With so much going on this week, we’re still digging our way through the results of some of the top college invites that happened last weekend. We’ll take advantage of the Thanksgiving break to go back and highlight key swims from the first round of invites, beginning in Lafayette, Indiana at the Purdue Invitational.
The star of this meet was Louisville’s Joao de Lucca, a Brazilian Olympian and multiple-NCAA title contender, who broke a record that is highly-revered in that part of the country on the final day of the three-day NCAA style invitational.
Though he had a ton of great swims, de Lucca’s best was in the 100 free, where he swam a 42.52 in prelims that eclipsed a 2004 Matt Grevers Pool Record of 42.72, swum at that year’s Big Ten Championship meet.
He was only a 42.69 in finals, but the record was broken, as was his own Louisville School Record. Initially, going a personal best at this meet might have been a bit worrisome, considering that de Lucca was committed to swim for Brazil’s Short Course World Championships squad, but Brazil’s Blog do Coach, run by Davie Nadadores coach Alex Pussieldi, is reporting that de Lucca has pulled out of the meet this December because it conflicts with his final exams at Louisville and he couldn’t get a waiver on the tests. That means that he’s got another full 4 months to get ready for NCAA’s.
De Lucca also won the 50 free in 19.81, the 200 free in 1:36.73, and the 100 fly in 48.32. The overall picture of his results this weekend is a bit of a headscratcher: for as good as the 50 100 were (he spent a lot of time working on his sprinting speed this summer for the Olympics, though in long course), his 200 that was his best last season was about a second off of where he was in November of 2011.
Either way, de Lucca continues to be a force in the freestyle events, is the national leader in the 100 by four-tenths of a second, and combined with sophomore teammate Carlyle Blondell (43.16 this weekend) gives the Cardinals serious top-8 potential in the sprint relays at NCAA’s, flipping the story on the medleys where they were superior last season.
On the women’s side for Louisville, super-freshman Kelsi Worrell obliterated her personal bests in just about every race she swam. In the 200 free, that meant a 1:46.62 that knocked a full second off of her previous lifetime best, even though that previous best was swum three weeks ago. She’s got a fantastic future, as Louisville continues to develop great freestylers to go along with their long history in the breaststrokes.
She was also the runer-up in the 100 free in 49.68, 2nd there to Purdue’s Lauren Gustafson. Worrell doesn’t have quite as much support in the women’s freestyles as de Lucca does in the men’s for this team (Krissy Brandenburg was 5th in 50.92), but the Purdue women are looking like NCAA-quality there. In the 200 free relay, they swam a 1:30.66 to Louisville’s 1:31.50, and in the 400 Purdue was a 3:18.07 to Louisville’s 3:22.22.
Gustafson is supported in those relays by Carly Mercer, Lauren Nichols, and Rhi Sheets, and the Boilermakers now rank 3rd in the country in both distances. The 400 was the most impressive, just missing the NCAA Automatic qualifying standard, with four 49′s:
Mercer – 49.42
Gustafson – 49.46
Nichols – 49.92
Sheets – 49.26
Sheets was phenomenal on that anchor, though the overall meet for her was a bit up-and-down. She qualified for the NCAA Championships last year in the 200 free and the 200 fly, but this year (if this was considered Purdue’s fall-semester focus meet), she seems to be trying to develop her sprintier races to go along with those 200′s, with mixed results. She was just 7th in the 50 free in 23.39, and finished in the same position in the 100 fly (only 56.19 in finals after a 54.9 in prelims). Back in the 200 yard races, though, she showed that even as she’s taken more to sprints, she hasn’t suffered much: she took 2nd in the 200 free in 1:47.82, which is the 2nd-best time in the Big Ten this year; and a 1:57.02 in the 200 fly to finish less than a tenth back of Louisvile’s Tanya Kyllianen (1:56.95) to put both swimmers as heavy favorites for their respective conference titles.
Kyllianen’s freshman teammate Devon Bibault was 3rd in 1:57.44, which is second only to Jasmine Tosky among freshmen nationwide this year.
Purdue’s other star performer is Emily Fogle, and she looked great in very limited action. She was the fastest in the 100 breaststroke prelims in 59.34 to secure her NCAA Automatic qualification and break the Purdue School Record, split a 27.3 on the Purdue 200 medley relay that almost broke the school record, but then was done.She didn’t swim the finals of the 100, or the 200 at all, where she won the NCAA B-Final last season.
Fogle, though, in that one individual swim became only the second woman this season to dip under the minute barrier.
That left Louisville’s Gisselle Kohoyda to win the longer race in 2:13.60. That’s Kohoyda’s best swim of the year, but she’s still not back to the All-American level that we saw from her last season. In Fogle’s absence, Missouri State’s Renata Sander won in 1:02.34 – a new School Record.
Meanwhile, in the men’s races, Addison Bray and Kameron Chastain showed they are ready to take over the torch from graduated NCAA Champ Carlos Almeida. Bray swept the breaststroke races in 53.72/1:56.64, respectively, and Chastain was 2nd in both including a 53.85 in the 100 (he was a 53.70 in prelims). They’re now the fastest two in the country with plenty of more mid-season invites yet to come.
1. Purdue University 1119
2. Louisville, University of 1026.5
3. Utah, University of 343
4. Missouri State 258.5
5. University of CinCinnati 211
6. Southern Illinois University 159
7. University of Michigan (partial) 117
Men – Team Rankings – Through Event 42
1. Louisville, University of 1031
2. Purdue University 802
3. Utah, University of 462
4. Missouri State 429
5. Southern Illinois University 238
6. University of Michigan (partial) 198
7. University of Cincinnati 143