Eight Women’s Swimmers to Watch at NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships

francesca-bains-queens
Photo Courtesy: Queens University of Charlotte Athletics

The 2019 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships will begin this week in Indianapolis, Indiana. Swimming World has compiled a list of eight of the 183 women’s swimmers at the meet to watch.

Queens is the heavy favorite to win its fifth straight team title as the Royals are head and shoulders above the rest of the country off the psych sheet alone. Drury is solidly in second place off the psych sheet but the battle for third place is anyone’s game.

Scoring Projections (Psych Sheet)

  1. Queens, 639
  2. Drury, 438
  3. Tampa, 251
  4. Nova Southeastern, 220
  5. UCSD, 218
  6. Lindenwood, 173
  7. Delta State, 170
  8. Northern Michigan, 140
  9. Wingate, 133
  10. Wayne State, 117
  11. Oklahoma Baptist, 117

1. Bailee Nunn, Junior, Drury

Events: 200 IM, 1st; 100 Fly, 1st; 100 Breast, 1st; 200 Breast, 1st

Nunn is going for her third straight titles in the 200 IM and 200 breast this week in Indianapolis as she already holds the 200 breast NCAA record. Nunn is chasing the 200 IM national record of Patricia Castro Ortega from 2016 at 1:55.63. Her best time (1:56.51) from her freshman year is a little less than a second off of the record, but she definitely has a chance to get that before she graduates.

Nunn is also the top seed in the 100 fly and 100 breast as she was 0.08 off the NCAA record in the 100 breast and 0.22 off the 100 fly record at Drury’s conference meet. If she is on, she could be walking away with one of the most successful NCAA meets anyone has ever had. And she is still only a junior.

2. Simone de Rijcke, Senior, Lindenwood

Events: 1000, 12th; 200 Free, 1st; 500 Free, 5th; 1650, 6th

Lindenwood is right now seeded to finish sixth place as a team, which is where they finished in 2018. de Ricjke is the reigning NCAA champion in the 200 free and she is returning in 2019 to defend that title. She has already swam faster this year in the 200 free than she did to win the title in 2018 and she is also seeded to score big points in the 500 and 1650.

She was also second last year in the 500 and 1000 as the 500 winner Buse Topcu of California Baptist has since moved up to Division I. de Rijcke has always seemed to hit her peak at NCAAs, so can she do it again for her senior year?

3. Hannah Kastigar, Senior, Northern State

hannah-kastigar-northern-state

Photo Courtesy: Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

Events: 200 IM, 2nd; 400 IM, 1st; 200 Fly, 2nd; 200 Breast, 3rd

Kastigar spent her first two college seasons at Grand Canyon University from the fall of 2013 to the spring of 2015. She has since transferred to her hometown school Northern State in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Kastigar has also spent time competing in track and field and cross country, but did not compete in 2018.

She has come back in 2019 as a senior and has not missed a beat. She is the top seed in the 400 IM this year and is second in the 200 fly and 200 IM. She last competed at NCAAs in 2017 and she was the champion in the 200 fly and 400 IM.

4. Emma Sundstedt, Sophomore, Nova Southeastern

emma-sundstedt-nova-southeastern

Photo Courtesy: Maury Neipris; Nova Southeastern Athletics

Events: 1000, 1st; 200 Free, 7th; 500 Free, 2nd; 1650, 3rd

Sundstedt is the NCAA record holder in the 1000 as she set that in December of last year. But she did not perform nearly as well at NCAAs in Greensboro last year. Sundstedt was the top seed heading into the meet in all of her events last year but only managed as high as third in the 200 free.

She comes into 2019 as the top seed in only one event as she hopes to hit her peak at NCAAs this season rather than at conference. Nova Southeastern is going to be fighting for a top three finish so the Sharks will need Sundstedt to be 100% on if they want to place that high.

5. Francesca Bains, Sophomore, Queens

francesca-bains-queens

Photo Courtesy: Queens University of Charlotte Athletics

Events: 1000, 3rd; 400 IM, 8th; 500 Free, 1st; 1650, 1st

Queens is so deep with talent that it was hard to pinpoint just a few swimmers to keep an eye on. It’s safe to say the Royals will not be thirsty for points this year as they search for their fifth straight national title. Bains was an All-American in all four of her events in 2018 as a freshman and has picked up where she left off this season.

Bains is the top seed in the 500 and 1650 but will have her hands full in those events with aforementioned swimmers Emma Sundstedt of Nova Southeastern and Simone de Rijcke of Lindenwood. But Bains is just one of the many reasons why Queens continues to dominate the Division II level.

6. Polina Lapshina, Freshman, Queens

Events: 50 Free, 1st; 100 Fly, 2nd; 100 Back, 1st; 100 Free, 1st

The Russian Polina Lapshina has made her NCAA debut this season for Queens and has been huge for the Royals all year. She is seeded first in three of her four events and also anchored Queens’ 400 medley relay NCAA record setting relay at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships last month.

Lapshina is another part of why Queens just keeps on winning, and will keep winning until someone can catch up to them.

7. Tori Sopp, Freshman, Drury

Events: 200 IM, 3rd; 400 IM, 2nd; 200 Fly, 1st; 200 Back, 29th

Freshman Tori Sopp, who came to Drury in January from Great Britain, has been a huge pick-up for the Panthers as they are looking for a top two finish for the 22nd time in the last 23 seasons. Sopp has only been in the US for a short time but enters Indianapolis as the top seed in the 200 fly and will have a chance to score big points in both IMs as well.

8. Randi Yarnell, Senior, Western State

randi-yarnell-western-state

Photo Courtesy: Western State Athletics

Events: 50 Free, 3rd; 100 Fly, 5th; 200 Free, 3rd; 100 Free, 2nd

Senior Randi Yarnell is looking to become the first swimmer from Western State to ever win a national title in swimming as she is ranked in the top five in all four of her events. Yarnell has not quite been able to hit her peak at NCAAs the last three years as she was second in the 100 free in 2018 but had a faster time at her conference meet.

Yarnell will not be alone at NCAAs for the first time in her career. She will be joined at NCAAs this season by sophomore Savannah Tice, who is ninth in the 200 back.

8 comments

  1. Terri Hixenbaugh

    Look at those Tampa Spartans !!! #3 projected for ncaa div 2!!! Go get ‘Em ladies !!

  2. Gerry Sisson

    Nikki Sisson Kaylee Sisson

  3. avatar
    Erin Conley

    Look out for Randi Yarnell! We love to watch you swim!!!!

  4. avatar
    Kayla

    That is not Hannah Kastigar -it is her mom in the picture. This should be updated.

    • Hannah Kastigar

      Annette Paradise Allen wow! Truly an honor! Thanks Annette!