Women’s NCAA Div. I: Coughlin Rockets to American Record in the 100 yard Backstroke in Prelims of NCAA Championships

By Phillip Whitten

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. March 15. EIGHTEEN year-old University of California freshman, Natalie Coughlin,
rocketed to an American record leading off Cal's 400 yard medley relay in the final event of this morning's prelims on Day One of the Women's NCAA Div. I Swimming and Diving Championships.

Last month, Coughlin set an American record in the 100 yard backstroke at the Pac-10 Championships with a time of 52.40. That broke the American record of 52.47 set by Catherine Fox at the 1999 NCAAs. Strangely, though, it did not break the NCAA or Cal school record; that mark was 52.36 set by Marylyn Chiang, a Canadian, also at the 1999 NCAAs.

This morning, though, Coughlin left no doubt about who would own all of the records in the 100 back as she flew to an amazing time of 51.66 seconds.

Coughlin was not the only swimmer turning in fast swims during prelims at the Nassau Aquatic Center, site of the 1998 Goodwill Games. Here's an event-by-event rundown of this morning's action.

Texas, sparked by a 21.73 anchor leg by senior Colleen Lanne, leads all qualifiers with a 1:29.64–within shouting distance of the American and NCAA mark set by Texas back in 1989.

Cal, with splits of 21.99 by Coughlin and 21.98 by Haley Cope, is second at 1:30.24. Georgia is third with 1:30.36.

The biggest surprise among the top eight teams is Rice, which qualified sixth (1:31.16).

Fastest leadoff split by a top-8 team was 22.59 by Auburn freshman Eileen Coparropa, a Panamanian import.
Indiana's Jennifer Cristy had the overall fastest leadoff (22.44).

In the team race, Georgia, Arizona an Texas all made the Big Final. Stanford did not enter a team in this event.

Top 16 Qualifiers
1. Texas 1:29.64
2. California 1;30.24
3. Georgia 1:30.36
4. Arizona 1:30.57
5. Auburn 1:30.74
6. Rice 1:31.16
7. Hawaii 1:31.34
8. Florida 1:31.36

9. SMU 1:31.62
10. Indiana 1:31.78
11. No. Carolina 1:31.79
12. Maryland 1:31.99
13. UCLA 1:32.19
13. Penn State 1:32.19
15. USC 1:32.46
16. Michigan 1:32.56

Florida freshman Janelle Atkinson, the pre-meet favorite, qualified first in the 500 by over two seconds. Her 4:39.60 was the only sub-4:40 swim.

Virginia's Cara Lane was second at 4:41.79 while Magda Dyszkiewicz of Auburn, was third (4:41.93). Hometown favorite, Jessica Foschi, swimming for Stanford, was a solid fourth (4:41.19).

In the team race, Stanford and Georgia each qualified one swimmer in the Big Final; Texas has one swimmer in consols; Arizona was blanked.

Top 16 Qualifiers
1. Jannelle Atkinson (Florida) 4:39.60
2. Cara Lane (Virginia) 4:41.79
3. Magda Dyszkiewicz (Auburn) 4:41.93
4. Jessica Foschi (Stanford) 4:41.99
5. Maria Oberg (Cincinnati) 4:42.73
6. Julie Hardt (Georgia) 4:44.12
7. Sara McLarty (Florida) 4:44.82
8. Ellen Stonebraker (Wisconsin) 4:45.89

9. Maddy Crippen (Villanova) 4:46.09
10. Heather Kemp (Auburn) 4:46.58
11. Melissa Deary (USC) 4:46.59
12. Emily Fenn (Michigan) 4:46.75
13. Mirjana Bosevska (Virginia) 4:47.34
14. Georgina Lee (SMU) 4:47.64
15. Rachel Harris (Texas) 4:47.65
16. Katie Anderson (Penn State) 4:47.78

Stanford's Shelly Ripple, who graces the cover of this month's issue of SWIMMING WORLD, became the second fastest American in history, clocking 1:56.56. The American, NCAA and Stanford school record is 1:55.54 set by Summer Sanders in 1992.
Ripple's splits: 25.18, 29.05, 34.26, 28.07

As fast as Ripple was, she leads second-fastest qualifier, Maggie Bowen of Auburn, by less than half a second. Bowen clocked 1:57.04
Bowen's splits: 26.32, 29.53, 32.96, 28.23

In the team battle, Georgia has two s in the finals, Stanford has one, Arizona has one in consols, while Texas failed to qualify a swimmer.

Top 16 Qualifiers
1. Shelly Ripple (Stanford) 1:56.56
2. Maggie Bowen (Auburn) 1:57.04
3. Michala Kwasny (USC) 1:58.59
4. Ashley Roby (Georgia) 1:59.27
5. Keegan Walkley (Georgia) 1:59.52
6. Erika Acuff (No. Carolina) 1:59.57
7. Katie Hathaway (No. Carolina) 2:00.01
8. Kristin MacGregor (USC) 2:00.12

9. Anu Koivisto (SMU) 2:00.34
10. Alenka Kejzar (SMU) 2:00.35
11. Amanda Beard (Arizona) 2:00.44
12. Corrie Clark (Penn State) 2:01.18
13. Jamie Ellis (Florida) 2:01.44
14. Katy Christoferson (Minnesota) 2:01.46
15. Jenny Parmenter (USC) 2:01.70
16. Brook Monroe (Auburn) 2:01.77

It's just two laps: up and back. Pre-meet favorite, Colleen Lanne of Texas, turned in the fastest prelim time, 22.13, while Auburn's Eileen Coparropa was second at 22.33. It took 22.64 to make finals, 22.95 to make consols.

Texas looks to make hay in the team race, having qualified two in the Big Finals; Arizona is one up, one down ;Georgia has one in the Bigs; Stanford did not enter a swimmer in the event.

Top 16 Qualifiers
1. Colleen Lanne (Texas) 22.13
2. Eileen Coparropa (Auburn) 22.33
3. Haley Cope (California) 22.38
4. Jennifer Cristy (Indiana) 22.51
5. Christy Cech (Florida State) 22.54
6. Erin Phenix (Texas) 22.55
7. Stefanie Williams (Georgia) 22.59
8. Michelle Engelsman (Arizona) 22.64

9. Leah Martindale (Florida) 22.65
10. Katina Maistrellis (SMU) 22.76
11. Cortnee Adams (Auburn) 22.81
12. Jennifer Crisman (Michigan) 22.89
12. Jenny Vanker (Arizona) 22.89
14. Katy Novotny (Maryland) 22.90
15. Jaime Siegele (Kentucky) 22.92
16. Becky Short (Auburn) 22.95

Despite Coughlin's heroic swim on the backstroke leg, Stanford, sparked by Misty Hyman, was the top qualifier in the 400 medley relay. Hyman split 50.72–yes, you read it right!–for her 100 yard fly leg, as Stanford touched in 3:35.42.

Cal is second in 3:36.03, with Auburn third (3:37.63).

Aside from Coughlin, no one swam under 54 seconds for the leadoff backstroke leg. Next fastest were Beth botsford (Arizona), 54.14, Susan Woessner (Indiana), 54.21, Christine keller (Georgia), 54.41, and Taylor Spivey (Auburn), 54.42.

Stanford's Tara Kirk, at 59.66, was the only troker who split under a minute, but there were seven women at a minute-point. Fastest among these were: Laura Swander (Auburn), 1:00.24, Stacianna Stitts (Cal), 1:00.31, Ashley Roby (Georgia), 1:00.36, and Kristin Woodring (Penn State (1:00.46).

Misty Hyman had the fastest fly split by a good two seconds. Only two other women managed to go under 53 seconds: Jana Krohn (USC), 52.70, and Bethany Goodwin (UCLA), 52.96. Interestingly, Krohn, a freshman, swam for the same team as Hyman as an age-grouper: Arizona Desert Fox, coached by Bob Gillett.

Twelve teams had sub-50-second anchor swimmers, including the top 11 teams. Texas' Erin Phenix, however, was the only woman under 49, as she split 48.44.

In the team race, all four of the top-seeded teams qualified for the Big Final.

Top 16 Qualifiers.
1. Stanford 3:35.42
2. California 3:36.03
3. Auburn 3:37.63
4. USC 3:37.99
5. Arizona 3:38.03
6. Georgia 3:38.71
7. Texas 3:38.72
8. Arizona State 3:40.68

9. UCLA 3:40.77
10. North Carolina 3:40.96
11. SMU 3:41.71
12. Alabama 3:42.58
13. Penn State 3:42.59
14. Michigan 3:42.91
15. Indiana 3:43.24
16. Purdue 3:44.72

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