As we all know, the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted all of the postseasons for winter sports and the entirety of spring sports. But what would the fate be of the NC State women’s swim team if the NCAA women’s national championship was never canceled?
According to CollegeSwimming, the women’s swim team ended the season ranked sixth in the nation. The only ACC team ahead of NC State was Virginia at second in the nation. UVA’s win of the ACC championship helped boost its ranking over NC State and up to just behind number one. Despite not finishing first in the ACC tournament, I believe the Pack women’s swim team would finish top five in NCAAs.
NC State has top-10 season-best times in 11 events for Division I. The team this year is very versatile and has great strength in every event besides butterfly. There are no top-40 swimmers from NC State in any butterfly events, which is the only thing holding it back from being top three or even number one.
Sophomore Sophia Hansson has been incredible this season, especially in breaststroke, with the best time in D-I NCAA in 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke and the sixth-best 50-yard time. She also took the ACC gold this year in 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke for the second year in a row. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hansson came away from the 2020 NCAA Championship with two individual titles.
Sophomore Kylee Alons also had the opportunity to make the finals for 50-yard freestyle, with the eighth-best time in the nation and an ACC title in the event. Junior Kathleen Moore in 400-yard IM had the potential for a finals appearance after claiming an ACC title for the event and reaching the fifth-best time in the nation. Sophomore Emma Muzzy could have also reached the finals in 200-yard backstroke after claiming gold in ACCs and notching the fifth-best time in the nation in the event. Freshman Katharine Berkoff also could have made a statement in NCAAs after taking the ACC gold in 100-yard backstroke and silver in 200-yard backstroke. Berkoff has steadily improved all season and had the potential to make noise in NCAAs, and could do damage in upcoming years.
The Wolfpack’s relay teams have been exceptional this year as well. It is likely that we would see the NC State women’s team bring home an NCAA title in at least one relay event. The 400-yard medley relay team of freshman Berkoff, Hansson, Alons and senior Ky-lee Perry dominated the event in ACCs and holds the best time in the nation for the event. They could have definitely taken home gold in the event. The 200-yard medley relay team of Berkoff, Hansson, Perry and junior Sirena Rowe also had the potential for an NCAA title. Despite being second in ACCs behind UVA for the event, NC State had its best time for the season, moving it up to third place, while UVA did not improve its time. The team was less than 0.50 seconds behind UVA’s best time and could have overtaken it if given another meet. Although UVA dominated the freestyle relays, NC State’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Perry, Alons, Rowe and freshman Heather Maccausland could have qualified for a finals appearance after a bronze performance in ACCs and top-eight time in the nation.
The young and versatile NC State women’s swim team would have made noise in the NCAA tournament, that’s for sure. They’ve done so all year. The team has a lot of dangerous youth that could tear up the ACC and the NCAA in the upcoming years.