The first of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will start next week with the NCAA Division II Championships taking place March 9-12 at the Palo Alto Natatorium in San Antonio, Texas. Drury is the two-time defending team champion, and has combined with Truman to dominate the competition as one of the two schools has taken home the team title every year since 1997.

In the latest Division II Poll, Drury holds the top spot and all 16 first-place votes. Ashland, UC San Diego, Clarion and Grand Valley State round out the top five.

Four schools qualified at least 10 athletes, including UC San Diego which leads the way with 13 qualifiers. The Tritons are followed by Drury with 12 and Incarnate Word and West Chester with 10 qualifiers apiece. This year’s field is limited to 194 women’s swimmers, roughly half the size of past years. 

Competitors can swim in a maximum of seven events at nationals, either four individual and three relay or three relay and four individual. With last year’s men’s and women’s sweep in Canton, Ohio, Drury became the first program in NCAA Division II history to claim both the men’s and women’s national team titles in back-to-back seasons.

Need to Know
• The field is set for the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, to be held March 17-19 at the Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. A total of 322 participants will compete with swimmers qualifying based on time and divers determined by performances at the Zone Diving meets March 10-13.

• Auburn’s Adrianna Vanderpool-Wallace was named Southeastern Conference Swimmer of the Year, while Florida’s Monica Dodson captured Diver of the Year honors. Freshman Diver of the Year honors went to Alabama’s Paige McCleary while Elizabeth Beisel of Florida captured Freshman Swimmer of the Year honors. South Carolina’s Taryn Zack was tabbed as the Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Georgia’s Jack Bauerle was named Swimming Coach of the Year. Donnie Craine of Florida was named the Women’s Diving Coach of the Year, his second consecutive and third career honor.

• Stanford captured the 2011 Pac-10 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship by 22 points against California last weekend in Long Beach, Calif. Trailing Cal heading into the final day of competition, the Cardinal won three individual events and picked up valuable points in the 1,650-yard freestyle with four finishers in the top eight. Stanford finished with 1567.5 points to Cal’s 1545.5, followed by USC (1390.5), UCLA (1099.5), Arizona (874), Arizona State (780), Washington State (297) and Oregon State (289). USC’s Katinka Hosszu earned Women’s Swimmer of the Meet honors after winning three races in as many days. She captured titles in the 200 IM (1:53.53), 400 IM (4:00.04) and 200 fly (1:51.85). Teammate junior Victoria Ishimatsu won both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards en route to Women’s Diver of the Meet honors.

Quick Hits
•  MIT captured the first NEWMAC Women’s Swimming and Diving team championship in school history, finishing with 917.5 points.

• Towson senior Meredith Budner helped lead the Tigers to a fourth consecutive CAA title with two NCAA “A” cuts and an NCAA “B” cut in three individual wins. She won the 500 free (4:36.85, NCAA “A” cut), the 1,650 free (15:52l.05, NCAA “A” cut) and the 400 IM (4:10.67, NCAA “B” cut.) All three performances were school, CAA and CAA Championship records.

• Sheila Rhoades of Ithaca College helped her team to the Empire 8 title, winning the 50 free (23.29) and the 200 free (1:51.80) en route to a second consecutive Swimmer of the Meet honor.

• Lauren Hines of Richmond was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the Atlantic 10 Championship. A-10 Outstanding Rookie went to Mali Kobelja of Richmond while Spiders head coach Matt Barany won Coach of the Year honors. Molly Elkins of UMass was named the A-10 Diver of the Year and her coach Mandy Hixon was selected as the league Diving Coach of the Year.

• Texas won the Big 12 team championship and took three of the five individual awards. Longhorn junior Karlee Bispo was named Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet, Maren Taylor the Outstanding Diver and Kim Brackin the Swim Coach of the Meet. Texas A&M’s Cammile Adams was selected Outstanding Newcomer of the Meet while Missouri’s Jamie Sweeney was named Dive Coach of the Meet.

• Rice won the 2011 Conference USA championship. SMU’s Therese Svendsen was named Swimmer of the Meet for a second consecutive year after setting two C-USA records and taking home six gold medals.

• Green Bay won the Horizon League Championship for a seventh straight season as freshman Emily McClellan won Newcomer of the Year, Co-Swimmer of the Year and Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year.

• Princeton won the Ivy League title and the Tigers Megan Waters was named Swimmer of the Meet.

• UC Davis senior Linda Hermann was named the MPSF Athlete of the Year and her teammate Liliana Alvarez was named the Freshman of the Year. UC Davis Barbara Jahn earned league Coach of the Year honors.

• Denver won the Sun Belt Conference, its first ever SBC team title. Head coach Brian Schrader was named the SBC Coach of the Year. Claire Donahue of Western Kentucky was named Women’s Swimmer of the Year while FIU’s Sabrina Beaupre was named Women’s Diver of the Year.

• Boise State defended its WAC Championship. The Broncos Amber Boucher was Swimmer of the Year, Hawai’i senior Emma Friesen was named Diver of the Year and Tricia Kiss of New Mexico State earned Freshman of the Year honors.