I’ve been informed and had it confirmed by a simple look at the psych sheet that Anne Culpepper isn’t swimming the 1650. Oops. I suppose when you’re the favorite in an event 2 swims later, you have an excuse. Ms. Culpepper is the top seed in the 200 back and certainly shows her versatility here. She leads an astounding group of 5 Eagles who are ranked in the top 16. This doesn’t even include a girl who had to be left at home due to the 18 swimmer cap. Impressed? If you’re not, you don’t know swimming.
Anne is the returning champion, so she did the double last year and if she can swim a 1:59 in the 200 back after a 1650 (granted it was in the afternoon, not in the same session), how fast can she go without that long swim on the same day? The talent pool here is deep, so she will be pushed. Emily Schroeder of Denison pushed her last year before finishing 2nd and returns. Also ranked in the top 3 is Andrea Peterson of Illinois Wesleyan, who wasn’t in the event last year. She’s a junior so she either transferred in or had one heck of a time drop.
5 freshmen also rank within the top 16, which only shows part of the 200 back’s future. There is only 1 senior ranked in the top 16. 1… Not a couple or a few, but a singular female who cannot return next year. It’s not slow or rebuilding either. Last year it took 2:03.16 to make the big heat while 2:03.82 ranks 16th coming into the meet this time around. Only 4 swimmers were under that time going into the 2010 championships. To phrase another way, the 5th ranked girl last year wouldn’t be ranked in the top 16 this year… that’s a bit insane.
Sleeper: Rebecca Thompson. She entered last year with a 2:07 and promptly dropped 3 seconds to get a 2nd swim. This year she enters faster than she finished last year and another decent drop would give her a 2nd swim again, perhaps in finals. Amherst will need big swims outside of Stern and I believe this is 1 they get.
Winner: Anne Culpepper. It’s hard to pick against a girl who a) comes in significantly faster this year (second and a half), b) isn’t swimming the 1650 the same day this time, c) has a win of experience under her belt and d) swims for Emory. Yup, mark this one down in pen.