should be a thrilling race, with four swimmers already having swum under 58 seconds this season. Leading the way is USC’s Kaitlyn Dobler, who has an NCAA-leading season best of 56.94. Of course, we also need to watch out for the Texas duo of Anna Elendt and Lydia Jacoby, who are the third and fourth seeds at 57.29 and 57.48 respectively. Tennessee’s Mona McSharry has been 57.25 this season, coming in as the second seed. The Vols have been racing well here in their home pool this week, so definitely keep an eye on McSharry today.

Gretchen Walsh will be chasing her first individual title of the meet as well today. After finishing in a close second in the 50 free last night, Walsh enters as the top seed in the 100 back today. She has her work cut out for her, as this field is stacked. Walsh, Katharine Berkoff, and Claire Curzan have all been under 49.5 already this season.

400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018
  • Meet Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018
  • American Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018
  • US Open Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018
  • Pool Record: 3:58.36, Elizabeth Beisel (California) – 2012
  • 2022 Champion: Alex Walsh (Virginia) – 3:57.25

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Alex Walsh (Virginia) – 4:01.86
  2. Ella Nelson (Virginia) – 4:01.87
  3. Grace Sheble (NC State) – 4:04.65
  4. Emma Weyant (Florida) – 4:05.61
  5. Mabel Zavaros (Florida) – 4:05.72
  6. Lucy Bell (Stanford) – 4:06.05
  7. Lauren Poole (Kentucky) – 4:06.33
  8. Megan Van Berkom (Minnesota) – 4:06.70

Virginia’s Alex Walsh, the defending champion in this event, showed she meant business from the beginning this morning, jumping out to a huge early lead. At the 200-yard turn, Walsh lead the sixth and final heat by 2.40 seconds, splitting 1:54.31 on the first half of the race. Walsh’s teammate, Ella Nelson, the top seed in the event, quickly closed that gap on the breaststroke leg, pulling even with Walsh as they went into the 300-yard turn. The dynamic duo looked very controlled as they swam the final 100 of the race this morning. In the end, Walsh touched with the top time of the morning, a 4:01.86, just 0.01 seconds ahead of Nelson.

Minnesota’s Megan Van Berkom was far behind Ohio State’s Felicia Pasadyn at the halfway mark in the first of the circle seeded heats. She closed the gap on breaststroke, then threw together an excellent freestyle split of 57.01 to take the lead on the final length of the pool. She won heat four in 4:06.70, which was then the top time of the morning. Van Berkom would finish eighth overall this morning, taking the last spot for tonight’s ‘A’ final and picking up Minnesota’s first ‘A’ finalist in a swimming event so far at the meet.

In heat five, Florida’s Emma Weyant clocked a 4:05.61, posting the new top time of the morning with one heat to go. In that heat (heat five), Louisville’s Abby Hay got out to a massive lead on the first half of the race but got closed on in breaststroke and lost her lead on the final 100. Weyant was phenomenal on the final 100 this morning, swimming a 56.18 to propel her into the lead.

Weyant will be joined by teammate Mabel Zavaros in the ‘A’ final tonight. Zavaros clocked a 4:05.72 in the final heat this morning, taking nearly two seconds off her seed time and posting the fifth-fastest time of the morning.

Stanford freshman Lucy Bell had a huge swim this morning, clocking a lifetime best of 4:06.05 to finish sixth overall.

NC State’s Grace Sheble had a huge swim as well, clipping her lifetime best in the event. She swam a 4:04.65, which was good for third overall, putting her in the middle of the pool for tonight’s final.

100 BUTTERFLY – PRELIMS

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Torri Huske (Stanford) – 49.77
  2. Emma Sticklen (Texas) – 50.00
  3. Kate Douglass (Virginia) – 50.11
  4. Claire Curzan (Stanford) – 50.45
  5. Gabi Albiero (Louisville) – 50.46
  6. Maggie MacNeil (LSU) – 50.51
  7. Katherine Zenick (Ohio State) – 50.84
  8. Kylee Alons (NC State) – 50.85

In the first of the circle seeded heats, Stanford’s Torri Huske was out like a bullet, opening up a huge lead on heat five on the first half of the race. Huske would go on to speed to a 49.77, touching as the first (and only) swimmer under 50 seconds this morning and just 0.52 seconds off her season best.

In the next heat, Stanford teammate Claire Curzan narrowly touched out Maggie MacNeil, swimming a 50.45 to MacNeil’s 50.51.

The final heat saw Texas’ Emma Sticklen get out fast and hold off defending champion and NCAA Record holder Kate Douglass on the back half. Sticklen touched in 50.00, marking the second-fastest time of the morning, earning her lane five for tonight’s final.

This sets up an interesting dynamic for tonight’s ‘A’ final, as Douglass, MacNeil, and Huske won’t be swimming next to each other for their highly anticipated three-way battle for the title. Huske and Douglass will be next to each other, with Huske in lane four and Douglass in three, but MacNeil will be out in lane seven after finishing sixth this morning.

Though prelims of the 100 fly was a bit slower than we expected it would be, there’s no reason to think tonight’s final won’t be as exciting as expected. Douglass and MacNeil already set individual NCAA Records last night and Huske was notably under the previous record in the 200 IM alongside Douglass.

Sticklen could potentially make some noise here tonight as well. She’s already been 49.79 this season, she’s swimming very well so far at this meet, and she’ll be in the middle of the pool tonight, so you never know what could happen. She dispayed some great opening speed this morning, so that’s something else to keep an eye on.

Ohio State’s Katherine Zenick had a big swim to make it into the top eight, clocking a 50.84 to finish seventh. It was a huge swim for Zenick, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, marking her first time under 51 seconds in the event.

After finishing 17th in prelims of the 50 free yesterday, NC State’s Kylee Alons made it through this morning, taking eighth in this event with a 50.85.

200 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (California) – 2015
  • Meet Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (California) – 2015
  • American Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (California) – 2015
  • US Open Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (California) – 2015
  • Pool Record: 1:41.40, Missy Franklin (California) – 2013
  • 2022 Champion: Taylor Ruck (Stanford) – 1:41.12

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Taylor Ruck (Stanford) – 1:42.70
  2. Aimee Canny (Virginia) – 1:42.94
  3. Brooklyn Douthwright (Tennessee) – 1:43.22
  4. Kayla Wilson (Stanford) – 1:43.27 (tie)
  5. Anna Peplowski (Indiana) – 1:43.27 (tie)
  6. Maxine Parker ((Virginia) – 1:43.28
  7. Chloe Stepanek (Texas A&M) – 1:43.83
  8. Paige Hetrick (Louisville) – 1:43.90

In heat three of eight, Virginia junior Maxine Parker threw down a massive 1:43.28, blowing away her lifetime best of 1:44.24. Parker’s swim was also good enough to earn her a spot in tonight’s ‘A’ final, coming all the way up from being seeded 42nd coming into the meet. It’s huge for Virginia as well, giving them an unexpected ‘A’ finalist in the event as they attempt to put the team race out of reach today.

Louisville’s Paige Hetrick had a huge swim in a non-circle-seeded heat as well, clocking a new lifetime best of 1:43.90 in heat five of eight. Like Parker, she blew away her previous best of 1:44.80 and made it back for the ‘A’ final, finishing eighth.

Defending champion Taylor Ruck had a very solid prelims swim after a shaky prelims in the 50 free yesterday. Ruck got out to an early lead in heat seven and held that lead through the finish. She clocked a 1:42.70, marking the top time of the morning, as well as a season best.

Virginia’s Aimee Canny was the only other swimmer to crack 1:43 this morning, touching in 1:42.94, which is just off her season and lifetime best of 1:42.62.

Stanford freshman Kayla Wilson clocked a new season best of 1:43.27 to finish in a tie for fourth this morning, marking yet another big swim from a Stanford freshman at this meet. Wilson was actually still just off her personal best of 1:43.17, which she set last March at the Virginia Senior Championships.

Tennessee’s Brooklyn Douthwright, the top seed coming into the meet, did what she needed to do this morning, swimming a 1:43.22 to finish fourth overall. Douthwright’s season best of 1:42.45 is still the fastest season best of anyone in this field tonight, so definitely keep an eye on her tonight.

In the final heat, Indiana’s Anna Peplowski, the Big Ten Champion in the event, got out to an early lead. Douthwright managed to edge Peplowski out on the final 50, seeing Peplowski touch just behind her with a 1:43.27, tying Wilson for fourth overall. Notably, Peplowski swam a new lifetime best of 1:42.86 leading off Indiana’s 800 free relay on Wednesday night, so keep an eye on her as well.

Texas’ Kelly Pash, the third-place finisher in the event last year, finished ninth this morning with a 1:43.91, failing to make it back the ‘A’ final. We’ll see Pash in the ‘B’ final tonight, where she’ll be racing in lane four. With Pash relegated to the ‘B’ final, it does open up the possibility that we could see the ‘B’ final winner post a time that would have won the ‘A’ final, but we’ll have to wait and see.

100 BREASTSTROKE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 55.73, Lilly King (Indiana) – 2019
  • Meet Record: 55.73, Lilly King (Indiana) – 2019
  • American Record: 55.73, Lilly King (Indiana) – 2019
  • US Open Record: 55.73, Lilly King (Indiana) – 2019
  • Pool Record: 56.64, Molly Hannis (Tennessee) – 2017
  • 2022 Champion: Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 56.93

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Kaitlyn Dobler (USC) – 57.35
  2. Anna Elendt (Texas) – 57.49
  3. Mona McSharry (Tennessee) – 57.67
  4. Josie Panitz (Ohio State) – 57.88
  5. Lydia Jacoby (Texas) – 57.98
  6. Heather MacCausland (NC State) – 58.14
  7. Hannah Bach (Ohio State) – 58.52
  8. Emma Weber (Virginia) – 58.90

In a speedy prelims of the 100 breast, we saw five swimmer go under 58 seconds this morning. Leading the way was defending champion Kaitlyn Dobler, who was also the top seed coming into the morning. Dobler and Texas’ Anna Elendt went head-to-head in a fun race this morning, with Dobler touching just 0.14 seconds ahead of Elendt.

Elendt was out slightly faster, splitting 26.64 on the first 50 to Dobler’s 26.89, but Dobler got her back on the final lap. Look out for that dynamic again tonight, as they’ll be in lanes four and five once again.

Tennessee’s Mona McSharry will be in lane three tonight after clocking a 57.67 for the third-fastest time of the morning. McSharry posted the fastest second-50 split in the field this morning, roaring home in a 30.36.

Texas’ Lydia Jacoby will be in the mix tonight as well, clocking a 57.98 for fifth this morning. Jacoby, of course, is the defending Olympic gold medalist in the LCM edition of the 100 breast.

Ohio State is looking great this morning. Josie Panitz clocked a huge lifetime best of 57.88 to finish fourth this morning, marking her first time under 58 seconds in the event. She’ll be joined by teammate Hannah Bach, who swam a 58.52 to make it back for the ‘A’ final as well.

Virginia managed to grab another ‘A’ finalist for tonight as well, seeing Emma Weber finish eighth with a 58.90.

100 BACKSTROKE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 48.74, Katherine Berkoff (NC State) – 2022
  • Meet Record: 48.74, Katherine Berkoff (NC State) – 2022
  • American Record: 48.74, Katherine Berkoff (NC State) – 2022
  • US Open Record: 48.74, Katherine Berkoff (NC State) – 2022
  • Pool Record: 50.13, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2022
  • 2022 Champion: Katherine Berkoff (NC State) – 48.74

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 49.12 (pool record)
  2. Katharine Berkoff (NC State) – 50.14
  3. Claire Curzan (Stanford) – 50.19
  4. Phoebe Bacon (Wisconsin) – 50.47
  5. Isabelle Stadden (California) – 50.73
  6. Olivia Bray (Texas) – 50.85
  7. Josephine Fuller (Tennessee) – 51.00
  8. Rhyan White (Alabama) – 51.15

Gretchen Walsh was dominant in this morning’s prelim of the 100 back, swimming a 49.12 to touch first by over a second. She was exceptional on her underwaters, breaking out at the 15m mark on all of her lengths. The swim also marks a new pool record, shattering her own pool record of 50.13, which she set this past fall at the Tennessee Invite. Walsh has a personal best of 49.00, which she swam at last year’s NCAAs.

Kind of flying under the radar this morning is Katharine Berkoff, which is weird to say because she’s the defending champion and NCAA Record holder in the event. Berkoff swam a 50.14, which looked very relaxed for her. She’s already been 49.45 this season, so we can expect a much faster race from her tonight.

After making it into the ‘A’ final in the 100 fly earlier in the session, Stanford freshman Claire Curzan went two-for-two, clocking a 50.19 to finish third overall. Curzan will be working a tough double tonight but that’s nothing she’s not used to. She’s been 49.46 already this season, so definitely keep an eye on her tonight.

Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon blew away her season best of 51.40, speeding to a 50.47 for the fourth-fastest time of the morning. Bacon is admittedly a better 200 backstroker than 100 backstroker, but she’s been racing very well so far this week, so it feels like it’s on the board that she could crack 50 seconds for the first time in her career tonight. Her lifetime best sits at 50.39, which she swam at the 2021 NCAAs.

Texas’ Olivia Bray is another swimmer who is having a very good meet. Bray swam a new season best of 50.85 this morning, coming in just off her lifetime best of 50.69, which she swam at NCAAs last year.

 

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SKOOOOOO
11 months ago

Did the Texas divers also miss their taper?

Toby
11 months ago

Sorry I mean she is still rehabbing after the surgery on her meniscus last October

Scotty
11 months ago

In other news,penny oleisak won’t swim at the Canadian swimming trials….She is still in rehab..is there anyone she might still be selected if she didn’t swim at trials?

Last edited 11 months ago by Scotty
Eagleswim
Reply to  Scotty
11 months ago

FYI, the term “in rehab” typicallly has a totally different connotation that what you’re saying

Scotty
Reply to  Eagleswim
11 months ago

Sorry I mean she is still rehabbing after the surgery on her meniscus last October

Titobiloluwa
Reply to  Eagleswim
11 months ago

I know..it was properly worded..I meant *rehabbing*

Titobiloluwa
Reply to  Eagleswim
11 months ago

Oh sorry

Toby
Reply to  Scotty
11 months ago

Sorry I mean she is still rehabbing after the surgery on her meniscus last October

Scott
Reply to  Scotty
11 months ago

Sorry I mean she is still rehabbing after the surgery on her meniscus last October

Scott
Reply to  Scotty
11 months ago

Sorry I mean she is still rehabbing after the surgery on her meniscus last October

Titobiloluwa
Reply to  Scotty
11 months ago

Sorry I mean she is still rehabbing after the surgery on her meniscus last October

ScovaNotiaSwimmer
Reply to  Scotty
11 months ago

This is a good thing. She has a streak of never medalling individually at Worlds but doing well at the Olympics. Can’t risk breaking that streak!

tea rex
11 months ago

In the 100 fly, there were 7 fifth years, and 2 freshmen.

Andrew
11 months ago

MikeinDallas preparing an MLA formatted essay on how Texas Women didn’t miss their taper this year

MIKE IN DALLAS
Reply to  Andrew
11 months ago

Actually, I’ve been FAR too busy reading mid-term papers and correcting their MLA formatted essays.
NB: I don’t write essays, MLA or not, on “missed” work; I leave that to the TA’s in the room like Andrew.

Willswim
11 months ago

Based on what we’ve seen so far, which of these 400 medley relays would be fastest?

Walsh/Walsh/Douglass/Canny
Walsh/Walsh/Douglass/Cuomo
Walsh/Walsh/Cuomo/Douglass
Walsh/Walsh/Douglass/Parker
Walsh/Walsh/Douglass/Tiltmann
Tiltmann/Walsh/Douglass/Walsh
Walsh/Weber/Walsh/Douglass
Walsh/Weber/Douglass/Walsh

Swimgeek
Reply to  Willswim
11 months ago

So many options. Seems likely they just do a repeat of ACCs (option 1). But when they did that lineup, they didn’t know that Cuomo was gonna beat Canny in the 100 free the next day. So we might see Cuomo on anchor. Douglass’s 48.2 split kind of cements her on the fly leg I think.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Willswim
11 months ago

Cuomo, the senior, takes precedence over Canny, the freshman.

Slower than You
Reply to  Willswim
11 months ago

Embrace chaos and put Douglass on the breast leg

SKOOOOOO
Reply to  Willswim
11 months ago

Douglass/Douglass/Douglass/Douglass

CavaDore
Reply to  Willswim
11 months ago

It will be G Walsh/A Walsh/Douglass/Cuomo

Cuomo faster than Canny individually at ACCs even though Canny had a fast relay split in the 400 MR -BUT- Canny is swimming a 200 tonight and Cuomo only a 100, and Cuomo is swimming well this meet and a senior. So Cuomo, final answer.

Em Bee
Reply to  Willswim
11 months ago

Walsh/Walsh/Douglass/Cuomo

Bud
11 months ago

Rhyan White gives life to the phrase “if you’ve got a lane you’ve got a chance”

Octavio Gupta
Reply to  Bud
11 months ago

She has no chance

BearlyBreathing
11 months ago

Now we just need a pick’em update.

RCP
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
11 months ago

Umm, some of us prefer to defer the agony and humiliation. 😉