Sports Journalism Blog

By Rebecca Harris

Sports Capital Journalism Program

INDIANAPOLIS–Simone Manuel set an NCAA and American record in the 100 freestyle competition Saturday night and became the first woman ever to drop below 46 seconds in the event. However, she was not the only one making history.

Northwestern’s Olivia Rosendahl became the first diving champion for her school with a victory in the platform competition. However, according to the announcer, the event ended with her in second.

With Rosendahl waiting on the platform for her final dive, IU’s Jessica Parratto just ahead of her on the scoreboard, the announcer declared the event over. Rosendahl said she heard the laughter from the crowd, but had no idea what happened. The sophomore smiled down at the announcer, waiting for the audio cue that she could begin.

He fixed his mistake, the cue sounded, and Rosendahl’s last dive earned a 72.80, enough to give her the victory with 339 total points to Parratto’s 333.40.

Rosendahl also competed in the 3-meter competition on Friday night. She prefers platform and so 3-meter often takes a backseat. She was floored when she made it past preliminaries, even more so when she was the top-ranked diver going into finals.

“I kind of expected to be in the 10-meter final. Definitely not the 3-meter,” she said.

However, she ended in last place in the 3-meter competition final after a series of poor dives.

“I just didn’t think about it,” Rosendahl said of having to shake off her emotions going into platform finals. “After a dive is done it’s done so you have to move on from there.”

Move on, she did, and it earned her a spot in program history.

“It’s a really big honor to represent my school like this,” Rosendahl said. “I’m competing against Olympians and divers from all over the world really and it’s amazing.”

Parratto competed this year as a redshirt junior, after returning to the NCAA world from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She made the platform finals at the Olympics, but ended in 10th place. This year, her goal was to return as NCAA champion, previously winning the platform title in 2015. She fell just short, but her overall score was her highest this season.

Also making history on the last day of competition was IU’s Lilly King. Her last swim was in the 200 breaststroke and she saved her best for last. King set the record in the 100 breaststroke at the Olympics in Rio, earning a gold medal, yet failed to make the finals in the 200 event. She did not face the same ending on Saturday, swimming to a new record time of 2:03.18.

Overall, Stanford won the NCAA swimming and diving championship with 526.5 points, far above the second-place California total of 366.

Cal’s Kathleen Baker, named 2017 CSCAA Swimmer of the Year, said that she was happy with how her team did.

“I’m super proud of myself and my team. We came back from a DQ to have awesome swims and finish the meet strong,” she said.

Stanford, California, and Georgia have traded the top two spots on the team podium between themselves every year since 2011. The Cardinal team hasn’t reached the top since 1998, however, with the star power driving both teams, those team finishes were to be expected.

Less expected was Texas A&M, scraping its way towards the top to finish in third place with 292.5 points. A&M has never placed higher than fourth, ending in that position the last four years running. It wasn’t a losing streak, but it was one they were happy to finally break.

“One of our goals after finishing fourth so [often] was to move up a spot or even higher,” A&M head coach Steve Bultman said to local College Station paper, The Eagle. “To do that is really rewarding and it means a lot to the team and to the program.”