Erika Brown Appears to Have Hit Her Taper at NCAAs


When a swimmer has a breakthrough season, especially after a long period of stagnation, the pressure changes. For some, it’s hard to recapture that swim, especially on a quick turnaround. For others, it’s a flood gate.

For Tennessee sophomore Erika Brown, it appears to be the latter. After having one of the best single-swimmer breakthrough performances in the history of conference championship meets, it appears as though Brown did not, in fact, blow her full taper on the SEC Champioships. At least not based on the first return of the NCAA Championship meet on Wednesday.

Brown led off Tennessee’s 800 free relay with a 1:42.39. She and her Tennessee teammates would roll on to an early-heat Pool Record of 6:52.12, and would eventually finish 4th in the relay behind Stanford, Michigan, and Cal.

Leading off the same relay at SECs, Brown swam a 1:43.54 (though that came about an hour after splitting a blistering 20.81 anchor on Tennessee’s 200 medley relay – one of the fastest-ever splits). Her best time coming into the season was a 1:45.32 – from high school.

This bodes well for Brown’s other events where she holds top 5 seeds in the 50 free (3rd), 100 fly (1st), and 100 free (5th).

For fans of swimming, buckle up for an exciting meet – 18 out of 25 relays improved upon their seed times, indicating that we are due for a fast meet.

Early Indicators of who else might have hit or missed their tapers as a team, though this is just a single very small data point. Sorted by Seed Time:

Seed Time Actual Time Difference
Michigan 6:52.04 6:50.02 -2.02
Cal 6:52.62 6:50.83 -1.79
Stanford 6:53.86 6:46.93 -6.93
Virginia 6:55.55 6:54.60 -0.95
Texas A&M 6:55.60 6:56.47 +.87
Louisville 6:56.32 6:53.75 -2.57
USC 6:56.85 6:58.35 +1.50
Texas 6:57.84 6:53.42 -4.42
Georgia 6:58.58 6:56.78 -1.8
Tennessee 6:58.85 6:52.12 -6.73
Minnesota 6:59.53 6:56.40 -3.13
Kentucky 7:00.21 6:57.20 -3.01
Missouri 7:01.06 7:02.93 +1.87
Arizona 7:01.85 6:58.16 -3.69
Indiana 7:02.24 7:02.37 +0.13
Florida 7:02.30 7:05.10 +2.80
Wisconsin 7:02.95 7:02.58 -0.37
South Carolina 7:03.37 7:02.86 -0.51
Ohio State 7:04.14 7:03.29 -0.85
Notre Dame 7:04.31 7:05.71 +1.40
UCLA 7:04.64 7:01.90 -2.74
Auburn 7:05.26 7:01.95 -3.31
Arizona State 7:05.61 7:10.26 +4.65
Purdue 7:07.40 7:03.88 -3.52

Notes about lineup changes from seed times:

  • Tennessee swapped out senior Micah Bohon in exchange for sophomore Meghan Small, who anchored the relay in 1:42.45. Tennessee’s entire relay was made up of sophomores.
  • Texas dropped Claire Adams from the relay and replaced her with Joanna Evans, who swam a 1:43.18.
  • Georgia dropped Jordan Stout from their relay and replaced her with senior All-American Kylie Stewart. Stewart split 1:45.01, Georgia’s slowest split on the relay.
  • Arizona dropped junior Daniela Georges from the relay and replaced her with freshman Jamie Stone, who anchored the team in 1:46.09 – the Wildcats’ slowest split.
  • USC dropped breaststroker Riley Scott from the relay and replaced her with junior Maddie Wright on the anchor. Wright split 1:45.95.
  • Auburn dropped senior Zoe Thatcher from the relay and replaced her with freshman Sonnele Oeztuerk, who split 1:46.17.
  • Missouri dropped freshman Samantha Porter from the relay and replaced her with senior Kira Zubar, who split 1:46.21.
  • Purdue dropped Danielle Auckey and replaced her with freshman Gretta Decoursey who split 1:45.77 – the Boilermakers’ fastest split.


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Wow, Stanford and Tennessee had massive drops! Great taper!


Louisville’s drop was also impressive, and not entirely due to Comerford. Arina Openysheva and Sophie Cattermole both dropped significant time from their split at ACCs (Cattermole dropped a little under a second and Openysheva dropped about a second and a half).


I know swimswam’s obsessed with erika brown right now, but mal comerford’s 1:39.1 a much bigger story imo


New news is always better news. While impressive, I think we almost expected that out of Comerford.

Hey Yee- Obsessed is a pretty strong word. We report on fast swimming. She’s been doing A LOT of that lately. We’re just doing our jobs and Brown’s huge improvements are something that has come up because she went from not qualifying for NCAAs to being top seed in a year. Also, Comerford has her own separate post. This comment wasn’t really necessary. Thanks for reading.


I’m ok with articles on whoever but there definitely needs to be excitement on Comerford. I can’t wait to see her battle Manuel in the 200… and dare I say battle Ledecky in the 500? Or is that blasphemous?

Can’t wait to see what Erika Brown does too! Break all the records Erika!


There’s a news story on Comerford’s split. Swimswam always highlights newsworthy fast swimming and considering many people were worried Erika Brown may have peaked early at her conference championship, seeing that she’s still dropping time is newsworthy. Should every story worth reporting die simply because Comerford had a great split? There’s enough room for everyone to shine, after all, most front runners, means a more exciting meet, and it all maybe feeds into TeamUSA down the line.


I believe Texa replaces Joanna Evans with Evie Pfeifer, not Claire Adams.


yeah and except for that relay, Evans didn’t swim the rest of the meet. wonder if something’s up


Tonight’s the first night of the meet…


Probably was talking about Big 12’s.


meant at big 12s!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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