2024 NCAA Women’s Championships: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap

2024 Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships

SATURDAY MORNING HEAT SHEET

Headed into our last morning session, Virginia leads Texas by 41.5 points with 360.5. The Cavaliers are poised to capture their fourth consecutive NCAA Division I title tonight, helped by the top seeds in the 100 free (Gretchen Walsh), 200 breast (Alex Walsh), and 400 free relay. The Cavaliers also have top-8 seeds in the 200 back (Reilly Tiltmann), 100 free (Jasmine Nocentini), and 200 breast (Ella Nelson).

Texas brings 3 of the top 4 seeds in the 200 fly (Emma Sticklen, Kelly Pash, and Olivia Bray) and the #4 and #5 entrants in the 200 breast (Lydia Jacoby and Anna Elendt).

Florida sits alone in third place. The Gators’ Bella Sims tops the entrants in the 200 back; Catie Choate is also seeded in the top 8. Isabel Ivey brings the #2 time in the 100 free.

There is a battle among Tennessee, Stanford, USC, Indiana, and Louisville for fourth place. Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller is #3 seed in the 200 back; Camille Spink is 3rd in the 100 free; and Mona McSharry is 2nd in the 200 breast. Stanford’s Natalie Mannion (200 back); Caroline Bricker (200 breast); and Lillie Nordmann, Lucy Bell, and Charlotte Hook (200 fly) are seeded to score.

Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:47.24 – Beata Nelson, Wisconsin (2019)
  • Meet Record: 1:47.24 – Beata Nelson, Wisconsin (2019)
  • American Record: 1:47.16 – Regan Smith, Riptide (2019)
  • US Open Record: 1:47.16 – Regan Smith, Riptide (2019)
  • Pool Record: 1:48.55 – Rhyan White, Alabama (2021)
  • 2023 Champion: 1:47.64 – Claire Curzan, Stanford

Top 8:

  1. Phoebe Bacon, Wisconsin – 1:48.81
  2. Bella Sims, Florida – 1:49.44
  3. Josephine Fuller, Tennessee – 1:49.57
  4. Kennedy Noble, NC State – 1:49.78
  5. Isabelle Stadden, Cal – 1:50.37
  6. Miranda Grana, Texas A&M – 1:51.78
  7. Caroline Bentz, Virginia Tech – 1:51.81
  8. Catie Choate, Florida – 1:51.99

Tennessee junior Josephine Fuller opened the circle-seeded heats with 1:49.57, improving her seed time by .18. NC State’s Kennedy Noble, who nearly caught her on the 4th 50, touched 2nd with 1:49.78, improving by 1.1. Third to the wall was Tennessee sophomore Regan Rathwell but she was later disqualified for having her toes over the gutter after the start.

Cal senior Isabelle Stadden was the winner by a body length in heat 6, clocking in at 1:50.37. Florida freshman Catie Choate (1:51.99) touched out Louisville senior Paige Hetrick (1:52.03) for second.

Florida freshman Bella Sims, who has already won the 200 and 500 free titles this weekend, was out first, leading Wisconsin senior Phoebe Bacon at the 100 by .3 with 52.51. Bacon came home with 27.8-28.1 to notch a 1:48.81 to win the heat and take 1.24 seconds off her seed time.

Women’s 100 Yard Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 45.16 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia (2024)
  • Meet Record: 45.56 – Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • American Record: 45.16 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia (2024)
  • US Open Record: 45.16 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia (2024)
  • Pool Record: 46.41 – Erika Brown, Tennessee (2019)
  • 2023 Champion: 45.61 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia

Top 8:

  1. Gretchen Walsh, Virginia – 45.78
  2. Katharine Berkoff, NC State – 46.65
  3. Jasmine Nocentini, Virginia – 46.90
  4. Amy Fulmer, Ohio State – 47.04
  5. Christiana Regenauer, Louisville – 47.20
  6. Isabel Ivey, Florida – 47.26
  7. Anna Peplowski, Indiana – 47.27
  8. Gabi Albiero, Louisville – 47.33

Diana Petkova from Alabama was our first sub-48, going 47.98 to win heat 3 with a .3 drop from her seed time. Stanford’s Gigi Johnson took over the lead two heats later, going 47.75 in lane 1 to win by .03 over Texas freshman Erin Gemmell.

Indiana junior Anna Peplowski opened the circle-seeded heats with 47.27, improving her entry time by nearly .2. Tennessee freshman Camille Spink (47.36) was 2nd, while Amy Tang from Stanford touched 3rd from the outside lane with 47.48, an improvement of nearly .6 from her seed time.

NC State 5th-year Katharine Berkoff cracked the 47-second barrier to win heat 7 with 46.65, half a body ahead of Louisville 5th-year Christiana Regenauer (47.20) and Florida 5th-year Isabel Ivey (47.26). Regenauer took .3 off her seed time.

American record-holder Gretchen Walsh of Virginia cleared the field by over a body length as she led a 1-2 Cavalier finish, touching in 45.78 ahead of teammate Jasmine Nocentini (46.90). Ohio State 5th-year Amy Fulmer took .4 off her seed time to finish 3rd in 47.04. Louisville senior Gabi Albiero went 47.33 to claim 4th.

Women’s 200 Yard Breaststroke – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 2:01.29 – Kate Douglass, Virginia (2023)
  • Meet Record: 2:01.29 – Kate Douglass, Virginia (2023)
  • American Record: 2:01.29 – Kate Douglass, Virginia (2023)
  • US Open Record: 2:01.29 – Kate Douglass, Virginia (2023)
  • Pool Record: 2:04.80 – Anna Belousova, Texas A&M (2019)
  • 2023 Champion: 2:01.29 – Kate Douglass, Virginia

Top 8:

  1. Mona McSharry, Tennessee – 2:05.53
  2. Alex Walsh, Virginia – 2:05.59
  3. Ella Nelson, Virginia – 2:05.75
  4. Kaelyn Gridley, Duke – 2:06.10
  5. Anna Keating, Virginia – 2:06.98
  6. Emelie Fast, Tennessee – 2:07.17
  7. Anna Elendt, Texas – 2:07.24
  8. (tie) Emily Lundgren, Washington State / Kaitlyn Dobler, 2:07.30

*swim-off required*

UPDATE: Dobler won the swim-off, 2:05.96 to 2:09.00.

Louisville junior Fernanda Gomes Celidonio took 4 seconds off her entry time to win heat 1 by 2 body lengths with 2:09.59. UNC’s Lexi Rudolph dropped nearly .7 to take over the lead in heat 4 with 2:08.79. Duke senior Sarah Foley and Florida State junior Maddy Huggins tied in the next heat with 2:08.73.

UVA’s Ella Nelson opened the circle-seeded heats with 2:05.74, followed by Duke’s Kaelyn Gridley (2:06.10) and USC’s Kaitlyn Dobler (2:07.30). Gridley dropped .8 from her seed time.

Tennessee senior Mona McSharry led wire-to-wire in heat 7, winning with 2:05.53. Texas senior Anna Elendt touched out Washington State sophomore Emily Lundgren, 2:07.24 to 2:07.30, for 2nd place.

Virginia senior Alex Walsh cruised to a 2:05.59 win in the last heat. She was out in 59.77 for the first 100 yards; back in 1:06.8. Her fourth 50 (33.17) looked relaxed. McSharry also went 33.1 at the end of her 200 in the previous heat. This could be the race of the night in finals. Behind Walsh, UVA’s Anna Keating touched in 2:06.94. She was followed by Tennessee freshman Emelie Fast (2:07.17) and UVA’s Aimee Canny (2:07.56).

Women’s 200 Yard Butterfly – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:49.16 – Alex Walsh, Virginia (2024)
  • Meet Record: 1:49.95 – Emma Sticklen, Texas (2023)
  • American Record: 1:48.33 – Regan Smith, Sun Devils (2023)
  • US Open Record: 1:48.33 – Regan Smith, Sun Devils (2023)
  • Pool Record: 1:52.04 – Dakota Luther, Georgia (2021)
  • 2023 Champion: 1:49.95 – Emma Sticklen, Texas

Top 8:

  1. Olivia Bray, Texas – 1:51.51
  2. Emma Sticklen, Texas – 1:51.54
  3. Rachel Klinker, Cal – 1:51.80
  4. Tess Howley, Virginia – 1:51.95
  5. Kelly Pash, Texas – 1:52.09
  6. Lillie Nordmann, Stanford – 1:52.41
  7. Abby Harter, Virginia – 1:52.63
  8. Lindsay Looney, Arizona State – 1:53.13

UNC’s Ellie Vannote kicked us off with a 1:54.97 in heat 1, beating her entry time by nearly 1.6 seconds. Texas freshman Campbell Stoll undercut that by .25 in heat 2, winning with 1:54.74 and dropping 1.2 seconds. Auburn senior Meghan Lee went 1:54.83 in heat 3, just touching out Texas A&M freshman Katie Walker in the outside lane (1:54.90). Both improved their seed times by half a second.

Cal’s Rachel Klinger went 1:51.80 to win the first circle-seeded heat, coming to the wall half a body length ahead of Stanford teammates Lillie Nordmann (1:52.41) and Charlotte Hook (1:53.88). Klinker took down the pool record of 1:52.04, set by Dakota Luther in 2021.

UVA freshman Tess Howley cracked a 1:51.95 from out in lane 7, also coming in under the previous pool record and notching her first 200 fly PB since December 2021. She got her hands to the wall just ahead of #2-seeded Kelly Pash of Texas (1:52.09). Arizona State 5th-year Lindsay Looney placed 3rd with 1:53.13.

Texas seniors Emma Sticklen and Olivia Bray put on a show in the final heat. Sticklen was out very quickly with 24.03 on the first 50. Bray was more than half a body back at 24.95. Sticklen increased her lead to just over 1 second at the 100 with 51.94. But the back half was all Bray’s; she split 29.0-29.4 to get the touch over her teammate, 1:51.51 to 1:51.54. Both were under the newly-established pool record time. UVA’s Abby Harter placed 3rd in 1:52.63, dropping over 2 seconds to beat South Carolina’s Greta Pelzek (1:53.44).

Women’s Platform Diving – Prelims

  • Meet Record: 396.75 – Haley Ishimatsu, USC (2013)
  • Pool Record: 356.10 – Victoria Lamp, Tennessee (2014)
  • 2023 Champion: 352.65 – Delaney Schnell, Arizona

Top 8:

  1. Maycey Vieta, Purdue – 313.10
  2. Viviana Del Angel, Minnesota – 308.80
  3. Daryn Wright, Purdue – 304.10
  4. Else Praasterink, Louisville – 301.60
  5. Sophie McAfee, Purdue – 297.35
  6. Montserrat Lavenant, LSU – 294.40
  7. Jordan Skilken, Texas – 280.30
  8. Janie Boyle, Ohio State – 277.90

Top 8:

Purdue placed three divers into the championship final: senior Maycey Vieta, sophomore Daryn Wright, and junior Sophie McAfee. Vieta led all qualifiers with 313.10 points. Wright, who placed 13th in 3-meter diving, qualified 3rd. McAfee, 4th in last night’s 3-meter final, is 5th here.

LSU’s Montserrat Lavenant, who was 13th on the 1-meter board and 6th in 3-meter diving, qualified 6th.

Minnesota earned the second spot with Viviana Del Angel (308.80). Del Angel, Louisville’s Else Praasterink , Jordan Skilken of Texas, and Ohio State’s Janie Boyle made their first diving final of the weekend.

Louisville and Ohio State, in particular, got important pick-ups in their team battles.

Aranza Vazquez Montano from UNC, who swept both springboard event, finished 17th.

Women’s 1650 Yard Freestyle – Slower Heats

  • NCAA Record: 15:03.31 – Katie Ledecky, Stanford (2017)
  • Meet Record: 15:07.70 – Katie Ledecky, Stanford (2017)
  • American Record: 15:01.41 – Katie Ledecky, Gator Swim Club (2023)
  • US Open Record: 15:01.41 – Katie Ledecky, Gator Swim Club (2023)
  • Pool Record: 15:39.56 – Leah Smith, Virginia (2015)
  • 2023 Champion: 15:43.84 – Kensey McMahon, Alabama

Top 8:

  1. Mariah Denigan, Indiana – 15:55.41
  2. Gena Jorgenson, Nebraska – 15:55.71
  3. Hayden Miller, Texas A&M – 15:56.53
  4. Aly Breslin, Tennessee – 15:56.89
  5. Maya Geringer, Ohio State – 15:59.60
  6. Emma Hastings, NC State – 15:59.69
  7. Maddie Waggoner, Wisonsin – 16:00.85
  8. Alivia Lindorfer, Wisconsin – 16:01.25

Indiana junior Mariah Denigan set the time to beat tonight with 15:55.41. She won her heat by .30 against Nebraska’s Gena Jorgenson, in a thriller that came down to the final touch. The pair swam even through the 250, when Denigan moved ahead of Jorgenson. She was up by a full second at the 500 and remained in front for the rest of the race. Jorgenson chopped away at the difference over the second half of the race, though, and when she sprinted home in 28.0, she came within a finger-length of the win.

Texas A&M’s Hayden Miller was only half a body length behind; she touched third in 15:56.53.

 

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JonathanNC
2 months ago

The Prelims coverage on ESPN+ is different than Finals. The announcing for Prelims is not bad, either; but yeah, Rowdy has sort of become the Voice of Swimming for me, and I LIKE Rowdy on the mic.

But it’s the video feed, not the sportscasting, that I constantly whine about.

I LIKE the ‘single camera, whole pool’ coverage offered at Prelims. The more the producer at Finals wants to jump-shift camera angles and offer close-ups, the more I growl at my screen. All that fancy stuff is great for replays, but I’d rather watch all eight swimmers until the last swimmer finishes. (Plus, for THIS 8-lane meet, Lane #1 is in view with the full-pool higher angle Prelims version,… Read more »

Mr. One Millionth Comment
Reply to  JonathanNC
2 months ago

Good analysis. Hyperactive directors are to be scorned.

Also: use multicolor lane lines (like those used for the Olympics and Worlds) for increased recognition of who is in which lane.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  JonathanNC
2 months ago

I’m sorry but the lack of show prep from Rowdy Gaines exhibits a total lack of professionalism in the television broadcast.

Fast and Furious
2 months ago

How exactly did Tess Howley break Klinker’s pool record if she went slower than her?

CavaDore
2 months ago

I’m looking forward to see who transfers and who takes the final 5th year offer after this meet is over.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  CavaDore
2 months ago

What is the roster limit per gender for collegiate swimming?

Admin
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
2 months ago

There isn’t one.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

How about the number of scholarships?

Ansible
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
2 months ago

14 scholarship is the max. That isn’t 14 swimmers on scholarship as scholarships can be split. There are also limits for how many athletes can score at conference and NCAA championships.

CavaDore
2 months ago

Current high school sophomores who are swimming top times in the country in sprint freestyle, breaststroke, and IM would realllllly be wise to consider extending verbal commitments to Virginia later this fall. The proof is in the pudding,

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  CavaDore
2 months ago

Isn’t there a current roster logjam at UVA with the incoming freshman class this year?

Go Bucky
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
2 months ago

There isn’t a roster limit, just a scholarship limit. So, they could take more who are willing to walk on. Of course, there isn’t unlimited pool space, so…

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Go Bucky
2 months ago

Donohoe and Nelson are fifth year seniors. That’s two departures.

It will be interesting to see which fourth year seniors exercise the fifth year option:

Baron, S.
Harter, A.
Keating, A
Parker, M.
Walsh, A. (to keep the dynasty alive)
Wilson, S.

Jasmine Nocentini is listed as a graduate student according to the University of Virginia website.

https://virginiasports.com/sports/swimming/roster/

Meow
2 months ago

No top 16 today?

CavaDore
2 months ago

I wish Gemmel would’ve stayed close to home and swam for Virginia. I think her talent and potential are being wasted at Texas. Florida also would have been a good fit to train her in her best events.

I promise that’s not a dig at Texas, it’s just that some schools train swimmers better than others for specific events. Obviously, Gemmel may have just fallen in love with Austin and the Texas team, so I totally get it. But this comment is solely based on her performance in her events.

Last edited 2 months ago by CavaDore
Go Bucky
Reply to  CavaDore
2 months ago

It’ll be interesting to see if she changes her base leading to the Olympics. To be fair, she seems more suited to LC so we’ll see where she’s at in the big pool. I haven’t really been following her much this season to have a full picture but it seems like half the team is off. Maybe a missed taper? I’d agree that she’s not swimming to her potential this meet.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  CavaDore
2 months ago

Some athletes struggle with the transition to the collegiate environment.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  CavaDore
2 months ago

Isn’t one of the SwimSwam staff stationed in Austin, TX? Inquiring minds want know why Erin chose the University of Texas.

Fast and Furious
2 months ago

Crazy that the 100 fly, 100 back and 100 breast winners are top 3 into the 100 free A final

Go Bucky
Reply to  Fast and Furious
2 months ago

That is crazy! So much versatility. If there was an ultimate meet medley relay none of them would be the optimal free leg, either.

Last edited 2 months ago by Go Bucky
Not-so-silent Observer
Reply to  Go Bucky
2 months ago

I still think Gretchen would be the optimal free leg, for all active swimmers at NCs. Now if we could bring back Douglass for her 5th year, the best relay would look like…

48.4 bk Berkoff
55.8-56.2 Br Nocentini/McSharry
47.2-47.4 fly G Walsh
45.6-45.9 free Douglass
Resulting in 3:17.6-18.1

Not-so-silent Observer
Reply to  Not-so-silent Observer
2 months ago

Tho, I guess you could put nocentini on free and get a similar result, with a very nice 46.2-46.5 split

Last edited 2 months ago by Not-so-silent Observer
Go Bucky
Reply to  Not-so-silent Observer
2 months ago

Good point. The difference between Walsh and second place Sticklin’s 100 flys was 2.3 seconds. Walsh could maybe go 44 high with a flying start (love to see it!) so that’s a 1.5 or so differential on the free. I still think using her on the fly is optimal but yeah, I think you’re right that McSharry and Nocentini have the closest differential so Berkoff, McSharry, Walsh, Nocentini would be the fastest meet lineup.

Last edited 2 months ago by Go Bucky
jeff
Reply to  Go Bucky
2 months ago

If you estimate relay splits being 0.4 faster than their flat start PB (or their relay PB if its faster than that), Gretchen on either free or fly results in pretty similar times. Berkoff is obviously leading off no matter what; a lineup of McSharry-G.Walsh-Nocentini results in 3:17.86 while a lineup of Nocentini-A.Walsh-G.Walsh results in 3:18.12.

Nocentini and G.Walsh’s 100 frees are obviously the question mark here because they haven’t swum them yet, so that 0.26 difference is lessened if you think that Gretchen has more to drop in her 100 than Nocentini does at this meet. Before yesterday I would’ve for sure expected that to be the case, but with how fast her 100 breast was, maybe she… Read more »

Hmm
Reply to  Not-so-silent Observer
2 months ago

Berkoff went 49.0 on her medley…..

Not-so-silent Observer
Reply to  Hmm
2 months ago

She has been faster. That is not an indication of her speed and abilities.

Swim Fan
Reply to  Go Bucky
2 months ago

Gretchen would definitely be a prime choice for the free leg. Ultimate relay would be R Smith/King/Douglass/G Walsh

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Fast and Furious
2 months ago

The top two will most likely be Olympians this summer for Team USA.

Berkoff – W 100 BK
Walsh – W 100 FL, W 4 x 100 FR-R (top 6)

SwimCoach
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
2 months ago

The backstroke field is way too crowded to say Berkoff will most likely be an Olympian in the 100 Back. Does she have a shot? Absolutely. Most likely? No.

Caleb
Reply to  SwimCoach
2 months ago

she’s the 2nd fastest already and doing best times, so yeah she’s the favorite for the 2nd spot. You’re probably looking at the Paris bronze medalist.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Caleb
2 months ago

Berkoff could go sub 58 this summer in the W 100 BK (LCM).

Wahooswimfan
Reply to  Caleb
2 months ago

She keeps dropping times though..and how long has it been since Regan Smith improved her 2019 time?

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Wahooswimfan
2 months ago

Review the results from the 2024 TYR Pro Swim Series – Westmont, IL. Claire Curzan is not even sniffing 57.64 in the W 100 BK (LCM).

https://www.worldaquatics.com/swimming/rankings?gender=F&distance=100&stroke=BACKSTROKE&poolConfiguration=LCM&year=all&startDate=&endDate=&timesMode=ALL_TIMES&regionId=all&countryId=

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  SwimCoach
2 months ago

The female backstroke field is crowded in the W 200 BK (LCM) after Regan Smith.

When was the last time Curzan beat Berkoff in the W 100 BK (LCM)?

Go Bucky
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
2 months ago

Why does that matter? Is there a rule that if you’ve haven’t beaten someone you never will? Their PBs are like .2 apart, obviously anything can happen.

CavaDore
2 months ago

Best event of the meet so far, in order:

Gretchen’s 100 Fly
UVA’s 400 Medley Relay
Gretchen’s 50 Free
Nocentini’s 100 Breast
Gretchen’s 50 Back relay split
Berkoff’s 100 Bk
Alex’s 400 IM or 200IM
Florida’s 800 FR
ACC 7 of 8 in 50 Free A final and 1-7 finish
Florida’s 1-2 500 Free
Bella and Anna’s close 200 Free

(I may be forgetting some…)

Last edited 2 months ago by CavaDore
Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  CavaDore
2 months ago

Those Walsh sisters ……

Sheesh!

Todd DeSorbo can coach ’em up.

Last edited 2 months ago by Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  CavaDore
2 months ago

The transfer of the year goes to Jasmine Nocentini, hands down.

Another feather in the cap of Todd DeSorbo.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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