Walsh Has A Grip On Title, Texas Flexes Fly Depth In Race For 2nd


Ladies’s 100 Butterfly

  • U.S. Open Document: 48.25 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia (2024)
  • American Document: 48.25 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia (2024)
  • NCAA Document: 48.25 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia (2024)
  • 2023 NCAA Champion: Kate Douglass, Virginia (48.46)

At first look, it could look like the ladies’s 100 butterfly goes to be all about Gretchen Walsh. And that’s true to some extent–she’s been on fireplace all season lengthy. Her first time below her teammate Kate Douglass‘ NCAA and American file of 48.46 got here at midseason, when she swam butterfly throughout the 100 freestyle and posted a blistering 48.30.

Walsh’s swim there didn’t formally depend for the file books however she wrote herself in at ACCs, bypassing her time from the Tennessee Invitational with a 48.25. Her ACCs swim does depend as new U.S. Open, American, and NCAA information. She leads the NCAA by over two seconds. This 12 months, one of many huge attracts is the query: can Walsh decrease her information once more?

Final 12 months, this one of the crucial anticipated occasions of the ladies’s championships due to a stacked discipline that included Douglass, Maggie MacNeilTorri Huske, and Claire Curzan. Now, a discipline that was crammed with top-end expertise only one 12 months in the past has loosened up. None of these 4 swimmers–the highest 4 at 2023 NCAAs–are competing collegiately this 12 months.

Walsh has the NCAA title tightly in her grip, however remainder of the rostrum is huge open, which makes this occasion a gorgeous one for swimmers who want to assist push their crew up the standings–it could be simpler to attain right here versus one other Day 3 occasion.

Texas Robust

The Longhorns have 4 swimmers with a sensible shot at making it again for a second swim. Three of them–Emma Sticklen, Kelly Pashand Olivia Bray–are seeded within the high 5. The Texas flyers have turn out to be identified for his or her depth within the 200 fly over the previous few seasons, however they’re displaying right here that they’ll additionally do some injury within the dash.

Sticklen, the 2023 200 butterfly champ, is available in because the second seed. She owns a season-best 50.36 from the Texas Invite. We all know she will be able to break that fifty second barrier although; her private greatest is 49.79 from Texas’ twin meet towards NC State in January 2023. She added from that point at NCAAs final 12 months, swimming 50.00 in prelims then 50.15 in finals and tying for fifth with Gabi Albiero. Sticklen’s greatest time makes her a stable choose for second place if she’s capable of put it collectively on the proper time.

Pash has sometimes taken on the 200 freestyle on Day 3 of NCAAs. She had a largely off NCAA final 12 months in her particular person occasions, however she’s traditionally had success within the 200 free with two Third-place finishes to her identify (2021, 2022). However on the Texas Invitational, she swam a giant PB within the 100 fly, dropping from 51.01 to 50.37.

Pash is a superb instance of somebody pouncing on the chance the 100 fly presents this season. Her new PB would’ve simply certified for the 2023 ‘A’ remaining (it took 50.85 in 2023) and stacks up properly towards the returners within the discipline. As well as, the 200 freestyle discipline is deep, and Pash’s progress within the 100 fly makes her an actual contender and provides the Longhorns the chance to place up some severe factors.

After bypassing the 100 fly/100 again double in 2023, Bray is again to that schedule this 12 months. The 100 fly comes first on the schedule and it’s additionally the occasion Bray has a better seed in; she’s tied with Florida’s Olivia Peoples for the 4th (50.47). That swim got here on the midseason Texas Invite, and is simply four-tenths off her 50.07 PB from February 2023.

Lastly, senior Ava Longi is sitting at 18th seed, simply outdoors of a scoring place. Like Pash, she swam her lifetime greatest at this season’s Texas Invite, which was her first time breaking 52 seconds. That’s nicely contained in the 51.62 it took to make the ‘B’ remaining final 12 months, probably giving the Longhorns their fourth scorer on this occasion. Final 12 months, they solely had Sticklen.

2023 ‘B’ Finalists Goal To Transfer Up

Whereas there are simply three 2023 ‘A’ finalists returning, six of the 2023 ‘B’ finalists return. All of them are aiming to benefit from the offseason departures and transfer up into the championship remaining.

Peoples is among the 2023 ‘B’ finalists with the very best possibilities of doing not simply that however of touchdown herself excessive up on the rostrum. It’s taken a pair seasons, however the Florida junior is lastly seeing her onerous work in Gainesville repay. She received the 2023 SEC crown with a lifetime greatest of fifty.47.

Olivia Peoples (courtesy: Florida Athletics)

She’s been dropping time all 12 months after coming into the 2023-24 season with a private better of 51.62 from inserting sixteenth within the 2023 ‘B’ remaining. Peoples seems poised to hitch the battle for second behind Walsh and one of many individuals most certainly to interrupt up the Texas social gathering.

Two different returning ‘B’ finalists are Meghan Lee and Mia Kragh. At SECs, Lee swam a private greatest of fifty.66–her first swim sub-51 seconds. She repeated because the SEC silver medalist for the second straight 12 months. The time additionally moved her up the NCAA standings and she or he holds the sixth quickest seed time.

Like Lee, Kragh put collectively her first sub-51 efficiency at her convention championship meet. The Cal junior dropped a 50.89, reducing .49 seconds off her greatest to win the final 100 fly PAC-12 title. Each will should be at their greatest within the morning. Breaking 51 seconds makes you an ‘A’ remaining contender, although each possible must be a number of tenths from their PBs to make the ‘A’ remaining.

ACC Depth

The ACC made up half of the 2023 ‘B’ remaining and all however a kind of swimmers (Lexi Cuomo) return. Meaning the make-up of the returning ‘B’ finalists continues to be half ACC swimmers.

Like Peoples this 12 months, Abby Arens made huge enhancements in 2022-23. After including time from ACCs and never incomes a second swim in 2022, Arens got here out sturdy final 12 months in Knoxville. She made the ‘B’ remaining simply tw0-hundredths off her PB, then received the ‘B’ remaining in a brand new greatest of fifty.60. She’s gotten near that this season with a 50.72.

The opposite two again within the discipline from the ‘B’ remaining are Christiana Regenauer and Tristen Ulett who, together with Albiero, will goal to indicate that it’s not simply Texas with a deep fly group.

Albiero seems set to return to the ‘A’ remaining and like Peoples, is among the strongest contenders to get forward of the Texas stars. She owns a lifetime greatest of fifty.04 from 2023 ACCs, making her one of many quickest swimmers within the discipline. She’s seeded seventh in 50.68 and can look to enhance on her fifth place end in 2023.

Her teammates Regenauer and Ulett will do their greatest to hitch her within the ‘A’ remaining. The pair have virtually matching private bests; Ulett’s been as quick as 51.02 whereas Regenauer’s swum 51.03. Ulett’s private greatest comes from 2022; this 12 months, her season greatest stands at 51.48. She’s seeded twentieth, so she’ll have to cross a number of swimmers to make it again for an additional remaining. Regenauer is seeded within the ‘B’ remaining vary at thirteenth after a season-best 51.20 at ACCs.

Pitt’s Sophie Yendell didn’t make the ‘B’ remaining final 12 months. However, she’s the one sub-51 swimmer we haven’t talked about but and she or he’s value listening to. In a 12 months, she’s dropped 1.75 seconds on this occasion. At ACCs, she powered to a 50.87 and a 4th place end. She was fortieth final 12 months and it appears sure that she’ll transfer up from that place, the query is by how a lot. If she’s at her greatest within the morning, she may land herself an ‘A’ remaining berth.

SwimSwam Picks

Darkish Horse: Kamryn Cannings, Freshman (Liberty) — There are some occasions which have plenty of freshmen able to disrupt the established order. The 100 fly isn’t a kind of occasions. However Kamryn Cannings goes to offer it her greatest shot. In 2023, Cannings was named to Canada’s World Juniors crew however ended up not competing. She has discovered her yards groove over the course of the season, which culminated in her popping a 51.26 on the ASUN Championships. She’s sitting 14th–the very best seeded freshman within the occasion–and if her taper hits may take a run at a spot within the high 8. 

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