I just want to make it clear (since I looked up the results) that the Stern sisters DID swim in prelims in 2009 in 400 MR with the relay finishing 15th in prelims. They then did not swim in the relay in finals when it finished 16th but, even if the relay had swum as fast as the morning, that they would still have finished 16th. So the notion that they could have finished 9th seems pretty fanciful.
Other than this year, that is also the only example I could find of Kendra not swimming in a relay so I was making that point to correct the record about how often she purportedly had sat out relays.
And no one has responded to my observation that Williams, Kenyon and Denison also sat out some strong swimmers from prelims relay swims this year who then swam in finals. It’s a strategy that often pays off — lets a strong swimmer rest a bit and lets a weaker swimmer have an exciting opportunity. Of course, because the Amherst swimmers were relay-only swimmers (with one exception), they had to swim in prelims at least once to be eligible for the meet.
And this year, like last year, shows that Stern is a swimmer who gets quite tired by the last day of the meet. Notice that she got pulled from 400 free relay after Barito beat her in the freestyle leg in 400 MR when she swam 49.60 to Barito’s 49.00. (In prelims, she beat Barito with 49.14 compared to her 49.57.)
Nonetheless, there is no doubt this strategy cost Amherst a lot of team points. The slowest leg of the 400 free relay in prelims was a mid 53 and Stern could obviously have swum a 50 flat launching them into top 8 for the night. She would then have had the traditional senior, anchor swim for 400 free relay, along with Golovkina, Barito, Hartung, and Croix. Laura Barito did have an amazing anchor leg, swimming a 48.89 — more than a second faster than she had swum in 100 free finals because she went off the blocks in a blistering 22.82. I assume her team will give her recognition for that amazing swim. And, for all we know, Kendra was disappointed that her teammates couldn’t get her into consolation finals to have that chance as well. Golovkina got to sit out prelims and have that opportunity in finals. Maybe our attention should be on Amherst swimmer, Lauren Belak — why did she swim a 53.51 after going off in a 24.84 for the first leg of her 100 free swim in the 3rd position in prelims? That was nearly a 4 second drop off. Who knows — maybe she swallowed water. If she had added 3 seconds (a typical drop off), Amherst would have easily made consolation finals and we would probably not be having this discussion.