A for Athlete

1,650 Freestyle 

Records have been broken with abandon this weekend at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Still, some are a bit more difficult than others, and Janet Evans' 1990 NCAA record in the 1650 had stood for 22 years. Tonight, two swimmers cleared that, the record ultimately falling into the hands of North Carolina's Stephanie Peacock in 15:38.79. Georgia's Wendy Trott, aiming for her fourth straight victory, finally got under Janet Evans' record but took second to the surprising Peacock 15:38.94. Both swimmers were joined by two others earlier in the race: Georgia's Amber McDermott, who slipped behind one-third of the way through, and USC's Haley Anderson, who held on through the 1000 before slipping to third in 15:43.44. McDermott, in 15:51.49, could not best the huge swim by Minnesota's Ashley Steenvorden at 15:44.56 from earlier in the afternoon. Filling out the top eight was Indiana's Lindsay Vrooman, Texas A&M Maureen McLaine, and Tristan Baxter of Arizona St.

1,650 Free Afternoon Heats

Minnesota's Ashley Steenvorden laid down the law in the third of three heats, clocking a 15:44.56 to crush the rest of not only her race but all three heats. Tristan Baxter of Arizona State finished second behind Steenvorden in 16:02.60 to grab the next fastest qualifying time before the big girl final later in the evening. Iowa's Rebecca Stoughton made a big move early on in heat two and held on to win in 16:03.42 to rank third amongst the preliminary heats. Chelsea Franklin of Arkansas (16:03.94) ranks fourth after taking third behind Steenvorden and Baxter in heat three. West Virginia's Rachel Burnett (16:06.61), the second place finisher behind Stoughton ranks fifth.

200 Backstroke

Florida's Elizabeth Beisel claimed victory tonight in the 200 backstroke to win her first career NCAA title. Beisel led wire to wire to take the victory in 1:50.58. She was only challenged through the 100 by Stanford's Maya Dirado, who got second from lane one with a 1:51.42. Missouri's Dominique Bouchard took third thanks to a stellar back half in 1:51.68. Sarah Denninghoff of Arizona (1:52.49) beat Teresa Crippen in Crippen's first of two 200 finals tonight. 

In the "B" Final, Georgia's Kelsey Gaid scored a victory over Melanie Klaren of Cal, 1:53.62 to 1:53.99.

100 Freestyle

The final night of swimming has featured plenty of redemption. First, Elizabeth Beisel broke through with a victory in the 200 back. In the 100 free, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace had come into the meet with many picking her to dominate the sprint freestyle events. Up to this point she had struggled, relatively speaking, but she exercised some retribution with a 46.88 victory. Megan Romano of Georgia, who has been swimming phenomenally all week, earned her second runner-up finish in 47.01. Margo Geer of Arizona wasn't far behind, finishing third in 47.14. She was followed by Texas' Bispo, with Cal's 50 free champ Jensen in fifth. Missouri senior Shara Stafford was sixth, edging a pair of Stanford finalists in Andrea Murez and Madeline Schaefer. 

In the B final, it was all Stanford as Betsy Webb claimed ninth with a 47.99 followed by teammate Sam Woodward in 48.08. They were followed by Georgia freshman Maddie Locus in 48.38.

200 Breaststroke

In the "A" final, there was much anticipation of a battle between A&M's Larson and Cal's Leverenz. However, Leverenz dominated the race from the 50 on, cruising to victory and just missing Rebecca Soni's trio of records with 2:04.76. For the second straight season, Larson was passed on the last 25 by Minnesota's Haley Spencer, 2:07.24 to 2:07.44. Giselle Kohoyda of Louisville rode an aggressive first 100 (1:01.3) to a fourth place 2:07.87 and was followed by George Mason's Ashley Danner, runner-up in the 100, Stina Gardell of Southern Cal, Laura Sogar of Texas and Allysa Vavra of Indiana.

In the "B" final, Purdue's Emily Fogle played spoiler to a Georgia sweep when she carried an aggressive early pace to a victory in 2:08.28. She was followed by Michelle McKeehan, Melanie Margalis and Jana Mangimelli of the Bulldogs.

200 Butterfly

Katinka Hosszu will be in contention for swimmer of the meet with nemesis Caitlin Leverenz of Cal thanks to a successful defense of her 200 fly title won in Austin last year. Hosszu pulled away from Texas A&M Cammile Adams and Cal's Sara Isakovic at the 100. Adams, just a sophomore claimed her second consecutive silver medal in the event after clocking a 1:52.40, well ahead of third place finisher Kelsey Floyd of Tennessee (1:54.28). Isakovic fell to fourth with a 1:54.38, followed by USC's Tanya Krisman (1:54.64), A&M's Caroline McElhany (1:55.23), Arizona's Alyssa Anderson (1:55.50). Florida's Teresa Crippen competing in her second 200 final of the night, finished eighth in 1:55.63. 

In the B final, Tanja Kylliainen of Louisville looked like she had the race sewn up with 25 to go, but ultimately faded and conceded victory to West Virginia's Amanda Nugent, 1:55.17 to 1:55.23. Rita Medrano finished 11th for Texas A&M, followed closely by Jasmin Jahansashi of UCLA, in 1:55.75 and 1:55.95, respectively.

Platform Diving Championship Final

It was a battle all the way in the women's platform diving final between IUPUI's Chen Ni and Victoria Lamp of Tennessee. Ni appeared to have it sewn up going into the last round, but Lamp uncorked a huge 86-point final dive to nearly catch the 2010 champ. It wasn't quite enough however as Ni held on for the victory. Amanda Cozad of Indiana was third. Also notable was Cal's Kahley Rowell taking fifth -- guaranteeing Cal the national championship going into the final relay. 

Platform Diving Consolation Final:

Round 1: Texas A&M's Janie Potvin (70.5) takes the lead in the first round over USC's Victoria Ishimatsu (65.6). Diana Wilcox of Texas sits third (58.5). Indiana's Laura Ryan, the 12th-place finisher in prelims, has scratched finals which allows San Diego State's Kristen Meier to move into 16th position.

Round 2: Potvin (142.50) looks like a completely different diver from prelims, nailing her second straight dive to stretch out a large lead over Ishimatsu (121.60) after only two rounds. Kelli Stockton (109.05). of Virginia Tech climbs from sixth to third.

Round 3: Potvin (183.75) misses her third round dive but still leads Ishimatsu (180.40) with two dives to go. Stockton remains in third (165.60).

Round 4: Another strong effort from Potvin (254.70) allows her to widen her lead back up over Ishimatsu (241.30) heading into the final round. Stockton (224.40) continues to hold the third place spot.

Round 5: Texas A&M's Janie Potvin (339.5) saves her best dive for last to easily win the consolation final over USC's Victoria Ishimatsu (294.95). Potvin's consolation final score would have ranked her second in prelims behind Victoria Lamp of Tennessee and ahead of 2010 champ Chen Ni of IUPUI. Virginia Tech's Kelli Stockton (280.4) finished third. Auburn's Anna Aguero (273.7) and Vennie Dantin (256.1) took fourth and fifth respectively.

400 Freestyle Relay

With the national title already in the bag for Cal, the 400 free relay was all for pride. Stanford earned a comfortable in an American record of 3:10.77 behind four well balanced splits. Auburn's Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace brought her squad from fourth to second over the final leg, just outlasting a surging Megan Romano of Georgia, with the two recording stellar 46.3 and 46.1 splits. Both teams surpassed fourth place Arizona on the final leg of the relay. 

Wisconsin powered to victory in the "B" final ahead of Big 10 rival Minnesota, 3:15.41 to 3:15.89. They were keyed by Rebekah Palm who pulled them into first on the second leg with a 48.38. Notable splits came from SMU's Nina Rangelova, 48.10, and Shara Stafford with a 48.17 leadoff leg for Missouri.  

Team Champs - California

For the second straight season, and the third time in four seasons, the California Golden Bears outswam the rest of the contenders to claim championship glory. Though rarely the favorite coming into the meet, Coach Teri McKeever's young ladies get it done once again. Let the dynasty talk begin.

1. California 412.5 2. Georgia 366 3. USC 325.5 4. Stanford 318 5. Arizona 299 6. Texas A&M 262 7. Auburn, Tennessee 249 9. Texas 201 10. Florida 160 11. Minnesota 131 12. Arizona State 123 13. Indiana 115 14. Missouri 98 15. Wisconsin 91 16. SMU 67 17. Virginia 60 18. Virginia Tech 19. UNC 44 20. Ohio State 34 21. George Mason 31 22. Notre Dame, Penn State 30 24. Louisville 23 25. Columbia 21