Women’s NCAA 100 Breast Early-Season Analysis: New Players in ’17

Among this weekend trifecta of big pre-Thanksgiving invitationals (the Georgia Tech Fall Invite, the Art Adamson Invitational, and the Purdue Invite) the women’s 100 breaststrokers of the NCAA have thrown down fast early-season swims. In an event where five of the top eight (and eight of the top 16) swimmers at last season’s NCAA Championships were seniors, a new group of breaststrokers are stepping in to fill the holes left by the now-graduated Andrea Cottrell and company.

In an event relatively unaffected by the plague of injuries and absences down the NCAA roster in the fall of 2017, it’s uplifting to see the women’s 100 breaststrokers stepping up to the plate pre-Thanksgiving. Though no swimmer has hit the NCAA ‘A’ mark of 58.85 so far this season, 10 swimmers have come in under the the time it took to get invited to NCAAs last year.

Top 2017-2018 NCAA Women’s 100 Breaststrokers through 11/19/2017

Rank Time Name Age School Year Meet Swim Date Std
1 58.96 Kansakoski, Silja 20 Arizona St Sophomore Art Adamson Invitational Worki 11/17/2017 B
2 59.12 King, Lilly 20 Indiana Junior Purdue Invite 2017 11/17/2017 B
3 59.21 Caneta, Jorie 21 Texas A&M Senior Art Adamson Invitational Worki 11/17/2017 B
4 59.35 Pierce, Natalie 21 Florida St Senior 2017 Georgia Tech Fall Invitat 11/17/2017 B
5 59.41 Weidner, Franziska 21 Hawaii Senior Art Adamson Invitational Worki 11/17/2017 B
6 59.49 Galat, Bethany 22 Texas A&M Senior Art Adamson Invitational Worki 11/17/2017 B
7 59.56 Scott, Riley 20 Southern Cali Junior 2017 SMU Women’s Classic 10/13/2017 B
8 59.58 Belousova, Anna 21 Texas A&M Sophomore Art Adamson Invitational Worki 11/17/2017 B
9 59.82 Macfarlane, Justine 21 Alabama Junior 2017 Georgia Tech Fall Invitat 11/17/2017 B
10 59.98 Aroesty, Margaret 18 Southern Cali Freshman 2017 College Challange 10/22/2017 B
11 1:00.06 Schillinger, Marie-claire 20 Rice Junior 2017 UH Phill Hansel Inv 11/17/2017 B

The fastest swimmer of the year so far has been Finland’s Arizona State sophomore Silja Kansakoski, who went 58.96 to win the event at this weekend’s Art Adamson Invitational. Lilly King of Indiana is a close second with 59.12 from this weekend’s Purdue Invite, and Texas A&M’s Jorie Caneta is third, with 59.21 from Art Adamson.

So far this season, 11 swimmers are under the 1:00.34 that it took to get invited to the 2017 NCAA Championships, though no swimmers have made the A standard 58.35. Other swimmers under the mark are last season’s Florida State success story Natalie PierceHawaii’s Franziska Weidner, Texas A&M’s Bethany GalatUSC’s Riley Scott, Texas A&M’s Anna BelousovaAlabama’s Justine MacfarlaneUSC’s freshman all-star Maggie Aroesty, and Rice’s Marie-Claire Schillinger

Outside of A&M’s Caneta, USC’s Scott, and Indiana’s King, this is an entirely separate group from the top 10 at this point last year. Comparing the two lists shows that the NCAA swimmers are up to the challenge of replacing the graduated swimmers.

Top 2016-2017 NCAA Women’s 100 Breaststrokers through 11/21/2016

Rank Time Name Age School Year Meet Swim Date Std
1 57.30 King, Lilly 20 Indiana Sophomore 2016 College Challenge 11/13/2016 A
2 58.85 Cottrell, Andrea 22 Louisville Senior 2016 College Challenge 11/13/2016 A
3 59.38 Caneta, Jorie 21 Texas A&M Junior Art Adamson Invitational 11/18/2016 B
4 59.50 Kozelsky, Lindsey 20 Minnesota Freshman 2016 College Challenge 11/13/2016 B
5 59.51 Sougstad, Emma 23 Iowa Senior 2016 College Challenge 11/13/2016 B
6 59.54 Ross, Katharine 22 Missouri Senior Mizzou Invitational 11/18/2016 B
7 59.55 Brumbaum, Kayla 23 NC State Senior NC STATE GAC Invitational 11/18/2016 B
8 59.86 Vargo, Taylor 22 Ohio St Senior Ohio State Invitational 11/19/2016 B
9 59.89 Jonker, Frankie 24 Texas A&M Senior Art Adamson Invitational 11/18/2016 B
10 59.97 Rathsack, Lina 23 Pittsburgh Junior Ohio State Invitational 11/19/2016 B
11 1:00.14 Smith, Kierra 23 Minnesota Freshman 2016 College Challenge 11/13/2016 B
12 1:00.28 Scott, Riley 20 Southern Cali Sophomore 2016 SMU Women’s Classic 10/14/2016 B
13 1:00.29 Simon, Laura 23 Virginia Senior UVa vs. Michigan/Penn St. 11/4/2016 B

The other apparent difference between 2016 and 2017 is King’s early-season performance. In November 2016, King went 57.30 at the College Challenge to come within half a second of the then-American record. At this point in the 2017-2018 season, King is about a second and a half off where she was last year. Indiana’s only short course meet remaining this semester is a dual against Arizona State December 20th.

You can see USA Swimming’s NCAA Event Rankings here.

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7 Comments on "Women’s NCAA 100 Breast Early-Season Analysis: New Players in ’17"

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Supposedly King didn’t wear a racing suit in her individual races so she is still the clear favorite in the 100. I think the 200, there might be logical choices for an upset!

USA College Challenge is a meet where people go really fast, especially on the conference side (which King was last year). I don’t think we should be worried.

Bailey Bonnett went 59.60 at OSU invite yesterday.

And she just went a 2:07.83!

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About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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