Saturday, March 12, 2011

Women's NCAAs

It's that time of year again. NCAA Championship season. The women's meet runs March 17-19 in Austin, while the men take to the pool March 24-26 in Minneapolis. We are going to see two weeks of fierce competition and amazing races, but in each meet, one team will emerge the better. Of course, we won't know which one until possibly the last relay. Last year, everyone thought Stanford or Georgia would walk away with the title until Florida swept ahead and won a 2.5 point victory, with Cal and Arizona both right in the mix for the title as well. Expect this women's meet to be just as tight, and do not expect any of your predictions going in to be correct.

It's also time for one of my favorite activities in swimming: Fantasy Swimming. On Podium Pursuit, I dominated the World Cup competition, but finished second by eight points at Short Course Worlds after I forgot to predict the last day. I hope to reclaim the top spot with this meet. I base my predictions off season-best times and prior experience. I admit there might be some pro-USA bias, as there so often is in my picks. I pick the top three spots in each event, plus a "darkhorse." A darkhorse is a swimmer seeded outside the top-eight but one that could make an impact. Sometimes, there are perfect darkhorses like Felicia Lee (100 fly) or Micah Lawrence (100/200 breast), but sometimes the darkhorses are less obvious. Note that, for the purposes of Podium Pursuit, these predictions are subject to change on a day-by-day basis. Without further ado, here goes:

Thursday, March 17:
200 Medley Relay
1. Stanford
2. Cal
3. Auburn

500 Free
1. Allison Schmitt, Georgia
2. Wendy Trott, Georgia
3. Elizabeth Beisel, Florida
Darkhorse – Chelsea Nauta, Georgia

200 IM
1. Katinka Hosszu, USC
2. Caitlin Leverenz, Cal
3. Morgan Scroggy, Georgia
Darkhorse – Claire Crippen, Virginia

50 Free
1. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Auburn
2. Liv Jensen, Cal
3. Margo Geer, Arizona
Darkhorse – Sam Woodward, Stanford

400 Medley Relay
1. Cal
2. USC
3. Wisconsin

Friday, March 18":
200 Medley Relay
1. Cal
2. USC
3. Auburn

400 IM
1. Katinka Hosszu, USC
2. Elizabeth Beisel, Florida
3. Caitlin Leverenz, Cal
Darkhorse – Teresa Crippen, Florida

100 Fly
1. Lyndsay De Paul, USC
2. Amanda Sims, Cal
3. Jenny Connelly, Tennessee
Darkhorse – Felicia Lee, Stanford

200 Free
1. Allison Schmitt, Georgia
2. Morgan Scroggy, Georgia
3. Lauren Perdue, Virginia
Darkhorse – Sara Isokovic, Cal

100 Breast
1. Jillian Tyler, Minnesota
2. Kasey Carlson, USC
3. Ellyn Baumgardner, Arizona
Darkhorse – Micah Lawrence, Auburn

100 Back
1. Presley Bard, USC
2. Cindy Tran, Cal
3. Maggie Meyer, Wisconsin
Darkhorse – Elizabeth Webb, Stanford

800 Free Relay
1. Georgia
2. Florida
3. Cal

Saturday, March 19
1,650 Free
1. Wendy Trott, Georgia
2. Haley Anderson, USC
3. Ashley Steenvoorden, Minnesota
Darkhorse – Shannon Vreeland, Georgia

200 Back
1. Elizabeth Beisel, Florida
2. Teresa Crippen, Florida
3. Maggie Meyer, Wisconsin
Darkhorse – Sarah Denninghoff, Arizona

100 Free
1. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Auburn
2. Liv Jensen, Cal
3. Morgan Scroggy, Georgia
Darkhorse – Allison Schmitt, Georgia

200 Breast
1. Caitlin Leverenz, Cal
2. Laura Sogar, Texas
3. Jillian Tyler, Minnesota
Darkhorse – Micah Lawrence, Auburn

200 Fly
1. Katinka Hosszu, USC
2. Lyndsay De Paul, USC
3. Teresa Crippen, Florida
Darkhorse – Rachel Naurath, Virginia

400 Free Relay
1. Cal
2. Stanford
3. Georgia

My top ten:
1. Cal
2. Georgia
3. USC
4. Florida
5. Stanford
6. Auburn
7. Texas
8. Arizona
9. Wisconsin
10. Tennessee

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