College Swimming Roundup: GLVC Champs + GLIAC Champs + NAIA Conference Meets

Plus fast swims from ASU, Auburn, UVA, & USC

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🏊‍♀️ SWIMS OF THE WEEK 🏊🏽‍♂️

First big week of conference championships, some pre-conference invites, and a couple duals, so here we go:

GLVC Championships

Heck of a meet here for D2 from Evansville, Indiana. The women’s meet was a two team slugfest between Drury and UIndy, with Drury holding a slim lead through the entire meet. Drury’s Mellie Wijk was named Swimmer of the Meet on the strength of wins in the 200 IM (1:59.90 PR), 100 (53.84 PR) and 200 (1:58.13 PR) fly, and a runner-up 200 breast (2:14.09 PR). She was also part of the most impressive relay win on the weekend, splitting 1:48.11 while teaming up with Ellie Walker (1:50.03), Ashlyn Moore (1:49.71), and Josie Bushell (1:49.07) for a 7:16.92 that won the race by nearly 10 seconds and set a new conference record by two and a half seconds. Other impressive swims for the women:

  • Indy’s Kirabu Namutabe made her NCAA debut for the Greyhounds this meet and leaped into the conversation for best pure sprinter in D2. She won the 50 free in 22.57 while blasting 21.78/49.87 relay splits. That 50 time would have taken 3rd at NCAAs last year, and the fastest flying start at that meet was a 22.52.

  • Another freshman made some noise as well, with UMSL’s Justice Beard taking the two longest races with a 10:01.38 1000 and 16:40.70 1650, the latter a win by a 15 second margin. That mile would have placed 2nd at 2023 NCAAs.

  • Drury’s Claire Conover erased a big half-race deficit to take the 400 IM title at this meet last year, and lightning struck twice for her here. While she was out faster this year (2:05 vs 2:09), she still had to pass up two competitors with a 1:10.58 breast split on the way to a 4:16.74 PR and D2 #3 ranked time.

UIndy made their win on the men’s side a little more difficult with a 200 free relay DQ at the end of the penultimate day which made the last day a three team race with McKendree and Drury but did enough with 3 in the top 8 of the mile and 100 free to bring home the trophy. Greyhound Cedric Buessing won his third Swimmer of the Meet award in three tries with wins in the 1000 (8:57.18), 400 IM (3:43.78 PR), 500 (4:18.84 PR), and 1650 (15:10.28). He also provided ace relay legs with a 1:35.35 PR 800 free relay leadoff, a 47.26 PR 400 medley relay leadoff, and a 43.36 flying start on the 400 free relay.

  • Drury’s Ivan Adamchuk won Newcomer of the Meet with 2 individual event wins - the 200 IM (1:45.36) and 200 back (1:42.67).

  • Last year’s Newcomer of the Year, Missour S&T’s Connor Bichsel, leveled up again this year - he was runner-up behind Adamchuk in the 2IM (1:45.80 PR), second behind Buessing in the 4IM (3:48.75 PR), 4th in the 200 breast (1:58.38 PR), and posted a strong 200 fly (1:47.71). Bichsel’s progression is notable, as he was a 1:52.3 2IM out of high school, 1:47.8 freshman year, and is down to that 1:45.8 now with NCAAs still to go.

  • The Lewis Flyers have assembled some strong medley relays. Last year they placed 14th and 17th in the 200 MR and 400 MR at NCAAs. This week they put up times (1:27.00/3:12.02) that would have been top 8. Nico Jacinto was the catalyst here - he led off those relays in 21.74/46.92.

  • Speaking of backstrokers, McKendree’s Patryk Rozenek had the meet of his life (so far) in winning the 100 back (46.74, a .8 second PR) and placing second in the 200 back (1:44.03, a second and a half PR).

  • Wrapping up with some relay splits that had me doing a double-take. Oskar Sawicki hit a 20.24 fly split for Indy, and S&T Noah Clancy popped a huge 51.45 breast split that outpaced the rest of the field by almost a second.

GLIAC Championships

Another venerable D2 conference, this one more northerly in Holland, Michigan. Grand Valley State ran away with both titles here thanks to their depth. Men’s Swimmer of the Meet (also Freshman of the Meet) was Wayne State’s Khalil Ben Ajmia, who notably won the 500 in 4:19.23 and the 1650 in 15:06.46 over defending NCAA champ Eric Hieber. Those swims both rank him #2 in the D2 this year. Women’s Swimmer of the Meet also went to a WSU Warrior, Jordan Fox. She won the 200 (1:48.33 PR, national #2), 500 (4:50.53, national #2), and 200 back (1:59.20), and took fourth in the 1000 (10:05.33).

Other impressive stuff:

  • Wayne State’s Clayton Kinnard is another 200 IMer with a great improvement curve. A 1:55 out of HS, Kinnard swam 1:49s freshman and sophomore year, he dropped to 1:47.6 at midseasons and popped a 1:45.88 to win here.

  • Fox was the star for WSU, and she leads an outstanding overall distance group. Their women’s team featured the champions in the 200/500/1000/1650 plus the 200 back and fly - besides Fox, headliners are Alli Vassilakos (1:51.02/4:52.99/9:52.55/16:29.09), Barbara Munoz Quintero (1:48.73/10:05.18/16:52.66 + 2:01.29 2fly), and Megan Sieloff (1:53.10/4:58.44/10:02.75/16:55.09).

  • Northern Michigan’s Leo Nolles is showing himself to be one of the best sprinters in D2 with a 19.62 PR win in the 50 to go with a blistering 18.79 200 medley relay anchor.

  • GVSU’s Matt Bosch crushed his meet record and nipped his overall conference record in the 200 free with a 1:34.53. That’s #1 in the division by almost a second. That 2free was probably the deepest race in the meet, with 5 guys (Bosch, Miret Sala 1:36.58, Ben Ajmia 1:36.74, Hendricks 1:36.93, Hieber 1:37.17) finishing in times that would have scored at NCAAs last year. Bosch also took the 100 free (43.45) and scorched some strong relay anchors (19.45/42.56).

  • Laker teammate Andrew Goh moved into title talk in the 200 breast, dropping over a second for a D2 #3 ranked 1:56.28, adding a PR 53.87 100 breast as well.

NAIA Conference Meets

The week also featured the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the Sun Conference out of NAIA. Reigning national champs Keiser swept the Sun, while Olivet Nazarene swept the KCAC.

Biggest highlight of these meets was a bevy of breaststroke records. Keiser’s Noel De Geus took the men’s NAIA 100 breast record under 52 with a 51.99, and also broke the 50 free NAIA record with a 19.61. St. Thomas’s Stella Warborn hit a 100 breast record of her own with a 1:01.47 win; Keiser’s Nikoline Biltoft-Jensen, the previous record-holder, was also under her old record with a 1:01.89. If that wasn’t enough, ONU’s Julie Vega was within reach at the KCAC champs with a 1:02.46.

Warborn may have also hit the 200 breast NAIA record with a 2:14.03. A little interesting here as the NAIA database says the record is a 2:11.38, which apparently was set at an early second semester tri-meet by a swimmer who was never faster than a 2:19 otherwise.

Anyway, off that tangent, other impressive swims from these meets:

  • ONU teammates Jack Fries and Timothy Braun were co-Swimmers of the Meet at the KCAC. They both binged on PRs, with Fries PRing all the backstrokes in 23.63/50.23/1:50.30, the 200 free in 1:40.45, and the 200 IM in 1:50.61, while Braun ran the sprint free ladder with 20.57/45.31/1:40.45.

  • Meanwhile, Midland’s Zander Livingston had the most impressive swims outside of those two, taking the breaststrokes in 55.46/2:01.90.

  • St. Thomas’s Ana Sales hit a 23.40 50 free, a drop of .6 from her 8th place finish at 2023 NAIAs. Teammate Regan Garcia’s 23.64 was an even bigger drop, chopping of .9 from her midseason invite previous PR.

  • Also from St. Thomas, Steven Aimable transferred from Nova Southeastern and is immediately the best flyer in NAIA - he got season best 46.85/1:45.33, the latter of which would have won the 2023 NAIA title by 3 second and is less than a tenth off the national record. He rounded out his week with a 19.96 50 free, his first time sub-20.

The Rest of the Speed

A few pre-conference invites and some leftover dual meets here:

  • Arizona State took on Arizona on Saturday. The Sun Devil men won every event, with the most impressive results coming from the 100 free. In the individual, Jack Dolan touched out Ilya Kharun 42.17-42.18, then in the 400 free relay Leon Marchand led off the A relay with a 41.39, while Johnny Kulow led off the victorious “B” relay in 42.18. Dolan anchored that winning relay in a 41.48.

  • Auburn flexed some pretty impressive 200 free depth in their pre-conference invite. On the women’s side, 4 women touched sub-1:47, led by Megan Lee’s 1:45.64 PR. The men featured 4 sub-1:35s, with Ryan Husband leading in 1:33.62. Jon VanZandt, one of those 4, had a major barrier-breaking weekend overall in the sprint frees, with 19.75/42.98/1:33.88 marking his first times delving under 20/43/1:35.

  • Gretchen Walsh tried something new at the Cavalier Invite with a 1:52.34 200 IM. Out 22.89. LOL. Teammate Ella Nelson hit a 1:53.60 season best in a time trial. Reilly Tiltmann had a strong weekend as well, with season bests 51.39/1:51.78 backs. Alex Walsh actually won that event with a PR 1:50.18, and added in a 57.89 100 breast, both events that she will most likely not be swimming in champs season. Speaking of that 100 breast, the Virginia ladies put 5 women under 1:00, with three more under 1:01 to boot. Depth.

  • USC women completed an undefeated regular season against UCLA. The Trojans were about what we’ve expected from them this year, but two swimmers for UCLA stuck out as Annie Jia-Schiff went PRs 1:00.17/2:09.81 breasts and a 1:58.53 IM, while Rosie Murphy’s 1:53.25 200 back PR vaults her straight into scoring contention.

  • Bates’s Max Cory had a huge day against Colby in D3 competition - he PRd his sprints 20.13/44.23, the latter a PR by a second. Those rank #5 and #6 in D3 this year.

  • Berry’s Nick Fonzo was also on a PR binge, with 48.20/1:48.76 backstrokes and a 49.09 100 fly. That 100 back is #7 in D3 thus far.

🏊🏽‍♂️ Weekend Preview 🏊🏼

More conference meets!

For D1 - MAAC, America East, Sunbelt, Horizon League

For D2 - RMAC, Northern Sun, GM-MEC, Conference Carolinas, PSAC, South Atlantic

For D3 - Nearly every conference, headlined by NESCAC women, North Coast, and UAA.

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