Disclaimer: Dolfin Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Dolfin Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
The Cal women answered a number of key NCAA questions last week through a record-setting 400 free relay at Pac-12s.
For much of the year, the concern has been senior Amy Bilquist. Is she healthy? What kind of shape is she in? Even if she is healthy by NCAAs, will she be able to handle a full workload over the four-day meet?
Consider that concern answered. Bilquist split 46.30 on that relay That’s more than a second faster than she split at NCAAs last year (47.45) and came in what was her 10th swim of the meet. She swam prelims and finals of her three individual events (totaling six swims), plus swam on all three free relays and the 400 medley relay. That 46-low split was the final swim of a busy weekend, implying that she can handle a similar workload at NCAAs in a few weeks.
The relay also featured Cal’s other stars performing extremely well. Katie McLaughlin was recruited as a 200 flyer, but she’s steadily improved her sprints of late. She split a blazing 46.55 on that relay – three tenths faster than she was at NCAAs last year. Meanwhile Abbey Weitzeil was 46.39, right at the level she swam at at NCAAs a year ago.
Kathleen Baker graduated from that relay a year ago, but Robin Neumann was 48.17 leading off. She was actually 47.78 in the individual 100 earlier in the same session, so there’s a good chance Cal could even better this time at NCAAs, if all four legs are on.
The four combined to go 3:07.41, taking two tenths off an NCAA record Stanford set in 2017 with some pretty elite names: Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Janet Hu and Lia Neal. That’s three Olympians and one of the better NCAA swimmers of the 2017 season.
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