- The Swimnerd Newsletter
- College Swimming Roundup: The Invites Begin
College Swimming Roundup: The Invites Begin
NAIA & NJCAA Champs Duel + Grand Valley 400 Free Relay
COLLEGE SWIMMING ROUNDUP
🏊♀️ SWIMS OF THE WEEK 🏊🏽♂️
The Invites Begin - Part One: Eagles Soar
Early midseason taper invites started this week, with highlights coming from some D1 Mid Majors and lower division meets. Oklahoma Christian hosted D2 teams Ouachita Baptist, Rockhurst, William Jewell, Western Colorado, and Nebraska-Kearney, NAIA University of Saint Mary and Sterling College, and NJCAA Barton CC.
OCU’s men showed the strongest of any squad here. They lost several key pieces to graduation but seem to have replaced nicely. Freshman Eli Rollen looks like a budding star, unleashing a division leading 1:46.86 200 IM and 1:44.62 200 back and adding 22.75/48.47 backs, 3:57.72 400 IM and a 44.60 100 free relay split while grad transfer Gabriel Knaut (on his fourth school after stops at Monroe Community College, Oklahoma Baptist, and UIndy) went 19.67 50 free. For Rollen, those times would have both ranked him 11th in the ‘22-’23 season and would both have made championship finals at NCAAs, both impressive for a freshman. Knaut is already two tenths faster in the 50 than graduated relay anchor Brandon Heredia, though he has a bit of work to do for a second, third, or even fourth individual event.
OCU’s established stars also came to play. 2022 200 breast champ JT Amrein went 53.56/1:56.02 in his specialties, adding a 24.39 breast relay split as well as 19.97/44.76 free relay splits, while distance dynamo Victor Rosado went 44.55/1:37.32/4:23.13/9:05.38/15:46.34 frees and also played the flyer role on medley relays for a full weekend (21.43/49.81).
On the women’s side, Cheyenne Denison went a couple of NCAA invite-worthy times, with a 2:01.26 200 back and a 4:27.39 400 IM. She also hit a PR in the 200 IM with a 2:05.15. Her teammate Tammy Greenwood went 55.97/2:02.57 in the backstrokes, times that would have been solidly on the invite bubble last year. The biggest story, however, was the reemergence of 2022 NCAA double IM champ and breaststroke medalist Marziel Van Jaarsveld, who swam her first college meet for the Eagles since transferring from UIndy after that season. She went a 1:02.41 100 breast and 2:04.72 200 IM, both solid invite times.
Other fast swims from the meet:
First year team Rockhurst didn’t drop a ton from their Drury Invite times last weekend, but had some good efforts nontheless. Omar Abla went a four pack of PRs, going 21.44/46.07/1:39.45/4:34.30 frees, while Mohannad Nada did the same with 55.18/2:01.27 breasts and 1:51.39/4:03.45 IM.
Ouachita Baptist, directly across the street in Arkadelphia, Arkansas from current sprint powerhouse Henderson State, peaked with a men’s team podium finish in ‘08 and national championships from Nelson Silva, Radu Badalac, Sarah Watson, and Marcus Schlesinger in the late ‘00s to early ‘10s, but looks to have a couple good ones from the results here. Miles Schultze went a PR 54.31 100 breast that should put him squarely on the NCAA bubble, while Elijah Christenson popped a season best 1:48.83 200 fly - at his best he’s a threat to score in the event.
William Jewell got a NCAA lock on the women’s side, as Martina Torrent Brugada went 1:03.53/2:17.95 breasts.
Louis Ainley will be an NJCAA scoring threat in a number of events for Barton, going 20.68/45.11 frees, 49.59/1:52.50 backs, and a 49.93 100 fly.
Part Two: Speed in Southern Illinois
The big story in Carbondale last year was the rise of backstroker Ruard van Renen and his transfer to Georgia in the summer, but don’t let that obscure another back/fly type still swimming fast times at SIU. Celia Pulido was nearly everywhere for the Salukis at the A3 Performance Invite, with 25.23/52.65/1:55.73 in her specialty backstrokes, a PR 53.67 100 fly, 2:03.19 200 IM, and 22.62/49.78/1:52.87 free relay splits. That 100 back is NCAA bubble-worthy though a tick slower than her time from this meet last year.
Pudilo’s teammate Olivia Herron went to town in the breaststrokes, 1:01.65/2:13.96, adding 2:01.28/4:22.73 IMs, while Beatriz Padron Salazar had a career weekend with 23.77/50.42/1:49.58/4:54.90 free and 54.08 fly PRs.
On the men’s side, the Salukis showed their sprint depth especially for a mid-major even without van Renen’s services. They put two 400 free relays sub-4, with their A coming in at 2:56.65 (Alex Cimera 44.72/AJ Terry 44.32/Donat Csuvarszki 44.07/Alex Santiago 43.54), while the B went 2:59.19 (Jered Moore 45.11/Tomas Peciar 44.71/Tiago Faleiros 44.88/Nick Lanuza 44.47).
Moore was a highlight for the Saluki men overall, with PRs 22.61/48.46/1:45.12 backs, while Faleiros came within hundredths of his PRs with 54.16/2:00.50 breaststrokes.
NAIA/NJCAA Powerhouse Dual
Indian River’s NJCAA title streak is well known, but Keiser University men have won the past 5 NAIA titles and their women have won the past two and were runners-up the two years prior. These Florida teams are the classes of their divisions and met for a tri meet with D2 Florida Tech this weekend.
IRSC Flyers Owen McLaughlin and Josh Parry were the swimmers of the meet. McLaughlin PRd his 100 fly in 47.96 and 100 IM in 49.98, while Perry swam 22.36/48.32 flys and a 45.37 100 free, also all PRs.
Sara Safranko, also of IRSC, had some PRs of her own - 23.51/50.91 sprints and a 57.95 100 IM.
NAIA breast champ Noel De Geus led the way for Keiser, with 24.60/54.43 in his specialties.
Keiser’s best female performer was 2023 NAIA 500 free champ Rachel Bradley, who’s 5:10.40/10:45.96 distance swims rank her #2 and #1 in NAIA this year thus far.
This meet led off with the rarely-swam 800 medley relay: IRSC took both races with a 8:28.88 for the women (Nika Tomic 2:10.16/Ana Vilamil 2:20.89/Sophia Diaz 2:02.64/Safranko 1:55.19) and a 7:22.80 for the men (Gabriel Morales 1:50.32/Kito Campbell 2:02.69/Anderson Brown 1:48.24/McLaughlin 1:41.55)
Other Elite Swims
Kit Kat Zenick had a nice meet in Ohio State’s win over D3 Denison, going 22.65/49.40/1:48.92 frees with a notable 23.31 fly relay split.
Yale’s Jessey Li popped a duo of season best breaststrokes against Columbia at 1:01.41/2:16.05. She’s the defending Ivy League champ in the 100, in 59.96.
Caleb Kelly of Loyola Maryland nearly broke 20 untapered with a 20.00. The Greyhound’s best is 19.74 from last year’s Patriot League Champs.
NJIT freshmen Francois Malherbe and Laith Sabbah rocked some impressive times for the America East Conference. Malherbe went 20.09/44.73 sprints and a 48.21 100 fly, while Sabbah went 1:39.31 200 free and 1:47.58 200 back. With NJIT returning most of their top scorers from 2023, the addition of these guys might allow them to challenge conference big boys UMBC and Binghampton.
3-time D2 200 back finalist from St. Cloud State Raf Hendricks had a nice tuneup dual against St. Thomas, hitting 48.06/1:45.30 backstrokes, not all that far off his PRs.
Grand Valley State mainstays Eric Hieber and Matt Bosch had big days against D1 Oakland. Bosch took the 100 in 44.79 and had a couple 43 relay splits, Hieber had a fantastic in-season 500 (4:28.89), and they met in the middle with Hieber getting the better of Bosch in the 200, 1:39.47-1:39.54, with Hieber blasting a big 24.48 last 50 to erase Bosch’s half second lead at the 150.
🏊🏼 RELAY OF THE WEEK 🏊♀️
GVSU Men’s 400 Free Relay
Carrying on from the previous blurb, GVSU’s 3:00.30 400 free relay is a huge time for D2 in-season, sitting the Lakers #5 in the division this year. They also did it by way of a big comeback against D1 Oakland, with aforementioned anchor Matt Bosch dropping the hammer to make up over a second on the Golden Grizzlies.
Evan Scotto Divetta 45.74
Roger Miret Sala 45.24
Austin Millard 45.39
Matt Bosch 43.93
Best yet for the Lakers, this capped off a big upset win, as they took a sweep over Oakland, 157-142 for the men, and 163-137 for the women.
🏊🏽♂️ Weekend Preview 🏊🏼
Big, big weekend for midseason invites. The biggest are the Georgia, Texas, Ohio State, Tennessee, and NC State/GAC Invites. But there’s also Art Adamson at Texas A&M, Mizzou, SMU, Purdue, where D1 NCAA-worthy times should be posted.
Some storylines for these: What do the freshman-dependent Texas men even have this year? Will we see any new barriers broken for top sprinters Josh Liendo and Jordan Crooks? What’s freshman do-everything Bella Sims’s invite lineup look like? Can USC’s resurgent women’s group keep up the momentum in taper? How will the historically fast fall season for ASU and NC State men translate to taper time? And, what will Gretchen Walsh do this time?
Some of the top D2 and D3 teams will also be in action. For D2, Tampa’s going to South Carolina’s Gamecock Invite (how fast can Tampa’s Florida State-powered men’s relays go?), Colorado Mesa hosting their own TYR Invite (CMU always puts up times at altitude they can’t quite match in March, will they do it again?), Nova Southeastern going to Queens for the Fall Frenzy (Defending champ NSU women put up times to prep for the repeat), and a number of northern teams including Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State going to Davenport’s Don Kimble Invite (early season distance standouts Ben Wainman and Khalil Ben Ajmia duke it out head to head).
For D3, a bunch of top teams are heading to Denison after Thanksgiving, but Kenyon hosts the Total Performance Invite (encore for double breaststroke champ Jennah Fadely), and Chicago hosts the Phoenix Invite which will also feature NYU, among others (How fast can D1 All-American Derek Maas go while also taking on med school? And what’s last year’s top freshman Kaley McIntyre got for an encore?).
Enjoying the College Swimming Roundup?
Like this email?