It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for hardcore college swim fans at least…and it’s definitely up there for those of us at SwimSwam too. We’ve been humming along with psych sheet scoring, event previews, and all sorts of other analysis, and now we’re just hours away from the start of the 2018 women’s Division I NCAA Championships.
One of the things we’ve decided to go is go back and see how our first ever preseason event picks are looking now that we’re on the short final to the Big Meet. You can read the full article from last fall with our women’s picks here, but here’s a quick recap of what our staff consensus was in each event:
|800 Free Relay||Stanford|
|200 Free Relay||Stanford|
|500 Free||Katie Ledecky|
|200 IM||Kathleen Baker|
|50 Free||Simone Manuel|
|400 Medley Relay||Stanford|
|400 IM||Ella Eastin|
|100 Fly||Louise Hansson|
|200 Free||Mallory Comerford|
|100 Breast||Lilly King|
|100 Back||Kathleen Baker|
|200 Medley Relay||Cal|
|1650 Free||Katie Ledecky|
|200 Back||Kathleen Baker|
|100 Free||Simone Manuel|
|200 Breast||Lilly King|
|200 Fly||Ella Eastin|
|400 Free Relay||Stanford|
Where We’re Looking Good
- 500/1650 free – Ledecky will be Ledecky in these two events. The only question is if she can smash some inconceivable barriers.
- 50/100 Free – You could argue we should move this to the “too soon” category, as Weitzeil could very well challenge Simone Manuel, but we also knew that could be the case five months ago.
- 100/200 breast – We’re still feeling pretty sure that no one is going to seriously challenge King in either event, although the 200 breast could be a bit more of a challenge.
- 200 Back – Baker is the top seed by over a second, and remains the clear favorite.
- 200 fly – ’nuff said
- 400/800 free and 400 medley relays – Stanford was the easy pick for these three, and right now, we’re not realy doubting those calls.
Where It’s Too Soon To Tell
- 200 IM – Eastin and Baker should make this a stroke-for-stroke battle at the finish.
- 400 IM – Can you blame 7/8 of us picking Eastin? Sure, we all knew that Ledecky was capable of setting the American Record in this event, but only Braden had the guts to assume that she’d do this in lieu of the 200 free, and she’d win it.
- 200 Free – Comerford was nearly the unanimous pick, even before we found out that Ledecky wouldn’t be swimming the event. Still, Manuel could be right there with Comerford.
- 100 Back – Our pick, Baker, has the 3rd seed, and could certainly pull off the win, although Beata Nelson, Ally Howe, and Janet Hu have all had great seasons, too.
- 200 Medley Relay – Cal has the #1 seed, but Indiana is right behind them, and you can’t totally count out Stanford.
Where We’re Polishing Our Crystal Ball
- 100 fly – Sure, Louise Hansson could still win, as she’s only seeded 2nd by .32. But, boy, we didn’t see Erika Brown‘s ascendance this year.
- 200 free relay – Cal comes in with a seed time that’s about a second faster than the Stanford squad’s. Maybe Cal’s win last year should’ve given them a little more credit with us.
You can see our 2018 women’s prediction index here.