NCAA Division I Women’s Championships: Allison Schmitt Sets NCAA Record During Day One Prelims

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AUSTIN, Texas, March 17. THE first day of the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Championships is complete at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center on the campus of the University of Texas.

200 free relay
California's Hannah Wilson, Colleen Fotsch, Katherine Raatz and Liv Jensen put on a show in prelims with a top-seeded time of 1:27.96. That swim nearly cleared the winning time from last year as Florida topped the sprint free relay in 1:27.79 in 2010. Arizona's Margo Geer, Kait Flederbach, Grace Finnegan and Aubrey Peacock grabbed the second seed with a 1:27.98, also just off the winning effort last year. The NCAA and American record time of 1:26.20 set by Arizona back in 2009 should be squarely in the crosshairs this evening.

California will be looking for its second victory in the event in NCAA Championships history. Anya Kolbisen, Haley Cope, Nicole Omphroy and Joscelin Yeo gave Cal its first triumph with a 1:40.18 in short course meter action back in 2000. Arizona, meanwhile, will be looking to close the gap with Texas for the most 200 free relay wins in program history. Texas has won the event nine times, while Arizona owns second place in the rankings with seven titles in the event.

Additionally, California and Arizona could vie for the smallest margin of victory as the championship finale could come down to the touch. The NCAA record for the smallest margin of victory in a 200 freee relay is .08, as Georgia beat Auburn, 1:28.96 to 1:29.04, in 2003.

Stanford (1:28.06), Auburn (1:28.30), Texas (1:28.43), Maryland (1:28.52), Wisconsin (1:28.54) and Georgia (1:28.98) made up the rest of the championship field.

Meanwhile, Florida (1:29.09), USC (1:29.33), Texas A&M (1:29.35), Virginia (1:29.41), Tennessee (1:29.44), LSU (1:29.44), Michigan (1:29.49) and Penn State (1:29.97) grabbed the other transfer spots into the consolation heat.

500 freestyle
Two-time defending 500 free champion Allison Schmitt of Georgia threw down an easy speed NCAA record in the middle distance event with a 4:32.71. She was under American record pace with a 2:41.11 at the 300-yard mark, but shut it down a bit heading into the finish. That swim beat the 4:33.60 NCAA mark set by Florida's Caroline Burckle back in 2008, and moved Schmitt into a third-place tie with Kate Ziegler in the all-time performers rankings. Only Katie Hoff (4:30.47) and Dagny Knutson (4:31.18) have been faster. Meanwhile, Schmitt's time now stands tied for third in the all-time performances rankings, moving up from her previous lifetime best of 4:34.13 set when she won the 2010 NCAA title.

Arizona's Alyssa Anderson qualified second in 4:34.34 jumped to sixth all time in the event with the 11th-fastest swim of all time in the 500 free. Towson's Meredith Budner snatched the third seed with a 4:35.58 to move to ninth in the event's history. Minnesota's Ashley Steenvoorden also cracked the top 15 all-time performers list with a fourth-seeded 4:36.48 that moved her to 14th all time.

Georgia's Shannon Vreeland (4:36.95), Georgia's Wendy Trott (4:37.80), USC's Haley Anderson (4:37.92) and Florida's Elizabeth Beisel (4:38.47) grabbed the rest of the championship spots with Beisel just making it by the slimmest of margins (.01).

Virginia's Rachel Naurath (4:38.48), Virginia's Katya Bachrouche (4:38.56), Georgia's Chelsea Nauta (4:38.79), North Carolina's Stephanie Peacock (4:39.42), Texas A&M's Sarah Henry (4:39.69), Texas A&M's Cammile Adams (4:39.84), Ohio State's Samantha Cheverton (4:39.93) and Indiana's Brittany Strumbel (4:39.94) comprised the consolation finale this evening.

Average Scoring Projections For Event*:
Georgia (48.875); Arizona (14.75), Towson (14.75), Minnesota (14.75), Southern California (14.75), Florida (14.75), Texas A&M (9.25), Virginia (9.25), North Carolina (4.625), Ohio State (4.625), Indiana (4.625).

200 IM
USC's Katinka Hosszu, the favorite to win the NCAA title, dropped the 14th-fastest time ever in the sprint medley with a 1:54.19 for the top seed out of prelims. She will vie for the U.S. Open and NCAA record of 1:52.31 set by Julia Smit last year. Hosszu's lifetime best in the event is a 1:53.47 from Pac 10s last month that places her fourth all time behind Smit, Kathleen Hersey (1:53.33) and Ariana Kukors (1:53.45). Hosszu will be looking to give USC its fourth win in the event's history as Kristine Quance (1994, 1996) and Kaitlin Sandeno (2004) are previous Trojan winners of the women's 200 IM.

Georgia's Morgan Scroggy, who stands 13th in the all time list with a personal best 1:54.58, grabbed the second seed in finals tonight with a 1:54.76, while California's Caitlin Leverenz placed third in 1:55.17.

Stanford's Maya Dirado (1:55.62), USC's Lyndsay De Paul (1:56.16), Texas' Karlee Bispo (1:56.29), Georgia's Melanie Margalis (1:56.40) and UCLA's Lauren Hall (1:57.13) snatched the rest of the A final lanes.

USC's Stina Gardell (1:57.22), Auburn's Caitlin Geary (1:57.25), George Mason's Ashley Danner (1:57.92), Penn State's Merritt Krawczyk (1:58.05), Arizona's Hannah Ross (1:58.18), Indiana's Allysa Vavra (1:58.20), Alabama's Kate Gray (1:58.20) and North Carolina's Layne Brodie (1:58.52) earned the B final spots.

Average Scoring Projections For Event*:
Southern California (34.125), Georgia (29.5), California (14.75), Stanford (14.75), Texas (14.75), UCLA (14.75), Auburn (4.625), George Mason (4.625), Penn State (4.625), Arizona (4.625), Indiana (4.625), Alabama (4.625), North Carolina (4.625).

50 free
Arizona's Margo Geer jumped into the top 15 all time in the sprint free with an 11th-ranked effort of 21.79. That swim puts her in contention for Arizona's fifth win in the event at NCAAs with previous wins coming from Diane Johnson (1982), Ashley Tappin (1995) and Lara Jackson (2008, 2009). Early favorite Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of Auburn, who stands second all time in the event with a 21.34 from SECs last month, cruised into the second seed with a 21.91, while defending champion Liv Jensen of California took third with a 21.98. LSU's Jane Trepp also cleared 22 seconds with a fourth-seeded 21.99.

Virginia's Lauren Perdue (22.01), USC's Kasey Carlson (22.15) and Stanford's Betsy Webb (22.15) locked down spots in the A final. Meanwhile, Florida teammates Sarah Bateman and Shara Stafford setup an eight-seed showdown swimoff with matching 22.16s.

Stanford's Sam Woodward (22.17), Texas' Bethany Adams (22.18), LSU's Amanda Kendall (22.20), Stanford's Kate Dwelly (22.20), Wisconsin's Becky Thompson (22.27) and North Carolina's Rebecca Kane (22.32) made the B final. Also setting up an exciting swimoff session, California's Hannah Wilson, Michigan's Natasha Moodie and Ohio State's Megan Detro tied for 16th overall with matching 22.33s.

Wilson picked up the 16th spot into B finals with a 22.33 in the swimoff, with Moodie (22.37) and Detro (22.54) becoming the first and second alternates. Meanwhile, Bateman beat Stafford to the wall, 22.13 to 22.20, for the eighth spot.

Average Scoring Projections For Event*:
Stanford (24), California (19.375), Florida (19.375), LSU (19.375), Arizona (14.75), Auburn (14.75), Virginia (14.75), USC (14.75), Texas (4.625), Wisconsin (4.625), North Carolina (4.625).

400 medley relay
Arizona's Sarah Denninghoff, Ellyn Baumgardner, Dana Christ and Margo Geer ripped off a 3:31.07, and will be hoping to defend the Wildcat winning streak in the event. U of A has won the past three 400 medley relays and four of the last five.

California's Cindy Tran, Caitlin Leverenz, Amanda Sims and Erica Dagg earned the second seed with a 3:31.11, while USC's Presley Bard, Kasey Carlson, Lyndsay De Paul and Katinka Hosszu set up a Pac 10 dogfight for the title with a third-seeded 3:31.41 as all three teams broke 3:32, while Tennessee's Jennifer Connolly, Martina Moravcikova, Kelsey Floyd and Lindsay Gendron qualified fourth in 3:31.42 to also present a title threat.

Wisconsin (3:32.27), Minnesota (3:33.28), Georgia (3:33.30) and Stanford (3:33.46) completed the top eight, while Arizona State (3:33.76), Texas A&M (3:33.78), Auburn (3:33.86), Texas (3:34.23), North Carolina (3:34.42), Florida (3:35.56), Indiana (3:36.29) and Michigan (3:37.12) also will look to score points out of the B final.

One-meter diving
Minnesota's Kelci Bryant led the way in prelims with 335.50 points, and will be looking for Minnesota's first NCAA title in the event. Hawaii's Emma Friesen placed second with 317.15 points, while Stanford's Margaret Hostage placed third with 307.80 points.

Missouri's Loren Figueroa (306.60), Duke's Abby Johnston (304.05), Auburn's Vennie Dantin (301.90), Miami's Carrie Dragland (301.25) and Ohio State's Bianca Alvarez (296.50) made up the rest of the A finale.

Miami's Brittany Viola (293.40), Texas' Maren Taylor (291.95), USC's Victoria Ishimatsu (289.05), Kentucky's Lisa Faulkner (287.00), Minnesota's Margaret Keefer (286.40), Purdue's Erin Mertz (284.15), Iowa's Deidre Freeman (281.60) and Iowa's Veronica Rydze (279.25) will battle it out in the B final prior to tonight's finals.

Average Scoring Projections For Event*:
Minnesota (19.375), Miami – Florida (19.375), Hawaii (14.75), Stanford (14.75), Missouri (14.75), Duke (14.75), Auburn (14.75), Iowa (9.25), Ohio State (4.625), Texas (4.625), USC (4.625), Kentucky (4.625), Purdue (4.625).

* Average Scoring Projections based on the average points allotted to an A finalist (14.75) and a B finalist (4.625).

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