Maya DiRado Takes Top Seed in 200 IM Prelims at Women’s NCAA Championships

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Day 1 is about to get underway at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana, and as always we’ll be bringing you real-time recaps of the events as they happen. As we discussed in our day 1 quick hitter, Georgia is expected to rush out to an early lead at this meet, with two freestyle events on the schedule. All-told in day 1, awards will be given out in the 200 free relay, the 500 free, the 200 IM, the 50 free, women’s 1 meter diving, and the 400 medley relay.

For now, though, the focus is all about making finals. Cal, especially, who is only seeded to have two individuals final tonight, needs to find a way to move up.

The best race on the day probably is the 200 IM, where we’ll see Olympians Caitlin Leverenz and Elizabeth Beisel square off, as well as appearances from the likes of Liz Pelton, Jasmine Tosky and Maya DiRado. This day will also get a 500 free from Allison Schmitt, the Olympic silver medalist in the equivalent 400 free, and Margo Geer vs. Megan Romano in what could be a fairly thin 50 freestyle.

Women’s 200 Free Relay – Prelims

The Arizona women, with a 21.88 leadoff from Margo Geer, took the top seed coming out of the 200 free relay prelims, but there’s a group of three teams very close behind them. Georgia, perhaps saving Allison Schmitt for finals (she has the 500 free right after this race) was the 2nd seed in 1:27.92. Megan Romano is at least as good as she was at SEC’s, having already split a 21.05 on their anchor. Maddie Locus was a 22.91 leadoff – something Georgia will have to shore up as Arizona doesn’t have a weak leg on their relay.

Tennessee front-stalked their relay with Caroline Simmons (22.22) and Faith Johnson (21.77) to take the 3rd seed in 1:28.00, and Cal, using Liz Pelton as their anchor, was the 4th seed in 1:28.12.

USC (1:28.42), Stanford (1:28.60), Florida (1:28.77), and Texas (1:28.91) round out the A-Final.

That meant no big surprises for the A-Final; top seeds in the B-Final were Wisconsin, SMU, and Texas A&M. Missouri also got into the B-Final. The lone real surprising miss in this race was Florida State, getting only a 22.43 leadoff from Tiffany Oliver, finished 17th in 1:30.28.

Auburn DQ’ed their relay; they would have placed 8th in the morning.

Women’s 500 Free – Prelims

This 500 free saw the first really big shakeup of the meet so far, as A&M’s Sarah Henry tied with Minnesota’s Kiera Janzen for 9th place in 4:38.70. Perhaps thrown off by the pacing of a slow final heat (Tennessee’s Lindsay Gendron, who won it, was just 7th in 4:38.47), Henry will have to focus on the B-Final, despite earlier this year becoming the second-fastest 500 freestyler in NCAA history.

Meanwhile, the Georgia women continued to take care of business early in this meet. Sophomore Amber McDermott, who was the runner-up in this race last season, took the top seed in 4:36.26, while Shannon Vreeland her teammate is 2nd in 4:36.45. Altogether, the Bulldogs got three in the A-Final, as Allison Schmitt was the 5th seed in 4:37.76.

They also got two swimmers (Brittany MacLean and Jordan Mattern) into the B-Final; that’s even better than they were seeded. Cal did improve their standing on the first day a little bit as well, with a 4:40.82 from Catherine Breed for the 14th seed.

The defending champion Haley Anderson sits 4th in 4:37.03, and Indiana’s Lindsay Vrooman is 3rd in 4:36.97. Vrooman typically swims well at NCAA’s, so this lofty seed is no surprise.

North Carolina’s Danielle Siverling cut four seconds off of her season best to come out of the early heats and grab the 6th seed; Arizona’s Bonnie Brandon took the 8th spot in 3:48.63.

This was not a great start to the meet for A&M. Cammile Adams finished 17th in 4:42.28. She had trouble with the 500 on day 1 of last year’s meet as well before straightening things out later on.

Anderson slow-played this swim very well last season as well in prelims, just doing enough to make finals before winning. Georgia’s Shannon Vreeland seems to have learned from her mistake where she gassed too much in the morning last year. She had a much faster first 200 yards this year as compared to 2012 NCAA’s, but she was able to hold pace a little better coming back to save energy in clean water.

Women’s 200 IM – Prelims

There are a lot of really spectacular IM’ers in this year’s NCAA field, but the one that is least spoken of nationally is Stanford’s Maya DiRado, a junior, who took the top seed in a bit of a lackadaisical prelim with a 1:54.56.

That put her about half-a-second ahead of Cal freshman Liz Pelton in 1:55.00. There’s a lot of great 200 backstrokers in this A-Final (Elizabeth Beisel is the 4th seed in 1:55.05), but DiRado was at the top of them splitting a 28.13 on that leg.

Stina Gardell from USC was the 3rd seed in 1:55.01, Katie Meili from Columbia is the 5th seed in 1:44.45, and Caitlin Leverenz from Cal is the 6th seed in 1:55.80. Along with Meghan Hawthorne (1:55.84) and Melanie Margalis from Georgia (1:55.98), this field is fairly evenly split between backstrokers and breaststrokers, with no great butterfliers like we’ve seen from Katinka Hosszu in the past.

Remember that Leverenz is the defending NCAA Champion in this race and holds every yards record she can in the race.

Texas A&M’s Caroline McElhany tops the B-Final seeds with a 1:56.49. Anything matching her season-best would have final’ed; it appeared as though she cruised a little too much early in this race. She had a killer final 50 of 26.53, but by that point was in too far of a hole. Aggies appear bitten again by slow finals heats.

Notre Dame’s Emma Reaney will be the 10th seed in 1:56.64, with Georgia’s Annie Zhu 11th in 1:56.97 – about a second off of where she was at SEC’s.

North Carolina, even without their superstar Stephanie Peacock, continues to move up and get in scoring position. Cari Blalock swam a 1:57.04, beating her best time by a second-and-a-half, for the 12th seed. Stanford’s Jasmine Toksy finished 19th and out of the final.

Women’s 50 Free – Prelims

For the second straight race, this was a fairly lackluster preliminary round of 50 freestyles, with just three swimmers breaking 22-seconds.

Those three, however, all looked sharp. Arizona’s Margo Geer in 21.73, plus Georgia’s Megan Romano and Stanford’s Maddy Schaefer (both 21.99’s) all had season-best swims to take the top three seeds.

Behind them was Tennessee’s Caroline Simmons in 22.05; she and freshman teammate Faith Johnson (7th – 22.19) gave the Vols their seeded two swimmers into the A-Final. They sandwiched Ivy Martin from Wisconsin (22.10) and Kasey Carlson from USC (22.19), both of whom have been better this year.

Georgia’s Chantal van Landeghem was slower than her SEC title winning swim, but the important thing was that she locked up a top-8 finish with a 22.21.

Texas’ Ellen Lobb just missed the same by going 22.22 for 9th in prelims. Florida’s Natalie Hinds was 10th in 22.27, and Yale’s Alex Forrester 11th in 22.35.

The big dropper in this race was Arizona’s Megan Lafferty, who cut .24 off of her seed time to go 22.38 and make the B-Final. She’s a former Maryland Terrapin.

Georgia did take a little hit here (though it won’t cost them in the long run) with Maddie Locus slipping out of the finals in a 22.53. A&M took another blow as Lili Ibanez was a 22.54 to also miss an evening swim. Minnesota’s Erin Caflisch was a declared false start.

Women’s 400 Medley Prelims

This 400 medley prelim was a mess of ups-and-downs for different teams, but again was slower than what we saw at last year’s meet. Tennessee took the top seed in the race in 3:30.16, with sophomore Molly Hannis splitting 58.27 on the breaststroke. She’s the one they needed to be faster after they didn’t swim well in this relay at SEC’s.

Stanford took 2nd in 3:30.86 – a big drop for them too – including a monster-of-an-anchor from Andi Murez in 46.94. The Cardinal used Maddy Schaefer, their best sprinter, on the backstroke leg, where she split just 52.96, instead of Maya DiRado. The good news is that Tennessee doesn’t have a great backstroker either; the bad news is that some of the teams behind them do.

A&M is 3rd seeded in 3:30.93, with a 51.6 from Paige Miller on the backstroke and 57.5 from Breeja Larson on the breaststroke. That’s a little show of life, though their back-half struggled.

Arizona was 4th in 3:31.12. They didn’t use Margo Geer on this relay (we won’t know until tonight if that will change) but still got a respectable 48.0 anchor from Monica Drake. Georgia is the 5th seed (Romano led off in 52.70, Schmitt anchored in 47.32), followed by Cal (3:31.58), Texas (3:32.96), and Florida (3:33.03).

Cal’s relay is really peculiar. They led off with Stephanie Au on the backstroke, who split 52.50, and had Rachel Bootsma on the fly, who split 51.71. The total relay was Au, Leverenz, Bootsma, and Acker; to repeat as champions, one would imagine they’ll have to put Cindy Tran or Liz Pelton on the backstroke leg in finals.

The Gators were helped out by a swathe of DQ’s. Virginia Tech (15 meter violation), USC (exchange), Louisville (15 meter on backstroke), and UCLA (exchange) all were knocked out, which included an A-final worthy time for the Trojans. Their loss bumped Florida from 8th to 9th.

Other notable splits from the 400 medley:

  • Kelsi Worrell 51.39 fly (on DQ’ed Louisville relay)
  • Ting Wen Quah, 51.50 fly (on DQ’ed UCLA relay)
  • Kendyl Stewart, 51.71 fly (on DQ’ed USC relay – though she left early)
  • Kathleen Nolan, 51.05 fly (on 13th-seed UNC relay)
  • Olivia Scott, 51.89 fly (on 10th-seed Auburn relay)
  • Kasey Carlson, 57.54 breaststroke (on DQ’ed USC relay)

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Jill Brown

21.0 Relay leg for Romano?!?! Sick


She was 20.9 at SECs… No way you dont see her under 21 tonight. Dont be suprised if Natalie hinds comes within a couple tenths of that either


I’ll be surprised if she does. Going to hard to top her meet at SECs.


If they werent shaved and tapered its possible

bobo gigi

What is sick? It means around 21.6 on individual. Great but not amazing. Keep your excitation for one day a sub 21 on individual.


21.6 flat is fast. 21.05 relay is fast. 20.flat start won’t happen for a long time, so I see no problem with getting excited about 21.0 relay splits.


It’s plenty okay to get excited about that! It’s an accomplishment. And there’s plenty of excitement for when sub 21 happens as well

Agree. very fast swimming…even on a relay with all the waves around her it’s a really fast swim. way to go.


Tough break for Virginia’s Kelly Offutt who was leading heat 8 until her cap and goggles came off. She stuck it out and swam hard despite the mishap so hopefully she’ll get a chance to really shine in the 1650!

inez e

Kelly O was one of my top 3 in the 500. Sorry to see it happen.


Go Heels!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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