Prelims Results, Finals start at 7:00 tonight.
…Georgia just barely missed disaster in the opening session of the Day 2 prelims in Austin. They weren’t expected to do a ton in the 200 medley relay, but they need to at least pull some points out of this relay, which they will have an opportunity to do thanks to a 16th-place finish in the morning session. Their morning time of 1:39.51 was well off of their seed, and they should compete for the consolation title tonight.
At the top of the heap was the vaunted USC relay (1:36.49), thanks to a great breaststroke split (26.51) from Kasey Carlson. They also got a good mark from Christel Simms on the freestyle (22.31), and she is the key to this relay. To hold off Cal tonight, they’re going to need better performances from the two stars on this relay-Presley Bard (backstroke) and Lyndsay DePaul (fly). Wisconsin finally got a chance to show their stuff with a 1:36.59 which was good for the 2nd seed, followed by Texas A&M in 1:36.69.
A&M Freshman Paige Miller split a 23.00 on the fly leg of their relay, giving her the fastest split since the 2009 NCAA Championships. The last swimmer to break 23-seconds on their fly split? Former Aggie Triin Aljand at the 2009 NCAA Championships, where she had splits of 22.5 and 22.9.
Cal was 4th in 1:37.05, but they weren’t the top seed in yesterday’s 400 medley prelims either. Arizona jumped up to the A-final, and Stanford held steady in the B…
…In the 400 IM, which is a mentally and physically grueling event, there was shockingly not a single senior A-finalist. There were, however, 3 freshman A-finalists, showing the youth movement that is going on across the country in the IM events. This includes top overall seed Elizabeth Beisel from Florida (4:02.34) and 3rd overall seed Maya DiRado from Stanford (4:04.18). They are separated by junior Katinka Hosszu from USC in 4:03.09. For those hoping to see a sub-four-minute IM (or three) today, have no fear. It’s pretty standard for these girls to slow-play this race in prelims. All 3 were faster than they were in prelims of their conference championships events, which gives hope that all three will break four minutes in finals.
Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz, on the other hand, has typically gone out pretty fast in prelims, and only was at a 4:04.97. She’ll have to really gas it in finals if she wants a top-3 spot. Alyssa Vavra from Indiana, another “veteran” in this field, was 5th in 4:05.08, and another freshman, A&M’s Sarah Henry, also A-finaled.
In a nice moment, Team Crippen got 1 up (Teresa) and 1 down (Claire). It’s nice to see the sisters both finaling in this race. Georgia sandwiched the A-B cutline with Jana Mangimelli up in 8th, and Melanie Margalis in 9th. USC took a bit of a hurt when 5th-seed Stina Gardell only qualified in the B-final…
…USC’s Lyndsay DePaul put the Trojans in position to win another event with a 51.71 top seed in the 100 fly. It now looks as though the Trojans have a very good shop at sweeping the first 3 events on day 2. Yumi So also had an important swim for them to get into the B-final.
Cal did awesomely here to get two into the A-final (Amanda Sims-51.91 and Hannah Wilson-52.20), and 1 into the B-final, after being seeded to have only 1-and-1. Colleen Fotsch is a very nice surprise for them. LSU also managed to hold onto seeds and put two in the A-final with Jane Trepp (52.46) and sophomore Amanda Kendall (52.58). Claire Donahue from small Western Kentucky has the 3rd overall seed, and Olivia Scott had a nice improvement to take an A-final spot for Auburn. In a prelims event that wasn’t all that fast overall, even the slight improvement from Scott was a very nice sign and enough to keep her in contention tonight.
This race looks like it will be down to the 3 favorites tonight: De Paul, Sims, and Donahue. Georgia had no entries in this 100 fly (or later on in the 200 fly)…
…Georgia was really in need of 4 A-finalists in this 200 free. They came up just barely short of that, but still did the next-best thing with the top 3 seeds overall (Morgan Scroggy 1:42.99, Allison Schmitt 1:43.40, Megan Romano 1:43.74) and the top-seed in the Consolation Final (Shannon Vreeland 1:44.23).
Cal got a big move up from Sara Isakovic in this 200 free. It was no guarantee that she’d A-final in this race, but a few years ago she was one of the best in the world. She’s 4th in 1:43.75. Texas seems to have carried over the momentum from yesterday’s good finish with Bispo taking 6th in 1:43.77. This A-final will be incredibly tight.
A&M freshman Liliana Ibanez, who was the 7th seed, was disappointed to not final. Arizona’s uncontrollable forward momentum has slowed down a touch, as Alyssa Anderson had a much smaller drop here than yesterday in the 500…
…Minnesota’s Jillian Tyler slow-played the prelims a little with a 58.48 to take the top seed in the 100 breaststroke. But don’t let her fool you, based on her 57.0 relay-split yesterday, we know she’s got a 57 flat-start in her for finals. A&M’s Breeja Larson continues an outstanding freshman season with a 59.03 for the 2nd overall seed. That betters her career best, and school record time. She will lock horns in a great matchup tonight against USC’s freshman Kasey Carlson, who is the 3rd seed in 59.29.
Texas’ Laura Sogar was 4th in 59.50, and Arizona’s Ellyn Baumgardner, who was probably the favorite at the season’s beginning, was 6th in 59.57. Last year’s runner-up Ashley Danner from George Mason, Wisconsin’s Ashley Wanland, and LSU’s Jane Trepp also made the A-final. Hard to believe that it took a 59 to make the A-final this year.
A nice drop and B-final from Florida freshman Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir helps the Gators’ cause. She’s the first huge-potential breaststroker that Florida has had in a long time, and she really came on strong late this season to break the school record in 1:00.10. Besides USC, the other three top teams didn’t expect much out of this race, which gives the Trojans a chance to move up tonight. Cal didn’t have any swimmers entered, and Stanford’s Liz Smith made the B-final.
There were some total collapses. Georgia was nailed when Sarah Nicponski didn’t even make the B-final, giving them two races tonight with no finalists. Arizona State’s Rebecca Ejdervik, the 3rd overall seed who has swum very well so far, was DQ’ed, and Auburn’s Micah Lawrence for the 2nd-straight year didn’t make any finals in the 100…
…Cal’s Deborah Roth didn’t have a great Pac-10 meet; she barely made the A-final in the 100 backstroke (whereas I expected her to be top 3 or 4.) She bounced back in prelims though to take the top seed in 51.61. And not only was that the top seed, but it was the top seed by a lot. The next-best swim was Wisconsin’s Maggie Meyer in 52.10. Tennessee’s Jennifer Connolly was 3rd (52.23) and will have a tough double tonight coupled with the 100 fly. Georgia’s Megan Romano was 4th (52.23), and will have an even tougher double with the 200 free. Georgia really needs her top be top 5 in both races, which is likely why they held her out of the 200 medley.
Don’t expect this to be a runaway for Roth in the final. Meyer and Bard (5th seed) have both proven that they are capable of 51.6’s themselves, and both swimmers did what they needed to do to win their respective heats. Swimming next to Roth, they should make this a much tighter race.
A&M’s Paige Miller and Cal’s Cindy Tran (who was the top overall seed) both were entered in the fly-back double. Whereas Tran scratched the fly, Miller took it head on, and ended up with a better seed (6th) than Tran. Miller didn’t final in the 100 fly, however, which sets her up to move up a ton in a very tight backstroke final tonight.
In addition to Romano’s valuable A-final swim, Georgia also added a B-finalist. This will help make up for their shortcomings in the breaststroke. Call had two up, and 1 down, so another big event for them tonight. Stanford’s Betsy Webb made the B-final, but at this point it doesn’t look as though Stanford will have enough numbers in the evening session to hang on to their 3rd-place position. Texas also took more hits, with their top backstroker Lily Moldenhauer failing to final after being seeded 9th…
…Overall Georgia is probably behind where expected on the session. The top 3 in the 200 free will help tonight, but most had already factored that into their predictions. Cal has been a mixed bag, with some improvements (Deborah Roth) and some drops (Cindy Tran). Overall though, the Golden Bears are looking good for tonight’s session. USC held serve, and have a very good chance at being in the lead at the end of day 2 if their 800 free relay does well tonight (they’re seeded 9th). This would be a great position for them, as they expect big points on the final day as well.