The first round of scratches, released on Wednesday, for the 2011-2012 Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, were fairly obviously coaches attempting to improve the standings of their relays.
The motive for the latest scratch, released today, was a bit less martyrly.
Florida scratched sophomore Elese Zalewski from the meet, despite being invited in four different events, as she will be off attending the Australian Olympic Trials that run simultaneously to the women’s NCAA Championships. She was a member of Florida’s primary 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 200 medley relay, and also received an individual invite by way of her 48.95 in the 100 free.
This really hurts the Gators, who are very thin in the sprint events (aside from, of course, one of their stars Sarah Bateman) and their relays. This likely means that they’ll either have to move middle-distance swimmer Natasha Fung on to some sprint relays, or use one of their superstars (Crippen, Beisel) who are good, but not sprint good, out of position. Either way, this adds probably a second to the 400 free relay and at least half-a-second to the 200’s.
What’s even more peculiar is that Zalewski is one of the best sprinters (behind Sara Bateman) on a team that is very thin on pure speed. This move can only be chalked-up to something more than a competitive decision.
The Gators’ in-state rivals Florida State were the beneficiaries of the scratch. Sophomore Julia Henkel has been called up in the 400 IM, though that will be her only entry in the meet as she had no other B-times. (The 100 free previously had 31 entries, so the scratch resulted in a 400 IM’er being called up, as a higher-priority than the next-best 100 freestyler).
Updated psych sheets can be seen here.