NCAA Women’s Champs: Missy Franklin, Simone Manuel Put on Entertaining Show

Missy Franklin - by Peter Bick

Cal’s Missy Franklin and Stanford’s Simone Manuel wowed as the NCAA Women’s Division I Championships opened on Thursday, but Georgia holds the lead in the team race; Andrew Seliskar goes 4:16 for world top 10 in 400IM in Orlando.

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Cal’s Missy Franklin and Stanford’s Simone Manuel wowed as the NCAA Women’s Division I Championships opened on Thursday, but Georgia holds the lead in the team race; Andrew Seliskar goes 4:16 for world top 10 in 400IM in Orlando.

Comments

TommyL

What a pity that the NCAA are in SCY format. I as a non-US cannot get excited about the times. I remember that in the past Crocker and Bousquet were challenging the WR in 100free when the meet was in SCM format. That was exciting.

ITR

As far as I know even back then they only competed in SCM in Olympic years. But it was definitely more exciting and meant a lot more than these SCY times. Oh well…

Craig Lord

Yes, TommyL and ITR, its like some wines (jokes, etc): terrific in situ but doesn’t travel well and translation is somewhat pointless (I understand all the arguments why it is what it is).

felixdangerpants

Crocker 46.25 in 04, & yes I’m sure there would be a heap of scm wrs if they swam m at ncaa, only in America….

Bad Anon

Have always wondered Franklin’s medley potential in long course waters, think she can definitely go 2.08 and 4.31 respectively LCM, she definitely has the speed and endurance

beachmouse

IIRC, her breakstroke is a weak point, and it’s easier to ‘hide’ that in a short course race with an extra turn to work with than a long course IM.

When the NCAA tried the SCM experiment, the complaints went the other way- people would say that, yes a relay just went 3 seconds under the world record but they weren’t quite sure what it really meant compared to the familiar. (Because world records for relays require all four athletes to compete for the same passport, the US Open relay records tended to be a lot faster than the WR marks until the shine suit era. Auburn had some beauts with Fred Bosquet, George Bovell, and a couple of Americans)

So they went back to yards, even if it’s a little eccentric by global standards. As a bonus, up and comers are often hidden in plain sight. Last time around, Katie Ledecky and Breeja Larson were tearing up the odd little pool long before they were ‘surprise’ Olympic Team qualifiers, but if you pay attention to that odd little pool their results weren’t terribly unexpected.

Craig Lord

That last point beachmouse, absolutely … but then there are a great many cases of folk who excelled scy and never really got close to lcm selection

Craig Lord

I’m sure she could put in a swift 200 Ban Anon… but I think the thought of 4:31 stretches too far … best 400 free lcm is around 4:12 (not peak, of course) … but I don’t see a 4:31 l/c medley there, if only because of breaststroke)

Felixtzu

Having the championships in SCY makes sense if that is what the teams are used to competing. Keeping the whole thing in SCY often looks strange to us non-Americans, but I imagine that only needing a slightly smaller pools keeps costs down for everyone and keeps a few more players in the game.

I agree with beachmouse. Great as Franklin is, she wouldn’t be able to hide her breaststroke long-course against the world’s best. She has the potential to make a global final alright, but she needs to target potential wins. A bit of cross-training can always be of use, and I can’t really imagine it compromising her main events, but the potential for distraction and focusing on the wrong things is just more reason why she should never have gone near the NCAA.

beachmouse

In the longer swim career era, some event variety can help keep a swimmer mentally fresh and sometimes give them a Plan B if specific injuries look to be chronic. George Bovell was lucky to have sprint free training to fall back on when ,IIRC, knee problems put an end to him being one of the best 200 IMers in the world.

beachmouse

While SCY SCM and LCM are all different beasts in their own ways, there is a certain amount of overlap, especially between SCY and SCM.

Swim SCM at NCAAs in 2011 ans 2012, and Larson would have likely ended up in the top ten on the global lists in the 100 for the 2011-12 season (definitely a top twenty) and it would have been a ‘nice to see something of a known quantity make the jump to the big pool’ rather than sending an Australian or Japanese swim fan scrambling for the Texas A&M online media guide because they’d never heard her name before the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Felixtzu

That’s a good point, and I agree. It’s just that it’s best to do the right thing for the right reasons.

commonwombat

Think it’s a general case with everyone outside the US, or more specifically the NCAA “cocoon”, to take note of the names that are performing well (esp new ones) ……. but wait and see if they replicate in the “real world” ie metres.

Am with the consensus re Franklin & IM; a competitive 200 is plausible but 400 ???

Steve Levy

Folks, how about putting down the daggers and appreciate the event? Find a few videos featuring all the foreign swimmers who are in school here describing how much they’re enjoying the event. Think of all the Olympians who are/were NCAA Olympians.

In case you missed it, it’s called “racing” – and while you think it’s a pity, I can assure you that the athletes don’t.

[blame the long-term effects of chlorine submersion for the tone of this comment]

Craig Lord

Steve, racing is very important, of course, the most important in many ways but context is also important and time is a measure of how good a swim at the elite level is. Racing is great if you’re there – most of the world is not there, so they rely on picking up the result, and that, for many, is something that has no register in yards in vast swathes of the world that switches off because of that factor. That’s a pity because the world is, of course, interested in anything that offers what the NCAA has to offer, a great showcase for swimming – not to mention one of the best ‘race practice’ environments and team-building mechanisms you could wish for. As for those foreign swimmers, many down the years have returned home and not lived up in lcm to the promise of a scy effort at NCAA – and that accounts for some of the ‘so what’ (i.e., remoteness and lack of context). I think those issues disappear if you remove the clock altogether and divorce NCAA from ‘what it all means in others worlds’ until it means something, as commonwombat suggests – as you suggest, just live the moment … though ignoring the clock is not easy, for in swimming we also love what the clock brings to the party (hence why it ticks in the corner at every meet in whatever format and distance is the order of the day).
It is a very interesting topic because swimming has to find ways of doing what you suggest – appreciating the event and the racing away from the traditional championship format that is well worth preserving and protecting on those big occasions but has a tendency to dominate all moments in between, when it would be better if that were not the case.

Bad Anon

I think that’s why Missy Franklin passed up millions to maintain her NCAA eligibility, there is no subsitute for team experience and camaraderie of college swimming

Steve Levy

Craig, now that’s the type of thoughtful response FINA should considering having – thank you.

More events like the Duel in the Pool would help cure the “winning time” blues; adopt a format similar to the brackets used in World Cup Soccer where the national teams of countries from the same bracket swim against each other. Alternate years of LCM with either scm or scy.

If the folks who are against different pool formats want to know why the NCAA environment is so attractive, reach out to and ask these swimmers what they thought of their experience (from another swimming site):

http://swimswam.com/over-100-former-ncaa-swimmers-storm-the-olympics/

Craig Lord

🙂 Steve … from another site indeed … but that piece the brainchild of Braveheart himself 🙂
Yes to more Duel in the Pool moments

Felixtzu

Bad Anon, I think that may well be the case, but should people be applauding that decision? Or should those around the young person have encouraged a more mature decision?

In any other walk of life an individual turning down a million pound job for the fun of and camaraderie of playing for an amateur sports team would be ridiculed mercilessly.

Craig Lord

Maybe so, felixtzu but that million has not exactly gone away – and welcoming it at one moment not the next would have meant a different journey; also, some things money can’t buy – a good thing, too.

Felixtzu

Prize money, record bonuses, sponsorship opportunities covering this period have all gone regardless of what happens in the future.

Bad Anon

I think she will be able to win more gold medals in future and set world records. After all she is still getting faster and she ain’t even 21 yet which is amazing

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