PHOENIX, Arizona, March 8. UNIVERSITY of North Carolina junior Stephanie Peacock will not defend her 1650 freestyle title at the NCAA Division I championship in two weeks, as an undisclosed illness that kept her out of the Atlantic Coast Conference will also keep her out of the national championships.
UNC head coach Rich DeSelm confirmed Peacock's withdrawal to Swimming World this morning before releasing an official statement.
“Stephanie Peacock has been ill and this prevented her from swimming in the ACC Championships for UNC,” DeSelm wrote the statement. “She has not been able to train recently but it doing everything necessary to improve her health. We had hoped she might be ready for the NCAA Championships, but she is not. While we know there is interest out there because of Stephanie's status as one of the nation's premier swimmers, any speculation on her future status competition-wise would be inappropriate for anyone to comment on or speculate about.”
Peacock was scheduled to swim the 200, 500 and 1650 freestyles at the NCAA championships with an eye on defending her 1650 title. At last year's meet, she broke Janet Evans' 22-year-old NCAA record with a 15:38.79 and finished third in the 500 free. Those performances helped her earn 36 of UNC's 44 points scored at last year's meet for 19th place overall.
At the Ohio State Invitational in December, Peacock reset that 1650 record with a 15:37.06.
With Peacock out of the meet, Stanford's Allison Brown has been pulled into the roster, giving the Cardinal an even 10 swimmers going to the Big Dance. Brown will compete in the 500 freestyle as the 38th and last seed in the event.
Sarah Henry now steps up as the top seed in the 1650 free, with the Texas A&M Aggie going in with a 15:45.79. Peacock had been the second seed in the 500 free, and that now goes to Lindsay Vrooman of Indiana.