Women’s NCAA Championships Pre-Cut Psych Sheet: Kate Douglass Top Seed in Three Events; Picks 200 IM Over 50 Free

Virginia senior Kate Douglass -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Women’s NCAA Championships Pre-Cut Psych Sheet: Kate Douglass Top Seed in Three Events, Picks 200 IM Over 50 Free

The pre-cut psych sheets for the upcoming women’s NCAA Championships were released Tuesday morning. These are not the final entry lists for the meet, which will be held March 15-18 at Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn., as only a select number of athletes will be invited to compete in each event, but the top seeds for each event will remain unchanged.

The big news from the psych sheet reveal is that Kate Douglass will swim the 200 IM on the first full day of competition instead of the 50 freestyle. In 2022, Douglass set American records in winning the 50 free, 100 butterfly and 200 breaststroke at the NCAA Championships, and Douglass will defend the 100 fly and 200 breast titles after swimming the fastest time in history in both events already this season.

But instead of defending her title in the 50 free, Douglass she will challenge Virginia teammate Alex Walsh in the 200 IM after coming within eight hundredths of Walsh’s American record at the ACC Championships. The two swimmers will compete to become the first female to ever break 1:50 in the event.

Walsh, meanwhile, will defend her three individual NCAA titles from last season in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 fly, although she will not be the top seed in any of the events. Douglass is ahead of Walsh, the world champion in the 200-meter IM, in their one common event, and Walsh seeded fourth in the 400 IM and outside the top-20 in the 200 fly after not swimming either event at the midseason Tennessee Invitational or the recent ACC Championships.

Meanwhile, Walsh’s younger sister Gretchen Walsh will enter the meet as the top seed in all two of her three events: the 50 free, in which she broke Douglass’ American and NCAA record at the ACC Championships; and the 100 backstroke, an event where she finished second last season behind NC State’s Katharine Berkoff. Walsh is the defending NCAA champion in the 100 free, and she enters the meet seeded second behind LSU’s Maggie Mac Neil and one spot ahead of Stanford’s Torri Huske.

The most anticipated race of the NCAA meet will be the 100 fly, where Douglass will face off with 100-meter fly world champion Huske, 100-meter fly Olympic gold medalist Mac Neil and Stanford freshman Claire Curzan, a former American-record holder in the event and U.S. Olympian in the 100-meter fly. Those four swimmers plus Texas’ Emma Sticklen have all broken 50 so far this season while Louisville’s Gabi Albiero and Texas’ Olivia Bray both have recorded 50.0 season-best marks, though Bray is opting for the backstrokes and 500 free.

Mac Neil enters as the second seed behind Gretchen Walsh in the 50 free and Huske is third in the 200 IM behind the Virginia duo. In the backstroke events, Gretchen Walsh is set for a competitive race with Berkoff and Curzan, while Curzan is the favorite for the NCAA title in the 200 back after she finished less than three tenths off the fastest time in history in the event at the Pac-12 Championships. Curzan will face a field including Cal’s Isabelle Stadden, Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon and Alabama’s Rhyan White, the latter two coming off winning medals in the 200-meter back at the 2022 World Championships.

The University of Texas, the second-place team at last season’s NCAA Championships, will enter with the top seed in the 500 free with Erica Sullivan as well as the top three seeds in the 200 fly with the trio of Emma SticklenKelly Pash and Dakota Luther. Sullivan will also be the third seed in the 1650 free behind defending national champion Paige McKenna of Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the Longhorns’ Lydia Jacoby and Anna Elendt enter the meet seeded third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 breast behind defending champion Kaitlyn Dobler of USC and the host Tennessee Volunteers’ Mona McSharry.

As for the relays, Virginia is first in all four sprint relays (freestyle and medley) after Douglass and the Walsh sisters led the Cavaliers to the fastest time in history in all four at the ACC Championships, performances that reinforced Virginia’s status as the big favorite to win a third consecutive NCAA title. Meanwhile, the Huske-led Stanford squad has the top mark in the 800 free relay.

Typically, the number of swimmers invited to the national meet in each event is somewhere between 36 and 41 invitees, depending on the number of swimmers entered above the cut-line in more than one event, and swimmers invited in one event may compete in other races where they have B-cuts. The official psych sheet (including cut-lines in each event and a list of alternates in order of priority) will be released Wednesday.


Schedule of Events and Top-Seeded Swimmers

Wednesday, March 16

  • 200 Medley Relay: Virginia, 1:31.73
  • 800 Freestyle Relay: Stanford, 6:53.90

Thursday, March 17

  • 500 Freestyle: Erica Sullivan (Texas), 4:35.88
  • 200 IM: Kate Douglass (Virginia), 1:50.15
  • 50 Freestyle: Gretchen Walsh (Virginia), 20.84
  • 200 Freestyle Relay: Virginia, 1:23.87

Friday, March 18

  • 400 IM: Ella Nelson (Virginia), 3:59.33
  • 100 Butterfly: Kate Douglass (Virginia), 48.84
  • 200 Freestyle: Brooklyn Douthwright (Tennessee), 1:42.45
  • 100 Breaststroke: Kaitlyn Dobler (USC), 56.94
  • 100 Backstroke: Gretchen Walsh (Virginia), 49.25
  •  400 Medley Relay: Virginia, 3:21.80

Saturday, March 19

  • 1650 Freestyle: Paige McKenna (Wisconsin), 15:46.90
  • 200 Backstroke: Claire Curzan (Stanford), 1:47.43
  • 100 Freestyle: Maggie Mac Neil (LSU), 46.27
  • 200 Breaststroke: Kate Douglass (Virginia), 2:01.43
  • 200 Butterfly: Emma Sticklen (Texas), 1:51.37
  • 400 Freestyle Relay: Virginia, 3:06.83
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