2014 AAC Championships: Louisville dominant behind de Lucca’s 41.90

Louisville iced their victories in the first-ever American Athletic Conference Championship with some big swims and impressive times on Saturday night. None will stand out more than Joao de Lucca‘s 41.90 win in the 100 free, although Kelsi Worrell put up her own impressive time in winning the women’s 100 free. In addition, Tanja Kylliainen won her third title of the week and the Louisville men went 1-2-3 in the last four events of the weekend to underscore their dominance.

SMU went 1-2 in the women’s 200 breast to seal the runner-up position, and Rutgers’ Joanna Wu completed a sweep of the backstroke events, while Houston won its third diving contest.

Prelims recap

Full live results

Women’s 1650 Free

The Louisville women swept the top three spots in the conference’s longest race, led by senior Carly Munchel. Munchel was 16:35.63 to win the event for the Cards, followed by her heir apparent, freshman Abbie Houck in 16:44.64. Junior Abby Chin went 16:46.79 for third.

UConn’s Shelley Faykes, another freshman, went 16:49.04 for fourth place, beating out Hope Andrews of Cincinnati by about two seconds.

Andrews was followed by her Bearcat teammate Milli Puth, the last swimmer under 17 minutes.

Men’s 1650 Free

Louisville sophomore Bryan Draganosky went 15:13.57 to break the pool record and win his first conference title. That was about 12 seconds faster than second-place Michael Lennon of UConn.

Louisville also took third with Jake Schultz, a freshman, who went 15:31.89 before a trio of Cincinnati Bearcats – Joey Ferreri, Joe Bott and Donovan Kearns.

Men’s Platform Diving

SMU’s Devin Burnett completed his sweep of the diving events by winning platform with a score of 399.65. That was 77 more than Mustang teammate Hayden Hodges, who took second.

SMU actually put four divers into the top 8 – Parker Meinecke was fourth and Bryce Klein seventh. Louisville (Sean Piner 3rd and Sam Blair 5th) and UConn (John Brice 6th and Tony Cortwright 8th) grabbed the remaining finals spots.

Women’s 200 Back

Speaking of sweeps, Rutgers Scarlet Knight Joanna Wu completed her sweep of the backstrokes by winning the 200 back in 1:54.07. That took exactly one second off her pool record from prelims, and topped SMU’s Isabella Arcila, the closest challenger, by 1.2 seconds.

Louisville went 3-4 with Erica Belcher and Kristina Steins, and also added a 6th place from Kenzie Buss. Cincinnati’s Jessica Piper was fifth.

Men’s 200 Back

Louisville had a pair of 1-2-3-4 sweeps last night, and they added another in the 200 back tonight. Grigory Tarasevich went 1:41.50, a new pool record, to jump from the 3-seed to the conference title. Fellow freshman Aaron Greene was second in 1:43.44, and top seed Nolan Tesone went 1:43.57 for third. Juan Lopez rounded out the Louisville sweep with a 1:45.33.

SMU’s Matas Andriekus went 1:45.81 for fourth over a pair of UConn Huskies, Franz Sawyer and Jeff Magin.

Women’s 100 Free

Kelsi Worrell went 48.47 to both break her own pool record and deny Cincinnati’s Jackie Keire her third conference title in the 100 free. Worrell was out in a screaming 23.2 to just beat her own post-season time from last year. Her NCAA entries could still change to the 200 fly, but this was a very solid swim with likely more time left to drop come NCAAs.

Keire took second in 48.92, capping off a highly-successful freshman run for her. She won the 200 and 500 frees earlier in the week and has been a force all meet long for the Bearcats.

UConn’s Chinyere Pigot, the 50 free conference champ, went 49.43 to tie for third with SMU’s Nina Rangelova. Those were the last two women under 50 seconds in the heat, although SMU’s Nathalie Lindborg went 49.55 to win the B final.

Men’s 100 Free

Easily the biggest fireworks of the night came in the 100 free, where Louisville superstar Joao de Lucca put up an incredible 41.95 to roar to the win. For reference, that’s just .05 off what Auburn’s Marcelo Chierighini went to win the SEC title (although Chierighini was also 41.4 leading off the 400 free relay later on). De Lucca goes out so hard in every race he swims – he was 20.16 tonight, and you can expect him to be 19 going out come NCAAs, like Chierighini was.

A nice development for Louisville was that Carlyle Blondell went 42.72 for second place. Those two were well checked out from the field, and should make a daunting free relay combo at the national championships.

Louisville freshman Matthias Lindenbauer took third going 43.91. That Louisville trio was followed by a threesome from SMU – Ryan Koops (44.11), Ziga Cerkovnik (44.13) and Ramom Melo (44.29). One more Cardinal, freshman Trevor Carroll, went 44.40 for seventh place.

Women’s 200 Breast

SMU pulled off a big 1-2 punch in the 200 breast, with freshman Tara-Lynn Nicholas leading the way in 2:10.10, a new pool record, breaking the previous mark set by now-NCAA record-holder Emma Reaney of Notre Dame.

Mustang junior Rachel Nicol was second in 2:10.33, nearly running down her young teammate on the home-stretch.

Lousville took the next two spots with freshman Andee Cottrell and SwimSwam’s own Gisselle Kohoyda.

Men’s 200 Breast

Kameron Chastain held the top seed from prelims, just as he did in the 100 breast Friday, but this time he was able to take home the conference title, cutting two more seconds to go 1:54.68 and nip teammate Thomas Dahlia. Dahlia, who snuck up to win the 100, tried to pull the same trick tonight, but couldn’t get by Chastain down the stretch – he went 1:54.74.

The third Louisville breaststroker, Addison Bray, took third in 1:55.73, making it a 1-2-3 sweep for the Cards.

SMU’s Nicolai Hansen touched out Lachez Shumkov of UConn for the fourth spot 1:58.58 to 1:58.77.

Women’s 200 Fly

Tanja Kylliainen finished off her AAC debut undefeated – she won the 200 fly for her third title of the weekend, and it wasn’t close. Her 1:53.94 topped her previous season-best, and stands as the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA this season. She was never really pushed in this one, leaving fans to wonder just how much she’s got left to drop at NCAAs.

Her teammate Devon Bibault was second in 1:57.34, easily ahead of the remainder of the field. Rutgers took 3rd and 4th with Brittany Guinee and Morgan Pfaff, the last two swimmers under 2:00 in the field.

Men’s 200 Fly

For the fourth event in a row, the Louisville men went 1-2-3. This time it was freshman Josh Quallen leading the domination with a 1:45.29 that just missed a pool record by six one-hundredths. Juan Lopez, coming off that 200 backstroke just a few events earlier, went 1:47.29 for second, and freshman David Boland was third for Louisville.

SMU’s Tyler Rauth got within two tenths of Boland, but couldn’t quite pass him up at the end, setting into fourth. UConn freshman Christopher Girg took fifth, one spot ahead of teammate Ryan Walsh.

Women’s Platform Diving

Houston picked up its third diving win of the week with freshman Taylor Olanski‘s 281.70-point diving performance. Olanski topped Rutgers’ Nicole Scott by 13 points with a trio of Louisville divers (Andrea Acquista, Alessandra Murphy and Emily Stalmack) just behind.

Houston also won the B final with Natasha Burgess, who won on 1- and 3-meter the previous nights.

Women’s 400 Free Relay

Louisville was all-around great in the final relay, from the opening split to the final one. Kelsi Worrell led off in 48.29, dropping three more tenths off her winning time from the open 100 and blowing away the field early. Tanja Kylliainen was 49.7 before Krissie Brandenburg and Breann McDowell each put up 49.0s to push Louisville to a pool-record 3:19.68 win.

SMU also got under the old pool record, actually outsplitting Louisville over the final two legs. Monika Babok was 48.9 and Nina Rangelova 48.7 for the Mustangs, who went 3:17.20 as a team.

Men’s 400 Free Relay

Joao de Lucca led off in 42.0 for Louisville, a tenth off his best, but still a very solid swim for his second race of the night. Carlyle Blondell was the star split of the field, though, going 41.9 on the second leg. Those kind of splits can swim with anyone in the nation, and it’s why Louisville is such an exciting team this post-season. Matthias Lindenbauer went 43.1 and Thomas Dahlia 43.3 to help Louisville go 2:50.41 – that’s a tenth faster than Florida went tonight at SECs while trying to run down Auburn.

SMU was a distant second, going 2:55.75 off a leadoff 43.6 from Ziga Cerkovnik. The Mustangs also got 43.9s from Nicolai Hansen and Ryan Koops.

UConn wound up third and Cincinnati fourth in the final event of the night.


Team Scores

At the end of the day, Louisville emerged the big winner on both sides. The men won by 304.5 and the women by 352.5, blowing away the field for the first-ever American Athletic Conference titles. The conference will change shape drastically again next season, though, as Louisville departs for the ACC, leaving a radically different AAC landscape behind.


1. Louisville, University of 977
2. Southern Methodist University 624.5
3. Rutgers University 572
4. Connecticut, University of 459.5
5. Cincinnati, University of 431
6. Houston, University of 337


1. Louisville, University of 1072.5
2. Southern Methodist University 768
3. Connecticut, University of 683.5
4. Cincinnati, University of 535

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9 years ago

De Lucca, Worrell and Kylliainen all unshaven. It is going to be fun to be a Cardinal fan come NCAA’s

9 years ago

Guess the previous predictions about Rutgers in 5th were a bit off, eh?

Reply to  GoRU
9 years ago

Seconded. The lady knights were on fire this weekend. Four records broken (some from as far back as 2002) and they could potentially have their first NCAA qualifier since 2009.

Reply to  Macswim
9 years ago

A quick correction–this would be their first swimming qualifier since 2009. Jennifer Betz qualified in diving in 2011 and Nicole Scott qualified in diving last season. Can’t forget those divers and the great job Fred Woodruff has done with the diving program!

Reply to  GoRU
9 years ago

If you look in the comments section of the predictions article, I called this one 🙂 So proud of the Lady Knights! They blew away even my expectations! The team finished with 7 school records, two of which had two swimmers go under the previous record. A phenomenal step forward for the program and a good sign of things to come in the Big 10 next year!

bobo gigi
9 years ago

I see de Lucca break the 200 free NCAA and US Open record next month.
Perhaps finally the first under 1.31?
The Brazilian is a beast in yards.
And very average in long course.
Another example that these are 2 different sports.

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

Bobo –
I think calling De Lucca “average” is a bit of an overstatement – don’t you?

bobo gigi
Reply to  Swim1
9 years ago

Sorry for my lack of English vocabulary. 🙂
Next month he will probably swim faster in yards than anybody in history while in long course he swims around 1.47/1.48, i.e. 3 or 4 seconds slower than the best in the world.
The fastest in yards.
Around the 40th/50th in long course.

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

I will be very happy if he broke 1.46 mark in LCM, but i have my doubts if is gonna be this year.De Lucca has problems holding his taper very long.The date of Maria Lenk(late April) dont help him.Probably will be another year until we see what he is fully capable in LCM.

If the yards pool were short course meters, the difference will be lower, but the world would be afraid if NCAA becomes a SCM event.The transition from SCM to LCM would be a way faster, and more college swimmers would become world stars.

9 years ago

I would like a few samples of this.Me and a few friend always go to our community in door pool and swim for fun from time to time we compete from time to time with each other and other people who come to the pool.You are absolutely right the chlorine from the pool is our biggest problem when going about our daily business.I hope this work cause we have tried it all and nothing seems to hold it off for good.Most only mask it and the other just make you smell nice for a few hours.I hope you can do this special request.WE have no promble sharing at least 8 or so would be nice were about any where from… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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