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WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, March 20. THE final day of short course yard prelims came to a conclusion at the NCAA Division I Women's Championships.
Florida went 1-2 in the event with Gemma Spofforth leading qualifying in 1:52.62. Teammate Teresa Crippen finished second in 1:52.94, while Indiana's Kate Fesenko just missed breaking 1:53 in the morning with a 1:53.01. Spofforth will be looking to be the first swimmer ever in the 200 back to win the event four straight years. She is currently tied with Cal's Natalie Coughlin, Texas' Betsy Mitchell and North Carolina's Sue Walsh with three wins apiece.
Southern California's Presley Bard (1:53.15), Virginia's Mei Christensen (1:53.28), Texas A&M's Kristen Heiss (1:53.50), Arizona's Caitlin Iversen (1:53.66) and Ana Agy (1:53.85) also made the finale.
Arizona made a big move in the event by going 2 up and 3 down. Jennifer Forster (1:54.05), Erin Campbell (1:54.10) and Hannah Ross (1:54.75) also qualified. Stanford and California did not qualify anyone, while Georgia's Jana Mangimelli made the consolation heat with a 1:54.71.
Auburn's Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace topped qualifying with a time of 47.74. Should she pull off the victory tonight, she would become the first Auburn Tiger to claim the title in NCAA history.
Texas A&M's Julia Wilkinson (47.89), Stanford's Julia Smit (48.16) and Kate Dwelley (48.20), Florida's Shara Stafford (48.31), California's Liv Jensen (48.44), Georgia's Morgan Scroggy (48.45) and Tennessee's Michele King (48.48) also made the top eight.
Stanford had a big event for the team race by going 2 up and 2 down. Florida went 1 up, while Georgia went 1 up and 1 down. Cal put 1 up and 2 down.
Stanford's Elizabeth Smith led the way in the 200 breast with a pool record time of 2:08.44. That swim clipped Haley Spencer's facility mark of 2:08.48 set during the Big Ten Championships last month. Smith will be looking to break the tie between Stanford and Southern California for the most 200 breast titles in NCAA history. The two programs each have seven wins. Prior to Rebecca Soni sweeping the last four titles, Stanford won from 2002-05 by way of Tara Kirk and Caroline Bruce.
Texas A&M's Alia Atkinson finished second in 2:08.82, while Arizona's Ann Chandler placed third in 2:09.32. George Mason's Ashley Danner (2:09.46), North Carolina's Laura Moriarty (2:09.60), Spencer (2:09.91), Arkansas' Yi Ting Siow (2:10.00) and California's Caitlin Leverenz (2:10.05) comprised the rest of the championship heat.
In the team race, Stanford went 1 up, Arizona went 1 up, California went 1 up, 1 down, while Florida and Georgia did not qualify anyone.
Stanford's Elaine Breeden will look to defend her title in the event after posting a 1:53.11 to qualify first. That performance crushed the pool standard of 1:54.19 set by Mary DeScenza back in 2005.
Southern California will pick up big points after qualifying 2-3 from Katinka Hosszu (1:53.82) and Lyndsay DePaul (1:54.19). Texas' Kathleen Hersey (1:54.20), Florida's Jemma Lowe (1:54.61) and Teresa Crippen (1:54.91), California's Sara Isakovic (1:55.03) and UCLA's Bianca Casciari (1:55.14) also earned spots in the championship heat.
Stanford went 1 up, while Georgia went 1 down. Florida went 2 up, while Cal went 1 up in the team race.
400 Free Relay
After a video review of Georgia's exchange (the exchange was ruled clean), Texas A&M was listed as the top seeded team as Sarah Woods, Melissa Hain, Maria Sommer and Julia Wilkinson clocked a 3:14.37.
Cal's Hannah Wilson, Sara Isakovic, Erica Dagg and Liv Jensen placed second in 3:14.62, while Stanford's Kate Dwelley, Sam Woodward, Betsy Webb and Julia Smit qualified third in 3:14.78.
Florida (3:14.96), Georgia (3:15.18), Auburn (3:15.20), Arizona (3:15.80) and Virginia (3:16.00) completed the top eight spots. Texas' relay, which qualified with a 3:18.35 for 13th, is currently under review.
Kelsey Amundsen, who was invited to the meet by way of the 400 free relay for Texas, drew a meet misconduct penalty by not showing up for the 100 free. Typically, a meet misconduct is punished by ejection from the rest of the meet. Since Amundsen was invited as part of the 400 free relay, she must compete in that event. However, since she drew the meet ejection, Texas cannot legally finish the 400 free relay this evening. Texas' appeal of Amundsen's disqualification was rejected, and Texas has since scratched the 400 free relay for tonight.
Additionally, since Amundsen swam the third leg of Texas' 14th-place 200 free relay on the first night and never competed in the event (the 400 free relay) that drew her into the meet's invitee list, she has been ruled as an illegible swimmer for the entire meet. Therefore, Texas's 200 free relay has been disqualified according to an NCAA official.
In a day ruled by controversy (likely due to how many teams had a legitimate chance to win the title in the third day), Southern California drew a disqualification of its 200 medley relay from last night after a report that the Trojans did not swim a required swimmer on the relay. USC's qualifying time for the 200 medley relay was posted at Pac 10s with a team of Presley Bard, Anna Kowalczyk, Lyndsay DePaul and Joan Christel Simms. Kowalczyk did not compete for USC during either the prelims or the finals yesterday, thus disqualifying the relay since it was Kowalcyzk's only invited event. More information has come to the forefront that Kowalczyk was sick and not brought to the meet. USC, however, failed to inform the NCAA of the issue and she remained on the official roster. If USC had informed the NCAA, Kowalczyk would have been taken off the roster, and the first alternate would have made the meet.
IUPUI's Chen Ni led the preliminary round of the exciting tower diving competition. She posted a tally of 322.30 points. Arizona State's Elina Eggers took second with 310.95 points, while Indiana's Amy Korthauer turned in 304.40 points.
Alabama's Carrie Dragland (302.00), Houston's Lacey Truelove (295.55), Florida's Monica Dodson (291.55) and Kara Salamone (280.30) and Auburn's Vennie Dantin (280.10) will compete for the national title tonight.
Team Race Analysis
With the 1650 free left to go, Florida and Stanford are battling for the top spot with approximately 360 points each so far. Arizona (~350), California (~348), Georgia (~319) and Texas A&M (~309) are also in the mix. Southern California (~233) looks to be a lock for seventh place, while Auburn (~158), Virginia (~156), Indiana (~134) and Texas (~126) are vying for top 10 spots.
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