College Swimming Roundup: Top 10 Swims, Relays of the Week
Meet of the Week: Texas/NC State Dual Meet
COLLEGE SWIMMING ROUNDUP
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🏊♀️ SWIMS OF THE WEEK 🏊🏽♂️
Second Semester Speed Continues
Another big weekend for fast duals and some local invites. Used to be teams were kinda slow this time of year with the last of the heavy training wrapping up before taper, but it seems like modern training is stressing working on the details and learning to really race before it's time to peak. Suiting up in dual meets. That's good for us as fans, getting to see weekends of meets like that past two!
This week's lists will leave out the Texas vs. NC State duals, as we'll cover those in the, "Meet of the Week".
It's important to note that most D2 and D3 teams are a week or two out from conference, so there won't be as many meets going on in those divisions.
Top Ten Women's Performances:
- Kit Kat Zenick, Ohio State - 21.96/47.62/1:44.77 free, 51.03 fly, 47.03 free & 22.75 fly relay splits - Ohio State is really rounding into form as the big Big Ten favorite and a potential NCAA podium team. All these times are season bests for Zenick and the 2free and 1fly are personal bests.
- Kaelyn Gridley, Duke - 59.16/2:09.61 breast, 26.69 br relay split - A PR 100 breast for the freshman puts her at 15th in the nation thus far, and that relay split is toasty too. Duke has a heck of a breaststroke trio with her, Sally Foley, who leans more toward the 200, and rapidly improving Catherine Belyakov, who hit PRs in both breast events against North Carolina.
- Johanna Buys, UIndy - 22.83/50.64 free, 22.53 fr relay split - She's been the most consistent sprinter in D2 this year, and that 50 is only a couple tenths off her season best.
- Alexandra White, Kenyon - 22.83/50.85 free, 22.19 fr relay split - Eerily similar times from perhaps the best sprinter in D3. Her 22.83, however, is the best time in the division this year and a PR by a tenth from her 2022 3rd place NCAA finish.
- Jennah Fadely, Kenyon - 1:00.36/2:14.34 breast, 27.86 br relay split - Here's another contender in the crowded D3 women's breast field. Fadely set PRs in both breast events against Miami (OH), with the 100 1st and 200 2nd in the nation.
- Amber Croonquist, Denison - 25.14/55.38 fly - Another pair of PRs for a D3 swimmer, with the 100 sitting at 8th in the nation thus far. Croonquist was a 56.7 at midseason invite, and this is her first 100 fly PR since high school.
- Lindsay Wagner, Yale - 24.58/53.35/1:59.33 back - She keyed the Yale women's upset of Harvard and Princeton with a strong 50 back relay leadoff and a PR 100 back.
- Nicole Maier, Miami (OH) - 48.41/1:45.54 free, 1:59.19 IM, 22.34 fr relay split - The Redhawks' do-everything star (seriously, she's the team leader in 7 events and in all 5 top relays) went PRs in the 100 free and 200 IM, smashing through the 2-minute barrier in the latter after a 2:00.03 at midseasons.
- Grace Countie, North Carolina - 22.32/48.73 free, 51.88 back, 21.56 fr relay split - The 3-event NCAA finalist hit a season best in the 100 free and was right off of her season best in the 100 back. UNC could have some nice sprint relays and she's the linchpin.
- Julia Dennis, Louisville - 22.10/48.43/1:46.67 free - The Cardinal freshman is on absolute fire the past couple weeks. She came into college with a 49.49 PR and dropped to 48.81 at midseason invite. Last weekend she went 48.77 and topped that this weekend with a 48.43, also PRing the 50 and the 200. Huge improvements.
Top Ten Men's Performances:
- Santi Corredor, Tampa - 4:19.96 free, 22.31 back, 1:49.66 IM - Dude's making his way through the Florida teams, first with UF, then FSU, and now surfacing with Tampa. He went the fastest 500 free in D2 for the year, and the only sub-4:20 D2 dual meet 500 I can find, ever. Between his addition and Cameron Craig not showing up for Drury this semester, Tampa may have moved into the title conversation.
- Chris Giuliano, Notre Dame - 42.32 free, 18.68/41.90/1:34.16 fr relay splits - The Fighting Irish showed up to their Tim Welsh Invite to put down some sick relay times, and they fairly well succeeded thanks heavily to this guy. He went a PR and school record 100 free. He swims extra fast on relays.
- Wesley Ng, Georgia - 45.27 back, 20.43 fl relay split - Love this guy's improvement curve, he was a 45.7 last year and 45.6 this midseason, this time ties him for #6 in the nation this year. Continued progression!
- Clement Secchi, Missouri - 46.05/1:43.25 fly, 19.98 fl relay split - I have no idea how good Mizzou is going to end up being this year, but the French grad student (in his first year of NCAA competition but swam four years in the Canadian university league) and fifth-year teammate Jack Dahlgren will be driving the boat. He nipped is midseason PR in the 100 fly .06, and that 50 split is pretty eye-opening after "only" being 20.4 midseason.
- Richie Kurlich, Denison - 47.87 fly, 49.54 IM - A sprint meet for the Big Red saw the fifth-year hit a PR in the 100 fly, currently 8th ranked in D3.
- Kham Glass, Drury - 20.51/45.34 free, 47.76 back, 49.89 fly - Hit the best 100 back in the division for the weekend by over a second against Oklahoma Christian, tying his season best 9th ranked D2 time.
- Ben Miller, Northwestern - 47.78/1:43.27 fly, 21.33 fl relay split - This guy stalled his first three NCAA seasons, never quite able to get to his HS best 200 fly. This year's been different, and his time this weekend was almost a second faster than that prep PR, with a 100 fly PR to boot. Federico Burdisso who?
- Umit Gures, Harvard - 19.60 free, 45.68 fly, 20.03 fl relay split - Even with the UT/NC St fireworks, Gures had the top 100 fly on the weekend. That's a season best by far, and more than half a second under his HYP performance from last year.
- Bar Soloveychik, Minnesota - 1:36.89/4:19.43/8:54.69 free, 44.29/1:35.17 fr relay splits - That's an almost 22 year old school record broken by the Israeli distance man in the 1000, and his first time under the 9:00 mark.
- Jacob Duracinsky, UNCW - 44.73/1:36.55 free, 20.24 fr relay split - Seahawk sophomore hit a PR and school record in the 200 against NC State's non-traveling team. He's almost a second faster than his best last year.
🏊🏼 RELAYS OF THE WEEK 🏊♀️
Ohio State Women 200/400 Free Relays
The national leaderboard this weekend was fairly well dominated by Texas/NC State relays, with the exception of these two. These are both season-best times for the Buckeye ladies, both pull them into second place nationally, and both within tenths of their best 2021-2022 season times. In fact, the 400 free relay is faster than Ohio State went at NCAAs last year.
I expect Ohio State to steamroll Big Tens, and while they don't have the raw star power of UVA, Stanford, or Texas, they may have the talent and depth to take down Alabama for the last podium spot.
Kenyon Women's 200 Medley Relay
Kenyon came to play against D1 Miami (Ohio) with a good number of season bests and even a few D3 nation leaders on both the women's and men's side. They crushed the Kenyon pool record and hit a nation leading time that would have amazingly placed 3rd at NCAAs last year. Olivia Smith and Jennah Fadely were the difference, as each split .3 faster than that NCAA relay. Kenyon had to replace Crile Hart, one of the best swimmers in D3 history, but looks more than primed to do that with performances like this.
🏊🏽♂️ MEET OF THE WEEK 🏊🏼
Texas/NC State Dual
How could it be any other meet this weekend? Between tight races, school records, nation leaders, and barriers broken, this meet one-upped the ASU meets from last weekend and the Texas/UVA dual from the first semester as the best dual meet of the season.
Let's start with the Texas women. I think we all knew they were good, but not sure I figured they were *this* good. The Longhorns came out of the weekend with three school records (200/400 Medley Relay, Emma Sticklen 49.79 100 fly) and five nation leaders - Kelly Pash's 1:42.73 200 free, Erica Sullivan's 4:35.88 500 and 9:33.66 1000 frees, Sticklen's 1:51.37 200 fly, and their 400 Medley Relay. Sticklen in particular had a fantastic meet, hitting PRs in those 100 and 200 flies and also the 200 IM, taking second to Pash (1:53.81) in a 1:54.70.
Meanwhile, Texas's dangerous breaststroke duo kept chugging along, with Lydia Jacoby hitting PRs in both the 100 (57.45, #2 nationally) and 200 (2:06.66, #7 nationally) to edge teammate Anna Elendt. I think the Longhorn ladies have the star power to challenge Stanford and the depth to hang with Virginia at NCAAs. What a team race this is shaping up to be for 2023!
Texas would have had 6 nation leaders if it's wasn't for NC State's 200 Medley Relay. The Wolfpack went 1:33.49 (23.55/25.76/22.44/21.74) for the top time in the country this season. NC State took the L on the weekend but still showed some great performances, highlighted by a bunch of season bests from Katharine Berkoff (21.90/47.56 free, 23.55/50.86 back).
On the men's side, Texas got the better of NC State both days thanks to their distance and breaststroke groups - especially with the Wolfpack's former group missing Ross Dant. I think both these teams will be fighting for the bottom two podium spots with ASU and maybe Indiana come March, so the past couple weekends have been a good preview.
The best race of the weekend was Friday's 200 free - NC State's Luke Miller let Texas's Luke Hobson and Carson Foster take out the race fast, but closed in a 23.56 for a season best 1:31.87 over Hobson's PR 1:31.89 and Foster's PR 1:32.29.
Foster would take on a 200 free/200 IM/200 back triple that day, winning the IM in 1:43.14 and almost running down Kacper Stokowski in the 200 back, with Stokowski getting the better 1:41.39 (a season best) to Foster's 1:42.05. Defending 100 back champion Stokowski would also lead off NC State's 400 Medley Relay in a season best and nation leading 44.79 on Saturday. Foster would come back Saturday for a 1:40.83 200 fly PR - his NCAA event choices are going to be fascinating to follow.
The best relay race came in the 400 free relay to close out Friday. Both the Longhorns and Wolfpack put up season bests to slot in at 5th and 6th in the nation. Danny Krueger pulled past Luke Miller on the final turn to guide Texas to a 2:49.15 (42.74/42.51/42.08/41.82) over NC State's 2:49.20 (42.53/42.32/42.42/41.93). That 42.08 is by far a best for Hobson and an important development for a Texas squad that almost needs to use C. Foster as the medley relay backstroker, which leaves him out of one of the freestyle relays.
🏊🏽♂️ WEEKEND PREVIEW 🏊🏼
Some pre-conference invites kicking off this next weekend. Typically taper meets for non-conference roster swimmers, first chance meets for people who want to try to get qualifying times out of the way before the pressure of conference, or chances for likely qualifiers to try off events with a little rest. Or, to fool around with event pacing - the 2022 Auburn Invite this time last year gave us some of the most fascinating 200 IM splitting I've ever seen:
In that vein, we've got the Auburn Invite, Minnesota Challenge, Cavalier Invite, VT Invite, and SMU Pre-Conference Invite.
Biggest dual meets of the weekend are Cal vs USC men Friday, Stanford vs USC Saturday, and ASU vs Arizona. The Pac-12 men are still going through their round-robin as their conference meet is the latest of anybody's, so we still have Cal/Stanford to look forward to.
NAIA kicks off a few conference meets early - Olivet Nazarene and Midland University are the favorites in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (interestingly, ONU is located outside of Chicago, and the meet is hosted by Midland at their campus in... Nebraska, two hours from Kansas). Both squads are top 10 in NAIA, with ONU's women finishing 3rd at NAIA Nationals in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Mid South Conference features University of the Cumberlands, who finished 3rd on the men's side and 4th on the women's. One of the stars of the Patriots' men's team is Ruben Gonzalez de Oliveira, brother of Cal's Hugo Gonzalez.
Finally, don't forget to share this newsletter with your swim team. Thanks for reading.
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