Despite 50.07 100 Fly, Olivia Bray Will Swim 500 Free/100 Back/200 Back At NCAAs


  • March 15 to 18, 2023
  • Allan Jones Aquatic Center, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Live Results
  • Pre-Scratch Psych Sheets
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Texas’s top swimmers have made a myriad of NCAA lineup changes from last year, with Olivia Bray‘s being the most notable. After racing the 100 fly, 100 back, and 200 fly at the last two NCAA championships, Bray has opted for a completely different event schedule this year, as she will be swimming the 500 free on day one, the 100 back on day two, and the 200 back on day three.

The 500 free is a completely new development for Bray, as she had never swum the event in college prior to this season. She came in with a best time of 4:52.02 and dropped to a 4:37.31 at Big 12s, which would have been fast enough to ‘A’ final at NCAAs last year and has her seeded 4th this year. Bray has raced the 200 back at Big 12s in prior seasons, but this year she jumped from a 1:51.09 to 1:50.09 and will be seeded fourth headed into NCAAs.

Even though Bray has raced the 100 back at NCAAs before, it’s still notable that she’s swimming the event over the 100 fly on day three. At Big 12s, she swam a massive best time of 50.07 in the 100 fly, beating out her 2019 PB of 50.19 and scaring the 50-point barrier. Meanwhile, she is seeded 7th in the 100 back with her midseasons time of 50.92, which is close to the 51.02 she swam to finish 8th at NCAAs last year.

All of Bray’s lineup choices make sense for Texas points-wise. While the Longhorns already have three likely ‘A’ finalists in the 200 fly without Bray, they lose their only scorer from last year, Julia Cook, in the 200 back. The 100 back over 100 fly choice makes sense as well when thinking about scoring, as teammate Emma Sticklen‘s presence could be what bumps Bray (who would have been seeded 8th) out of the 100 fly ‘A’ final while Bray is Texas’s top swimmer in the 100 back and won’t have to deal with a conflict of that sort in the event. Finally, her presence in the 500 free will also make up for the loss of 2022 ‘A’ finalist Evie Pfiefer.

Sticklen has also made an NCAA lineup change from last year, as she will be swimming the 200 IM instead of the 50 free on day one. In 2022, Sticklen didn’t really have a clear third event, as she ‘A’ finaled in the 100 and 200 fly but finished 32nd in the 50 free. However, after dropping from a 1:56.57 to a 1;54.70 in the 200 IM this season, she’s now projected to score in three different events.

The versatile Kelly Pash will be sticking with the same NCAA lineup as last year, swimming the 200 IM on day one, the 200 free on day two, and the 200 fly on day three.

Olivia Bray, NCAA Seed Times:

  • 500 Free: 4:37.31 (4th seed)
  • 100 Back: 50.92 (7th seed)
  • 200 Back: 1:50.09 (3rd seed)

Emma Sticklen, NCAA Seed Times:

  • 200 IM: 1:54.70 (10th seed)
  • 100 Fly: 49.79 (4th seed)
  • 200 Fly: 1:51.37 (1st seed)

Kelly Pash, NCAA Seed Times:

  • 200 IM: 1:53.81 (6th seed)
  • 200 Free: 1:42.73 (3rd seed)
  • 200 Fly: 1:51.45 (2nd seed)

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2 months ago

500 free is easily by far the weakest event on the women’s schedule, and the 100 fly is arguably the strongest. While 50.0 is great, it’s just not what it used to be. Meanwhile 4:37 has reemerged as a top time- where even 10 years ago it would’ve barely been top 5

Last edited 2 months ago by swimfast
Reply to  swimfast
2 months ago

it’ll be interesting to see the middle-longer distance free events become (hopefully) rejuvenated over the next couple years, what with Sims/Gemmell/Gormsen slated to come in next year and Grimes/Hartman the next: that’s 4:28, 4:29, 4:33, 4:37, and 4:40 (and Gemmell is almost certainly capable of going faster than that). Especially if some of the athletes graduating this year defer a year for the Olympics which would give us such a huge jump in the event going from 2024 NCAAs to 2025

Reply to  jeff
2 months ago

all of those athletes that you mentioned are most likely going to take an olympic gap year. Sims, Gemmell, and Gormsen all have significant chances to get on the olympic team, and changing training environments mid olympic cycle could be very difficult

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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