College Swimming Roundup: D2 & D3 Conference Extravaganza

Great Lakes Valley. Northeast 10. South Atlantic. Rocky Mountain. North Coast. UAA. NESAC.


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πŸŠβ€β™€οΈΒ SWIMS OF THE WEEK πŸŠπŸ½β€β™‚οΈ

GLVC Champs: D2 NCAA Preview?

D2 and D3 conference meets were in full swing, and the fastest of the bunch was the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Since beginning to offer swimming as a conference sport, it's been one of the premier conferences in the division. Coming into the meet, Drury, UIndy, and McKendree sat at #1-#3 in the most recent men's CSCAA poll, while on the women's side, Indy, Drury, and McKendree ranked #3, #5, and #10.

The meet didn't disappoint, with nation leaders, meet records, and A cuts galore.

Drury took the men's title with strong performances across the board - Nathan Bighetti won the 200 back in one of the best races of the weekend as he cranked the tempo in the last 50 to pass up UMSL's Jon Osa 1:44.11-1:44.31, and the team won the 400 medley relay in a GLVC record 3:09.61, but their championship came mostly thanks to the depth of their mid-D and distance squads: Szymon Kapala, Josue Hernandez Tellez, Ivan Dubinin, Anisse Djaballah, and Colby Hughes all placed in the top 8 of the 1650 and top 16 of the 500 and 1000.

The distance events, however, were dominated by GLVC Men's Swimmer of the Year Cedric Buessing. The Greyhound sophomore went 4:20/9:01/15:02 for a PR and clean sweep and also won the 400 IM in 3:46.16.

He led off Indy's 800 free relay in another PR 1:37.51, their B 400 medley relay in 48.06 backstroke (yet another PR), and swam a 43.99 leg in Indy's runner-up 400 free relay (3:54.44).

He wasn't the only record-setting Greyhound man on the weekend. Jeron Thompson took the conference record in the 100 back in 46.31 - he also added 46.26 100 fly and 43.50 100 free runner-up finishes.

McKendree's Gregg Lichinsky was the champion in those latter two events - taking the 100 fly in a PR 46.00 and the 100 free in 42.95. He also was the runner-up in the 50 free in 19.63, and the catalyst for the Bearcat relays with 19.21/42.02/1:35.70 free splits. McKendree had 3 other event champs as well, with Jack Lustig winning the 200 fly (1:44.16) and 200 IM (1:47.96), Alireza Yavari the 200 free (1:36.19) and Felipe Pinheiro the 200 breast (1:57.91).

Meanwhile, GLVC Men's Coach of the Year, first year hire and Missouri S&T alum Danny Murphy was a 400 IMer in his swimming days and showed he can coach that event up too - GLVC Men's Freshman of the Year Connor Bichsel dropped almost 7 seconds from his high school PR to take runner-up in the event in 3:51.66, while also authoring the best 200 IM time on the week with a 1:47.80 in prelims. He also posted a 1:48.36 200 fly and a 1:59.82 200 breast. He's got a nice potential rivalry brewing with fellow freshman Quincy's Wyatt Walsh - Walsh was 1:47.97/3:51.77 in the IMs and added a 4:29.74 500 and a 2:02.26 200 breast.

UIndy, led by Brent Noble, the Women's Coach of the Year who's also coincidentally in his first season in the position, won the women's meet on the strength of their stars: all-purpose sprinter Johanna Buys won the 50 free (22.71), took runner-up in the 100 free (50.21) and 100 fly (54.69), and took third in the 100 breast (1:02.70). Mika Heideyer nipped Buys in the 100 free (50.07) and 100 fly (54.57) and took a GLVC record in the 200 free (1:48.42) to bring home conference Freshman of the Year honors.

Kaitlin McCoy had two of the best swims of the meet with a 53.37 100 back and 2:00.01 200 IM - the former leads D2 by .7 seconds at this point. She looked to be on her way to another win in the 400 IM, leading at the halfway point by half a second, but Drury's Claire Conover chose the back half of the race to launch her eventually successful campaign for GLVC Women's Swimmer of the Year. She unleashed a 1:10.04/58.79 back half to win the race by a second and a half in 4:18.23. She'd continue on to win the 100 breast in 1:02.19 and 200 breast in 2:13.98. Lexi Waller was another standout for the Panthers, trading off backstroke wins with McCoy with a 1:56.06 200 back win and a 54.26 100 back runner-up. Drury also nabbed the top times in the country in the 800 free relay (7:19.25 off 1:50.13/1:49.01/1:49.75/1:50.32 splits) and 400 medley relay (3:40.87 off 54.24/1:02.42/54.04/50.17 splits).

Meanwhile, McKendree's freshman Cica Carvalho was the only woman besides Conover and Heideyer to win three events on the week. The Bearcats star dominated the distance events with 4:52.42/10:00.16/16:46.63 wins, and added a 1:51.52 200 free for a 10th place finish there.

D2 Conference Meets, Continued

Of course, other D2 meets had some great swims and competition over the week.

In Massachusetts, Southern Connecticut State swept the Northeast-10 Conference. Bentley's Swimmer of the Meet Emma Hapkiewicz most likely locked in her invite to NCAAs, winning the distance frees in 5:00.28/10:15.02/16:59.48, while SCSU's Justice Glasgow will be on the bubble with a 55.87 100 fly. On the men's side, SCSU's McAllistar Milne's 3:54.45 400 IM would have been on the right side of the bubble in 2022, while teammate Chandler Tucker's 1:48.84 200 IM would have been right outside qualifying. Without Queens and Lindenwood, that calculus may change.

A little further south in North Carolina, Wingate swept the inaugural South Atlantic Conference, though Carson-Newman put up a fight. CNU's Manon Compagner signaled she's an NCAA threat across a variety of events - she won the 50 free (22.78), 200 free (1:49.11), and 100 fly (52.92). That 100 fly is the #2 ranked swim in the nation thus far. Meanwhile, the Wingate and Carson Newman men flexed their freestyle muscle - their 2:55.29 (44.08/44.50/43.67/43.04) and 2:56.06 (43.91/44.02/43.45/44.68) 400 free relays sit at 5th and 6th in the country. Lenoir-Rhyne's Micah McRea put up perhaps the most complete performance for the week - 45.01/1:37.89 frees leading off relays, 54.47/2:00.38 breasts, 1:47.37/3:51.91 IMs, while Ney Chagas Filho from Wingate popped a 1:44.95 200 back.

On the other side of the country, Colorado Mesa hosted and won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships. Their stars came to play, even perhaps a bit less than peaked comparing with their midseason times, with Lily Borgenheimer (100/200 breast, 200/400 IM) and Ben Sampson (100/200 back, 200/400 IM) taking 4 wins each. Oklahoma Christian's Brandon Heredia was a big standout, hitting PRs in the 50 and 100 free and close in the 200 free (19.86/43.58/1:36.71). Altitude adjustments count for NCAA qualifying, so some big impacts to the selection list were felt here, especially in the longer events - for example, the 400 IM will most likely see new qualifiers CMU's Sophia Bains (4:20.67 adjusted) and OC's Cheyenne Denison (4:22.84 adj) on the women's side, and Colorado School of Mines's Ronan Lauinger (3:53.46 adj) and Braden Whitmarsh (3:55.91 adj) on the men's side.

D3 Conference Meets

Some of the most venerable conferences in D3 also suited it up this weekend, with some notable results.

Kenyon and Denison were the main players clashing at the North Coast Athletic Conference champs. The Big Red ladies got the better of the Ladies thanks to some impressive freestyle depth. Taryn Wisner took the longer frees in PRs 1:48.55/4:49.12/16:34.89. The former two lead the nation and signal that John's Hopkins's Kristin Cornish, who lead the nation with early season times up to this point, might have some stiff competition this year. Wisner was joined by a gang of Big Red freestylers that now rank in the nation's top 16 in multiple events - Tara Culibrk (23.15/49.89/1:48.73), Annie Pfeufer (1:49.97/4:57.67), Quinn Brown (4:53.92/17:02.88), and Tara Witkowski (4:51.19/16:50.81). The most impressive swim, however, came from Kenyon's Jennah Fadely, who became just the third D3 woman under the minute mark in the 100 breast with a 59.98.

Kenyon managed a close win over Denison on the men's side, though the results suggest the Lords are saving their best for March. Djordje Dragojlovic (20.23/43.98 free, 47.80 back) and Bryan Fitzgerald (4:25.97/15:34.08 free, 3:52.21 IM) led the way at either end of the distance spectrum for the Lords. For the Big Red men, Elijah Venos had a huge coming out party - he dropped a second and a half to win the 100 breast (53.96), and over 3 to win the 200 breast (1:58.27). In the 200 breast, he nipped his teammate Richie Kurlich, who was actually a bit faster, 1:58.00, in prelims, and also won the 100 IM (48.99), went PRs in the 100 breast in a time trial (53.93), 100 fly (47.51) and 50 free (20.17), and blasted a 19.48 free split anchoring their 200 free relay. Craziest thing here is, he didn't even swim probably his best event, the 200 fly.

The UAA was another D3 headliner. Like Kenyon, it looked like defending champs Emory saved a bit more than others for March, though they won the women's meet fairly handily. Emory's three stars led the way: Taylor Leone won the 50 free (23.03) and tied for first in the 100 fly (54.73) and took 4th in the 100 (49.35), Caroline Maki joined the 100 fly tie and won the 100 free (49.72) both in PRs, and Megan Jungers swept the backstrokes in season bests (53.80/2:00.34). NYU freshman Kaley McIntyre, meanwhile, had a coming out meet - winning the 200 free (1:48.78) and 200 back (1:59.09) and taking second in the 50 free (23.26), all in PR times.

On the men's side, Emory had to rely on their ridiculous 200 breast group (they scored 4 men in the A final, led by Jason Hamilton's 1:55.67 win) to pass up UChicago in the final events, capping the meet off with a 2:58.33/2:58.55 400 free relay win over the Maroons. Of particular note for the meet was NYU's distance duo - Thomas Prichard (4:24.70/15:23.51) traded a distance win with Connor Vincent (4:27.43/15:18.69), and likewise for the NYU men another freshman, Leo Han, took another big step forward with 48.36 100 back, 47.33/1:46.33 fly PRs. WashU's Alex McCormick also looks like he'll be a threat in March with PR 48.43/1:44.61 backs and 1:48.80 IM.

The NESCAC Women's Championships featured a Tufts vs Williams showdown. The teams each had 10 wins apiece, but Tufts' depth won the week. The Jumbos were led by freshman Lily Klinginsmith, who had a PR parade with a 49.92 100 free, 53.56 100 fly, and 2:00.95 IM, with 22.95/49.12/1:49.41 free relay splits to boot. Claire Brennan provided mid-D strength with 50.93/1:49.09/4:52.74 frees, and Madeline Dunn completed the distance spectrum with wins in the longest events (4:52.69/10:00.90/16:51.90 PRs). Williams's stars also had great meets - Sophia Verkleeren swept her individual events with nation-leading 1:57.99 200 back and 2:00.56/4:17.24 IMs, breaststroker Amanda Wager took over the top time in the country in the 200 breast with a 2:13.79 and added a 1:02.70 100 breast win, and Samantha Kilcoyne had a PR butterfly weekend at 24.39/53.97/2:01.12.

πŸŠπŸ½β€β™‚οΈ WEEKEND PREVIEW 🏊🏼

Here it is, the biggest week of the season thus far:

SEC, ACC, Big Ten women for the Power Five.

Missouri Valley, Summit League, CCSA, Horizon League, Patriot League, A-10, MPSF, Ivy League women, CAA, Mountain West for D1 Mid Major.

GLIAC, New South, Conference Carolinas, PSAC, Sunshine State for D2.

Almost countless D3 meets, led by NESCAC men, NEWMAC, and MIAAC.

And Cal/Stanford men for one last high-profile dual meet.

It's going to be difficult to keep up. So share this newsletter with a fellow swim nerd.

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