Leah Smith, Virginia
On winning two titles
“I owe it all to my coaches and teammates. They push me every day, and I think last year left me a little bit hungry. I was out for redemption because I didn’t have the best meet. So, this year, my teammates and I have all been really positive, and we’re trying to make history.”
Missy Franklin, California
Is there was a way to sum up your collegiate swimming now that you’re finished your individual events?
“Oh you know, it’s so hard, I’m so grateful for the experience that I’ve had. You know, it’s been a very emotional couple of days and I am just so proud of my team and what we’ve accomplished here and this is honestly the perfect way to end it. Like this is what I gave things up for and the best part is, is it doesn’t even feel like I gave anything up because I gained so much.”
Is there anything that you could share with the young people or the parents that are out there, wondering if they should go into college swimming or where they should end up?
“Yeah, you know I would say that the experience that I’ve had even just the two years is worth so much more than anything I could have got given some opportunities I had after the Olympics. The friendships that I made and the things I’ve learned about myself, just being able to be a normal college athlete and student — for me, that’s completely priceless and I would make that decision 100 times over again.”
Simone Manuel, Stanford
On her second title here and retaking the record
“Yeah, I was pretty excited and just wanted to put together a good race. The third day of this race is a little tough after swimming a lot of races and I put together a good race and I was happy with the outcomes.”
On squinting at the time and if she expected to see a record
“When I looked over to the right I saw my team cheering. That was all I could take away from it. I don’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t really see the time but when I did I was pretty shocked and excited.”
Kierra Smith, Minnesota
“I just wanted to do what I did this morning. This race comes naturally to me. I tried to not over think it today and stick with what I do best.”
Do you think about your race or your technique?
“Technique for sure. Every stroke.”
Kelsi Worrell, Louisville
“I’m so shocked…my time! I’m just so shocked.”
“Oh, it’s all Jesus right now, that’s for sure. My leg’s hurting and this was like the 13th swim or something so it’s all… Jesus, my legs, my body… Just get to the wall, I didn’t want to t-rex it like this morning.”
Jack Bauerle, Georgia
“I’m really happy. We lost to a great team in Cal. We swam really well and sometimes all you want to do is swim as well as you can and that’s what we did. We swam above our seeds and that just shows how good Cal is.”
You swam above seeds but still came up short. What do you attribute that to?
“Well, we just point to this meet all the time. It’s hard because we have to sacrifice a little bit even at the SECs which is not an easy place to sacrifice with Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee and a lot of great teams. If you can get by that and leave a little in your tank, that’s the key. Even last year when we won, we swam right to our seeds and this time we swam 80 or 90 points over and still lost. As long as they swim well and they do the job and are a great team, that’s okay. And they’ve been a great team.”
Greg Meehan, Stanford
Were you expecting third place?
“I don’t know if it was exactly what we were expecting, but we knew that being in the top four was an important goal for us. We had a lot of things that we went through this year, and some challenges that we faced in the fall and again mid-year. I’m just so proud of this group for just working through that. Especially with the youth that we have, to kind of work through some of those things is so impressive. They are so resilient. This third place finish is about as meaningful as a finish as I think I’ve ever had.”
On Stanford’s relays
“We take a lot of pride in those. I’ll always feel like you get a pretty good sense of how good your team is and how tough your team is by what you do in the 800 free relay at the NCAA Championships. At the conference meet, it’s on the first night, and it’s fresh, and it’s pretty easy to have a good time. Our 6:54 last night for us was another school record and even though we were second – we didn’t expect to win that – but I don’t know that we expected to win that either. With the day that we had yesterday and the little slipup in the morning in the 200 medley relay, to come back and go 6:54 last night was just spectacular. And I think that shows how tough you are. When your third 200 free of the day is that good, and we were one of I think four schools that went faster than their seed time, and we were one of only two schools that have done it two years in a row. I think that says a lot about our crew.”
On an NCAA title
“Honestly, it feels incredible. I was just going in trying to be consistent, have fun, not let expectations get to me. I’m just really glad that I did that, really did have fun and honestly couldn’t be happier. I love my team, I’m glad they were right by the pool to support me every step of the way.”
Full season culminate in an NCAA title?
“Feels really, really good. I’ve been really focusing on all three events all year and springboard has been new to me. I’m really glad to have gotten into one final on 3-meter and did pretty well for myself on the platform.”
Teri McKeever, California
Thoughts on the championship
“Happy, relieved, it hasn’t sunk it. It has but it hasn’t. As a coach, it’s just wonderful to see how much it means to the girls.”
“They’re (previous championships) all different just because of the behind the scenes stuff and the to-day-to struggle and challenges and opportunities. Each one kind of has an story.”
Thoughts on Franklin’s two-year decision
“That was something we talked about the day after London, when I walked into her home to recruit her. I was standing in her kitchen and said ‘What do you want from this experience?’ We talked about how it needed to be two years and that she had an opportunity leading into the Olympics because of what she did in London. In this scenario, she could have the best of both.”
Missy Franklin, California
How is this different from the other level of competitions?
“I think I’ve said it before but collegiate swimming is kind of a totally different sport itself within swimming. And that team atmosphere is something that I wanted so bad, and it’s something that I could never expect to feel like this. The tears were definitely flowing in these past two years. Even last year knowing what it felt to get third and watch Georgia win, and have that gut feeling of knowing how bad you wanted it. And then this year to be the ones running through the tunnel and being the ones jumping in. It really made me appreciate what we were able to do, and what Teri was able to help us achieve.”
Thoughts on 200 back
“I was really happy about it. I had never been under 1:48 before, so I’m really excited about that. The whole swim felt way better than what I expected to.”
Thoughts on where this ranks
“Every race is just so different, especially the things that surround it and the people that are surrounding me when I swim different times. It all means something different. London being with Team USA and doing it there was something completely different than being here and accomplishing these points for my team. For me, it’s been absolutely incredible, and that 200 free, I was so happy that I was able to go out. Teri looked at me right before and she just said ‘Go make them remember you.’ And to have a coach that believed in me so strongly and to be surrounded by my second family like that will forever be one of my favorite swims in my heart – not because of the time but because of the people I had supporting me.”
Kelsi Worrell, Louisville
On if she thought she had the range for the 200
“I had hoped, but I haven’t swum it very much and so I don’t have so much experience but I was just kind of hoping with my training that I’ve done this year that I can maybe drop a bomb.”
On if the race felt better than in the morning
“So much better than this morning. This morning was so painful. We just talked about really relaxing a lot more and that made all the difference. I was able to come home so much better. No ‘t-rexing’ tonight.”
Simone Manuel, Stanford
“We’ve been through a lot this year so we’re really happy with how our team was able to pull a lot together.”
A bunch of very great, amazing relay swims this week. Which one are both of you most proud of?
“All of ’em, I mean, obviously relays are very important to swimming. It’s a time when you can really come together with your team and put together a good race and I think we always have a lot of adrenaline and are excited and pump up our teammates. Relays are just awesome. I think we put together five really good relays and we’re really happy with our performances.”