Day 2 Prelims Relay Analysis: Big Decisions Seem to Pay Off

by Robert Gibbs 20

March 21st, 2019 College, News


Last night we looked at what some of the lineup decisions for the 800 free relay could mean later on in the meet. With two relays this morning, the picture got even clearer, and right now, it’s looking some of the risky decisions by some of the top teams may pay off.


Stanford opted to put Taylor Ruck on both the 200 free and the 400 medley relays this morning. Since she was already on the 800 free relay last night, that’ll mean she’ll need to sit out either the 200 medley or the 400 free relay, with the former seeming to be the more likely option. But so far, it’s looking like the right call. The Cardinal put out their expected lineup of Ruck, Lauren Pitzer, Amalie Fackenthal, and Anya Goeders on the 200 free relay, knocked half a second off their seed time, and easily secured a spot in the A-final.

The 400 medley relay was another story, however. This morning they opted for a totally different lineup than they used at Pac-12s, going with Lucie Nordmann (52.01), Zoe Bartel (59.58), Katie Drabot (52.16), and then Ruck (46.44) on anchor this morning, instead of the lineup of Ella Eastin (51.26), Allie Raab (59.56), Fackenthal (52.85), and Pitzer (47.37) that they used last month. They cut it close, finishing 8th, and while they may ended up having almost a second margin over the 9th-place Arizona squad, meaning they may have been able to get away with using a different anchor, Ruck’s 46.44 leg kept them from coming even closer to missing the A-final.

Chances are we’ll see a different lineup from the Cardinal tonight, with either Ruck moving to back, where she should be around 50-low, and Pitzer on free, or else putting Eastin on back and leaving Ruck on the anchor leg.


USC left Louise Hansson off of the 200 free relay this morning, after using her on the third-place 800 free relay last night and they still managed to improve on seed time and nearly make the A-final, taking 9th. That relay was only ranked 18th nationally heading into the meet, so going from projected to not score to 9th in prelims without Hansson looks to be a win for the Trojans, especially if they can win the B-final tonight.

On top of that, Hansson was able to make the A-final in the 200 IM, picking up some big points there, and the Trojans needed Hansson just to make the B-final of the 400 medley relay, putting up the 12th-fastest time of the morning with Hansson leading off.

Other key names:

  • Wisconsin chose to leave Beata Nelson off of the 200 free relay in preilms, and they missed scoring. This was their lowest-ranked relay and was unlikely to score big with or without Nelson. She’s now freed up to swim both remaining relays.
  • NC State played with a different 200 free relay lineup this morning, using Olivia Calegan (22.1) instead of Sophie Hansson (21.9 at ACCs). It seems a good bet they’ll go back to Hansson tonight, especially since she scratched the 200 IM individually.
  • Virginia using Morgan Hill on both relays today probably suggests she won’t be on the 200 medley relay tomorrow. That’s expected – but UVA missed scoring with a 17th-place finish in the 200 free relay. That’s a bad blow, using one of your best swimmers on a relay but not getting any points.
  • We were tough on Tennessee last night for using Erika Brown and missing scoring in the 800 free relay. But they went without her on the 400 medley this morning and still managed a 14th-place finish. Maybe more important: Stanzi Moseleywho had a rough, rough split on the 800 last night, anchored in a solid 48.7. That’s not the 47.5/47.9-speed she split last year at NCAAs, but is good enough to keep the Vols afloat here and in the 400 free relay.
  • Georgia has used Veronica Burchill on all three relays so far. With her scratch out of the 50 free this morning, she can swim all five relays for the Bulldogs.

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2 years ago

It’s actually more likely that Veronica will swim all 5 relays given that she scratched the 50 free this morning.

2 years ago

Yes you were rough on the SHE-Vols last night! If they can muster a win in the 2FRR, Brown wins, Small wins and their 4Med moves up the podium is still very possible! This can be a great come back story!

Lady Vol Mom
Reply to  googoodoll
2 years ago

Why can’t you just call them Lady Vols instead of insulting nicknames?

Reply to  Lady Vol Mom
2 years ago

How is “she” insulting

Lady Vol Mom
Reply to  Hswimmer
2 years ago

SHE is not insulting, SHE-Vols is. They are the Lady Vols, not the SHE-Vols. Using an incorrect name is insulting.

Reply to  Lady Vol Mom
2 years ago

Would it be insulting if during MENS NCAAS if I refer to the MEN VOLS as HE-Vols? Pretty pwease!!!??

How much can CD bench???
Reply to  googoodoll
2 years ago

Do we really have to attribute malice to a positive comment?

Reply to  How much can CD bench???
2 years ago

Yep when one is a SHE-Vol Marmmy! OK if it offends, I shall evermore refer to our beloved female Tennessee Swimmers and Divers as Lady Vols! Go Lady VOLS!!!!!

2 years ago

Burchill scratched the 50 free, so I feel like it’s likely that Georgia will use her on all 5 relays.