11 Mid-Major Swimmers Scored at the 2024 Division I NCAA Championships

The 2023-24 NCAA season has come to an end with the conclusion of the women’s and men’s Division I championships at the end of March. Prior to both meets, we did a rundown of the mid-major swimmers who made the championships in Athens, GA and Indianapolis, IN.

Now, we’re taking a look at the mid-major swimmers who scored at the big meets. If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘mid-major’, it refers to the Division I conferences that are not among the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC).

Across the women’s and men’s meets, 11 mid-major swimmers earned second swims and scored points for their programs, up one from the 10 swimmers who scored individually in 2023.


Celia Pulido, Junior — Southern Illinois (36 points)

Last year, it was the men’s meet where Southern Illinois had one of their backstrokers break out (Ruard van Renen). Two weeks ago at the women’s meet in Athens, it was junior Celia Pulido‘s turn. Pulido turned heads during her 100 backstroke prelims swim, chopping 84 one-hundredths off her personal best time in 50.98 to qualify for the championship final.

Pulido, a Mexican native, continued to improve in the final, holding her place and dropping another quarter of a second. She now holds a lifetime best of 50.73, making her the fastest mid-major swimmer ever in the women’s 100 back and the only one sub-51.

On the final day of the meet, she took on the 200 back and made the ‘B’ final with a lifetime best of 1:52.44. Again, she dropped time from prelims to finals, improving her standard to 1:52.31. That puts her at #2 on the mid-major all-time list and moved her up into 13th place for another four points.

Anna Kalandadze, Senior — Penn (15 points)

Like many of the swimmers on this list, Penn senior Anna Kalandadze has scored at NCAAs before. She’s a three-time NCAA qualifier and this was the most points she’s scored at an NCAA Championship throughout her career. After adding time and finishing just outside of scoring in the 500 free (19th), Kalandadze waited for her moment to strike in the 1650 freestyle.

She swam a lifetime best of 15:47.83 in the mile cutting six seconds off the personal best from the 2023 Ivy League Championships. The time is a new Penn and Ivy League record, and moves her up to #4 on the mid-major all-time list, ending her career with the Quakers in style.

This is Kalandadze’s first true All-American honor in the event as she earned HM All-American in 2023 by finishing 10th.

Nicole Maier, Senior — Miami (OH) (6 points)

Nicole Maier had a strong senior season; in addition to her usual events, she swam the fifth-fastest mid-major times in the 100 and 200 freestyle. She added a personal best in another event by swimming 4:39.73 in the 500 free at NCAAs, placing 18th.

Like last year, she earned a second swim in the 400 IM at NCAAs. She swam a season-best 4:06.01, taking 3.37 seconds off her season-best time. Going out, she actually also swam a personal best in the 100 fly. She touched in 55.90 on her 100 fly split, which cuts four-hundredths off her previous personal best, which was swum at a 2023 dual meet in the individual event.

Weronika Gorecka, Fifth-Year — Akron (3 points)

Akron fifth-year Weronika Gorecka made it two mid-major women in the 200 backstroke ‘B’ final, joining Pulido. She placed 14th, collecting three points for Akron, who tied with Arkansas for 36th in the team race.

Gorecka swam a season-best 1:52.61 in the ‘B’ final, dropping .92 off her previous season-best over the course of the day. Her lifetime best is the 1:52.43 she swam last season, which makes her the third-fastest mid-major swimmer in the event. This was Gorecka’s second appearance in the 200 backstroke ‘B’ final; last year she took 13th.

Akron sent three swimmers to NCAAs this year, the second most of any mid-major program behind Princeton (five). They were the only women’s mid-major program that had multiple swimmers score.

Abby Daniel, Junior — Akron (2 points)

This marked Abby Daniel‘s second NCAA Championship appearance and was her first time scoring points. After finishing 17th in the 100 fly last year and just missing out on scoring, Daniel made two consolation finals in 2024.

First, she qualified 16th in the 200 IM with a personal best of 1:55.45. She added a bit in finals but still scored the first NCAA point of her career. The next day, she made it back for a second ‘B’ final, qualifying 16th for the 100 fly with another personal best of 51.34. She earned another 16th-place finish in the final, bringing her point tally up to two.

Both her prelim best times move her up to 4th all-time in the mid-majors in the respective event.


Jack Hoagland, Fifth-Year — SMU (46 points)

Two years ago, Jack Hoagland was sidelined for the season with an injury. He returned to action in the 2022-23 season–his senior year–and scored 26 points at the 2023 NCAAs for Notre Dame, finaling in all three of his events and swimming season-bests to lead the Irish to a program-best finish. Hoagland then transferred to SMU for his fifth year.

He quickly started to make an impact for the Mustangs and began climbing both their program top-10 list and the mid-major rankings. Through the conference championships (ASUN), however, we had yet to see Hoagland at his full potential.

He unleashed that at his final NCAAs in Indianapolis. Once again, he made the final in his three events; upgrading from last year to earn a trio of top-eight honors. His highest finish was 4th in the 400 IM (3:37.53). He also finished 6th in the 1650 free from the early heats (14:39.19), and took 6th in the 500 free as well (4:12.65). His 500 free and 400 IM were lifetime bests.

He added another in the 200 free (1:32.47) leading off SMU’s scoring 800 free relay. Hoagland combined with Christopher MykkanenJack Forrest and Colin Feehery for SMU’s first NCAA relay points since 2013. This was the only mid-major relay to score this year.

Brian Benzing, Senior — Towson (18 points)

Towson’s Brian Benzing is no stranger to the NCAA championships or the all-time mid-majors list. Coming into this meet, he was already the fastest mid-major swimmer in the 100 breaststroke via the 51.25 he swam last season. He exploded in prelims of the 100 breaststroke, breaking 51 seconds for the first time in his career and qualifying for his first NCAA championship final in third.

Benzing continued to drop time in finals. In the wake of Liam Bell‘s NCAA record swim, Benzing moved up from the morning and finished 2nd–the highest finish from a mid-major swimmer since Dean Farris. He did so in another lifetime best, swimming 50.59. That marked a drop of 66 one-hundredths for Benzing on the day.

Then, he followed up by making the ‘B’ final of the 200 breast the next day. He swam a lifetime best 1:52.71 to grab 16th, a placement he replicated in finals. Benzing wasn’t on the mid-major top 10 list at the start of the day but launched himself into 5th.

Matt Fallon, Junior — Penn (17 points)

Matt Fallon missed the 2023 NCAAs with an injury. He rebounded quickly and had a breakthrough summer; after making his first senior U.S. international team by qualifying in the 200 breaststroke he won bronze at the World Championships in Fukuoka.

A year removed from missing the championship meet, Fallon made his mark in Indianapolis. Still relying on the back half strategy that we’ve all become familiar with, Fallon won silver in the 200 breaststroke on the final day of the meet. That upgrades from his 3rd place finish as a freshman.

More importantly, Fallon earned his trophy in a new lifetime best of 1:48.48. He’s now the third-fastest performer in the history of the event and the second-fastest American (behind only Will Licon). He improves his time as the fastest mid-major swimmer in history.

With Kalandadze and Fallon, Penn is the only mid-major school that had a scorer at both the women’s and men’s NCAA championships.

Danny Kovac, Fifth-Year — SMU (14 points)

Make that two SMU fifth-years scoring at men’s NCAAs. Danny Kovac transferred to the Mustangs for the spring semester after swimming four years at Missouri.

Kovac made two ‘B’ finals in Indianapolis. He started with the 200 IM, qualifying for the ‘B’ final in 15th (1:42.03). He lowered that time in finals, jumping up to win the ‘B’ final in a season-best 1:41.41 that’s just off his 2021 PB. Kovac is the first Mustang to earn All-American honors in the event since 2002.

On the final day of the meet, Kovac earned another finals swim, this time in the 200 fly. Kovac moved through to finals in 12th in 1:40.93 to lower his ASUN conference record. He maintained his 12th placement in finals in 1:41.17, racking up a total of 14 points across his events for the Mustangs.

Jack Kelly, Junior — Brown (11 points)

Jack Kelly narrowly missed earning a finals swim in the 100 breaststroke after tying for 18th place (51.92). He was able to grab a second swim in the 200 breaststroke by qualifying for the championship final in 8th (1:51.65), two-hundredths off the best he swam at the Ivy League championship. It was his first NCAA championship final.

Kelly’s placement gave the Ivy League two swimmers in the 200 breaststroke NCAA final as he joined Penn’s Fallon.

Kelly maintained his 8th place in the championship final. He added time from prelims in the final but still earned Brown’s first All-American honors in 12 years. Their last All-American was Tommy Glenn in 2012 (200 butterfly). Kelly is Brown’s third man to earn All-American honors joining Glenn and Carl Paulson, who earned his honors in 1943 and 1944.

Djurdje Matic, Senior — GW (3 points)

Djurdje Matic‘s 2024 NCAA invite marked the second NCAA invite of his career. However, this was the first time that he’s scored at the NCAA level.

Matic set a personal best and A-10 record during prelims of the 100 butterfly, clocking 44.80 to qualify 10th and earn a spot in the ‘B’ final. He added a shade in finals and finished 14th, earning the first NCAA points of his career.

Though they did not score, GW also sent two women to the NCAA championships: Ava DeAngelis and Ava Topolewski. Three is the most swimmers that GW has ever sent to NCAAs and this was the first time they sent swimmers to both the women’s and men’s meet.

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Tim Jenkins
2 months ago

And other mid major swimmers should have been invited ( with faster seed times that many others from big schools who were invited). Dylan Felt of Davidson College is a perfect example ( 500 free and 1650 free).

Reply to  Tim Jenkins
2 months ago

Clearly you don’t understand how invites work. There is no “should have been invited”. You’re either in the top 30-31 swimmers in an event, or you’re not. Those “others from big schools” with slower seed times probably weren’t invited in the 500 or mile.

Faulty Touch Pad
Reply to  Tim Jenkins
2 months ago

I believe you’re confusing the Bonus cuts with a qualifying time. If you are top 30-31 in 1 event and earn an invite, you have the ability to swim other races if you get the NCAA B standard. That’s probably why you saw some relatively slower times in those events compared to what it took to qualify top 30-31

2 months ago

and you all jumped on cody miller for his double dolphins on the pullouts … this guy sets a new standard. Watch the replay on espnu … you can see he gets a second jump of propulsion.

2 months ago

Akron has been getting swimmers to NCAAs consistently for the past several years! Very impressive team out of the MAC.

2 months ago

50 upvotes and I’ll buzz my hair like Brian Benzing

Reply to  Caveman
2 months ago

Dammit. Okay I’ll upload a YouTube video soon guys

Reply to  Caveman
2 months ago

My parents aren’t going to be happy about this

Reply to  Caveman
2 months ago

Alright guys I’m doing it today

2 months ago

36 points on 2 events, one being a B final, for Pulido? There must be another event in there somewhere.

Reply to  Anon
2 months ago

She finished 7th in the 100 back

Reply to  Anon
2 months ago

Yeah it should be 16 not 36

2 months ago

Impressive considering many of these teams don’t have the resources as a Power 4/5 team.

Reply to  [email protected]
2 months ago


2 months ago

We know about Benzing transferring to a P5 (er…P4 now) and some of those will graduate but I wonder how many others will transfer, too. I assume there were some other mid-major swimmers who were top 24 who could potentially final next year.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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