Denison won the event last year with 2 seniors. With half their relay gone, all they’ve done this year is go within a second of last year’s time and be ranked first in the country coming in. In fact, they are seeded in first by over a second over Emory. Emory, however, is 1 of just 2 teams (Kenyon being the other) who put up their best time at midseason. Can Denison retaper? They did last year and I doubt you’ll find many naysayers this time around.
The new 16 team format will be interesting to watch throughout the meet. 1:48 scored last year but a 1:46.4 is seeded 16th this time. In fact, 31 teams went sub 1:48 this year meaning almost half of those who could have scored last year won’t be there this year (they may be there, but not because of this event). This makes prelims very important and the battle for those elite top 8 positions even tighter.
Sleeper: CMS. Only one finalist from last year returns all 4 swimmers and yes, they’re my pick for sleeper. It’s even more impressive when you consider that they were not only finalists, but 2nd in the event. This year they only come in at a 1:45.00 (much slower than last year), but have no doubt that they’ll be ready to go when it counts.
Winner: Denison. Denison’s women don’t rebuild, they reload. Coach Parini is sure to have this team poised and ready to go. I guess the only question will be whether or not they can break their own meet record. It would take a big drop and was a suited time, but nothing is out of reach for these ladies.