2015 NCAA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
In arguably the most exciting finish of the night, Simone Manuel faced a 2.23 second deficit to an elite Virginia squad at the end of the 400 medley relay, with Missy Franklin of Cal breathing down her neck. After only making up just tenths on Thomas in the first 50, out 21.78 to Thomas’ 22.15, Manuel came back in a jaw-dropping 23.67 to Thomas’ 25.54 for a split of 45.45 as Stanford won it by a hundredth of a second to set new American, U.S. Open, and NCAA records.
This is the fastest split done, ever, after Manuel threw down a 45.81 anchor leg at the Art Adamson Invite earlier in the season. High school star Abbey Weitzeil smashed a 45.82 at the Speedo Winter Jr National meet in December, with both getting under World Championships relay hero Megan Romano‘s previous fastest split ever (46.07). Manuel got under that old time first, but it’s still amazing that the two fastest relay splits ever in the 100 free belong to two swimmers that haven’t turned 19 yet.
Not to be forgotten was Franklin, who also got under 46 seconds on the end of the Golden Bear relay. She split a 45.98 to solidify 3rd place for Cal.
NEW TOP FOUR FASTEST RELAY SPLITS (SCY)
The new top four on this list is looking like it could be a pretty darn solid quartet for the future of the United States 400 free relay. Franklin and Manuel each have plenty more opportunities for record breaking, with two more full days of NCAA competition to be had.