The Week That Was: Stanford Women Claim NCAA Title

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This week was a big week for Division I and Division III Swimming, with the Stanford women claiming their first NCAA team title since 1998 and Emory sweeping the men’s and women’s D3 championships. Check out recaps from those meets and more in The Week That Was!

The Week That Was #5 – Darian Townsend Announces Retirement

Jul 15, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Darian Townsend of the United States celebrates after the men's 4x200 freestyle relay preliminary heat during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Pan Am Aquatics UTS Centre and Field House. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports Images

Olympic gold medalist Darian Townsend announced his retirement from competitive swimming this week. Townsend was part of one of the most famous upsets in Olympic history when South Africa’s 400 free relay won gold in 2004, beating out the Netherlands and the United States in world record time. Following the 2004 Olympics, Townsend competed for the University of Florida and the University of Arizona before representing South Africa once again in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. After the London Olympics, Townsend left South Africa to become an American citizen and swim for the United States. He competed for the U.S. at the 2014 Short Course World Championships and the 2015 Pan American Games. Townsend currently lives in Goodyear, Ariz., coaching the Westside Silver Fins Swim Team, and plans to continue to compete as a masters swimmer.

The Week That Was #4 – Clemson Discontinues Diving Program

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Clemson announced this week that they will be eliminating the women’s diving program to make way for a new softball program. The women’s diving program has been the sole intercollegiate aquatics team at Clemson since 2012, when the men’s swimming and diving and women’s swimming programs were cut. Those program cuts came with two years notice, while this announcement is effective immediately. Athletic Director Dan Radakovich explained in a press release that all divers will be eligible to transfer and compete at a new school immediately, while any student-athlete that remains will be able to keep their scholarship. You can read the full release from Clemson here.

The Week That Was #3 – Emory Women Win Eighth Straight NCAA Title

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Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

This week the Emory women won their 8th straight Division III NCAA Championship Title, winning by 200 points over runner-up Williams. While the Eagles racked up four individual event wins throughout the week, what really set their team apart was their consistent depth across events, particularly in the sprint free. The Emory women set four NCAA relay records over the week as well, smashing the 200 free relay (1:30.52), 400 medley relay (3:39.57), 800 free relay (7:14.98), and 400 free relay (3:19.56) records. For his efforts, Jon Howell was named the women’s NCAA Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the meet, while Williams’ junior Emma Waddell was named the Female Swimmer of the Meet. Waddell won two individual events and was runner-up in a third while also contributing to four top 3 relays for a total of All-America honors. You can read all recaps from the 2017 NCAA Division III Nationals on our Event Landing Page.

The Week That Was #2 – Emory Men Win First NCAA Title

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The Emory men made history at the 2017 NCAA Division III Nationals, winning their first NCAA Title and ending Kenyon and Denison’s stranglehold on the overall men’s team title. Kenyon or Denison has won the overall Division III title every year since 1980. Emory ended up winning the meet by 54 points over Kenyon in what was a tightly contested meet. Emory senior Andrew Wilson earned Swimmer of the Meet honors for his performance during the week, which included 3 individual and 2 relay NCAA Titles all in NCAA record time. Wilson broke his own records in the 200 IM (1:44.18), 100 breast (50.94), and 200 breast (1:50.80) while also contributing to record setting 200 medley relay (1:26.14), 400 medley relays (3:10.51). His splits on those were 23.16 and 50.27, respectively. For reference, Wilson’s times in the 100 breast currently lead all three Divisions in the NCAA, while his 200 breast time sits second. Emory Head Coach Jon Howell was also named Men’s Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the meet. You can read all recaps from the 2017 NCAA Division III Nationals on our Event Landing Page.

The Week That Was #1 – Stanford Women Win First NCAA Title Since 1996

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The Stanford women took home the 2017 NCAA Division I Championship this week with a dominant performance, beating second place Cal Berkeley by 160.5 points. That makes it Stanford’s first NCAA title in 19 years, with their last team title coming in 1998. Led by Head Coach Greg Meehan, the Cardinal set six NCAA records, five American records, and earned eight event titles throughout the week. Freshman Katie Ledecky kicked off the meet with an American and NCAA record in the 500 free (4:24.06) before going on to contribute to American and NCAA records in the 400 (3:07.61) and 800 free (6:45.91) relays. Ledecky also set an NCAA record in the 1650 en route to the second-fastest performance of all-time. Senior Simone Manuel contributed to the 400 and 800 free relays while smashing her own American and NCAA records in the 100 free with a ridiculous 45.56, becoming the first woman to swim under 46 seconds in the event. Manuel also set an NCAA record in the 50 free (21.17), while sophomore Ella Eastin set her own American record in the 400 IM (3:57.57). Stanford’s title gives them 9 total, the most ever by a women’s team and the current most winningest team. For his team’s efforts, Meehan was named the Women’s Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the meet, while Cal’s Kathleen Baker was named Swimmer of the Meet. You can read all about Stanford’s win on our Event Landing Page.

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to CMU, he was a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program.

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