GREENSBORO, NC – Seven Florida Southern women's swimmers will be competing this week at the 2018 NCAA Division II National Swimming and Diving Championships, which begins Wednesday morning at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Those seven swimmers give Florida Southern the chance to compete in all but two events at the finals, though two of them are restricted to relay events only.
Swimmers earn automatic spots by achieving NCAA "A" times throughout the season, but can also be selected based on the strength of their "B" times. Once a swimmer has been chosen to compete in a specific event or events at the National Finals, they may compete in any additional events in which they achieved the NCAA "B" standard. However, each swimmer is limited to no more than four individual events or seven total events including relays.
The 4-day championship meet features 19 swimming events and two diving events, and the NCAA will provide full coverage all week with live results and video. (Links will be provided once they are available.) Competition each day begins at 10:00 a.m. with preliminaries/trials in various events. The top eight swimmers will advance to the championship finals that night, with the next eight advancing to the consolation/B finals. (There are no prelims in the 1,000-freestyle, the 1,650-freestyle, or 800-freestyle relay.) Finals sessions begin each night at 6 p.m. A full meet schedule and digital program may be found here.
This is the first year the city of Greensboro is hosting the Division II championships but it did serve as host city for the Division III championships in 2016.
Now in their third season under Mike Blum, the seven women's swimmers are one short of the school record for the national finals, which was set in Blum's first season as head coach. Selected this year were seniors Peyton Breault, Katja Hajdinjak, and Jacinda Whittenburg, and juniors Haley DeGrace and Katie Moore. Also competing as extra relay swimmers are junior Krystal Karas and sophomore Allison Greenwood. Breault, Whittenburg, DeGrace, and Karas are all returning to nationals for at least the second time, while Hajdinjak, Moore, and Greenwood are making their first appearance.
Florida Southern has four top-10 finishes as a team, and two others in the top-15. The Mocs were 37th last year, marking their eighth consecutive year with points as the national finals. Their best finish is sixth in 2013.
Queens (NC) won the national title last year, its third straight, with Drury (MO) second, Wingate (NC) third, Nova Southeastern fourth, and Lindenwood (MO) fifth.
Breault is the only Moccasin swimmer this year making her fourth trip to the national finals, and the senior has won at least one All-American certificate as a relay swimmer in each of her first three and she's eligible to compete in a team-high five individual events for the second year in a row. Two of those are the backstroke events where she will be the Mocs' only swimmer. The best of those this year for Breault was the 200 where she sits 11th on the national times list. She is also among those who could compete in the 50-freestyle, 200-freestyle or 500-freestyle.
The 200-free is where Florida Southern has the most eligible swimmers this year with Moore, Breault, and Hajdinjak on that list. Moore is ranked No. 14 on the national times list, and the transfer from North Texas is also No. 7 in the 500, and No. 18 in the 1,000. Moore is the only Moccasin who can compete in the 1,000, and they had no qualifiers in the 1,650.
Hajdinjak, a transfer from Arizona, would be the Mocs' only contestant in the 100-free and has additional eligibility in the 50-free where she ranks higher on the national times list. Her best event, and the one that earned her selection to the finals, is the 100-butterfly, and she is the only Moccasin eligible for that race.
DeGrace will represent the Mocs in the two breaststroke events for the third year in a row, and heads to nationals ranked No. 11 on the national times list in the 200. Like Breault, DeGrace has already earned All-American honors for Florida Southern as a relay swimmer.
The individual medley will be handled by Whittenburg, who is a national qualifier in both the 200 and 400 for the second straight season. Her highest spot on the national times list is in the 400, where she is currently ranked No. 18. Whittenburg is another of the Mocs' returning All-American relay swimmers from last year.
Schools are also permitted to bring a maximum of four uninvited relay alternates to swim only in relays in which the school has achieved a provisional standard ("B" cut). Under this provision, the Moccasins are also bringing Karas and Greenwood, with Karas making her third appearance in the national finals and Greenwood her first. Karas has won All-American honors in four different relays over the last two seasons. She was part of their top times this year in all three of the freestyle relays along with the 400-medley relay, where she anchored the squad that set the school record in that event. Greenwood was the anchor on another school-record relay team this year, the 200-medley, and also helped the Mocs hit NCAA qualifying time in the 200- and 400-freestyle relays.
In addition to following the NCAA Championships live online, check back each night on fscmocs.com for a full recap of the day's action. For a look at how the Moccasins have fared in previous NCAA Championships, click here.