Hawaii Blows Through NCAA “A” Standard to Qualify First Relay for NCAAs Since 2005


The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine have booked their tickets to the NCAA Championships, qualifying a relay for nationals for the first time in decades.

Swimming in the finals session on Sunday evening at the Georgia Last Chance meet, their penultimate shot at qualification, the Hawaii relay of Anna FriedrichGabby ScudamoreLaticia Transom, and Holly Nelson combined for a 3:12.76 in the 400 free relay.

That swim absolutely destroyed their previous school record of 3:14.74, set at the MPSF Championships earlier this month, and more importantly cleared the “A” cut of 3:14.10 required to send relays to NCAAs.

After a rocky few years for the Hawaii coaching staff, things seem to have stabilized this season under new head coach Michael Stephens (former Boston College head coach), and thanks in large part to 5th year transfer Laticia Transom. The New Zealand native was a Pac-12 Champion in the 100 free while at USC before joining the Rainbow Wahine for her final season of eligibility this year.

Her impact has been swift and momentous, including a 46.66 split on the third leg of Hawaii’s relay on Sunday that helped three of her teammates book tickets to join her at the NCAA Championships.

While Hawaii has regularly sent individual competitors to NCAAs (especially divers, but more recently swimmers too), their last women’s NCAA qualifying relay was in 2005. That Hawaii team was also led by a star from down-under: future Australian Olympic gold medalist Melanie Schlanger.

Hawaii’s qualification was the headline of a day that saw a number of swimmers stamp their tickets to Knoxville and Minneapolis in March.

That included Marie Schobel of the hosts Georgia in the 100 backstroke. She swam 51.99 in the 100 back final, her 3rd attempt of the weekend, which moves her into the school’s all-time top 10 and into the NCAA’s top 30 this season. That should finally move her off the bubble (52.25 mid-season) and into certain NCAA invite status.

Other Key Sunday Results:

  • Teams take on the identity of their coaches, and their new head coach Chase Kreitler has brought the Cal backstroke wave to Pittsburgh. Claire Jansen swam 52.33 in the 100 back finals that broke her own school record from ACCs. That’s a .02 second drop for her, but leap-frogs her one spot in the national rankings, leaving her 41st and on the bubble for an NCAA invite. Her teammate Marcin Goraj, meanwhile, moved himself off the bubble and comfortably into the meet by shattering his own school record in the 200 back. He swam 1:40.34 in a time trial on Sunday, which jumps him from 35th to 17th in the NCAA this season and into the championships.
  • NC State’s Zachary Cram battled his way to a surprise NCAA invite as well next to Goraj in that 200 back time trial. He swam 1:40.49, well faster than what it took to invite last year, and into 20th in the country. That’s pretty close to a lock-up for an NCAA invite for him as well. Cram, a senior, was not on NC State’s roster for the ACC Championships this year, and mid-season he swam just 1:47 in this 200 back. His season-best coming in was a 1:45.71 from a tri meet with North Carolina and Virginia in mid-January, but he went well-under that to lock up his first NCAA Championship invite.
  • Auburn’s Danny Schmidt swam 3:42.99 in the 400 IM prelims, which jumps him to 22nd in the NCAA, and probably on the right side of the bubble for an NCAA invite. His teammate Evan McInerny did the same in the 200 fly final with a 1:42.22, which now puts him 18th in the NCAA.
  • Florida State’s Maddy Huggins pulled out a 2:09.55 in the women’s 200 breaststroke. That climbs her from a tie for 41st in the NCAA to 37th, which could be enough to sneak her in to the NCAA Championships. This 200 breaststroke looks like one of the only, if not the only, race where the invite cut line might get slower from last year (2:09.15).
  • The Georgia women added another relay to its NCAA lineup with a 1:28.59 time trial on Sunday. That is under the NCAA “B” cut in the event. Georgia already has “A” cuts in the 400 free relay, 800 free relay, and 400 medley relay, which allows them to send their “B” cut relays in the 200 medley and 200 free.
  • South Carolina’s Nicholle Toh couldn’t quite lock up an NCAA invite in two cracks at the 100 fly on Saturday, but in a Sunday time trial knocked out a 51.89 that puts her comfortably into the meet at 30th nationally. Her season-best coming into the weekend was 52.35.
  • Toh’s teammate Tatiana Salcutan swam 1:53.74 in the 200 backstroke, which moved her to 37th in the NCAA. With a few swimmers ahead of her who might not swim the event, that should put her on the right side of the bubble. South Carolina has had a big weekend at Last Chance meets, adding several swimmers to their NCAA Championships rosters.
  • NC State’s Annabel Crush swam a season-best of 1:45.10 in a 200 free time trial. That puts her 40th in the NCAA so far this season, and with between 38 and 42 usually taken in each event, right in the middle of the bubble. She could get some help, though, if swimmers like the NCAA leader Alex Walsh of Virginia or Duke’s Sarah Foley decide not to swim the 200 free individually at NCAAs.
  • The Florida State women took one last crack at the A cut in the 200 medley relay, but they came up just short in 1:36.37 (.13 from the “A” standard). Their best add-up from three tries this weekend makes the cut with room-to-spare, but they just couldn’t put their best swims together at the same time. A 22.48 butterfly leg from Jenny Halden was the highlight of Sunday’s final attempt, which was their closest to the cut.

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3 months ago

Julia Knox from GW also swam a lifetime-best 4:10.57 in the 400 I.M. during the prelim session, which currently stands at 34th!

Mike Anderson
3 months ago

Congratulations to all the UH Swimmers and Divers! Good job, Coach Mike!

Good to see the program humming again!

3 months ago

Hawaii got relays to NCs in 2019 as well!

3 months ago

Amro Al-Wir of Florida also swam a 1:52.33 in the prelims of the 200 breast which is 15th right now and would have made the B final at NCs last year.

Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
3 months ago

What were their splits? I couldn’t find them

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

They should post video of their relay exchanges

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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