College Swimming Roundup
Top 10 Women's Performances. Top 10 Men's Performances.
COLLEGE SWIMMING ROUNDUP
The College Swimming Roundup is brought to you by The CG Sports Company, the representation behind some of your favorite swimmers like Elizabeth Beisel, Beata Nelson, and Kieran Smith.
🏊♀️ SWIMS OF THE WEEK 🏊🏽♂️
Fastest Dual Meet Weekend Ever?
Whew, what a weekend. Ridiculous times pretty much everywhere you looked. So much going on, let's go with a Listicle for this week:
Top Ten Women's Performances:
- Kensey McMahon, Alabama: 4:41.83/9:34.36 free - That 1000 is a nation-leader by 3 seconds, even over extracted mile splits from fall invites. The 500 is McMahon's best of the season as well. With no obvious favorite in the mile, her season trajectory bodes well.
- Lindsay Looney, Arizona State: 49.51/1:45.65/4:45.59 free, 53.42/1:53.48 fly - Her 200 fly was only .06 off her 4th ranked season best and .25 off her PR. She may have the best chance of anyone of breaking up the Texas triple. Also went 2:08 LCM 2 Fly vs. Washington.
- Rhyan White, Alabama: 23.92/51.29/1:52.24 back, 51.79 fly - Season best 100 fly for the backstroke Olympian. Backstroke times under a second off her season bests as well.
- Gretchen Walsh, Virginia: 21.43/47.94 free, 23.57/50.07 back, 50.76 fly - That's a nation-leader in the 100 back. Gonna be an interesting decision for her on her Day Three NCAA event as she's putting up elite 100 fly times too.
- Alex Gill, Pomona-Pitzer: 1:01.81 breast, 58.07 IM - A PR in the 100 breast puts her #3 in the nation, and she's dropped over a second in her main event this season.
- Claire Conover, Drury: 1:02.95 breast, 2:03.13 IM - Both these swims rank top 10 in D2 this year. The IM was a best time as she's moving into NCAA championship finals territory.
- Eva Garreux, Arizona Christian: 56.04 fly - Another dual meet PR on the weekend, .86 better than her 2022 NAIA champs third place performance.
- Kristen Stege, Tennessee: 4:45.66/9:37.62 (split)/15:57.01 free - The converted East Carolina sprinter popped a nation-leader in the mile, and is rounding into form after an off 2021-2022 season.
- Ella Nelson, Virginia: 2:08.20 breast, 2:00.01/4:03.66 IM - The senior got the better of defending NCAA champ and teammate Alex Walsh in the 400 IM here, and also was near her season-best in the 2 breast.
- Lydia Hanlon, Kentucky: 52.76/1:52.16 back, 54.26 fly - The freshman went best times in the backstroke events, with the 200 back ranking 10th in the nation. Kentucky seems to just churn out 200 swimmers like nothing.
Top Ten Men's Performances:
- Leon Marchand, Arizona State - 51.01/1:48.85 breast, 1:38.89/3:31.84 IM - Not much else to say that hasn't already been said. Four events, four season bests, four nation leaders, one NCAA record. He's the most electrifying swimmer in the world right now. Last Monday, at the end of a 7500 yard aerobic workout, he pushed a 4:18 500 Freestyle.
- Youssef Ramadan, Virginia Tech - 19.09 free, 44.76 fly - sniped Jordan Crooks by .03 for the top time in the nation this year in the 100 fly. 50 free was a season best too, and impressively good enough for 8th in the nation in an event where taper typically means so much.
- Charlie Hawke, Alabama - 19.79/42.53/1:32.61/4:16.68 free - Rangy Australian freestyler with a PR in the 50 and 100 and close to his season best in the 500. Amazingly, he didn't even touch the shorter races last year.
- Destin Lasco, Cal - 45.81/1:41.24 back, 19.43/42.82 free relay splits - The bright spot for Cal against ASU with the only two men's meet wins, those times in a Speedo and with the context of the rest of the Golden Bears' performances signal he might be closer to 1:35 2021 200 back form than 1:37 2022 form.
- Andrew Rodriguez, Drury - 22.88/48.88 back, 1:49.02 IM - The fifth year looks like he's primed for a big final hurrah. The 200 IM led D2 for the weekend, and the other two swims were within tenths of the same.
- Grant House, Arizona State - 42.54/1:31.51 free, 18.76/41.64 free relay splits - A season best and nation leader in the 200. And those relay splits show how much of a racer this dude is. He's also the funniest swimmer on TikTok.
- Crow Thorsen, Emory - 1:49.30 fly, 3:54.45 IM - Season bests in both events, and that 400 IM would have placed 3rd at D3 NCAAs last year.
- Ron Polonsky, Stanford - 1:33.83 free, 1:43.72 IM - The Israeli raced House and Marchand in their best events. Posted a season-best IM for this Stanford team aimed at breaking out at Pac-12s.
- Mason Wilby, Kentucky - 1:42.79 back, 1:42.26 fly, 1:46.63 IM - Versatile mid-distance guy put up a season best 200 fly that ranks him 8th in D1. Depending on Marchand and Burns's event choices, this could be a pretty wide-open race with 4 of the top 8 from 2022 either injured (Urlando) or graduated (Albiero, Julian, Ferraro).
- Aiden Stoffle, Auburn - 21.15/46.00 back, 46.75 fly, 43.11 free relay split - The older Stoffle usually gets butterfly duties in the 200 MR, but he got to lead off against 'Bama and responded with a PR.
Newcomers Ready to Rock
We had several impact midseason additions swimming either the first or second meets of the year here.
On the women's side, Emma Weyant swam her second meet for Florida after transferring from Virginia. She tested out the mile, with her 16:08.24 only 6 seconds from her best swim and ranking her 8th in the nation thus far.
The men's side has quite a few names. The highest profile midseason pickup was (now former) NCAA record holder Hugo Gonzalez, who decided to make a return to Cal for his fifth year. His debut shows he's either deep in training or took some time out of the water after SCM Worlds - between the Arizona and Arizona State dual meets he went 1:40.82 free, 48.49/1:47.43 back, 50.64 fly, and 3:57.92 IM. He can do those times in practice.
Cal's other addition, UCSD transfer Spencer Daily, performed better, with a 20.35 50 free, 47.47 100 fly, and, perhaps most importantly for Cal, a 20.72 fly split.
ASU also had two big additions, both Hungarian freshmen. European IM champion Hubert Kos showed his versatility with 47.07/1:41.48 backs, 1:43.41 fly, and 1:44.53/3:43.77 IMs. Zalan Sarkany also showed up big for the Sun Devils, with 4:17.81/8:50.25 in the distance frees. They're both threats to score in multiple events in March.
Stanford's Andrei Minakov made his return from Russia against Pacific last week, but was much more on his game against ASU and Arizona this weekend. 19.55/43.72 frees and 45.07/1:42.57 flys are all season bests for him. The 100 fly marks his first time under 46 outside of championship season, and the 200 fly signals that he might be thinking of making a run at that race as opposed to the 2 individual/5 relay lineup he swam at NCAAs last year.
🏊🏼 RELAYS OF THE WEEK 🏊♀️
Crazy 200 Medley Relays
Got a bunch here, but just couldn't pick one. 3 D1 women's teams, 1 D1 men's team, and 2 D2 women's teams went times that would have scored at NCAAs last year.
It's usually not terribly surprising when Virginia (1:35.71 off 23.57/27.16/22.84/22.14 splits) does that, but Alabama was actually nipping at their virtual heels (1:35.80 off 23.92/27.30/23.22/21.36 splits) and Louisville wasn't far off either (1:36.14, splits messed up).
The Arizona State men are showing they are in the running in this relay in March, with the nation leading time in the event (1:22.60, 21.04/23.10/19.70/18.76 splits).
In D2, Carson-Newman raced Tennessee and their women swam a 1:43.28 (26.03/29.15/24.48/23.62), while the Drury women swam a 1:43.35 against rival Missouri State (again, splits messed up).
Honorable mention goes to the Auburn teams who both just barely missed my arbitrary standard, with their women going 1:36.97 (24.41/27.45/23.29/21.82) and the men 1:23.70 (21.15/23.13/20.31/19.11).
🏊🏽♂️ MEET OF THE WEEK 🏊🏼
Women - Alabama 155 vs. Auburn 145
Rivalry Week in full swing here with the swimming version of the Iron Bowl. This meet was a contrast in team makeup - Alabama is top heavy with the sudden loss of a couple of great freestylers, while Auburn is extremely deep. Alabama took 12 wins to Auburn's 4, but many Crimson Tide wins were followed by 2-3-4 Auburn finishes. Auburn had a 74-57 lead prior to the first diving break on the strength of 1-2-3 finishes in the 200 free and 200 fly (actually 1-2-3-4-5 in the 2 fly), but in the second phase of the meet Alabama's star foursome Kalia Antoniou, Rhyan White, Avery Wiseman, and Kensey McMahon battled back to give the Crimson Tide a 127-118 advantage going into the second diving break. Auburn pulled it to 2 points with great performances on the 1m boards, but Alabama closed things out with a strong 3:15.45 (48.01/49.37/49.26/48.81) 400 free relay to wrap up this rivalry win.
Men - Ohio State 151.5 vs. Michigan 148.5
Historic rivalry meet win here in the swimming version of the Big Game as the Buckeye men won in Ann Arbor for the first time since 1951. Ohio State got out to a big lead in the first few events, but their breaststroke weakness and Michigan's strength in the 50 resulted in a 65.5-all tie going into the first diving break. By the second diving break, Ohio State had built a 132.5-112.5 lead, but the Wolverines came storming back with wins on the 3m boards, the 200 IM, and the 400 free relay. Coming down to the last relay, Ohio State's B relay closed with 44.57/44.42 splits from Jay Johnson and Chachi Gustafson to pull away from Michigan's B relay by a second and a half and seal up the win.
🏊🏽♂️ WEEKEND PREVIEW 🏊🏼
Cooling down a little in the dual meet department as taper and conference meets approach. The biggest meet of the weekend is a two-day Texas vs. NC State dual. Best races to watch will be the men's mid-distance and distance free - these might be the strongest groups for both teams.
Other major conference duals include Cal/Southern Cal, UNC/Duke, Northwestern/Iowa/Minnesota/Purdue, Louisville/Indiana, and Stanford/UCLA women.
Notre Dame hosts the Tim Welsh Classic, which always produces some really fast times, mostly from the Fighting Irish.
There's also the storied "HYP" Harvard/Princeton/Yale meet. You'll see all three of these teams hitting season bests here, this is a true rivalry meet.
Drury/Oklahoma Christian and Grand Valley/Wayne State are the biggest non-D1 meets of the weekend. Outside of a winter training dual, we haven't seen the OC Eagles in action since their early November invite which was more or less an intrasquad meet. Wayne State features Luka Cvetko, who led off a 200 free relay last weekend in 19.62, just .03 off his season best.
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