By Sharon Robb
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—The NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships get underway Wednesday at the Allen Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
University of Florida senior Kathleen Golding leads a talented local contingent from South Florida.
Golding will compete in the 200 IM (1:56.49) and 400 IM (4:07.83). She will be joined by Gator teammate Anna Auld of St. Andrew’s Aquatics and West Palm Beach in the 500 freestyle (4:40.32), 1,650 freestyle (16:09.52) and 400 IM (4:10.36). Transfer Emma Weyant of Sarasota will also compete for the Gators in the 1,650 (16:08.24) and 400 IM (4:01.18).
Golding, Auld and Weyant are among 17 individual swimmers and diver and five relays from University of Florida that will compete.
Auld, Golding, Weyant. Talia Bates, Micayla Cronk, Camille DeBoer, Zoe Dixon, Nina Kucheran, Katie Mack, Tylor Mathieu, Hayden Miller, Ekaterina Nikonova, Olivia Peoples, Amanda Ray, Aris Runnels and Mabel Zavaros qualified for the big dance based on season-best times in 11 different events.
Florida’s 16 swimmers selected are the second-most swimmers among the nation, only behind back-to-back national champion Virginia (17). There are only nine schools in the country with double-digit swimmers to qualify, and only three SEC programs.
Maha Amer joined the Gators group after qualifying in the NCAA Diving Zones early last week. Amer, who won silver in the 1-meter at the SEC Championships last month, will compete in all three events.
The Gators also qualified five relays, with the 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 800 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay all hitting the qualifying standard.
UCLA sophomore Paige MacEachern, a Boca Raton High School alum and Pine Crest club swimmer, will compete in the 400 IM (4:06.17).
University of Wisconsin freshman Blair Stoneburg, a Jensen Beach High alum and Treasure Coast Aquatics club swimmer, will compete in the 500 freestyle (4:40.38).
Florida International University’s Christie Choe qualified in the 200 breaststroke (2:08.73) and 100 breaststroke (59.28). University of Miami will be represented by diver Mia Vallee.
Florida State will have four swimmers at the meet: sophomore Madeline Huggins, 200 breaststroke (2:09.55), sophomore Edith Jernstedt, 200 butterfly (1:55.78), freshman Julia Mansson, 200 breaststroke (2:09.68) and grad assistant Daniela Anna Metzler, 400 IM (4:10.18).
No. 1 ranked University of Virginia is on the verge of a three-peat national championship. Alex Walsh, Gretchen Walsh and Kate Douglass are expected to lead the Cavaliers. Nineteen swimmers and divers qualified in 42 events.
Last year Virginia won its second-straight national title, claiming 11 events and four out of the five relays along the way, and finished with 551.5 team points, nearly 150 points ahead of the rest of the field. They may even top that this week.
Texas, Stanford and Florida are in the mix to finish among the top five.
A total of 281 swimmers from 56 colleges qualified for the four-day meet. Swimmers qualified for the championships by meeting the established minimum time for the events which they entered. Divers were determined by performances achieved at the Zone Diving Championships.
ESPN+ will provide live digital coverage for preliminary and finals sessions Wednesday through Saturday. Tape-delayed coverage of the women’s championships will be on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. EST on March 29.
Wednesday, 6 p.m., 200 medley relay,800 free relay.
Thursday, prelims, 10 a.m. and finals 6 p.m., 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, 1-meter dive, 200 free relay.
Friday, prelims 10 a.m. and finals 6 p.m., 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 3-meter dive, 400 medley relay.
Saturday, prelims 10 a.m. and finals 6 p.m., 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, Platform dive, 1650 free, 400 free relay.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org