2020 WAC Championships Day 3: Air Force Freshman Zhang Posts 1:33 200 Free

2020 WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Despite the water main break that shut down water on the University of Houston campus, the 2020 WAC Championships continued on Friday with timed finals in the morning. Spectators were not allowed in the facility as there were no working bathrooms. Swimmers were provided with portable bathrooms and wash stations.

Swimmers were given advanced notice that today’s session would be timed finals, preparing them to put forth their best efforts in the morning heats. That wasn’t the case last night, as finals were cancelled unexpectedly. Read on for a recap of today’s events.

MEN’S HIGHLIGHTS

After smashing his best time on the leadoff leg of the 800 free relay, Air Force freshman Wen Zhang lowered his best on Friday. His 1:33.93 in the 200 free was a best by over a second again. He was within 2 tenths of the WAC Record, which stands at a 1:33.74 by Wyoming’s Adam Kalms in 2014. That’s half a second faster than what it took to make NCAAs last season (1:34.21) and ranks him 29th in the NCAA.

UNLV freshman Ogi Maric nearly matched the 2019 NCAA qualifying mark. He dropped over half a second from his best, which he’d set on the 800 free relay leadoff, with a 1:34.28 for silver.

After winning the 200 IM on day 2, Air Force’s Zach Nelson picked up another title in the 100 breast. Nelson was dominant in 52.46 for a lifetime best. That’s just under the 2019 NCAA qualifying mark (52.52). He’s now ranked 21st in the NCAA this season.

Air Force’s Adam Grimm was one place shy of the 400 IM podium in 2019, but he rose to the top this season. He made a huge drop, clocking a 3:49.53 for a lifetime best by nearly 5 seconds. Grand Canyon’s Alonso Carazo Barbero also moved up 3 spots from last season, taking silver as he dropped 5 seconds in 3:50.17.

Carazo Barbero came from behind on the free leg to swim past UNLV’s Ivan Zukov, the 2019 silver medalist. After leading through the breast leg, Zukov held on for 3rd in a lifetime best 3:51.01. Grand Canyon freshman Mikhail Lyubavskiy dropped 2 seconds for 4th in 3:52.82.

Additional Event Winners

  • Air Force won the 200 free relay, with Matthew Lattin leading off in a lifetime best 19.83. Cole McAnany (20.19), Andrew Limpert (19.70), and Corey Shepard (19.51) followed on that relay for a 1:19.23 victory.
  • Lattin swam multiple best times today, as he also broke 48 in the 100 fly for the first time to win in 46.92.
  • Air Force swept the events. Isaac Gwin dropped a lifetime best 46.60 to win the 100 back, out-touching McAnany (46.72).
  • Gwin led off the winning 400 medley relay (3:08.96) with a 47.38. Nelson put up a 51.83 breast split. Aaron Pang swam a 47.12 on the fly. Lattin anchored in 42.63.

TEAM SCORES THROUGH DAY 3 – MEN

  1. Air Force 577
  2. UNLV 438
  3. Grand Canyon 395.5
  4. Wyoming 374
  5. Cal Baptist 270.5
  6. Cal State Bakersfield 245.5
  7. Seattle 105.5

WOMEN’S HIGHLIGHTS

After winning back-to-back titles in the 200 IM on day 1, Cal State Bakersfield’s Autumn D’Arcy earned another repeat title. D’Arcy raced to a 52.61 in the 100 fly. That’s just a tenth shy of her lifetime best 52.50 from midseason. New Mexico State’s Reagan Nentwich broke 54 for for the first time as she took silver in 53.74.

Bakersfield won 2 in a row with freshman Mikayla Popham taking her 2nd title of the meet. Popham, the 500 free champion, dropped nearly a second in 1:47.36. Cal Baptist freshman Mackenzie Degn raced to a 1:48.30 for 2nd. Teammate Rebecca Oviedo, the 2019 champion, was 3rd in 1:49.27.

Northern Arizona’s Hope Williams picked up a win as NAU took over the team lead on day 3. She slightly outpaced Grand Canyon’s Marina McInelly in the 100 breast, repeating as champion in 1:01.75 to McInelly’s 1:01.90. That was a step up from last season for McInelly, as she earned bronze in 2019.

NAU freshman Lainie Bell and Idaho’s Katie Hale, the 2019 runner-up, tied for the title in the 100 back. Bell took it out with the lead by about half a second, but Hale made her move on the back half. The both touched in 54.75 for the win. Cal Baptist’s Emily Longfellow, the 2019 champion, took bronze in 55.30, out-touching 2019 bronze medalist Madelyn Moore (55.42)  of Northern Colorado.

Additional Event Winners

  • Cal Baptist took the 200 free relay, with freshman Hannah Houlton leading off in 23.35. She handed off to Rita Smirnova for a 23.19 on the 2nd leg. Degn (22.37) and Isabella Rhodes (22.35) closed with a pair of 22-lows to come from behind with a 1:31.26 win.
  • Northern Colorado’s Petra Kis defended her 400 IM title with a 4:18.63.
  • The 400 medley relay went to Northern Arizona. Sarah O’Connor led off in 55.89. Williams (breast- 1:01.47), Maddie Seidl (fly- 55.14), and Elisa Rodriguez (free- 48.49) followed to win it in 3:40.99.

TEAM SCORES THROUGH DAY 3 – WOMEN

  1. Northern Arizona 387.5
  2. New Mexico State 365
  3. Cal Baptist 349
  4. Grand Canyon 315
  5. Cal State Bakersfield 290
  6. Northern Colorado 257
  7. Idaho 205.5
  8. Seattle 126

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Mellow Mike

It’s almost scary that it’s going to take 1:33 mid to make NCAAs in the 200 this year… this sport just keeps getting faster. To think that that time would have A-finaled at NCAAs a few years ago

2Fat4Speed

1:33 was the fastest time ever until mid 2000s!

Supafly23

AF with the clean sweep today!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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