OVERREACTIONS: Day 1 at the 2022 NCAA Women’s D1 Championships
2022 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- March 16-19, 2022
- McAuley Aquatic Center, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia (Eastern Daylight Time)
- Prelims 10AM /Finals 6PM
- Short Course Yards (25 yards)
- Live Results
- Championship Central
- SwimSwam Preview Index
It’s finally here, the 2022 Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship. Based on tonight, it looks like we’re in for a fast meet. Now it’s time to overreact.
- Berkoff is ready to rock and roll
For starters, Katharine Berkoff seems locked and loaded, ready to challenge Regan Smith for the 100 backstroke crown. Berkoff became the fastest performer in history with her backstroke lead-off split on the Wolfpack’s 200 medley relay, posting a 22.76 en-route to the team finishing 2nd behind Virginia. Smith was 24.31 leading off for Stanford, but totally missed her turn, going into the turn 3rd behind Berkoff and Gretchen Walsh, but came off the wall 7th. Berkoff is seeded 2nd behind Smith in the 100 backstroke by .18 seconds.
- Virginia is on par to defend its NCAA title
Speaking of Virginia, the Cavaliers added just a little bit of time compared to their ACC performance, winning the 200 medley relay in 1:32.16 seconds, versus their American Record 1:31.81 set at the ACC Championships. In the 800 freestyle relay, Virginia was 2nd (6:53.47) and at ACC Championships the team was 6:53.37. While Virginia is just a touch off from their seed times, they’re still close enough to cruise to another team title, barring an overall shift in the meet.
- Taylor Ruck is in great form
Stanford is off to a solid start, winning the 800 freestyle relay by five-seconds, the only team to dip under 6:50. The highlight of that relay was Taylor Ruck, who produced the fastest split in the field (1:40.49). This split sets her up for a very promising meet ahead. Stanford has been hammered by their performances both at the collegiate and international level recently. Ruck’s split and the overall 800 freestyle relay performance should help quell that a little.
- Texas and Cal are rolling
Cal and Texas look like they’re ready to produce their best performances at this meet. Cal moved up from their seed in both relays, finishing 7th instead of 9th in the 200 medley relay. The Golden Bears were projected to finish 5th, but finished 3rd, led by Isabel Ivey’s 1:41.35 lead-off split, which is a lifetime best for her. She is swimming the individual 200 freestyle on Friday and sits 2nd on the psych sheet (1:42.29). Her split from tonight is faster than the top-seed in the event, Lia Thomas (1:41.93).
Texas finished as projected in both relays, finishing 5th in the 200 medley relay and 4th in the 800 freestyle relay. Kelly Pash led off in 1:42.94 seconds, right on her split from last year. Evie Pfeifer anchored in 1:44.29 seconds, also right on her split from this meet last year.
Last year, Pash was 7th in the 200 IM (1:55.72), 3rd in the 200 freestyle (1:43.50), and 4th in the 200 butterfly (1:53.42). This year, Pash is seeded 14th in the 200 IM, 12th in the 200 freestyle, and 8th in the 200 butterfly. In 2021, Pfeifer was 2nd in the 500 freestyle (4:35.02), 5th in the 400 IM (4:05.41), and 2nd in the 1,650 freestyle (15:46.41). This year, Pfeifer is seeded 17th in the 500 freestyle, 22nd in the 400 IM, and 11th in the 1,650 freestyle. Based on their respective splits from Wednesday night, it’s expected that this duo will move up in the rankings and be in contention for A-final spots.
- Tennessee was locked in at SEC Championships
Tennessee seems to have confirmed that they were all in at the SEC Championships. The Vol’s dropped from their projected seed in both relays, finishing 11th in the 200 medley relay (1:35.26) after being seeded 6th (1:34.63). Tennessee was 8th in the 800 freestyle (6:57.79) relay, but was seeded 3rd (6:56.43). Last year, Tennessee added two-seconds from their seed time in the 800 freestyle relay to finish 16th (7:04.08). In 2021, the Vol’s were 8th in the 200 medley relay (1:36.25), but going a touch faster than their seed time.
- Maggie MacNeil is in her usual form
Based on Maggie MacNeil’s 50 backstroke split (23.07), she looks right on track from prior years, but not faster. Last year, she split a 23.17 on this relay. MacNeil also set the world record in the 50 back short course meters. Tomorrow will be the tell-all with the 50 freestyle. She was 2nd in the 50 freestyle last year, and is the reigning champion in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle. Overall, MacNeil will have to be on her A-game throughout this meet as she has challenges against big names in all of her individual events, especially in the 100 butterfly where she will face Torri Huske and Kate Douglass.
- Louisville is already out-scoring their projected score
Louisville started out with a bang, like they usually do at the NCAA Championships. Over the past three NCAA Championships, Louisville has outscored their psych sheet projection. The Cardinals were not seeded to score in the 200 medley relay, but finished 8th, which was a massive pickup. Louisville also moved up from their projected 10th place to finishing 7th in the 800 freestyle relay.
- Margo Geer has figured out the double taper
It looks like first-year head coach Margo Geer has mastered the double taper for Alabama, putting the Crimson Tide in real contention for a 3rd place finish. Alabama was 4th in the 200 medley relay and 13th in the 800 freestyle relay.
- We’re in for a fast meet
12 out of 24 teams improved from their seed times in the 200 medley relay. The biggest drop was Louisville shaving nearly two-seconds off its seed time to pick up 22 points, when the Cardinals weren’t seeded to score.
10 out of 21 teams improved from their seed times in the 800 freestyle relay, as compared to 11 out of 20 in 2019, the last normal NCAA Championship meet. Stanford was the only team to go sub-6:50 (6:48.30). Cal had a monster improvement from its seed time to take 3rd (6:53.52), nearly out-touching Virginia for the win. Cal was seeded with a 6:57.59, so their performance tonight was a massive four-second drop.
Georgia also dropped significantly, posting a 6:56.58 compared to their seed time 7:01.34 seconds. The Bulldogs finished 5th, picking up 28 points versus their projected 6. Also improving was Florida (6:56.96), after being seeded at 7:01.77 seconds. The Gators picked up 26 points instead of their projected 4.