4 Breaststrokers To Watch At Women’s NCAA Division I Championships

Emma Reaney Women’s NCAA Division I Championships
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Commentary by Jeff Commings

TUCSON – Though the great Breeja Larson has moved on to postgraduate life, the breaststroke events will not be without some excitement in two weeks at the women’s NCAA Division I championships. We could see an American record in the 200 breast and a close race in the 100 breast that could result in one or two ladies under the 58-second barrier. Here are four that should stand out:

Emma Reaney

Emma Reaney Women's NCAA Division I Championships

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Reaney took the spotlight off Larson last year in the 200 breast, setting the American record at the ACC championships last year with a 2:04.34, then lowering it at the NCAA championships with a 2:04.06. I shudder to think about the possibility of a woman posting a 2:03 in the 200-yard breaststroke, but the Notre Dame senior has the chops to make it happen. She’s been lurking in the shadows this season, with a 2:07.69 as her best so far this season. She’s bound to be ready to uncork something special in the 200, and will be a major force in the 100 as well.

Molly Hannis

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Hannis has evolved into a strong swimmer in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes in the past year, and she could place in the top three in both in two weeks. Hannis is seeded first in the 100 breast and third in the 200, with her best opportunity for a win coming in the 100. Tennessee hasn’t had an individual national champion since Christine Magnuson in 2008, and Hannis will be looking to end her collegiate career by making history for the Volunteers.

Kierra Smith

Photo Courtesy: Maddy Olson

Photo Courtesy: Maddy Olson

Smith poses the biggest threat to Reaney in the 200 breast. Smith’s 2:05.16 is the top-seeded time going into the NCAA meet, and the Minnesota junior will likely use her back-half endurance to reel in Reaney in her quest to become Minnesota’s third breaststroke national champion. Smith has chopped 1.5 seconds off her lifetime best in the 200, and another big drop would put her in the hunt for an upset.

Laura Simon

Laura Simon Women's NCAA Division I Championships

Photo Courtesy: Virginia Athletics

The Virginia sophomore had a career meet at the ACC championships, dropping two seconds off her lifetime best in both breaststroke events. She’s now seeded in the top five in both at the NCAA championships, and the German could help Virginia in its quest for a top 10 team finish if she can advance in placings. The 100 breast field will be tightly packed, but if she can get under 2:06 in the 200 breast, she has a serious shot at a top-three finish there.

Women’s NCAA Division I Championship psych sheet

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Fuss Saalfeld
9 years ago

What about Kaylin Burchell from Alabama?? Second seed in 100. Member of US national Team??

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