2015 WOMEN’S NCAA DI CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, March 19 – Saturday, March 21
- Greensboro Aquatic Center – Greensboro, NC
- Prelims 11AM/Finals 7PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Georgia (2x) – results
- NCAA Championship Central
- Live stream: All prelims & Thursday finals (Other sessions will be on ESPN3)
- Live results
If Thursday’s 500 freestyle was any indication of what is going to happen during the 1650 tonight, watch out for Virginia’s Leah Smith. After breaking the NCAA record in the 500, she is the favorite to win the mile tonight. She will have to hold off the defending champion from Georgia, Brittany MacLean, and Cal’s freshman Ceirra Runge. Another swimmer that has looked good all weekend and could be a factor is Georiga’s Amber McDermott.
McDermott and Maclean should earn a good chunk of points for the bulldogs, but it will not be enough to run down California.
The Golden Bears have a stronghold on the 200 backstroke with Missy Franklin and Liz Pelton as the top two qualifiers. They also have Melanie Klaren in the A final, which will cancel out all of the points Georgia picked up in the mile, and then some. I expect Missy Franklin to blow out this final tonight. She has backed off of her prelim swims all week, saving her energy for the final. She was just off of the American record in the 200 IM and destroyed the record in the 200 freestyle. She has a history of being able to hold on to her races through a long meet weekend, so if she can continue that trend, we may see a 1:46 200 backstroke tonight.
The pressure will be on for Simone Manuel to re-claim the American record in the 100 freestyle from Abbey Weitzeil. She was 46.69 in her individual swim, and then cruised through her 400 free relay leg with an easy 47.39. She did the same thing between prelims and finals of the 400 medley relay, splitting 47 in the morning and then 45.45 at night. Even though that swim was from a relay start, she has enough speed to crack 46 for the first time in history if she is feeling good.
Kiera Smith made her presence known this morning with a sub-2:05 200 breaststroke in the lane next to the US Open / American Record holder, Emma Reaney. Reaney won last year with a record time of 2:04.06. Smith is Canadian, and therefore only eligible to break the US Open record in this event. I expect both swimmers to challenge the records tonight. Reaney was only 2:07.18 this morning, but she has more in the tank. Yesterday she dropped more than second between prelims and finals of the 100 breaststroke to finish third.
Kelsi Worrell has established herself as the fastest sprint butterflier in history this weekend, but will she be able to hold on for 200 yards? This morning she was just off Elaine Breeden’s American record pace from 2009 at the 100, but fell off in the back half to earn the second seed. Georgia’s Hali Flickinger had the fastest time of the morning at 1:52.97, and will be a threat as they approach the final 25. She was 29.19 on the final 50 compared to Worrell’s 31.16.
Stanford will be in the middle of the pool for tonight’s final relay, but there are no guarantees on the final day of the NCAA Championships. Stanford has their two big guns, Simone Manuel and Lia Neal, but Georgia and Cal may have enough depth to pull out a win. An American record in this event tonight is unlikely, but anything could happen.