Indiana, Louisville Women Tie Program-Best NCAA Championship Finishes

2023 NCAA WOMEN’S SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

It was a high-water mark for a number of teams on Saturday to conclude the 2023 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, with a number of teams ending with historic finishes. Some of those programs are riding the wave of recent coaching changes, while others are hitting highs with long-time leaders.

That includes the Indiana Hoosiers, whose women finished 7th. That ties them for the best finish in program history, matching a 7th-place finish in 2016, which was Lilly King’s breakthrough season that included NCAA titles and records in the 100 and 200 yard breaststrokes.

That record finish came in spite of a disqualified 400 medley relay – though that relay only touched 14th, so that probably only cost them 4-6 points. That still would have left them just-shy of their 2016 point total of 228 (they had 219 this year).

The team also tied a program record with 30 All-America honors.

Louisville, another team with an established head coach in Arthur Albiero, tied their best-ever program finish, placing 4th overall.

Their 288 points were the most in program history, and the result matched 2019 as their best finish ever. The finish also meant 7 top 10 finishes in the last 8 NCAA Championship meets:

  • 2015 – 6th (197 points)
  • 2016 – 8th (220 points)
  • 2017 – 6th (194.5 points)
  • 2018 – 5th (232 points)
  • 2019 – 4th (235 points)
  • 2021 – 13th (108 points)
  • 2022 – 6th (196.5 points)
  • 2023 – 4th (288 points)

Their 2023 result was easily their best in program history.

The Ohio State Women Sort of Quietly Finished in 6th Place at the meet, which was the highest finish in program history as well.

As quietly as a 6th-place team can be, anyway. It looked like this might be the year where the Buckeyes ran short on some steam for their magical run of success, but it turns out that quite the opposite was true.

Not only was it the best finish in program history, it was the team’s third-straight top 10 finish: the most consecutive top 10 finishes in program history.

Ohio State Recent NCAA Championship Finishes:

  • 2019: 25th – 43 points
  • 2021: 7th – 215.5 points
  • 2022: 9th – 165 points
  • 2023: 6th – 223 points

And they did it with almost an entirely-new staff, save for head coach Bill Dorenkott.

“What an amazing group of young women and a fitting way to cap off our NCAA season with the highest finish in school history,” said Director of Swimming & Diving Bill Dorenkott. “We turned over almost an entire staff a year ago; a lot of folks thought we were down for the count. This season is a testament to the resilience of our student-athletes, the commitment of all the support staff and resources committed to our swimmers and divers, as well as a culture built on a commitment to success with each other and for each other; selfless.”

Over the course of the four-day championships, 11 Buckeyes combined for a total of 32 All-American honors. With KitKat Zenick coming into her own as a bona fide national presence in the sprint freestyles, the next generation of Buckeyes has picked up the baton and is running hard with it.

UNC was one of two teams with more recent coaching changes that is trending back toward the top. Their 10th-place finish was their first top 10 finish since 2001.

UNC’s head coach Mark Gangloff was hired in 2019, and has methodically rebuilt the Tar Heels into a national power

UNC’s previous top 10 finishes:

  • 1982 – 3rd
  • 1983 – 6th
  • 1984 – 5th
  • 1987 – 9th
  • 2001 – 9th

Gangloff’s first few years in charge were hit by COVID pretty hard. His first season, the NCAA Championships were canceled, and in 2021, he was missing a huge chunk of his team at the ACC Championships (though they recovered for a 12th-place finish at NCAAs).

After a 14th-place finish last year, a strong sprint core lifted the Tar Heels back into the top 10 this season. About half of that group was recruited by Gangloff (Greer Pattison, Skyler Smith, Olivia Nel), and about half weren’t (Grace Countie, Sophie Lindner, Sllie VanNote), though they’ve now trained under him for the vast majority of their college careers.

Along with the double springboard NCAA Champion and NCAA D1 Diver of the Year Aranza Vazquez, this Tar Heel squad seems built for sustainability. They’re building a team with NCAA-scoring caliber depth, even without individual title contenders (in swimming), and recruits are starting to notice – one of the best from neighboring Virginia, Ava Muzzy, is committed for next season, even with a couple of really strong ACC programs in her home state.

The LSU Women hit their best finish since 1993 – an even longer streak – under 2nd year head coach Rick Bishop.

Previous High Finishes for LSU Women:

  • 1986 – T-10th
  • 1987 – 11th
  • 1991 – 14th
  • 1993 – T-13th
  • 2011 – 14th

Before this season, LSU had won 4 previous NCAA event titles, all of which were divers. That changed on Thursday when grad-transfer Maggie MacNeil won the women’s 50 free in a new NCAA Record of 20.79.

While we can’t pretend that bringing in one of the world’s best swimmers in MacNeil wasn’t an “instant offense” type of boost for the Tigers, there was so much more to this season for LSU than that. They qualified all five relays for the NCAA Championships for the first time in years, and their 200 free relay finished 5th overall.

While LSU will probably take a step back from their 13th place finish next season, after MacNeil and her 53 individual points graduates, they still have some good building blocks in place – including a very healthy diving program.

As the SEC awaits the Texas Longhorns in the fall of 2024, many the conferences existing teams, including LSU, aren’t waiting around, and instead are making big strides on their own.

 

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ACC
11 months ago

Ohio State is only losing 1 scorer… pretty wild Braden.

Klorn8d
11 months ago

According to their Instagram, Ohio state had its highest finish ever at 6th

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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