NCAA Preview – W400FR

To paraphrase my first collegiate coach, Bob Kent, even if you don’t win the meet, winning the 400 FR can make you feel like you did. Last year, Emory not only hoisted the team trophy, they also won the event. Their 1st 2 swimmers, however, graduated. Lucky for Emory, they don’t rebuild, they reload. They enter with the 2nd fastest time of the year, coming rom midseason.

Coming off of their amazing NCAC meet, the Denison Lady Red are ranked 1st. They graduated just 1 swimmer from their runner up team from 2010. While they were a couple seconds behind the champion Eagles, they were also over 2 seconds ahead of their 3rd place competitors. Coach Parini will have the Denison women in fine form and retapering well. Will it be enough? We’ll find out Saturday.

Half of last year’s finalists didn’t have a senior on their relay. That’s pretty substantial considering the high level of talent. Since most of those swimmers will be making the trip again, we can except faster swimming. Teams like Hopkins and Stevens are already faster than their fastest time from last year’s meet. Also, since 13 teams enter under 3:30, a feat that only 8 teams were able to accomplish at NCAA’s last year, it will be fast.

Sleeper: Grove City. They dropped nearly 4 seconds from their seed time last year. Doing so again won’t be quite as simple, but it would put them with a chance to win. I don’t see Grove City winning it, but returning all 4 swimmers and coming in significantly faster gives me hope that they can place in the top 3.

Winner: Emory. They came, they saw, they conquered.

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