ASU women's swim and dive struggle at NCAA Championships

ASU may have done its best, but was out swam by the top swim programs in the country

The 2017 women's NCAA swim and dive Championships began on Wednesday. ASU came into the first day of races with great effort, but ended up earning 29th place. This placement was not a result of little effort, but instead due to the fact that ASU may need some time before matching up with dominant swim programs.

Day 1: ASU watches Pac-12 foes start Championships on high note

The Sun Devils traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to compete in the women’s NCAA swim and dive Championships that began Wednesday.

ASU did not have any swimmers race in the night’s only event — the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Pac-12 rival Stanford started off the championships with an impressive first place finish (6:45.91).

The Cardinal relay team, led by freshman all-star Katie Ledecky, swam the fastest 800-yard freestyle relay in the history of swim.

The University of California, Berkley put every fan on notice by swimming into second place with a time of 6:51.42 and adding 34 points to their team total.

Day 2: Sun Devils go day two without reaching a final

ASU got its first taste of the NCAA Championships on Thursday with swimmers in the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard medley relay.

Rio Olympian and senior Kat Simonovic placed 44th in the 500-yard freestyle with her preliminary time of 4:44.70.

Freshman Kendall Dawson was not far behind Simonovic as she swam a time of 4:44.94.

The Sun Devils finished the day by swimming in the 400-yard medley relay, but did not qualify for the final, therefore they finished in preliminaries (3:34.11).

With the second day of races complete, the Sun Devils were still working to swim in a final where they could put points on the board.

Until then, Pac-12 powerhouses Stanford and the University of California, Berkley held first and second place.

Stanford climbed to first place in team standings by strong performances in the 500-yard freestyle, where three of the top eleven finishers swam for the Cardinal.

The divers will return to the platform in the 3-meter dive final.

Day 3: Freshman earns first points for ASU

On the third day of races, the ASU women’s swimming and diving team was finally able to put points on the board.

Freshman breaststroker Silja Kansakoski swam a fast enough preliminary time in the 100-yard breaststroke (59.52) to compete in the evening final.

Kansakoski placed 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke final (58.89), giving the Sun Devils their first six points of the NCAA Championships.

ASU lacked points due to the little representation it had in event finals.

The team went into the final night of races in 34th place.

Senior Kat Simonovic and freshman Kendall Dawson both fell short in their attempt to race in the 200-yard freestyle.

The women will have their final chance to move up from 34th place in the NCAA Championships’ last day of competition.

Saturday’s swimming events consist of the 1650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard fly and the 400-yard freestyle relay. The divers will wrap up competition with the platform final.

Day 4: Sun Devils finish championships with best day of competition

ASU had its best night of competition in the women’s NCAA Championships on Saturday.

Three days into the races the Sun Devils had amassed a total of six points.

Freshman breaststroker Silja Kansakoski earned 10th place in the 200-yard breaststroke adding seven more points to ASU’s total. Kansakoski is the reason the Sun Devils had six points going into Saturday’s round of finals.

However, junior diver Mara Aiacoboae qualified for the evening’s platform dive with her score of 264.60 in preliminaries.

In the platform final Aiacoboae scored 275.50, giving ASU another nine points.

Although the Sun Devils had their strongest day of races, it was only enough for them to finish 29th overall.

The team may not have placed where fans would have hoped, but individuals Kansakoski and Aiacoboae can walk away with their heads held high as they both earned honorable mention All-American accolades during competition.

While ASU had individual honors to be proud of, Pac-12 rival Stanford won the NCAA Championships, bringing the women’s swim and dive national title to the Pac-12.

The women’s championships are over, but the men will get their chance to compete for a title in Indianapolis, Indiana next week.


Reach the reporter at atotri@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.

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