Courtesy US Swimming
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Georgia began its defense of the team title with a world record and three victories on day one of the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships on March 16. They lead the field with 152 points, followed by Arizona (121), Stanford (118), Cal (103) and Northwestern (80).
"We swam unbelievable well tonight," said Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle. "If it had stood the way it was this morning, we would be in trouble right now. We thought we'd be behind Arizona and Stanford, but we swam exceptional tonight."
Seniors Kristy Kowal and Courtney Shealy, who both won individual titles tonight, led Georgia to a world record swim in the 400m medley relay. Shealy led off with a 58.75, followed by Kowal (1:06.09), Keegan Walkley (59.28) and anchored by freshman Maritza Correia (53.34) with the four posting a 3:57.46, bettering Japan's world record of 3:57.62.
"Courtney and I had never won a relay at NCAAs in our four years so it was a big goal to win and that gave us momentum," Kowal said.
Earlier in the night, Kowal won her fifth NCAA individual title with a hard-fought victory in the 200m individual medley, touching in 2:10.69. She was fifth after the first leg (butterfly), but passed Cal senior Elli Overton at the breaststroke to freestyle turn. Overton finished in 2:10.74, followed by Auburn freshman Maggie Bowen at 2:12.21.
"The past two years I've gotten third, and I was happy with that, but I knew this year I had a good shot at it," Kowal said. "I wanted that one. I knew it was close. I didn't feel anything the last 15 meters. I just put my hand down and went. I didn't even look at the board until I saw my team's reaction first. When I saw their arms go up, then I looked at the board."
Shealy surprised the field in the 50m free with a win out of lane 6, posting a 24.80 after qualifying fourth for her first title. Both the second- and third-place finishers also broke 25 with Courtney Allen of Northwestern touching in 24.87, followed by three-time defending champion Catherine Fox of Stanford at 24.97.
"When I touched the wall, I probably went a little too crazy, but it felt awesome," Shealy said.
Columbia senior Cristina Teuscher, a team of one at these championships, easily won the 400m free in 4:04.09. Stanford's Jessica Foschi and Virginia's Cara Lane followed at 4:06.17 and 4:07.31.
Cal won the first relay of the night, breaking the US Open record in the 200m free relay with a time of 1:40.18. The team consisted of Anya Kolbisen, Haley Cope, Nicole Omphroy and Joscelin Yeo (of Singapore). Arizona, the third-place finisher, broke the American record in prelims with a 1:40.21.