By Kyle Sagendorph//USA Swimming Communications Intern | Thursday, March 21, 2019
The 2019 Women’s NCAA D1 Swimming and Diving Championships are underway after Stanford took home last night’s 800 freestyle relay to kick off the action. The four-day, short course yards event will feature a handful of National Team members competing at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.
With an 800 free relay team that consisted of three U.S. National Team members, Stanford was looking to increase their NCAA relay win streak to seven events, the longest streak since 2004-06. Katie Drabot was the first in the pool for the Cardinal, opening the relay with a split of 1:43.99. After falling behind to USC in the opening leg, Stanford senior and short course world championship medalist Ella Eastin completed the second leg in 1:42.03 to pull the Cardinal ahead. After a third leg that gained more ground for Stanford, United States national teamer Brooke Forde anchored the team with a 1:42.37, giving Stanford the win in 6:47.22. The win also marks the third straight year that Stanford has won the opening relay at NCAAs
Both the second and third place finishers set school records in the 800 free relay, with Cal finishing second in 6:50.12, while USC took home third in the event with a time of 6:52.13. Pan Pacific Championships gold medalist and Cal senior Katie McLaughlin helped lead the Bears to the school record, finishing her leg in 1:41.92.
In the second heat, Louisville senior and world champion Mallory Comerford stole the show, recording a 1:39.19 split on the second leg of the relay. Her split was the fastest time in the field and was a mere five-one hundredths of a second behind the all-time split record of 1:39.14, which she set at last year’s championships. Her performance helped Louisville finish in 6:56.07, good for sixth place and matching its best 800 free relay finish in program history.
Today’s finals begin at 5 p.m. ET, with digital coverage available on ESPN3. A handful of national team members will be making appearances, including Comerford, McLaughlin, Eastin, Lilly King, Abbey Weitzeil, Meghan Small and more. For more information on the event, visit ncaa.com.