Virginia’s Leah Smith Defends 500 Free Title at NCAAs

Leah Smith NCAA champion
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Virginia’s Leah Smith defended her title in the women’s 500-yard free at the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Championships.

Smith initially looked like she would join Katie Ledecky (4:26.58) as the only swimmers ever to break 4:30 in the event’s history. But, Smith faded down the stretch with a 4:31.33 for the win.  That’s the 15th-fastest time ever in the event’s history.

Smith became the 11th swimmer ever to win the 500 free multiple times.

Multiple 500 Free Winners:
3 – Lindsay Benko, Southern California
3 – Marybeth Linzmeier, Stanford
3 – Allison Schmitt, Georgia
2 – Haley Anderson, USC
2 – Tami Bruce, Florida
2 – Janet Evans, Stanford
2 – Mitzi Kremer, Clemson
2 – Emily Mason, Arizona
2 – Flavia Rigamonti, SMU
2 – Cristina Teuscher, Columbia-Barnard

Smith’s NCAA-Record Splits For Comparison:

24.86, 51.35 (26.49), 1:18.49 (27.14), 1:45.73 (27.24), 2:13.24 (27.51), 2:40.76 (27.52), 3:08.45 (27.69), 3:36.08 (27.63), 4:03.69 (27.61), 4:30.37 (26.68).

Brittany MacLean, the 2014 victor in this event, led a big Georgia event with a 4:33.05 for second. Hali Flickinger placed second for the Bulldogs with a 4:33.35.  That moved Georgia into the lead with 106 points against Virginia’s second-place 76.

Indiana’s Haley Lips (4:34.86), Michigan’s Rose Bi (4:35.76), NC State’s Hannah Moore (4:38.12), Ohio State’s Lindsey Clary (4:38.44) and Louisville’s Mallory Comerford (4:41.28) also scored in the A final.

                            === A - Final ===                            
 
  1 Leah Smith       JR Virginia          4:31.39    4:31.33P        20  
    r:+0.77  24.92        51.19 (26.27)
        1:17.99 (26.80)     1:45.11 (27.12)
        2:12.45 (27.34)     2:39.90 (27.45)
        3:07.63 (27.73)     3:35.48 (27.85)
        4:03.70 (28.22)     4:31.33 (27.63)
  2 Brittany MacLea  SR Georgia           4:34.61    4:33.05         17  
    r:+0.72  25.19        51.98 (26.79)
        1:19.12 (27.14)     1:46.46 (27.34)
        2:13.87 (27.41)     2:41.62 (27.75)
        3:09.56 (27.94)     3:37.61 (28.05)
        4:05.86 (28.25)     4:33.05 (27.19)
  3 Hali Flickinger  SR Georgia           4:37.27    4:33.35         16  
             25.20        52.17 (26.97)
        1:19.39 (27.22)     1:46.90 (27.51)
        2:14.57 (27.67)     2:42.42 (27.85)
        3:10.31 (27.89)     3:38.48 (28.17)
        4:06.36 (27.88)     4:33.35 (26.99)
  4 Haley Lips       SR Indiana           4:38.27    4:34.86         15  
    r:+0.71  25.87        53.36 (27.49)
        1:21.23 (27.87)     1:49.05 (27.82)
        2:16.81 (27.76)     2:44.52 (27.71)
        3:12.23 (27.71)     3:40.37 (28.14)
        4:08.42 (28.05)     4:34.86 (26.44)
  5 Rose Bi          FR Michigan          4:37.78    4:35.76         14  
    r:+0.74  25.88        53.22 (27.34)
        1:20.68 (27.46)     1:48.33 (27.65)
        2:16.15 (27.82)     2:44.03 (27.88)
        3:12.09 (28.06)     3:40.25 (28.16)
        4:08.35 (28.10)     4:35.76 (27.41)
  6 Hannah Moore     SO NC State          4:37.92    4:38.12         13  
    r:+0.75  25.66        53.12 (27.46)
        1:20.98 (27.86)     1:48.89 (27.91)
        2:17.08 (28.19)     2:45.31 (28.23)
        3:13.73 (28.42)     3:42.08 (28.35)
        4:10.44 (28.36)     4:38.12 (27.68)
  7 Lindsey Clary    JR Ohio St           4:38.15    4:38.44         12  
    r:+0.71  26.37        54.11 (27.74)
        1:22.12 (28.01)     1:50.24 (28.12)
        2:18.33 (28.09)     2:46.58 (28.25)
        3:14.94 (28.36)     3:43.44 (28.50)
        4:11.08 (27.64)     4:38.44 (27.36)
  8 Mallory Comerfo  FR Louisville        4:38.25    4:41.28         11  
    r:+0.78  25.67        53.35 (27.68)
        1:21.58 (28.23)     1:50.15 (28.57)
        2:18.57 (28.42)     2:46.86 (28.29)
        3:15.29 (28.43)     3:44.19 (28.90)
        4:13.13 (28.94)     4:41.28 (28.15)
 
                            === B - Final ===                            
 
  9 Gillian Ryan     SO Michigan          4:39.63    4:38.43          9  
    r:+0.80  26.17        54.53 (28.36)
        1:23.15 (28.62)     1:51.84 (28.69)
        2:20.26 (28.42)     2:48.89 (28.63)
        3:17.05 (28.16)     3:45.14 (28.09)
        4:12.62 (27.48)     4:38.43 (25.81)
 10 Sarah Gibson     JR Tex AM            4:38.44    4:39.63          7  
    r:+0.76  25.46        53.94 (28.48)
        1:22.62 (28.68)     1:51.31 (28.69)
        2:20.04 (28.73)     2:48.39 (28.35)
        3:16.80 (28.41)     3:45.07 (28.27)
        4:12.87 (27.80)     4:39.63 (26.76)
 11 Rachel Muller    JR NC State          4:39.11    4:39.97          6  
    r:+0.78  25.80        54.00 (28.20)
        1:22.40 (28.40)     1:50.77 (28.37)
        2:19.09 (28.32)     2:47.55 (28.46)
        3:16.08 (28.53)     3:44.35 (28.27)
        4:12.68 (28.33)     4:39.97 (27.29)
 12 Kennedy Goss     SO Indiana           4:40.17    4:40.35          5  
    r:+0.66  26.60        55.23 (28.63)
        1:23.91 (28.68)     1:52.60 (28.69)
        2:21.42 (28.82)     2:49.98 (28.56)
        3:18.41 (28.43)     3:46.37 (27.96)
        4:14.21 (27.84)     4:40.35 (26.14)
 13 Genevieve Mille  JR Air Force         4:39.00    4:40.41          4  
    r:+0.70  25.98        54.02 (28.04)
        1:22.40 (28.38)     1:51.04 (28.64)
        2:19.59 (28.55)     2:48.22 (28.63)
        3:16.63 (28.41)     3:45.20 (28.57)
        4:13.26 (28.06)     4:40.41 (27.15)
 14 Kaersten Meitz   SO Purdue            4:40.02    4:40.87          3  
    r:+0.90  26.45        54.73 (28.28)
        1:23.18 (28.45)     1:51.69 (28.51)
        2:20.10 (28.41)     2:48.53 (28.43)
        3:17.08 (28.55)     3:45.49 (28.41)
        4:13.82 (28.33)     4:40.87 (27.05)
 15 Brooke Zeiger    SO Minnesota         4:40.47    4:41.08          2  
    r:+0.76  26.61        54.87 (28.26)
        1:23.10 (28.23)     1:51.59 (28.49)
        2:20.02 (28.43)     2:48.53 (28.51)
        3:16.89 (28.36)     3:45.28 (28.39)
        4:13.75 (28.47)     4:41.08 (27.33)
 16 Stephanie Peter  SO Georgia           4:40.07    4:41.21          1  
    r:+0.72  26.26        54.56 (28.30)
        1:23.03 (28.47)     1:51.62 (28.59)
        2:20.15 (28.53)     2:48.48 (28.33)
        3:16.84 (28.36)     3:45.45 (28.61)
        4:13.71 (28.26)     4:41.21 (27.50)
                 Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 3                 
 
  1. Georgia                           106   2. Virginia                           76
  3. California                         72   4. Southern Cali                      64
  5. NC State                           53   6. Arizona                            46
  7. Louisville                         45   8. Texas A&M                          43
  9. Indiana                            42  10. Michigan                           37
 11. Tennessee                          34  12. Stanford                           26
 13. Ohio St                            24  14. Texas                              20
 15. Wisconsin                          18  16. Missouri                           14
 17. UNC                                12  18. Penn St                             6
 19. Air Force (W)                       4  19. Kentucky                            4
 21. Purdue                              3  22. Florida                             2
 22. Minnesota                           2