March 11, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – After her school record breaking performances in the 1000 and 1650 freestyle and as a member of the 800 free relay this season, Kaleigh Ritter has made the cut and will swim at the NCAA Championship Meet.
“I was very excited when I realized I would be swimming at the NCAA Championships, because I’ve been training my entire life to qualify for this meet,” Ritter said. “It gives me an opportunity to represent my team and challenge myself on a level I have never been before, until now. The NCAA Meet is going to be faster than ever before, but I’m ready for the competition because of the training with all of my teammates and coaches.”
Ritter will swim in both the 500 and 1650 free at the Women’s NCAA Championships, which will be held on March 20-22 at the Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. Ritter ranks 26th in the 1650 free heading into the championship meet.
The NCAA Championship Meet is the culmination of an outstanding sophomore season for Ritter at Pitt. Ritter assisted in the 800 free relay at the ACC Championship Meet with a time of 7:15.20, breaking the previous school record by over two seconds.
In addition to breaking the 800 free relay record, she currently holds two individual school records in the 1000 and 1650 free. Ritter set another record in the ACC Championship in the 1650 free event by going 9:50.00 in the 1000, breaking her previous top time from this season’s AT&T Winter Nationals of 9:51.67.
“We knew from the get-go at the Blue-Gold Meet this year that Kaleigh was poised to do something special,” Head Coach Chuck Knoles said. “We were right! Even with a set back early in the season, Kaleigh fought her way back to full form and qualified for the NCAA Championship – the fastest swimming competition in the world. She broke school records that were set by Pitt great Kelsey Herbst in the 1000 and 1650, which is a special accomplishment for Kaleigh. We are very proud of her.”
A total of 322 participants —281 swimmers and 41 divers— will compete in the championships. The selected divers for the NCAA will be selected on Sunday, March 16, following the conclusion of the Zone Diving Meets, which runs from March 10-16. For now, the complete list of swimmers can be found by clicking here.
The Women’s NCAA Championship will begin on Thursday, March 20 and run through Saturday, March 22. The women’s Thursday sessions as well as the Friday and Saturday morning sessions will be streamed live on gophersports.com. The finals will be held on Friday and Saturday evening, and fans can stream all the action LIVE on ESPN3.