Women's NCAA Day 2 Recap- Wildcats Charging, 4 Teams in Hunt for Title

Just as a note, this was originally updated as the races were going on, so any predictions about teams outlook were made as the events happened.

200 Medley

This race went exactly with the chalk, except for 2 DQ’s in the A-final. Both the Virginia Caveliers and Georgia Bulldogs were disqualified as a result of early take-offs by their butterfliers, and received no points for the race.

The Arizona Wildcats dominated another of the medley relays, which they are so good at. Their time of 1:35.75 challenged their own NCAA record, which they set at the 2008 Championships. Annie Chandler is the only holdover from that group, which is an impressive feet from Arizona. The winning group this year was Ana Agy, Chandler, Erin Campbell, and Justine Schluntz

Tennessee finished well back in second place at 1:36.90, anchored by their sprint-superstar Michelle King, who closed the relay with a 21.44 to overtake second place.Florida got out to a solid lead after their star, Spofforth, completed the backstroke leg, but couldn’t hold on and grabbed third in 1:37.01. Cal, Wisconsin, and Stanford rounded out the A-final. Texas A&M won the consolation final in 1:38.27.

But let’s talk about what the disqualification did for Georgia. Unless they really do something special and unexpected to close the meet, their national title hopes are pretty much over. But this meet will not be a Stanford runaway, thanks to a huge surge by Arizona. This victory gave the Wildcats their second relay win of the meet, and after picking up 65 points versus the psych sheets yesterday, another great performance in today’s events, which their team tends to do better in, should put them in contention with the Cardinal.

400 IM

Julia Smit, as expected, won the event handily, but her fans were still disappointed by the fact that she didn’t approach her NCAA record swim from the Pac-10 Championships. Still, her time of 4:00.90 was just off of her own NCAA meet record of 4:00.56.

Florida’s Teresa Crippen and USC’s Katinka Hosszu actually held first and second over Smit at the halfway mark, until the beginning of the butterfly leg. This third discipline is where Smit really puts on the burners and completely blows away the field. Smit’s split in the fly was 1:08.32, whereas Crippen’s was 1:12.49 and Hosszu’s was 1:10.90. This huge gap in the fly really demoralized her opponents, and she cruised throughthe freestyle to the victory, with Crippen over 2 seconds back at 4:02.91, and Hosszu third in 4:03.65.

Georgia’s top finisher was Jan Mangimelli in fourth, followed by Ali Aemisegger of Princeton, Heather White of Cal, Ashley Jones of Indiana, and Erika Hajnal of Virginia Tech. Cal Freshman Caitlin Leverentz recovered from a disappointing preliminary swim to win the consolation final in a season best4:07.00. Stanford’s Liz Smith scored vital points for the Cardinal by finishing 11th.

Scores-Stanford 194.5, Cal 174, Florida 156, Georgia sliding all the way to fourth at 149, Arizona fifth at 146, and Texas A&M sixth in 126.

100 Butterfly

Georgia did themselves no favors in the 100 fly, with their lone A-finalist Anne-marie Botek getting out to a fast start to take the lead at the turn, but fading badly in the back half to finish in eighth. It was an admirable effort at salvaging Georgia’s hopes for a title, but at this point I’m going to mark Georgia as being out of contention. That leaves Arizona, Florida, Stanford, and Cal as the teams still in the hunt, with Texas A&M and USC barely hanging on by a thread and hoping for big performances from their divers.

Elaine Breeden picked up the second straight win for Stanford in the 100 fly, in 51.43. Breeden closed out the race by being the fastest swimmer on the second 50. Lyndsay Depaul, competing in her first NCAA Championship for USC after transfering from UC-Irving, finished in second in 51.72, after being the top seed headed into finals. Amanda Sims and Hannah Wilson scored big points for Cal by finishing third and fifth in 51.85 and 52.11, respectively.

In between the Golden Bears was Claire Donahue of Western Kentucky in 52.01. Michigan’s Margaret Kelly finished sixth, and Erin Campbell of Arizona continued her team’s strong showing of quantity over quality by nabbing seventh.

Alex Forrester of Yale won the consolation final in 52.35, followed by 200 fly favorite Kathleen Hersey. Stanford also mustered an 11th and 16th place finish from Stefani Sutton and Kathleen Hug, with Arizona’s Ana Agy finishing 12th and Whitney Lopus finishing in a tie for 14th. Florida’s other Jemma, Jemma Lowe, was 13th.

Team scores at this point- Stanford 221.5, Cal 204, Arizona 165.5, Georgia 162.5, Florida 160, Texas A&M 126, and USC 109.

200 Freestyle

In the newly renamed “Bulldog Freestyle”, Georgia grabbed three out of the top four spots, with only Texas A&M’s Julia Wilkinson spoiling the party by finishing third. Allison Schmitt won the race, her second of the meet (500 free) in 1:42.84, followed closely by her teammate Morgan Scroggy in 1:42.94. Schmitt was fighting an uphill battle against her teammate, and didn’t overtake the lead until the final 50. Both swimmers are underclassmen and will return for another season with the Bulldogs, where the battle should just get better and better. Throw in freshman Megan Romano, who finished fourth in 1:44.31, and junior Chelsea Nauta, who was second in the consolation final, it’s almost unfair for the Bulldogs over the next few years. Imagine the practices that those four women throw down every day. There’s no doubt that they’ll win the upcoming 800 free relay, and next season, they might set an all-time mark in that event that could stand for a long, long, long time.

Wilkinson’s third place time was an impressive 1:44.12. Kate Dwelley scored big points for Stanford by finishing fifth in 1:44.40, followed by 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist in this event Sara Isakovic who was sixth in 1:44.81. Arizona’s Leone Vorster was seventh in 1:45.15, and Virginia freshman, who I’ve been raving about the whole meet, was eighth in 1:45.68.

Florida’s Shara Stafford won the consolation final in 1:44.00. Florida also got 15th place points. Among other contenders, Cal’s Lauren Boyle was 12th, and Kristen Heiss of A&M was 13th.

Scores after this event-Stanford 235.5, Cal 222, Georgia 221.5, Arizona 177.5, Florida 171, Texas A&M 146. Although some of you may have believed I wrote off Georgia too early, given that they were only in fourth after the 100 fly, it now becomes clear that they’re done in the team race. If they can’t get any closer than 14 points to Stanford after finishing 1-2-4-10, then they certainly don’t have the guns in the non-freestyle events to overtake them. Texas A&M still hangs on, with 2 divers in the 3-meter A-final. We’ll find out in the next event, the 100 breaststroke, if Arizona is going to make a move.

100 Breaststroke

Write it up, Arizona might be having the best team taper in the history of NCAA swimming. Their senior stud Annie Chandler just broke the first NCAA record of the meet in a blazing 58.06. The old record was set last season, in a super-suit, by Rebecca Soni of USC at 58.11. Even more impressive is that Chandler’s best time coming into the meet was 1:00.13.

Waiting in the wings to take the torch from Chandler is her freshman teammate Ellyn Baumgardner, who had an equally impressive time drop. Baumgardner wasn’t even seeded to make the B-final, coming in with a season best of 1:00.73, but finished in third overall at 59.44. In between the two was George Mason sophomore Ashley Danner in 59.29.

Minnesota’s Jillian Tyler was fourth in 59.63, followed by Rebecca Ejdervik was fifth in 59.90, after outtouching Texas A&M’s Alia Atkinson by a fingernail at 59.91. Kelsey Vehr was eighth in 1:00.60, and Alexa Barstani of Tennessee was eighth in 1:00.83. Georgia’s lone finalist, Michelle McKeehan, was 16th.

Team scores after this event-Stanford 235.5, Georgia 225.5, Cal 222, Arizona 213.5, Florida 171, Texas A&M 159. The Aggies probably fall out of contention for the title, as they were hoping for a higher finish from Atkinson. Florida  still has a chance, with Gemma Atkinson and the backstroke events still to come.

100 Backstroke

As we predicted in our prelims recap, Gemma Spofforth of Florida shifted into another gear to take the 100 backstroke over Kateryna Fasenko of Indiana, who had easily the best time in the prelim session. Spofforth’s time was 50.92, to Fasenko’s 51.15. This should make for a very entertaining 200 backstroke final tomorrow, which is both womens’ specialty. Presley Bard of USC was third in 51.89, and Mei Christensen of Virginia swam much better than in prelims to grab fourth in 52.12.

Ana Agy of Arizona finished fifth in 52.18 to move her team even closer to Stanford. Wisconsin’s Margaret Meyer was sixth in 52.38, Jennifer Connolly of Tennessee was seventh in 52.47, and Lauren Smart of Virginia was eighth in 52.64. Iuliia Kuzhil of Kansas won the consolation final in 52.02. Arizona also scored 10th and 14th place finishes, with Stanford getting only 5 points from Betsy Webb in 12th. Cal didn’t have any finalists.

Scores after this event- Stanford 240.5, Arizona 237.5, Georgia 222.5, Cal 222, Florida 191, Texas A&M 159. Arizona and Stanford are starting to separate a little bit, thanks to having scorers in almost every event.

Up next, 3-meter diving and the 800 free relay. I’ll give you a hint: Georgia will win, barring another DQ.

3-meter Diving

The Championship Final is still going on, but the Consolation Final is already completed. Ohio State’s Bianca Alvarez won the B-bracket with a score of 354.30. None of the consolation finalists were relevant in the team chase, but no. 7 USC’s Ariel Ritterhouse finished 12th overall, and no. 10 Auburn’s Vennie Dantin finished 15th.

Right now, Houston’s Nastia Pozdniakova is sitting in second after a great fifth dive by Kelci Bryant of Minnesota. The two battled head-to-head in the 1-meter, and once again this competition will come down to the final dive. A&M’s Jaele Patrick is third, with one round to go.

Update- Kelci Bryant puts up a huge 72 on her final dive. It’s going to be hard for Pozdniakova to catch her. Jaele Patrick of A&M has locked up third place with two divers to go.

And it’s final. Kelci Bryant has won the 3-meter competition, with a final score of 415.50. Pozdniakova finishes second at 406.45. This is the opposite outcome of the 1-meter, where Pozdniakova won and Bryant was second. Texas A&M’s Jaele Patrick finished third for the second consecutive board, and Janie Potvin finished eighth fot the Aggies to score their team some much-needed points in their quest for a top-5 finish. USC’s Victoria Ishimatsu was fourth, followed by Casey Matthews of Purdue, Kara Salamone of Florida, and Audra Egenolf of SMU.

Scores after the diving-Stanford 240.5, Arizona 237.5, Georgia 222.5, California  222, Florida 204, Texas A&M 186, USC 145. Not much changes at the top, but Florida, A&M, and USC make up some ground on the leaders.

Now on to the final event, the 800 freestyle, which is a timed final.

800 Free Relay

In what was probably the least competitiverace of the weekend, the Georgia Bulldogs blew away the field to take the 800 free relay in 6:55.61. They were still well off of the record set by Auburn in polyurethane last year, but all four swimmers, Scroggy, Romano, Nauta, and Schmitt, will return for one more crack at it next season.

Allison Schmitt, fresh off of her win in the individual 200 freestyle, swam the fastest split on the day in 1:43.10, which is even more impressive considering that she went into the race with a four body-length lead on the field, and had nobody to really push her. Her teammate, Morgan Scroggy, who led off the race finished with the second fastest split in the field of 1:43.63, without having the advantage of a relay start. This shows how truly dominant this relay was for Georgia.

Despite their mishap in the day’s first relay, Georgia’s second and third swimmers, Megan Romano and Chelsea Nauta, still had very fast starts, .08 and .17 respectively. Schmitt, with the race well in hand, was very careful with a reaction time of .45 seconds.

The next closest relay was Cal, who amazingly finished in exactly 7:00.00. Florida, who had 3 finalists in the individual event, was third in 7:01.53. Texas A&M finished in fourth, after being anchored by Julia Wilkinson in 1:43.77, the only non-Georgia Bulldog to go under 1:44.

Indiana, who I picked as my darkhorse coming into the meet, had a very nice fifth place finish in 7:02.96. They achieved their time with balance, as they were the only squad in the top 6 without a swimmer under 1:45. Stanford, anchored by Julia Smit, was sixth in 7:03.41. USC finished seventh, and Arizona was eighth.

Scores at the end of this event- Stanford 266.5, Georgia 262.5, Arizona 259.5, Cal 256, Florida 236, and Texas A&M 216. After A&M, there is a big drop-off denoting the end of the top tier of teams.

Scoring- Day 2

The numbers in parenthesis are the difference in scoring versus the psych sheets after 2 Days, which includes any diving points. I’ve included this to give an indication of how well teams are swimming versus how they were expected to swim. As expected, Arizona is swimming out of their minds. Georgia and Stanford have both slipped up, but take into account the 22+ potential points that Georgia lost by DQ’ing their 200 medley. Just over half of A&M and Florida’s point differences are made up by their divers, showing that their swimmers are also having fairly good tapers. The Cal Golden Bears are quietly making moves up the rankings, and are in the hunt without really winning a whole lot.

At the bottom of the top 10 are Virginia, Texas, and Auburn, who are all battling for the “most disappointing team of the meet” award.

1.Stanford 266.5 (-23.5)
2. Georgia 262.5 (-22.5)
3. Arizona 259.5 (+104.5)
4. Cal 256 (+45)
5. Florida 236 (+39)
6. Texas A&M 216 (+76)
7. USC 169 (+38)
8. Virginia 110 (-43)
9. Texas 87.5 (-56.5)
10. Auburn 87 (-68)
Outlook

Georgia may have proved me wrong. They are still very much in this meet, although the second day is by far their best of the competition. They need a strong showing from their distance crew tomorrow (Trott and Nauta are seeded first and second), but they will need their 200 strokers and 100 freestylers to move up in a big way to challenge Stanford. Arizona is also still very much in it. Given how well they’ve swum so far, it’s useless to consider their seedings. They have anniahlated their seed times so far, and I expect no differently tomorrow. Cal is also still in reach of repeating as national champs, but it will take a heroic effort.

Folks, this meet is not going to be decided until the bitter end tomorrow. Headed into the final event, the 400 free relay, all four of these teams will still have a chance at winning the meet. Even better, Stanford, Georgia, and Cal are the top 3 seeds, with 11th seeded Arizona likely to slide into the top 6. This means that more than one team will control their own destiny in the final race of the meet, which is about all you can ask for.

Texas A&M and Florida will be battling it out for a top 5 finish, which many consider to be an important benchmark for a team.

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Could it be any closer?? This is a great meet!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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