Full Results from NCAA.com
There was plenty of excitement on the first day of the 2010 Women’s NCAA Championships, so lets get right to it. Check the scoring section to see how each team faired versus their seeded points for Day 1.
200 Free Relay
The individual 50 freestyle is always an incredibly close and exciting race. When you multiply that by four 50 freestyles, what you get is swimming’s version of March Madness.
Headed into finals, the two favorites were Stanford and Florida, who were the number 1 and 2 seeds, respectively. If I told you that one of these two relays won 3 out of the 4 legs, you’d probably expect that this is the relay that won the race. Unless I told you that the fourth leg was World-Class swimmer Gemma Spoforth.
Incredibly, Spofforth’s split of 21.46 in the second-leg of the relay was enough to carry the Gators to a victory in 1:27.79. The British-born senior had easily the fastest split on the session, even though her specialty is the much longer 200 backstroke. If that weren’t enough, the Gators were able to hang on despite an awful .71 second reaction time from their third swimmer, Stephanie Napier.
Stanford, who gave an incredible effort in the race, came up short in 1:28.38, despite being anchored by Julia Smit, who is with very little argument the best swimmer in the country. The California Golden Bears were third in 1:28.97, just barely ahead of Texas A&M at 1:29.02.
Arizona (1:29.08), Auburn (1:29.40), Georgia (1:29.43), and Virginia (1:29.51) rounded out the top 8. Wisconsin (1:29.54) was the consolation Champion.
In prelims, the 500 free was an incredibly tight race (all 8 finalists were within a second), but in finals, Georgia’s Allison Schmitt made it clear that this was her race. Schmitt sprinted out to a commanding lead of nearly a second after the first 100 (her split was 52.98), and then nearly 2 seconds at the 200. Her teammate Chelsea Nauta was the only one who had any contact with her at this point, before fading all the way back to fifth. Schmitt briefly challenged the NCAA mark that was set two years ago by Caroline Burkle (4:33.60, Cal), but ended up missing out in a still impressive 4:34.13. She was followed by a solid second place finish from Cal’s Lauren Boyle, who clocked in at 4:37.18.
Georgia asserted their dominance as the best mid-distance to distance team in the nation thanks to a third place finish by Wendy Trott in 4:37.50 and the aforementioned Nauta who was fifth in 4:37.82, with Princeton’s Ali Aemisegger (4:37.58) wedged in between.
Texas A&M’s Kristen Heiss was sixth in 4:38.97, Arizona’s Alyssa Anderson was seventh in 4:39.76, and Towson’s Meredith Budner grabbed eighth in 4:40.10. The consolation Champ was USC Olympian Katinka Hosszu in 4:38.94, who some had picked as a darkhorse for the overall title.
In the overall team race, notable finishes were Arizona’s Leonoe Vorster in 10th, Florida’s Melania Costa-Schmidt in 11th, Cal’s Katie Kastes in 14th, and Stanford’s Kelsey Ditto in 16th.
In the 200 IM, the clear favorite was Stanford’s Julia Smit, who set a U.S. Open, American, and NCAA record at the Pac-10 Championships in the event of 1:52.31. And as expected, Smit had no problem winning this race, although it was tighter than she might have hoped for. Her final time of 1;53.56 was well off of her season best, but was good enough to give her nearly a 1 second lead over the next closest competitor, Texas A&M’s Julia Wilkinson.
In that race for second, Wilkinson was able to hold off Georgia’s Morgan Scroggy thanks to a great breaststroke leg, which is the sign of a truly great IM’er. Wilkinson’s final time was 1:54.45, to Scroggy’s 1:54.62. Auburn’s Ava Olghren, who was the 2008 NCAA Champion in the event, barely snuck in to the Championship heat as the eighth seed but had a great final to nab fourth in 1:55.72.
The fifth-eighth finishers all added time from prelims, with Texas’ Kathleen Hersey finishing fifth in 1;56.42, Michigan’s Margaret Kelly sixth in 1:56.60, Cal’s Caitlin Leveretz seventh in 1:57.16, and Stanford’s Elaine Breeden in eighth at 1:57.28. Spoforth of Florida was the consolation champ in 1:55.71.
Other notable finishes were Liz Smith of Stanford in 10th, Jenny Forster and Andrea Boritzke of Arizona in 11th and 13th, Jana Mangiameli of Georgia in 14th, and Cal’s Heather White in 15th.
In the affectionately nicknamed splash-n-dash, there was no surprise that the race was incredibly tight. Upon first sight, it was impossible to tell who the winner was. Once the times flashed up on the scoreboard, Cal’s Liv Jensen was deemed the winner in 22.04.
Stanford’s Betsy Webb, who had to win a swim-off to even make the A-final, kicked herself into another gear in finals to nab second in 22.07, ahead of Georgia’s Anne-Marie Botek (22.14), which could prove very significant in the team race.
Stanford’s Sam Woodward grabbed fourth in 22.17. ACC swimmer of the year and Virginia freshman sensation Lauren Perdue finished fifth in 22.27. Perdue is a name that not many have heard of, but definitely a swimmer to watch in the sprint events over the next few seasons. Shara Stafford of Florida was sixth (22.28), Cal’s Hannah Wilson was seventh (22.43), and Notre Dame’s Amywren Miller was eighth (22.49). Justine Schluntz was the Consolation Champion in 22.23.
Other notable finishes were Sarah Batemen of Florida in tenth; Auburn’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, who lost the swim-off to Webb, finished eleventh, and Stanford’s Kate Dwelley finished tied for 13th.
400 Medley Relay
In the 400 medley relay, the Arizona Wildcats were eager to prove that their jump from the eigth seed to the top overall qualifier after prelims was no fluke, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Arizona’s quartet of Ana Agy, Annie Chandler, Whitney Lopus, and Schluntz dropped 1.5 seconds, after dropping 2 in prelims, thanks to Annie Chandler stepping into the breaststroke leg in place of Ellyn Baumgardner, who swam the preliminary heat.
Stanford did what they needed to do in hanging on for second in 3:30.45, with their main rival Georgia sliding all the way back to eigth in 3:34.02.
Florida finished third in 3;31.69, led by Spofforth’s backstroke time of 50.84, which is both her, and the nation’s, best time of the season. This sets her up to post a great time in the individual event.
Texas A&M had four solid legs, anchored by Julia Wilkinson’s 47.48 in the freestyle leg, to finish fourth in 3:33.06. Virginia was led by it’s two studs, Mei Christensen and Perdue, to a fifth place finish in 3:33.28. USC was sixth in 3:33.68, and Cal was seventh in 3:33.88. Auburn, who was the top seed coming into the meet, salvaged some pride as the Consolation Champion in 3:34.08.
The 1-meter diving competition was a showdown between Minnesota’s Kelci Bryant and Houston’s Nastia Pozdniakova. The final margin of victory was under 4 points, with Pozdinakova nabbing the win in as outstanding of a diving dual as you could hope to see. Her final score was 356.20, to Bryant’s 356.65.
Texas A&M’s Jaele Patrick was not far behind in 340.60. Georgia picked up three important points from Hannah Moore who finished 14th.
There were no huge surprises in the overall scoring after day 1. Arizona, thanks to their great finish in the 400 medley, was the biggest mover in a tie for 5th. The Wildcats were ranked no. 1 for much of the season, though, so many expected them to outfinish the psych sheets. Number in parenthesis is versus expected scoring based on the psych sheets, including diving points.
1. Stanford-142.5 (-14.5)
2. Georgia-134 (-8)
3. California-122 (+16)
4. Florida-107 (+14)
5. Texas A&M-106 (+30)
5. Arizona-106 (+65)
7. Auburn-67 (-11)
8. Virginia-64 (+6)
8. USC-64 (+20)
10. Texas-38 (-26)
As usually happens, the two favorites (Stanford and Georgia) came back to the field a little bit. The top 6 teams have really separated themselves from the field. Texas A&M had a great first day, thanks to Jaele Patrick in the 1-meter, as well as good finishes from their relays. Arizona picked up a ton of points, also thanks to great performances by their relays, and appear to be poised for a huge meet.
The team that took the biggest hit was probably the Texas Longhorns. Neither relay made the A-final for them. The Florida Gators looked awfully good on day 1.
What’s on Tap
Tomorrow’s races are the 200 medley, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, and 3-meter diving.
The races I’m looking at are the 100 fly and 100 breaststroke.
In the 100 fly, California will have a chance to show that they are real contenders to crash the party and pull off a major upset win for the meet. They will have the second (Hannah Wilson) and sixth (Amanda Sims) seeds, and if either can knock off top seed Elaine Breeden of Stanford, it would be huge for the Golden Bears’ hopes.
In the 100 breast, their is an incredibly exciting and depp field, with any of eight or nine swimmers in a position to win the race. The question is can top seed Ashley Danner, who is a relative unknown, hold off this amazing field to get the win for George Mason.