2015 WOMEN’S NCAA DI CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, March 19 – Saturday, March 21
- Greensboro Aquatic Center – Greensboro, NC
- Prelims 11AM/Finals 7PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Georgia (2x) – results
- NCAA Championship Central
- Live stream: All prelims & Thursday finals (Other sessions will be on ESPN3)
- Live results
2. California – 162
3. Stanford – 111
9. Southern California – 46
10. Arizona – 44
The Pac-12 is currently the only conference with four different teams sitting inside the top 10, compared to 3 for the SEC, 2 for the ACC and 1 for the Big Ten.
Simone Manuel posts 2nd-fastest 50, fastest 100 split in American history
Stanford freshman Simone Manuel is a quick starter.
In her first-ever NCAA Championship action, the Cardinal rookie became the second-fastest swimmer in American history with a huge national title in the 50 freestyle.
Manuel’s time of 21.32 blew out an incredibly-talented field, and puts her just .05 seconds behind the American record set by Arizona’s Lara Jackson in 2009. Jackson, still active as one of the top professional sprinters in the U.S., set that record down into nearly uncatchable territory in 2009, the last year that the buoyant rubber full-body suits were legal in the sport.
Just as exciting for Stanford is that Manuel actually did all of her damage in the final 25 as opposed to the opening length. Manuel was just 3rd at the turn, and only barely ahead of Georgia’s Maddie Locus for fourth. But a wicked 10.8 split on the second 25 brought Manuel back for a blowout title. That bodes well for her 100 and even 200 frees later in the meet. Manuel has shots at the American records in both races.
Maybe a preview of that 100 free? Manuel stepped up to the plate at the end of the 400 medley relay and belted a 45.45 to anchor the relay – a true home-run in swimming, that’s the fastest 100-yard freestyle split on record in history.
That ran down Virginia after the Cavs had built a nearly-insurmountable lead, and gave Stanford an NCAA title and the American, U.S. Open and NCAA records all in one fell swoop.
- Manuel wasn’t the only one who was lights-out on that Stanford relay. Freshman Janet Hu was 50.89 on fly leg to help Stanford run down the field. Last year, it looked like the Cardinal would be hard-pressed to replace Felicia Lee‘s 50.82 split, but in her rookie NCAA season, Hu already matched Lee’s huge mark.
- And while Manuel had the fastest 100 free split in history, Cal’s Missy Franklin joined her under a significant barrier. Franklin anchored Cal’s third-place relay in 45.98, becoming just the third woman under 46 along with Manuel and future Cal Golden Bear Abbey Weitzeil.
- The Cal women ruled the 200 IM, sweeping the top 2 spots and putting 3 swimmers in the top 6. Missy Franklin and Liz Pelton‘s 1-2 punch was the 3rd time Cal has taken first and second in an event at the NCAA Championships, per Cal’s Twitter.
- Manuel didn’t get the American record, but she did take back the 17-18 National Age Group record in the event, beating her future Cal rival (and current high schooler) Abbey Weitzeil.
- While that NAG record returned to the Pac-12, an NCAA record left the Pac-12 tonight. Cal’s Cierra Runge lost her 500 free record to Virginia’s Leah Smith in prelims. Smith won gold tonight and Runge finished second, about two seconds slower than the record she set at Pac-12s.
- Cal almost broke a US Open relay record of its own to open the night. The 200 free relay went 1:26.41, just two tenths off the US Open mark. That included a 21.28 from Franklin and an incredible 21.17 by Farida Osman to run down Stanford for the win. Junior Rachel Bootsma was also 21.60 on that relay, as she appears to be fully recovered from a down sophomore season.
- Arizona’s Samantha Pickens is back: the 2013 NCAA diving champ redshirted last season, but wasted no time in reclaiming her crown tonight. Pickens won the 1-meter title going away to give Arizona a big boost – her 24 points are nearly half the Wildcats’ total, and puts them in 10th place overall.
- While Cal and Stanford battled for the wins in both relays, both Arizona and USC managed to score in both relays, and both had a 500 freestyler earn All-America honors from the B final (Chelsea Chenault for Southern Cal and Bonnie Brandon for Arizona). Both teams rank just inside the top 10 at the end of day 1.
- Missy Franklin‘s quest for three individual NCAA titles, always a difficult feat to accomplish, started off as well as it could. Franklin’s win in the 200 IM was somewhat of a wild-card, given it’s a new event for her from last year’s lineup. Franklin will tangle with Pelton one more time in the 200 back, and has to beat Manuel for the 200 free title tomorrow to stay unbeaten individually.
USC Coach Dave Salo tweeted this photo of the Trojan women, who were wearing shirts with the hashtag #TeamJEFF, to support Rose Bowl Aquatics club coach Jeff Julian, who is battling lung cancer:
Thinking of #teamJEFF at NCAA champs! pic.twitter.com/DSM9a1oeGe
— Dave Salo (@Sprintsalo) March 20, 2015