Cardinal women swim away with American record at NCAAs


One race. One title. One American record.

Top-ranked Stanford got off to a record-setting start at the 2017 NCAA women's Swimming and Diving Championships on Wednesday. The Cardinal set the NCAA and American records in the 800-yard freestyle inside the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, Ella Eastin and Katie Ledecky won the NCAA title with a time of 6:45.91. The quartet bettered the previous American record of 6:49.42 set by the Cardinal at the Pac-12 Championships on Feb. 22.

This marks Stanford's first NCAA title in the 800 free relay since 1999, and ninth overall.

"We had an opportunity tonight to put those four together," head coach Greg Meehan said, "and do something historic and have fun with it, and just get rolling the rest of the meet."

The first of three Olympians in the race for the Cardinal, Manuel took the lead leg and finished in 1:41.41. It gave Stanford a solid lead and was two seconds under the American record pace.

Neal took the second 200 and the senior, in her final collegiate meet, extended Stanford's lead with a split time of 1:42.15.

The Cardinal made the turn at 3:23.56 when Ella Eastin hit the water. Eastin blazed through her 200 in 1:41.89, and tapped in freshman Katie Ledecky, who turned in a split of 1:40.46 to help the relay officially set the school, meet, facility, NCAA and American records.

After the first day of competition, Stanford leads the NCAA Championships with 40 points.

The NCAA Championships go into full swing on Thursday. Prelims begin at 7 a.m. PT, and the finals for the 500 free, 200 individual medley, 50 free, 1-meter diving, 200 free relay and 400 medley relay are set to begin at 3 p.m. PT.

— Stanford Athletics

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