Some may be surprised to learn that Kendra Stern is not the top seed in the 100 free. The final heat, lane 4 participant in prelims will be 50-favorite Amanda Croix of Carthage. Last year, these 2 ladies were the only sub-50 swimmers and both were under Stern’s 2009 record. Kendra did touch the wall first, becoming the first D3 female to break 49, but Amanda was not far behind.
Both women come in slightly slower than last year, but neither by more than 2 tenths. The duo was separately by just 1 hundredth of a second in prelims with Croix having the touch to be seeded first. In finals, Kendra used early speed to gain the advantage and hold on for victory. If Croix wants to change the outcome, she’ll need to be out faster and hold on just as well.
Multiple 50.-something swims scattered the event last year and that should multiple this year. Only 1 50. swimmer graduated only 3 ladies who got 2 swims graduated. In fact, last year it was the freshman show in consols. 5 of the 8 consolation finalists were freshmen who will look to join the big heat this year. All these fast freshmen, now sophomores, made it hard for this year’s freshmen to get into the event. Only 2 freshmen females are ranked in the top 16.
Sleeper: Mary Claire Pavlak. I swear I’m not biased towards the Eagles but Ms. Pavlak deserved mentioning. She entered the meet with a seed time of 52.1 last year then proceeded to drop 3 quarters of a second and barely miss top 8 before finishing 10th at night. This year she is ranked 3rd with a 50.8 seed time. If last year’s drop is any indication, we’ll be looking for a solid 3rd place finish and a potential run at sub-50.
Winner: Kendra Stern. Once…. Twice… Three times a champion… Did you get the song reference? Pretty sweet huh? I don’t know if she’ll be in record form again, but either way, Kendra looks to go out on top with her 3rd victory of the meet. Amanda will have swum less, but I still look at Kendra as the winner and potential Swimmer of the Meet.