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Thread: Final Swim Event Rankings: Pre NCAA Championships

  1. #31

    The Star Power of These NCAA Championships is Unprecedented



    Morning Splash: 18 Races, 18 Bold Predictions for Women’s NCAA Championships

    Day One

    800 Free Relay
    1. Stanford
    2. Cal
    3. USC
    *American and NCAA record on alert, even if Simone Manuel sits out.

    Day Two

    200 Free Relay
    1. Stanford
    2. Cal
    3. Georgia
    *Farida Osman could not hold off Manuel on the anchor leg at Pac-12s. Will it happen again?

    500 Free
    1. Katie Ledecky, Stanford
    2. Leah Smith, Virginia
    3. Cierra Runge, Wisconsin
    *Is 4:24 realistic for Ledecky? And could another woman (Smith?) join Ledecky under 4:30?

    200 IM
    1. Ella Eastin, Stanford
    2. Kathleen Baker, Cal
    3. Madisyn Cox, Texas
    *Contrast in strategy among top three should make for interesting race.

    50 Free
    1. Simone Manuel, Stanford
    2. Abbey Weitzeil, Cal
    3. Olivia Smoliga, Georgia
    *Defending NCAA champion Smoliga is a heavy underdog coming in.

    400 Medley Relay
    1. Stanford
    2. Cal
    3. Indiana
    *Lilly King will give Indiana almost a two-second advantage on breaststroke.

    Day Three

    400 IM
    1. Ella Eastin, Stanford
    2. Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M
    3. Madisyn Cox, Texas
    *No Ledecky, no problem for Stanford, as Eastin could challenge Ledecky’s American record and Allie Szekely could also score big here.

    100 Fly
    1. Noemie Thomas, Cal
    2. Janet Hu, Stanford
    3. Sarah Gibson, Texas A&M
    *Louise Hansson, Farida Osman, Gia Dalesandro and Hellen Moffitt all in contention to win the meet’s most wide-open race.

    200 Free
    1. Katie Ledecky, Stanford
    2. Simone Manuel, Stanford
    3. Mallory Comerford, Louisville
    *Teammates Ledecky and Manuel could push each other under 1:40.

    100 Breast
    1. Lilly King, Indiana
    2. Andrea Cottrell, Louisville
    3. Laura Simon, Virginia
    *King will win big, but other places open for taking. Missouri’s Katharine Ross is a darkhorse.

    100 Back
    1. Ally Howe, Stanford
    2. Kathleen Baker, Cal
    3. Olivia Smoliga, Georgia
    *Can others join Howe below the 50-second barrier?

    200 Medley Relay
    1. Stanford
    2. Cal
    3. Arizona
    *Young Wildcats will threaten the top two.

    Day Four

    1650 Free
    1. Katie Ledecky, Stanford
    2. Leah Smith, Virginia
    3. G Ryan, Michigan
    *Who does not get lapped by Ledecky?

    200 Back
    1. Kathleen Baker, Cal
    2. Janet Hu, Stanford
    3. Danielle Galyer, Kentucky
    *Defending champion Galyer enters seeded 10th. The American record (Elizabeth Pelton, 1:47.84) could come under fire.

    100 Free
    1. Simone Manuel, Stanford
    2. Abbey Weitzeil, Cal
    3. Mallory Comerford, Louisville
    *Speaking of records, a sub-46-second swim might be possible.

    200 Breast
    1. Lilly King, Indiana
    2. Kierra Smith, Minnesota
    3. Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M
    *King will go for it on the first 100, and Smith has unmatched closing speed, setting up a tight finish.

    200 Fly
    1. Ella Eastin, Stanford
    2. Katie McLaughlin, Cal
    3. Sarah Gibson, Texas A&M
    *Eastin’s underwater skills and closing speed will be hard to match.

    400 Free Relay
    1. Stanford
    2. USC
    3. Georgia
    *Unless something drastic changes, the Cardinal will have already wrapped up the team title at this point.

    Last edited by UrsusArctosCalifornicus; 03-15-2017 at 01:07 PM. Reason: SW

  2. #32

    2017 W. NCAA Preview: 100 Back



    Thleen & Billy

    As we look forward to the 2017 Women’s NCAA Championships, which kick off tonight, we’re looking at a 100 back field that could see someone break 51 seconds and still miss out on the top 8. At this point, a 50.8 is ranked 9th in the nation, and a handful of women hold times in the 51.1-range.

    The favorite to win this race is Stanford’s Ally Howe, who broke Natalie Coughlin’s American Record and became the first woman to clear the 50 second barrier since 2002 at the 2017 Pac-12 Championships. Howe erased the old record with a blistering 49.69, making her 6 tenths faster than anyone else this season.

    The big question heading into the meet is whether or not other swimmers in the field will join her in breaking 50 seconds. Teammate Janet Hu (50.29) and Cal’s Kathleen Baker (50.27), the Olympic silver medalist in the long course version of this race, have each been 50-low this season. Hu, however, will be swimming this event on the back end of her 100 fly/100 back double, which makes it even more challenging.

    Fellow U.S. Olympic backstroker Olivia Smoliga, a senior for the Georgia Bulldogs, will also step up to the challenge. Last season, Smoliga wound up in the B-final after prelims, finishing 9th in finals with a personal best 50.58 that would’ve placed 2nd in the final. She’s been nearly that fast this season already with a 50.60 from the SEC Championships. UCLA’s Linnea Mack will look to join her in the final after finishing 10th behind Smoliga last season. Mack enters with a personal best 50.56 from Pac-12s.

    Returning All-Americans in this race include Cal’s Amy Bilquist, Tennessee’s Kira Toussaint, Missouri’s Nadine Laemmler, and NC State’s Alexia Zevnik. Both Zevnik (50.80) and Bilquist (50.85) have been sub-51 this season. Toussaint boasts a lifetime best of 50.85, while Laemmler enters with a best time of 51.14.

    Missouri’s Hannah Stevens (50.82), NC State’s Elise Haan (51.13), and the Texas backstroke duo of Tasija Karosas (50.86) and Claire Adams (51.19) have all been on the rise with best times this season. Kentucky’s Asia Seidt (51.40) and Danielle Galyer (51.83) are also on the radar. Galyer is the reigning NCAA champion in the 200 back.


    1 | Ally Howe | Stanford | 49.69 (#1) | 49.69
    2 | Kathleen Baker | Cal | 50.27 (#2) | 50.27
    3 | Janet Hu | Stanford | 50.29 (#3) | 50.29
    4 | Olivia Smoliga | Georgia | 50.60 (#5) | 50.58
    5 | Amy Bilquist | Cal | 50.85 (#8) | 50.50
    6 | Hannah Stevens | Missouri | 50.82 (#7) | 50.82
    7 | Linnea Mack | UCLA | 50.56 (#4) | 50.56
    8 | Alexia Zevnik | NC State | 50.80 (#6) | 50.80


  3. #33

    2017 W. NCAA Preview: Diving + 200 Free





    • NCAA record: Missy Franklin (2015)- 1:39.10
    • American record: Missy Franklin (2015)- 1:39.10
    • U.S. Open record: Missy Franklin (2015)- 1:39.10
    • 2016 NCAA Champion: Brittany MacLean (Georgia)- 1:42.42

    The 200 free field at the 2017 Women’s NCAA Championships should be significantly faster than it was a year ago. Stanford’s Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky are the heavy favorites, and both have already been 2 seconds faster than what it took to win the NCAA title last season. At the Pac-12 Championships last month, Manuel (1:40.37) out-touched Ledecky (1:40.50), who was on the back end of her 400 IM/200 free double. In Indianapolis, we’ll get to see a fresh Ledecky take on Manuel, as she won’t be swimming the 400 IM.

    Louisville’s Mallory Comerford, Wisconsin’s Cierra Runge, and Stanford’s Lia Neal, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in 2016, will look to challenge that duo. Other returning All-Americans include Virginia’s Leah Smith, Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey, and Indiana’s Kennedy Goss.

    It should be a good race for those last few spots in the top 8, with a handful of other women entering with times in the 1:43-range. Cincinnati’s Jackie Keire, the 6th seed, comes in with a personal best 1:43.19 from the Bearcat Midseason Invite. Cal teammates Kristen Vredeveld (1:43.66) and Katie McLaughlin (1:43.75) are seeded just outside of the top 8. Stanford freshman Katie Drabot (1:43.78) and USC freshman Stanzi Moseley (1:43.98) will be looking to turn heads in their first NCAA meet.

    TOP 8 PICKS:

    1 | Katie Ledecky | Stanford | 1:40.50 (#2) | 1:40.50
    2 | Simone Manuel | Stanford | 1:40.37 (#1) | 1:40.37
    3 | Mallory Comerford | Louisville | 1:41.70 (#3) | 1:41.70
    4 | Siobhan Haughey | Michigan | 1:42.49 (#4) | 1:42.49
    5 | Lia Neal | Stanford | 1:43.34 (#8) | 1:42.50
    6 | Leah Smith | Virginia | 1:43.29 (#7) | 1:42.87
    7 | Cierra Runge | Wisconsin | 1:43.18 (#5) | 1:42.73
    8 | Katie McLaughlin | Cal | 1:43.75 (#10) | 1:43.01


  4. #34

    2017 W. NCAA Preview: 800 Free Relay



    After breaking the NCAA and American Records at the Pac-12 Championships, the Stanford Cardinal squad is the overwhelming favorite to win the 800 free relay at the 2017 Women’s NCAA Championships. Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, and Lia Neal are likely to swim it, while the Cardinal has options, such as Ella Eastin and Katie Drabot, for the additional leg. Freshman Drabot has been as fast as 1:43.71 this season, but Eastin rolled to a 1:42.18 on the 2nd leg of this relay last season.

    In team terms, it might make sense for Stanford to leave Manuel off this relay. The star sprinter can only swim four of the five relays, and this is the only relay race the Cardinal can pretty likely win without her. The choice for Stanford now comes down to using Manuel on this relay with a chance for a historic American record time or leaving Manuel off this relay with a shot for a historic sweep of all five relays.

    No one is likely to come close to the Cardinal, but the race for 2nd between Cal and USC should be a good one. Cal will field Amy Bilquist and Katie McLaughlin, who have both turned in sub-1:43 splits for the Bears previously. Headlining USC’s relay are freshman Louise Hansson, who posted a 1:42.10 leadoff split at Pac-12s, and Kirsten Vose, who led off with a 1:43.08 at last season’s NCAAs.

    Michigan will be in the mix with All-American freestylers G Ryan, Siobhan Haughey, and Rose Bi. Virginia also has an All-American in reigning distance champ Leah Smith, who has delivered multiple 1:42 splits on the leadoff leg. Teammate Kaitlyn Jones has come up with a 1:42-high split on the anchor leg.

    After snapping Georgia’s winning streak in this event at the 2017 SEC Championships, the Aggies will look for a top 8 finish at NCAAs. Sarah Gibson and Claire Rasmus should be able to throw in a pair of 1:43s if they match their conference meet performances. In-state rival Texas sits one spot ahead of them at 6th seed. The Longhorns will rely heavily on Claire Adams and Joanna Evans, who put up a pair of rolling-start 1:44s on the relay at Big 12s.

    A handful of teams including NC State, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Kentucky will be battling for top 8 points. Kentucky has the slight edge going into the meet, largely thanks to Asia Seidt splitting a 1:43.89 on the 2nd leg at SECs.


    1 | Stanford | 6:49.42
    2 | Cal | 6:53.37
    3 | USC | 6:54.24
    4 | Michigan | 6:55.34
    5 | Texas | 6:54.77
    6 | Virginia | 6:56.21
    7 | Texas A&M | 6:57.90
    8 | Kentucky | 6:59.33


  5. #35




    The ‘Proved It’ Tier



    The ‘Cal’ Tier
    Heading into the meet, the Golden Bears are far enough ahead of every team but one that they get their own tier entirely. A couple of elite recruiting classes are starting to come into their own, led by Kathleen Baker who is seeded to score 54 total individual points – 4th-best of all swimmers. A healthy Abbey Weitzeil is key though – with Weitzeil out at the end of Pac-12s, Cal was a much thinner team. The American record-holding sprinter gives the Bears tons of relay flexibility, and gives them perhaps their only shot of knocking down a killer Stanford team – knocking off star sprinter Simone Manuel in one or both sprint events.

    The ‘Stanford’ Tier
    You could call this one the ‘catch me if you can’ tier, because Stanford is already swimming away from the nation. A Simone Manuel/Katie Ledecky combo looks just as suffocating and daunting as it did in recruiting season when fans speculated about the possibility. Stanford effectively locks down all freestyle distances and has a shot to sweep all five relays at NCAAs, a true show of dominance. Based on seed times, the Cardinal has the top three individual scoring athletes – Ella Eastin and Manuel at a perfect 60 points and Ledecky at 57. With Ledecky and Manuel going head-to-head in the 200, all three can’t hit 60, but it’d be pretty surprising if Stanford got any less than 150 combined from the trio. Consider that 150 points would have taken 10th at last year’s meet as a team.

    1 | Stanford | 551
    2 | California | 400
    3 | Georgia | 208
    4 | Southern Cali | 246
    5 | Texas A&M | 208
    6 | NC State | 223
    7 | Virginia | 189
    8 | Texas | 217
    9 | Michigan | 155
    10 | Louisville | 129
    11 | Arizona | 102
    12 | Indiana | 126
    13 | Minnesota | 102
    14 | Wisconsin | 128
    15 | UNC | 91
    16 | Ohio St | 77
    17 | Tennessee | 85
    18 | UCLA | 33
    19 | Kentucky | 55
    20 | Auburn | 39
    21 | Missouri | 27
    22 | Arizona St | 29
    23 | UMBC | 27
    24 | Florida St | 23
    25 | Virginia Tech | 16


  6. #36

    2017 W. NCAA Preview: 200 Free Relay



    If Stanford aims to complete a sweep of all five relays at NCAAs, the 200 free relay might be their toughest test. In a way, that’s good for the Cardinal, as it comes at the beginning of day 2, just the second swimming event of the meet. On the other hand, it could mean a big momentum swing that affects the remainder of the meet for every team in contention for the title.

    Cal comes in with the top seed with their time from December’s Georgia Invite. The Bears were 1:26.31 there, just a tenth ahead of Stanford’s 1:26.44 that won the Pac-12 title in a head-to-head battle between the two rival programs.

    The showdown is pretty interesting when broken down by individual matchups. Each team has a ringer they’ll probably use as their leadoff legs. Stanford’s Simone Manuel is the 2015 NCAA champ and Olympic 100 free champ, while Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil is the American record-holder in this event, competing at her first-ever NCAA Championships. Weitzeil pulled out of the final day of Pac-12s with a medical issue – if she’s back up to full speed, this is a race, if not, it’ll be Stanford running away with it.

    Cal still has Farida Osman, who was second at NCAAs in the 50 last year and is probably better in the splash and dash than Stanford’s second-best leg, Olympian Lia Neal. Neal trends a little more toward the 100, while Osman is better at the drop-dead sprint pace of the 50. Cal has some options for their other two legs: Amy Bilquist and Maddie Murphy swam it at Pac-12s, but Valerie Hull was on the relay for the Georgia Invite and for last year’s NCAA Championship-winning team. Kristen Vredeveld was also on the title-winning team a year ago. For Stanford, it’s likely to be star flyer Janet Hu and backstroker Ally Howe, though Lindsey Engel was the team’s anchor last year. Engel had a nice split, but did false start and DQ the relay.

    Both programs should have straight 21-second splits. We’ll take Stanford based on the strength of Hu (21.6 at Pac-12s) and Howe (21.2 at Pac-12s) against Cal’s third and fourth swimmers. There’s also a decent possibility we see one or more 20-second splits. If Manuel or Weitzeil for some reason move out of the leadoff spot, they’re almost surefire 20s. Osman could break 21 herself, and it’s not out of the question that someone else could pop a massive split in a tight race with a big atmosphere.


    1 | Stanford | 1:26.44 | DQ
    2 | California | 1:26.31 | 1st
    3 | Georgia | 1:26.79 | 3rd
    4 | NC State | 1:27.31 | 7th
    5 | UNC | 1:27.36 | 15th
    6 | Wisconsin | 1:27.90 | 9th
    7 | Arizona | 1:27.67 | 5th
    8 | Tennessee | 1:27.96 | 2nd

    Dark Horse: USC Trojans


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