Schmitt Breaks NCAA Record in 500 Free; No Huge Surprises on Day 1 of Women's Prelims

Full Prelims Results

….Cal’s sprinters took the top spot in the prelims of the 200 free relay, but boy is this going to be a close final. Live Jensen really carried the Bears with a 21.29 anchor leg to comeback on Arizona’s Aubrey Peacock. Arizona took second in 1:27.98, including a 21.8 leadoff from another Arizona freshman, Margo Geer. The Wildcats are known for their medley relays, but they’re having a revolution in these free relays: all 4 prelims swimmers were freshmen!

Stanford touched 3rd in 1:28.06. Maryland showed that, despite great ACC swimming, they weren’t anywhere near their taper, and they made the A-final. Wisconsin and Georgia also moved up into the top 8. Florida, USC, and A&M will lead the B-final, all of which are great positions for them. No huge drops…

When Caroline Burkle broke the NCAA Record in the 500 free two years ago, that had stood for 18 years (since Janet Evans broke it in the 80’s) it was an amazing moment. Any record that stands for that long takes on a special significance when broken. So impressive was Burkle’s swim of 4:33.60, that it even survived the rubber suits of the 2009 NCAA Championships in College Station. Schmitt, after swimming a 3:34 last season, knew she had a chance in this race, but many thought it would wait until finals, before she broke it. Some well-known swimming personalities expected her to not even break it, and have to come back as a senior to take it.

Oops. She smashed the record in prelims, and didn’t even seem to be working that hard. She swam a 3:32.71, which ties her with Kate Ziegler for the 3rd-fastest swim in history. Tonight she will gun for the American record, which is currently held by Katie Hoff at 4:30.47 (which was swum prior to the rubber-suit era in 2007). I don’t think she quite gets it, but I do believe she’ll move past Dagny Knutson (4:31.18) for 2nd all-time.

Arizona’s Alyssa Anderson had a great swim to finish 2nd in 4:34.34. Towson’s Meredith Budner, who we highlighted as one of our Cinderella’s of the meet, was 3rd in 4:35.58. Elizabeth Beisel from Florida was 8th. UNC’s Stephanie Peacock, who entered with the 3rd seed, fell to the B-final. Overall, everyone did exactly what they needed to do in this prelim, with Georgia taking 3 A-finalists and 1 B-finalist…

USC’s Katinka Hosszu had a characteristically slow 200 IM prelims swim, but still took the top seed in 1:54.1. Georgia’s Morgan Scroggy was second in 1:54.7, and Leverenz from Cal took 3rd in 1:55.1. This was another race that went largely by “chalk,” without many surprises. Stanford took a hit when 8th seed Liz Smith dropped all the way out of the B-final….

Margo Geer showed that awesome Arizona taper in the 50 free, and took the top seed in 21.79. Auburn’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, who had the top seed at 21.34, was off that time to take 2nd in prelims at 21.91. Liv Jensen of Cal was 3rd in 21.98, followed closely by Jane Trepp of LSU (21.99). Jensen was just as fast as Geer on the 200 free relay anchor, so the order isn’t hugely significant in this prelim.

There will be two swim-offs in this race: the A-final swimoff isn’t that significant, as it’s between two Florida Gators (Sarah Bateman and Shara Stafford). The B-final swimoff will matter a lot more, as it will be a 3-way race between Cal’s Hannah Wilson, Michigan’s Natasha Moodie, and Ohio State’s Megan Detro. Cal NEEDS to get Wilson into that B-final at least (she was 7th at NCAA’s last year, and they were probably hoping for another A-final from her). Maryland’s Annie Fittin slipped out of the finals, despite entering as the #4 seed.

Florida moved up a little in this race, as did USC, thanks to an A-final from Kasey Carlson. Cal was about even, and Stanford was pretty neutral, though it was Betsy Webb, and not the expected Kate Dwelley in the final. Texas was about neutral as well…

Surprise surprise, remember how Arizona was going to have a down year? Well, they took another top seed in a relay thanks to a 3:31.07 in the 400 medley. They just nipped Cal, who was 2nd in 3:31.11, and USC will be in lane 3 in finals thanks to a 3:31.41. The top 3 seeds are all from the Pac-10.

Texas, who was the 2nd seed entering prelims, slipped all the way back to the middle of the B-final, which hurts a lot. Tennessee and A&M (the #3 and #4 seeds) also slid, though the Volunteers managed to stay in the A-final. Stanford did well for themselves to move up into the A-final, which will be a big help…


Overall, Arizona obviously improved their standing the best in the morning session. They all of a sudden look like Championship contenders with a team full of freshmen. Florida moved up some, though I don’t think enough to move into the top tier yet. Cal, Stanford, and USC were all about where expected, and Texas dropped a lot.



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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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