2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships: Stanford Stomps on 800 Free Relay Win

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The first night of the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships only featured the 800 free relay as the Stanford Cardinal dominated the field by getting within a second and a half of the NCAA record. The Cardinal swam a 6:47.22 with Katie Drabot (1:43.99), Ella Eastin (1:41.03), Taylor Ruck (1:39.83) and Brooke Forde (1:42.37) on the team this year. The 6:45.91 record of Manuel, Neal, Eastin and Ledecky will survive for another year.

Cal (6:50.22) and USC (6:54.35) finished in second and third for a Pac-12 sweep of the top three. Interestingly enough, the team that has won the 800 free relay the last four years has gone on to win the NCAA title. There was little breathing room between Stanford and Cal on the psych sheet and the Cardinal proved they mean business in terms of getting the third straight team title in 2019.

800 Free Relay

The Stanford Cardinal won the 800 free relay for the third straight year on Wednesday night at the University of Texas with a 6:47.22. Katie Drabot (1:43.99), Ella Eastin (1:41.03), Taylor Ruck (1:39.83) and Brooke Forde (1:42.37) won the national title well ahead of California (6:50.12) and Southern California (6:52.13).

Stanford had to thank its middle two legs in Eastin and Ruck as they distanced themselves from the rest of the field in the middle. Ruck, just a freshman, joined the exclusive sub-1:40 split club that has a small number of members.

Notably, Forde accidentally did a flip turn after the race was completed and swam an extra 50.

Cal finished in second after defeating Stanford in the Pac-12 Championships. The Golden Bears had Robin Neumann (1:42.94), Izzy Ivey (1:43.33), Katie McLaughlin (1:41.92) and Amy Bilquist (1:41.93) swim for them in the second place spot.

USC finished with the bronze as they had a spectacular lead-off leg from Louise Hansson (1:41.95) as she gave the Trojans momentum for the rest of the way. Laticia-Leigh Transom (1:43.61), Tatum Wade (1:43.00) and Kirsten Vose (1:43.57) finished the race for USC as they held off Michigan (6:54.35) for the fourth spot.

Texas (6:55.80), Louisville (6:56.07), Wisconsin (6:57.54) and Texas A&M (6:57.75) also finished in the top eight.

Texas and Louisville each swam in heat two.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford split the fastest time of the night with a 1:39.19 as she swam the second leg for the sixth place Cardinals. She was a 1:39.14 last year for the fastest split ever.

The quickest splits outside the top three came from Louisville’s Comerford (1:39.19), Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey (1:40.98) Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson (1:41.39) and Virginia’s Paige Madden (1:42.90).

Stanford now has 11 NCAA titles in the 800 free relay. The 2019 team joins the teams from 1982, 83, 90-93, 96, 99, 2017 and 18.