Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Day 4 Prelims Live Recap



And here we are, on the final day of the 2023 Women’s NCAA Championships, where the heat session will consist of the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, and platform diving events. Meanwhile, the early heats of the 1650 free will be raced at 3 PM EST this afternoon.

They always say that meets are won on Saturday mornings, but barring a relay DQ, Virginia seems like they are going to run away with their third-straight NCAA title. Texas and Stanford are separated by 33.5 points, but it’s going to take Stanford everything they can to pass the Longhorns for second, considering that the 200 fly and platform diving events (which Texas is very strong in) are both being contested today. Meanwhile, this battle for fourth could be very interesting, with Louisville, NC State, and Ohio State being separated by 21.5 points.

We begin this morning’s session with the 200 back, where top seed Claire Curzan will make her first strides towards potentially claiming her first NCAA title. After “off” swims in the 100 fly and 100 back, she seems a bit more vulnerable that she was coming into this meet, but she’s still the top seed by over a second with a time of 1:47.43 from Pac-12s. If Curzan slips though, swimmers like second-seed Isabelle Stadden and 2021 NCAA Champion Phoebe Bacon will be ready to pull off the upset.

Up next will be the 100 free, which is set up to be a showdown between Gretchen Walsh and Maggie MacNeil, the last two NCAA champions in the event. Walsh is fresh off obliterating the NCAA record in the 100 back, while MacNeil beat Walsh en route to taking the 50 free NCAA record. And of course, don’t forget about third seed Torri Huske, who had huge improvements in the 200 IM and 100 fly and should never be counted out. Last year, Huske had a poor prelims swim in the 100 free and missed the ‘A’ final, but ended up clocking a 46.98 in the ‘B’ final that would have finished fourth overall. This year, she comes in hungry to claim a spot in the fast heat and show what she’s truly capable of.

Then we’ve got the 200 breast, an event that Kate Douglass has come to own over this past season. She’s broken the NCAA record three times in the last year, and looks to do so one last time in finals. However, for prelims, all she needs to do is set herself up to be in a good lane come time for the evening session. The battle for second will be between Virginia’s Ella Nelson and Texas’s Anna Elendt and Lydia Jacoby, with Jacoby carrying a lot of momentum from her 100 breast finally.

We will end the swimming portion of this prelims session with the 200 fly, where defending champion Alex Walsh will be swimming a race all by herself in one of the non circle-seeded heats. She’s seeded all the way down in 30th with a time of 1:55.63 because she hasn’t raced the event suited up this season yet, but she could very well be the favorite to take home the title. We’ve also got to keep an eye out on the Texas trio of Dakota Luther, Emma Sticklen, and Kelly Pash, who are the top three seeds in this race and have the potential to go 1-2-3. Pash hasn’t made an a ‘A’ final at this meet after being seeded to make all three, and this morning will be her final change.


  1. Virginia – 374.5
  2. Texas – 272.5
  3. Stanford – 239
  4. Louisville – 191.5
  5. NC State – 190
  6. Ohio State – 170
  7. Florida – 146
  8. Tennessee – 135
  9. UNC-Chapel Hill – 125
  10. Indiana – 121

Women’s 200 Backstroke — Heats

  • NCAA Record: 1:47.24 — Beata Nelson, Wisconsin (2019)
  • Meet Record: 1:47.24 — Beata Nelson, Wisconsin (2019)
  • American Record: 1:47.16 — Regan Smith, Riptide (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:47.16 — Regan Smith, Riptide (2019)
  • Pool Record: 1:49.30 — Rhyan White, Alabama (2020)
  • 2022 Champion: Regan Smith, Stanford — 1:47.76

Top 16:

  1. Claire Curzan, Stanford — 1:49.48
  2. Phoebe Bacon, Wisconsin — 1:50.03
  3. Josephine Fuller, Tennessee — 1:50.12
  4. Isabelle Stadden, Cal — 1:50.44
  5. Kennedy Noble, NC State — 1:50.88
  6. Emma Muzzy, NC State — 1:51.00
  7. Olivia Bray, Texas — 1:51.18
  8. Reilly Tiltmann, Virginia — 1:51.32
  9. Anna Peplowski, Indiana — 1:51.32
  10. Sophie Lindner, UNC — 1:51.72
  11. Paige Hetrick, Louisville — 1:51.84
  12. Caitlin Brooks, Kentucky — 1:52.35
  13. Weronika Gorecka, Akron — 1:52.43
  14. Lucie Nordmann, Stanford — 1:52.54
  15. Rhyan White, Alabama — 1:52.70
  16. Caroline Bentz, Virginia Tech — 1:52.72

After a rough day three, Claire Curzan seems to be back on form again, clocking the only sub-1:50 200 back time of the field to secure her spot in lane four come time for finals. Following her is Phoebe Bacon, who dropped 1.13 seconds from her season-best to go 1:50.03 and take the second seed. This was a big swim for the Wisconsin junior, who did not get the opportunity to defend her Big Ten title in the event because she didn’t swim it due to sickness.

Josephine Fuller finished second behind Curzan in her heat, matching her best time to earn the third seed for finals. Isabelle Stadden, Olivia Bray, Reilly Tiltmann as well as the NC State duo of Kennedy Noble and Emma Muzzy all finished top eight as well to earn a lane in the ‘A’ final.

UNC’s Sophie Lindner dipped under 1:52-point for the first time in her career to make in the ‘B’ final after swimming in a non circle-seeded heat. Other big drops came from Akron’s Weronika Gorecka, who improved nearly a second from her best time of 1:53.33 coming into this meet, as well as from Virginia Tech’s Caroline Bentz, who went a 1:52.72 to sneak into the ‘B’ final after coming in with a 1:53.41 PB.

Notable, last year’s third place finisher Rhyan White missed the ‘A’ final, finishing 14th in a time of 1:52.43. Notably, she was faster at the Arkansas vs. Alabama dual meet, where she went a time of 1:51.81. Her season-best is a 1:51.53 from midseason invites, and her best time is a 1:48.06 from back in 2020.

Women’s 100 Freestyle — Heats

  • NCAA Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • Meet Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • American Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • U.S. Open Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • Pool Record: 46.15 — Erika Brown, Tennessee (2019)
  • 2022 Champion: Gretchen Walsh, Virginia — 46.05

Top 16:

  1. Gretchen Walsh, Virginia — 46.66
  2. Gabi Albiero, Louisville — 46.88
  3. Maggie MacNeil, LSU — 46.90
  4. Katharine Berkoff, NC State — 46.91
  5. Torri Huske, Stanford — 47.19
  6. Christiana Regenauer, Louisville — 47.33
  7. Katherine Zenick, Ohio State — 47.34
  8. Laticia-Leigh Transom, Hawaii — 47.39
  9. Maxine Parker, Virginia — 47.42
  10. Kalia Antoniou, Alabama — 47.55
  11. Amy Fulmer, Ohio State — 47.62
  12. Grace Countie, UNC — 47.70
  13. Lexi Cuomo, Virginia — 47.89
  14. Chloe Stepanek, Texas A&M — 47.97
  15. Aimee Canny, Virginia — 47.98
  16. Kristina Paegle, Indiana — 47.99

Defending champion Gretchen Walsh swam the fastest time out of prelims by 0.22 seconds, clocking a 46.66. Following her are Gabi Albiero and Maggie MacNeil, with Albiero having out-touched MacNeil by 0.02 seconds in the final heat. Albiero swam a best time, dropping 0.07 seconds off her ACCs time of 46.95.

Also breaking the 47-point barrier this morning was Katharine Berkoff, who swam just 0.02 seconds slower than her best time. Torri Huske also made it into the ‘A’ final after missing it last year.

Rounding out the top 8 are Christiana Regenauer, Katherine Zenick, and Laticia-Leigh Transom, who all dropped from their seed times and make the ‘A’ final after missing it last year.

Maxine Parker had a big swim out of the early heats, swimming her first personal best in the 100 free since 2020. She dropped from a 47.75 to a 47.42 this morning to earn lane 4 in the ‘B’ final. She also sets herself up to earn the final spot on Virginia’s 400 free relay tonight over swimmers like Aimee Canny and Lexi Cuomo, who both also made the ‘B’ final.

Kristiana Paegle was the last ‘B’ final qualifier in this event, swimming a time of 47.99—meaning that a sub-48 swim was required to make it back this year.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke — Heats

Top 16:

  1. Kate Douglass, Virginia — 2:02.60
  2. Ella Nelson, Virginia — 2:05.72
  3. Noelle Peplowski, Indiana — 2:06.35
  4. Mona McSharry, Tennessee — 2:06.39
  5. Anna Elendt, Texas —2 :06.64
  6. Isabelle Odgers, USC — 2:06.92
  7. Anna Keating, Virginia — 2:07.12
  8. Kaelyn Gridley, Duke — 2:07.32
  9. Sally Foley, Duke — 2:07.43
  10. Lydia Jacoby, Texas — 2:07.58
  11. Avery Wiseman, Alabama — 2:07.77
  12. Zoie Hartman, Georgia — 2:07.85
  13. Gillian Davey, Kentucky — 2:07.88
  14. Kaitlyn Dobler, USC — 2:07.89
  15. Heather MacCausland, NC State — 2:08.14
  16. Nina Kucheran, Florida — 2:08.30

Kate Douglass was dominant in prelims, clocking a time of 2:02.60 to take the top seed in this event by over three seconds. Keep in mind, the only woman in history who has ever matched Douglass’s prelims time is Lilly King, who had swam the same mark four years ago to set the then-NCAA record.

Douglass’s teammate Ella Nelson will be swimming in lane five, putting up a 2:05.72 as the only other swimmer in the field sub-2:06. Anna Keating also made the ‘A’ final by dropping 0.79 seconds off her season-best, meaning that Virginia will have three swimmers in the top eight tonight.

‘A’ final qualifers who weren’t in the top 8 last year include Noelle Peplowski, Mona McSharry, Isabelle Odgers, and Kaelyn Gridley, while 2022 runner-up Anna Elendt also joins them. Notably, 100 breast champion and second seed Lydia Jacoby missed out on the ‘A’ final. She swam a 2:07.58, well off her Big 12s time of 2:04.32.

After finishing 17th in the 100 breast, Nina Kucheran barely got herself a night swim in the 200 breast, swimming a personal best time of 2:08.30 to qualify in 16th.

W0men’s 200 Butterfly — Heats

  • NCAA Record: 1:49.51 — Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • Meet Record: 1:50.01 — Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • American Record: 1:49.51 — Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:49.51 – Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • 2022 Champion: Alex Walsh, Virginia (1:50.79)

Top 16:

  1. Emma Sticklen, Texas — 1:51.71
  2. Dakota Luther, Texas — 1:51.91
  3. Alex Walsh, Virginia — 1:52.05
  4. Kelly Pash, Texas — 1:52.73
  5. Linsday Looney, Arizona State — 1:53.19
  6. Abby Hay, Louisville — 1:53.21
  7. Abby Harter, Virginia — 1:53.28
  8. Charlotte Hook, Stanford — 1:53.86
  9. Rachel Klinker, Cal — 1:54.16
  10. Lillie Nordmann, Stanford — 1:54.29
  11. Abby Arens, NC State — 1:54.45
  12. Edith Jernstedt, Florida State — 1:54.64
  13. Sara Stotler, Tennessee — 1:54.71
  14. Callie Dickinson, Georgia — 1:54.83
  15. Ellie Vannote, UNC — 1:54.84
  16. Miriam Guavera, Northwestern — 1:55.18

As expected, Alex Walsh is sandwiched in between the Texas fly trio, and will be the only woman stopping them from a 1-2-3 finish tonight. The Longhorn duo of Emma Sticklen and Dakota Luther were the sole sub-1:52 swimmers this morning, earning the top two seeds. Walsh swam a season-best by over three seconds out of the early heats, clocking a 1:52.05 to qualify for third. Meanwhile, Kelly Pash, SwimSwam’s pre-meet pick to win the title qualified in fourth, making her first and only ‘A’ final this meet.

Lindsay Looney scored the first ‘A’ final for the ASU women, swimming a 1:53.19 to take fifth in prelims. Also joining her are Abby Hay, Abby Harter, and Charlotte Hook, who are all making the 200 fly ‘A’ final after not being in it last year (that being said, Hook is a freshman).

Florida State’s Edith Jernstedt dropped 1.14 seconds to earn a spot in the ‘B’ final, while Northwestern’s Miriam Guavera improved 0.64 seconds from her seed time to qualify for her second ‘B’ final of this meet.

Women’s Platform Diving — Heats

  • Meet Record: 396.75 — Haley Ishimatsu, USC (2013)
  • Pool Record: 377.60 — Jessica Paratto, Unattached (2012)

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