2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap



  1. Virginia – 374.5
  2. Texas – 272.5
  3. Stanford – 239
  4. Louisville – 191.5
  5. NC State – 190
  6. Ohio State – 170
  7. Florida – 146
  8. Tennessee – 135
  9. UNC-Chapel Hill – 125
  10. Indiana – 121


We’ve reached the final session of the 2023 Women’s DI NCAA Championships. It’s been a week of incredibly fast racing, and it looks like we’ll have another great slate of events tonight. There are finals of the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, platform diving, and the 400 free relay.

We’ll kick things off with the fastest heat of the 1650 free though, where Wisconsin’s Paige McKenna aims to defend her title. Last year, Erica Sullivan finished second out of the early heats, but now she’ll be right next to McKenna as they vie for the title. Both will have to keep an eye on Kensey McMahon, who showed she’s on great form earlier in the meet with a win in the 500 freestyle.

After rattling the American record at PAC-12s, Claire Curzan was the favorite in the 200 backstroke coming into the meet. She defended that position well in prelims and was the only swimmer to break 1:50. Phoebe Bacon has been having an excellent meet though, and Isabelle Stadden could play spoiler as well.

The 100 freestyle will be a rematch between Maggie MacNeil and Gretchen Walsh, who went head to head in the 50 freestyle, with MacNeil coming out on top. Both have had incredible swims at these championships, and aim to cap it off with another individual title. Gabi Albiero, Katharine Berkoffand Torri Huske are lurking though, and are sure to keep things interesting.

In the 200 breast, it will be Kate Douglass versus the clock as she vies for her third individual title of the meet. Douglass has lowered her own American record twice this season and after a strong 2:02.60 in prelims looks ready to make another run at the mark.

The last individual swimming event of the session (and the meet) is the 200 fly, where last year’s champion Alex Walsh will have her hands full fending off the trio of Longhorn swimmers: Emma Sticklen, Dakota Lutherand Kelly Pash. It’s Sticklen and Luther who led the way with the top two times in prelims (1:51.71 and 1:51.91) so we’ll see whose got what left in the tank.


  • NCAA Record: 15:03.31 — Katie Ledecky, Stanford (2017)
  • Meet Record: 15:07.70 — Katie Ledecky, Stanford (2017)
  • American Record: 15:01.41 — Katie Ledecky, Gator Swim Club (2023)
  • U.S. Open Record: 15:01.41 — Katie Ledecky, Gator Swim Club (2023)
  • Pool Record: 15:15.17 — Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital (2013)
  • 2022 Champion: Paige McKenna, Wisconsin — 15:40.84

Top 8:

  1. Kensey McMahon, Alabama — 15:43.84
  2. Ching Hwee Gan, Indiana — 15:46.28
  3. Paige McKenna, Wisconsin — 15:48.71
  4. Kristen Stege, Tennessee — 15:50.24
  5. Erica Sullivan, Texas — 15:50.27
  6. Aly Breslin, Tennessee — 15:50.80
  7. Mariah Denigan, Indiana — 15:52.18
  8. Rachel Stege, Georgia — 15:54.55

Kensey McMahon collected her second title of the meet with a win in the 1650 freestyle, sweeping the distance races. McMahon built her way into the race, taking the lead for the first time with just a 100 yards to go. She touched in 15:43.84, which is a season best and just a tenth off her PB from 2020.

It was Erica Sullivan and Ching Hwee Gan who took the race out. Sullivan led at the beginning, but the Indiana freshman refused to go away. She took the lead over for herself and swam away from Sullivan, out in clean water and all the way in lane 8. At the 1000, she had clear daylight to the rest of the field. Further back, McMahon and defending champion Paige McKenna had caught Sullivan, with Tennessee’s Kristen Stege making it a group of four.

Over the third 500, it was McMahon and McKenna together slowly beginning to eat into Gan’s lead, with Stege and Sullivan together further back. The Alabama fifth-year shook McKenna, then passed Gan with 100 yards to go and didn’t look back. Gan held on for second to the tune of 15:46.28, 10.27 second drop from the best time she swam at Big Tens last month.

McKenna earned third in 15:48.71, while Stege out-touched Sullivan for fourth by three-hundredths of a second.

From the early heats, Mariah Denigan and Rachel Stege grabbed seventh and eighth.


  • NCAA Record: 1:47.24 — Beata Nelson, Wisconsin (2019)
  • Meet Record: 1:47.24 — Beata Nelson, Wisconsin (2019)
  • American Record: 1:47.16 — Regan Smith, Riptide (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:47.16 — Regan Smith, Riptide (2019)
  • Pool Record: 1:49.30 — Rhyan White, Alabama (2020)
  • 2022 Champion: Regan Smith, Stanford — 1:47.76

Top 8:

  1. Claire Curzan, Stanford — 1:47.64 (Pool Record)
  2. Phoebe Bacon, Wisconsin — 1:49.28
  3. Isabelle Stadden, Cal — 1:49.38
  4. Josephine Fuller, Tennessee — 1:50.22
  5. Kennedy Noble, NC State — 1:50.58
  6. Reilly Tiltmann, Virginia — 1:50.84
  7. Olivia Bray, Texas — 1:51.95
  8. Emma Muzzy, NC State — 1:52.82

Claire Curzan collected her first NCAA title with her win in the 200 backstroke. It was Olivia Bray who flipped first at the 50, closely followed by Curzan and Isabelle Stadden. By the 100 though, the Stanford freshman had taken over turning in 52.68. Where she really shone was the back half though, as she powered to the finish with splits of 27.21 and 27.75 to touch in a pool record time of 1:47.64.

She was a bit off the best time of 1:47.34 she swam at PAC-12s, but this time is the sixth-fastest performance in history and more than enough to earn her the win. Post-race, Curzan talked about what it was like to rebound after a disappointing day yesterday. She said that it helped to remember how much work she had put into her season, and how she didn’t want that one bad day to define her meet.

On the final 50, Phoebe Bacon clocked 28.20, out-splitting Stadden by exactly half a second. That gave her just enough space to get in front of the Cal swimmer and earn second in a season-best 1:49.28. Stadden was a tenth slower in 1:49.38, a bit off the lifetime best 1:48.75 that she swam to finish second to Curzan at PAC-12s.

Sophomore Josephine Fuller finished fourth for the home team in 1:50.22, a tenth off her lifetime best of 1:50.12 which she’s swum twice: at midseason and in NCAA prelims.

Kennedy Noble and Emma Muzzy touched fifth and eighth, picking up important points for NC State in the race for fourth in the team standings. The Wolfpack came into the final day just 1.5 points behind Louisville.


  • NCAA Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • Meet Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • American Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • U.S. Open Record: 45.56 — Simone Manuel, Stanford (2017)
  • Pool Record: 46.15 — Erika Brown, Tennessee (2019)
  • 2022 Champion: Gretchen Walsh, Virginia — 46.05

Top 8:

  1. Gretchen Walsh, Virginia — 45.61 (Pool Record)
  2. Torri Huske, Stanford — 46.46
  3. Maggie MacNeil, LSU — 46.58
  4. Gabi Albiero, Louisville — 46.80
  5. Katharine Berkoff, NC State — 46.87
  6. Kit Kat Zenick, Ohio State — 47.27
  7. Laticia-Leigh Transom, Hawaii/Christiana Regenauer, Louisville — 47.50
  8. (tie)

She had the slowest reaction time in the field, but it didn’t take long for defending champion Gretchen Walsh to get up and get going. She was ahead at the 25, and flipped at the halfway mark in a blistering 21.72, under Simone Manuel‘s NCAA and American record pace. To help put just how insane that split is into perspective: 21.72 would have made the ‘B’ final in the individual 50 free at these championships, and would have missed the ‘A’ by just .01.

Walsh missed Manuel’s record by just .05, coming home in 23.89. Her final time was a scorching 45.61, the second fastest all-time. Post-race she said that she had just wanted to break 46, and she certainly did that.

After being in the ‘B’ final last year, Torri Huske responded by earning second in 46.46.That chops .32 seconds off her lifetime best from 2022 NCAAs. Though it’s been overshadowed a bit by the NCAA records, Huske has put together a really great meet: she’s swum three best times in her individual events and placed 2nd, 3rd, and now 2nd again. She also cracks the top-10 of fastest performers all-time in the event at #10.

Maggie MacNeil finished third in 46.58, .12 seconds behind Huske. She dropped time from the morning, but was about three-tenths slower than she was at SECs.

Gabi Albiero swam a lifetime best 46.80, dropping .15 seconds from the mark she set at ACCs. She out-touched Katharine Berkoff by seven-hundredths. For her part, the NC State senior logged a personal best of her own, shaving two-hundredths off her best, which she set last year at ACCs.


Top 8:

  1. Kate Douglass, Virginia — 2:01.29
  2. Anna Elendt, Texas — 2:03.26
  3. Ella Nelson, Virginia — 2:04.33
  4. Mona McSharry, Tennessee — 2:04.59
  5. Noelle Peplowski, Indiana — 2:06.16
  6. Kaelyn Gridley, Duke — 2:06.26
  7. Anna Keating, Virginia — 2:06.73
  8. Isabelle Odgers, USC — 2:07.13

In the final individual collegiate swim of her career, Kate Douglass made it 3-for-3, in individual titles and both NCAA and American records. She collected the win here in the 200 breast in 2:01.29, resetting her own NCAA and American records. It’s the third time that she’s broken that American record this season.

She opened the race in 58.29, already a half second ahead of the field and continued to grow her lead over the back half of the race. She came home in 1:03, getting under her American record by .14 seconds.

For the second year in a row, Anna Elendt finished second behind Douglass. This year though, she did so in a big personal best, posting 2:03.26. That cuts seven-tenths off her previous lifetime best 2:03.92, which she swam at Big-12s last year. Additionally, the time moves her into a tie with Bethany Galat for fourth-fastest performer in history.

Rounding out the top three was Ella Nelson, earning her second individual top three finish of the meet. A senior herself, Nelson also posted a lifetime best, shaving .02 seconds from 2021 NCAAs. She finished just ahead of Mona McSharry, who clocked 2:04.59 to earn another fourth-place finish for Tennessee. This was her first time sub-2:05.


  • NCAA Record: 1:49.51 — Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • Meet Record: 1:50.01 — Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • American Record: 1:49.51 — Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:49.51 – Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • 2022 Champion: Alex Walsh, Virginia (1:50.79)

Top 8:

  1. Emma Sticklen, Texas — 1:49.95 (Meet Record)
  2. Alex Walsh, Virginia — 1:50.23
  3. Kelly Pash, Texas — 1:51.89
  4. Lindsay Looney, ASU — 1:52.25
  5. Dakota Luther, Texas — 1:52.27
  6. Charlotte Hook, Stanford — 1:53.17
  7. Abby Harter, Virginia — 1:53.26
  8. Abby Hay, Louisville — 1:53.90

What a way to close out the individual swim races of this meet. The big question coming into the meet was whether Alex Walsh would be able to fend off the Texas trio of Emma Sticklen, Kelly Pash, and Dakota Luther. As if in answer, Walsh took the race out like a rocket, turning at the 100 mark in 50.57 which is almost three seconds under Ella Eastin‘s NCAA and American record pace. That split would have qualified her for the individual 100 fly ‘A’ final in seventh.

[Update: We are working to confirm if there was a touchpad error on Walsh’s 100 fly split. Hand-timing the race, we have her at about 51.5 at the 100. Either way, she was first at the wall]

At that point, it seemed like everyone else was swimming for second, as Sticklen was the closest to her at 52.53 (also under Eastin’s pace). The Texas junior refused to go away though, and outsplit Walsh on the third 50, 28.63 to 29.26 which cut Walsh’s lead to under two seconds. Walsh still had the lead at the final turn, but Sticklen had an incredible underwater to pull even with Walsh. They were even coming down the stretch, but Sticklen pushed out ahead under the flags. She clocked a meet record time of 1:49.95 and became the first Longhorn to win an NCAA title in this event.

Sticklen crushed her lifetime best by 1.42 seconds, which previously stood at 1:51.37 from Texas’ dual meet with NC State. It also makes her the fourth-fastest performer all-time. Walsh held on to post a lifetime best of her own, dropping .56 seconds from the time she went to win this title last year. She moves up to fifth fastest all-time.

In her first ‘A’ final of the meet, Kelly Pash rebounded nicely to earn her highest ever finish in this event at NCAAs. She touched third in 1:51.89, about four-tenths off the personal best she swam earlier this season. ASU senior Lindsay Looney powered home on the final 50 with a 29.61 split to out-touch Luther by two-hundredths of a second in a new lifetime best.


  • Meet Record: 396.75 — Haley Ishimatsu, USC (2013)
  • Pool Record: 377.60 — Jessica Paratto, Unattached (2012)
  • 2022 Champion: Tarrin Gililand, Indiana — 372.95

Top 8:

  1. Delaney Schnell, Arizona — 352.65
  2. Montserrat Lavenant, LSU — 347.00
  3. Viviana Del Angel, Minnesota — 344.55
  4. Skyler Liu, Indiana — 328.05
  5. Nike Agunbiade, USC — 323.85
  6. Jordan Skilken, Texas — 293.75
  7. Maycey Vieta, Purdue — 293.60
  8. Else Praasterink, Louisville — 270.70

In her last collegiate meet, fifth-year Delaney Schnell won her first NCAA title. It came down to the last dive for Schnell to secure the title, as she moved ahead of Montserrat Lavenant to win with 352.65 points to the LSU junior’s 347.00.

It was close between the top three or four divers through the early rounds–for a moment, only two points separated first through third. Then, it looked like Schnell had locked up the title after a dive that scored her an overwhelming majority of 9.5s. Lavenant crept back into the title conversation though, with Viviana Del Angel not far behind. Del Angel finished third with 344.55 points, adding to Minnesota’s total.

USC senior Nike Agunbiade climbed up one step on the podium, finishing fifth with 323.85 points after earning sixth last year.

Else Praasterink became Louisville’s first diver, man or woman, to make an ‘A’ final yesterday by earning a spot in the 3-meter championship flight. Today, she doubled down and became their first to make a platform final. She finished eighth, giving Louisville some crucial points in their race for fourth with NC State.


  • NCAA Record: 3:06.83, Virginia (G. Walsh, K. Douglass, L. Cuomo, A. Walsh) — 2023
  • Meet Record: 3:06.91, Virginia (K. Douglass, A. Walsh, R. Tiltmann, G. Walsh) — 2022
  • American Record: 3:06.83, Virginia (G. Walsh, K. Douglass, L. Cuomo, A. Walsh) — 2023
  • U.S. Open Record: 3:06.83, Virginia (G. Walsh, K. Douglass, L. Cuomo, A. Walsh) — 2023
  • 2022 Champion: Virginia (K. Douglass, A. Walsh, R. Tiltmann, G. Walsh) — 3:06.91

Top 8:

  1. Virginia (K. Douglass, A. Walsh, M. Parker, G. Walsh) — 3:05.84 (NCAA and American Record)
  2. Stanford (T. Huske, T. Ruck, A. Tang, C. Curzan) — 3:08.54
  3. Louisville (G. Albiero, C. Regenauer, J. Dennis, E. Welch) — 3:09.57
  4. NC State — 3:10.51
  5. Ohio State — 3:10.52
  6. Indiana — 3:12.39
  7. Texas — 3:12.59
  8. Florida — 3:12.62

Virginia ended the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay, completing the first 5-for-5 relay sweep since Stanford accomplished the same feat in 2018. They finished the meet and won their third-straight team title in NCAA and American record fashion, obliterating their old mark by .99 seconds with a 3:05.84.

Kate Douglass led the Cavaliers off 46.37 in her final collegiate swim. Then, Alex Walsh threw down a 46.58 before handing things off to junior Maxine Parker, who split 47.04. Parker wasn’t on this relay at ACCs, but finished the highest of the three Cavaliers in the 100 freestyle ‘B’ final. Last, Gretchen Walsh dove in and anchored in 45.85, widening the gap between UVA and the field even further.

Stanford earned second, touching 1.03 second ahead of third place Louisville. Torri Huske led off in 46.59, just off the 46.46 she clocked in the individual final to finish second. Next, Taylor Ruck swam 46.74, a great final NCAA swim for her. Amy Tang split 48.36, and Claire Curzan anchored in 46.85; a great split for her as well.

Louisville added .65 seconds from ACCs, but they still had plenty of room to spare as they finished almost a second ahead of NC State. Gabi Albiero posted 47.38, and then they got three 47-mid splits from the rest of their relay: Christiana Regenauer swam 47.24, Julia Dennis went 47.49, and Ella Welch brought them home in 47.46.

Indiana finished sixth out of heat three, closing out a strong championships for them. Aside from Virginia and Stanford, they were the only team in the top 8 that dropped from their seed.

Notably, both Alabama and LSU were disqualified.

Final Full Standings

  1. Virginia – 541.5
  2. Texas – 414.5
  3. Stanford – 333
  4. Louisville – 288
  5. NC State – 263
  6. Ohio State – 223
  7. Indiana – 219
  8. Tennessee – 214
  9. Florida – 179
  10. UNC-Chapel Hill – 152
  11. Cal – 137
  12. USC – 125
  13. LSU – 112
  14. Alabama – 111
  15. Wisconsin – 100
  16. Georgia – 90.5
  17. Minnesota – 53
  18. Arizona – 52
  19. Kentucky – 49
  20. Virginia Tech – 46
  21. Duke – 42
  22. Miami (FL) – 36
  23. Michigan – 33
  24. Purdue – 32
  25. Texas A&M – 26
  26. South Carolina – 25
  27. Arizona State – 19
  28. Northwestern/Arkansas – 18
  29. (tie)
  30. Auburn – 14
  31. Hawaii – 11.5
  32. Florida State – 11
  33. Miami (OH) – 9
  34. UCLA – 8
  35. Penn – 7
  36. Akron/Nevada – 5
  37. (tie)
  38. FIU – 4
  39. Georgia Tech/Utah – 2
  40. (tie)

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7 days ago

In other news China has another young sub 48 100 freestyler.


Mike McCormack
7 days ago

Meet post-mortems: great officials! Great organization! Great coverage and announcing! Great camera handling, with fantastic cuts at appropriate times! Great dignitaries from the world of swimming attending and lending their presence to the classy gestalt of it! And of course, GREAT girls, with their type of team and one-another camaraderie that should be taught to the rest of the sports world. Power, love and infinite stamina to the unity and brilliance of NCAA Women’s Swimming!

(Moment of the meet: the Texas girls CRUSHING Lydia right after her 100 breast-winning interview with a love outpouring the likes of which are very rare…)

7 days ago

Douglass undoubtedly swimmer of the meet and ONE of the best in history but not the best. See Natalie Coughlin in 2002. She did same schedule as Curzan— 100 back/100 fly double and 200 back plus lead off 400 free relay— and broke 4 American records.

Her 49.97 100 back record stood for FIFTEEN YEARS!!!

8 days ago

Raising funds to have Kate Douglass swim a rested scy time trial session every 2nd year of a quad when there’s no Olympics or WCs

Let’s reach a sum that won’t leave her a choice! 2026 here we gooo

Last edited 8 days ago by Bud
Viking Steve
8 days ago

What an absolutely legendary meet.

What a great example of someone with substantial innate talent who worked hard to make sure that not a drop went to waste.

What a joy it is going to be to see all that K8 will accomplish in LCM full time. That intensity and focus will translate seamlessly.

Kudos to you K8.

Last edited 8 days ago by Viking Steve
8 days ago

Final score to psych sheets, I had (for certain teams I had tracked during conference meets):

Virginia +77.5
Louisville +19
Stanford +10
Florida +5
Tennessee +4
Texas -21.5
NC State -27 (relay DQ)
Alabama -48 (relay DQ)
Ohio State -53 (but I think I transposed a relay time with Michigan)

Also, UVa did pretty well in those middle- and distance free and 400 IM that are evidently the coaching staff’s Achilles heel: 200, 500, 1,650 frees, 800 free relay, and 400 IM combined for 120 points (+29 from psych sheets).

Mire Fargo
Reply to  Vaswammer
7 days ago

Alabama wasn’t scoring in the relay we got dq’ed in. We would’ve finished 17th had we not jumped on the 400 free relay. Not super enthused with this season, or our future.

8 days ago

Congratulations UVA! What a great year!

Anyone up for 2024 predictions? Here are my winners:
50 free – G. Walsh
100 free – G. Walsh
200 free – I. Ivey
500 free – A. Walsh
1650 free – P. McKenna
100 back – G. Walsh
200 back – C. Curzan
100 breast – L. Jacoby
200 breast – A. Walsh
100 fly – T. Huske
200 fly – E. Sticklen
200 IM – T. Huske
400 IM – A. Walsh
200 FR – Louisville
400 FR – Virginia
800 FR – Stanford
200 MR – Virginia
400 MR – Virginia
*these assume that B. Sims and E. Gemmell do not swim in the NCAA next year.

Reply to  Willswim
8 days ago

No surprise freshmen?

Age of Winters
Reply to  Willswim
7 days ago

To predictable/safe picks. There will be new freshman and current swimmers who reach new peaks.

Reply to  Willswim
7 days ago

I don’t see Alex Walsh swimming the 500 FR.

Reply to  Willswim
7 days ago

If Sims and Gemmell are not coming, Gormsen wins the 500.

8 days ago

ACC women coming through!! National champs, 3 of Top 5, and 4 of Top 10 – will only get deeper as other teams keep on the rise

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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