Editorial coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 23. WITH the gaping hole in this meet created by the absence of NCAA-record holder Stephanie Peacock due to illness, plenty of swimmers had a chance to make some noise in the 1650-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women's Championships.
Open water Olympic silver medalist Haley Anderson of USC walked through that open door, adding to her 500 free victory from earlier in the meet as she led the final heat wire-to-wire 15:45.98.
That's Southern California's second win in the event, only previously having claimed the mile with a short course meter victory from Kalyn Keller in 2004. Top-seed Sarah Henry came on light a freight train down the stretch with 28.3s, 28.6s and 27.6s before dropping a final split of 26.83 to take second in 15:46.41.
Indiana's Lindsay Vrooman backhalfed her way to a top-three finish as the junior blasted a 15:50.73 to take third. Georgia's Amber McDermott checked in fourth with a 15:52.52, while Florida's Alicia Mathieu snared fifth in 15:52.88.
Florida Jessica Thielmann, who went out with Anderson early on, faded to sixth in 15:54.27, while Georgia's Brittany MacLean took seventh in 15:54.63. Texas A&M's Maureen McLaine wound up eighth, and on the podium, with a 15:56.80.
Georgia pushed its leading team-tally to 327, while California stood second with 285 points. Tennessee (263.5), Arizona (246) and Texas A&M (244) rounded out the top five heading into the 200 back.