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
It has been nearly two years since the swimming community saw the last NCAA Championship meet. Now, the first event of the championships are in the books after the cancellation of the 2020 championships. With their win in the 800 free relay tonight, the Virginia Cavaliers take the early lead heading into the first full day of competition. Rounding out the top 3 teams in the relay and overall are Kentucky and Cal.
- Watch our podcast interviewing the UVA women post-victory here.
- Read up on the 800 free relay’s split analysis here.
- Check how each relay performed in comparison to their meet seeds here.
Originally reported by Karl Ortegon.
800 FREE RELAY – TIMED FINALS
- NCAA Record: Stanford (Manuel, Neal, Eastin, Ledecky), 2017 – 6:45.91
- American Record: Stanford (Manuel, Neal, Eastin, Ledecky), 2017 – 6:45.91
- U.S. Open Record: Stanford (Manuel, Neal, Eastin, Ledecky), 2017 – 6:45.91
- Meet Record: Stanford (Manuel, Neal, Eastin, Ledecky), 2017 – 6:45.91
- 2019 Champion: Stanford (Drabot, Eastin, Ruck, Forde) – 6:47.22
- 2020 Top Performer: Tennessee (Small, Brown, Pintar, Cieplucha) – 6:53.27
Top 3 (final)
- Virginia – 6:52.56
- Kentucky – 6:57.02
- Cal – 6:57.06
There were no more than four teams in each heat to adhere to social distancing guidelines tonight, as will be the case in relays to come.
The final heat went to Virginia, helped by Isabel Ivey being kept off of this relay, as they were challenged by Cal and Texas. Texas led after the first leg, as sophomore Kelly Pash hit a 1:43.07 for the lead-off. Paige Madden went second for the ‘Hoo’s, pulling them into a big lead. Ella Nelson extended that lead on the third leg for UVA, with Alex Walsh bringing it home for them. Virginia clocked a 6:52.56, getting a 1:41.63 leg from Madden, 1:43-lows from Nelson and Walsh and a 1:44.6 lead-off from Valls. Cal and Texas were second and third in the heat, but Kentucky’s time from an earlier heat held up for second overall, a great performance from the SEC Champions.
Virginia’s time was the fastest of the night by over three full seconds, a commanding victory, as they were one of just three teams to have four splits break 1:45.
NC State, swimming in the final heat, gained six seconds after taking Katharine Berkoff and Kylee Alons off of the relay. They place 17th, the only team to not score tonight, after they were seeded fourth overall.
In the penultimate heat, Stanford, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky squared off. Florida’s Talia Bates got the Gators off to a good start with a 1:43.70 lead-off, but Riley Gaines pulled Kentucky in a huge lead on the second leg. Kentucky won this easily, going 6:57.02 and dropping from seed. That was a lights-out swim for the Wildcats, who had three swimmers go faster than they did at SECs, and they surge to a silver medal finish tonight among all heats. Georgia also broke seven minutes at 6:59.82, while Stanford was just third in 7:01.05 after they broke 6:50 in 2019.
Morgan Scott led off Alabama in heat three, churning out a 1:44.15 to give them a lead, with Cora Dupre splitting a 1:43-high to follow, giving them a big lead over Michigan, who themselves had a large lead on Tennessee. Though their lead shrunk over the back-half, the Crimson Tide still dropped from seed to go 7:00.38 and overtake the top position with just two heats left. Michigan also put up a strong swim, going 7:01.81 to move to the #3 position and drop from seed. The final two heats have four relays, each.
In heat two, Chloe Stepanek of Texas A&M led off the Aggies in a lifetime best of 1:42.89, which makes her the fifth woman under 1:43 in this event this year and the ninth-fastest freshman ever in the event. The race tightened up, and in the final turn, A&M, Indiana and VT were about even. IU got the touch in 7:02.42, though, ahead of A&M (7:02.48) and VT (7:02.73).
Heat one was a race between Ohio State, Louisville and Wisconsin, and only one team in this field won’t score as there are only 17 teams racing this relay. So long as a team finished first or second in this first heat, they’d secure at least two points. OSU took the win in 7:00.79, dropping three seconds from seed, while Wisconsin and Louisville also dropped about two seconds from seed.
- Virginia 40
- Kentucky 34
- California 32
- Texas 30
- Georgia 28
- Alabama 26
- Ohio St 24
- Stanford 22
- Florida 18
- Michigan 14
- Indiana 12
- Texas A&M
- 13. Wisconsin 8
- Virginia Tech 6
- Louisville 4
- Tennessee 2