Courtney Shealy had already won two individual events when she stepped to the blocks for the start of the 100m freestyle. She wanted #3. But standing in her way
–in lane 4–was the morning's top qualifier, Colleen Lanne of Texas. It shaped up as a tight final, with only seventeenths of a second separating all eight finalists in the morning prelims.
Lanne jumped to the lead at the start, and at the 50 meter mark she touched in 25.89, followed by UCLA's Keiko Price (25.99) and Shealy (26.10). The race tightened even more on the third lap, and as the three swimmers came off the final turn they were dead even. That's when Shealy shifted into high gear. She blasted away from the field, and only Price could stay close. Shealy touched home in 53.99, followed by Price (54.68) and Lanne (54.80). Stanford's Catherine Fox was fourth (54.94), Nebraska's Helene Muller fifth (55.06), Arizona's Sarah Tolar sixth (55.13), Northeaster's Courtney Allen seventh (55.25) and Georgia's Stefanie Williams eighth (55.77).