2021 NCAA WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Wednesday, March 17 – Saturday, March 20, 2021
- Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center / Greensboro, NC (Eastern Time Zone)
- Prelims 10 AM / Finals 6 PM (Local Time)
- Short course yards (SCY) format
- Defending champion: Stanford (3x) – 2019 results
- Streaming: ESPN3
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results – Swimming
- Live Results – Diving
We’re just 1 day in at the 2021 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, but it’s been two years since we’ve gotten to do this, so let’s overreact.
While the first day of racing went largely to seed, there were three teams that especially stood out.
On the positive end were the Ohio State Buckeyes, which had the biggest drop of the field when they cut 2.97 seconds off their seed time.
The Buckeyes are the two-time defending Big Ten Champions, and one of the biggest unanswered questions by the premature end to last season’s championship was whether or not they could carry that through to NCAAs. The team dropped big time at Big Tens, which is sometimes a bad omen at NCAAs.
They proved this year, at least, they’re ready to rock. They still don’t have enough weapons to contend for the team title, but this lifts their ceiling into top 5 contenders for the meet, if they can keep this momentum rolling. They were just 3rd in this relay at Big Tens, but they beat both Big Ten rivals from Michigan (10th) and Indiana (11th) on Wednesday.
- Kristen Romano – 1:44.83 vs. 1:45.42 (.59 improvement)
- Amy Fulmer – 1:45.42 vs. 1:45.78 (.36 improvement)
- Sally Tafuto – 1:44.98 vs. 1:46.77 (1.79 improvement)
- Katie Trace (replaced KitKaz Zenick from Big Tens) – 1:45.56
None of those were monster legs for Ohio State, but the consistent across-the-board improvement is exciting for them.
On the downside, Tennessee and NC State both struggled and fell well off seed.
Holding seed has been a consistent problem for Tennessee at this meet. Their -51 scoring vs. seed average over the last three championships is second-worst in the NCAA, ahead of only USC (-51.5).
For NC State, the story is a little different. They pulled both Katharine Berkoff and Kylee Alons, their two fastest legs from their runner-up ACC relay, from this 800. They were replaced by freshman Abby Arens, who split 1:46.60, and junior Emma Muzzy, who split 1:48.01 (the slowest split of the field).
So it’s not quite time to sound the alarm, just yet. Muzzy’s lifetime best in the 200 free on a flat-start is 1:51.04 (albeit from 2016), and Arens’ is 1:47.83. So neither swimmer was bad by their own standard.
So it wasn’t a great day for the Wolfpack, but with stars Alons and Berkoff still to swim, and both holding high seeds in the 50 free on Thursday morning, the Wolfpack have an opportunity to recapture momentum on day 2.
As far as ‘the big battle’ goes, for the title, there’s nothing to indicate that anybody is going to challenge Virginia’s 100 point psych sheet (swimming only) scoring. They won the relay and were almost 2 seconds better than ACCs without using Kate Douglass, while Cal and Texas each dropped a spot, thanks in part to a good swim by Kentucky, and for Cal, in part because they were slower than seed. Cal didn’t use Izzy Ivey, though, so they’ll still be happy with that 3rd-place finish without their star.
For Texas, dropping 1.2 seconds off their season-best is a positive sign, though it didn’t result in more points. They’ll still need a gigantic diving performance to get back in this meet.
Psych vs. Seed Scoring – Day 1
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Day 1 – Difference