Stanford sophomore Brooke Forde will swim the 500 free, 400 IM and 200 fly at the 2019 NCAA Championships, swapping the 200 fly for the 200 breast she swam at NCAAs a year ago.
The move comes after a big time drop at the Pac-12 Championships in the butterfly last weekend.
The versatile Forde can swim almost any event in the NCAA lineup. Last year, she took on the 500 free, 400 IM and 200 breast, scoring in the former two events. Forde was 11th in the 500 and 4th in the 400 IM, but went two seconds backward from her seed time in the 200 breast, fading to 23rd and missing finals.
The breast-for-fly swap sees Forde come in with the 9th seed in the 200 fly. At this time last year, her lifetime-best 200 fly was 1:56.30, but she’s bettered that time four times in the last couple months. Forde was 1:56.14 in a dual meet against Arizona in January, then 1:55.85 in a dual with Cal the next month. Then at Pac-12s, Forde went 1:54.63 in prelims and 1:53.67 in finals, rocketing her to 9th in the nation. By comparison, she only ranks 35th nationally in the 200 breast.
The breaststrokes have also gotten a lot more competitive in the NCAA compared to last season. Four freshmen are seeded within the top 16 in the 200 breast, newcomers who would make Forde’s scoring chances a lot tougher there. Meanwhile only three scorers from last year graduated out of the 200 breast.
The other intriguing lineup choice is sticking with the 500 free instead of the 200 IM. Forde actually ranks higher in the 200 IM (15th nationally) than the 500 free (21st nationally). And she swam the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 fly at Pac-12s, which at the time seemed like a preview of her NCAA event lineup. The 500 is already a strong event for Stanford: they have the top incoming seed (Lauren Pitzer) along with the fastest returner (Katie Drabot) from last year. In the IM, they have defending champ Ella Eastin, but not a lot of scoring depth behind her.