2021 Horizon League Champs Day 2: Oakland Christian Bart Pops Off 52.56 100 BR

2021 Horizon League Swimming & Diving Championships

  • Diving: 4/5-4/6
  • Swimming: 4/8-4/11
  • IUPUI Natatorium, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • SCY (25y)
  • Live Results

TEAM STANDINGS (Through Swimming Day 2)

WOMEN

  1. Oakland – 689
  2. UIC – 375
  3. UW Milwaukee – 339
  4. IUPUI – 274.5
  5. Cleveland State – 251
  6. UW Green Bay – 218
  7. Youngstown State – 173.5

MEN

  1. Oakland – 559
  2. Cleveland State – 483.5
  3. UIC – 355
  4. IUPUI – 283
  5. UW Green Bay – 276
  6. UW Milwaukee – 238
  7. Youngstown State – 199.5

Oakland University is well on their way to claiming the women’s team title for an 8th-straight year, entering the final day of the meet with a massive 313 point lead. The Golden Grizzlies could potentially best their team score from last year, which was 927.5, and was the highest team score in conference history. In the men’s team battle, Oakland has expanded their lead from 11 points to 75.5 points. This also set Oakland up as the clear favorites heading into Saturday, although it’s not locked up in the way the women’s meet is.

On Thursday, every single one of Oakland’s women’s swims made it back to finals. Today, there was one swim that didn’t make it back, although the Golden Grizzlies did still earn 15 swims back to finals. Most importantly, all 15 of those swims that qualified for finals made the A final.

There were 3 repeat champions tonight. The first to repeat was Cleveland State’s Timmy Kubacki, who successfully defended his title in the men’s 400 IM. Tonight, Kubacki clocked a 3:49.80 after establishing a significant early lead. The swim was faster than he went to win the event last year (3:50.53), and he will get a chance to defend the title again next year.

Next up was Emily Aycock, an Oakland sophomore who defended her title in the women’s 200 free. Already having claimed the 500 free title on Thursday, Aycock sped to a 1:49.80 to touch as the only swimmer in the field under 1:50. The swim was narrowly off her 2020 time of 1:49.63, but it got the job done nonetheless. Sophomore teammate Sohvi Nenonen took 2nd in the event for the 2nd year in a row. Nenonen posted a 1:50.06, improving from last year.

Lastly, Oakland senior Sydney McDowell defended her title in the women’s 100 breast, picking up her 3rd consecutive title in the event. This year, McDowell clocked a 1:01.55, which was off her 1:00.81 from last year, but was still the only time in the field under 1:02. Importantly for Oakland, junior Taylor Bailey took 2nd in the event with a 1:02.35, setting Oakland up well to potentially win the event again next year despite McDowell’s absence.

Susan LaGrand broke another Horizon League Championship record, taking the women’s 100 back with a 53.38. The swim marked a personal best for her, and undercut her lifetime best of 53.60. LaGrand was a force in the event, touching as the only swimmer in the field under 56 seconds.

Oakland Sophomore Kiera Brough came close to defending her title in the women’s 400 IM, but IUPUI’s Emma Theobald took control of the race early, and held through the finish. Theobald established a massive lead over Brough at the 200 marking, turning in 2:03.94, while Brough touched in 2:08.92. Brough battled back significantly on breaststroke, but Theobald solidified the win with a faster free split, winning the title in 4:20.40, while Brough touched 2nd in 4:21.73. Impressively, Brough tied her winning time from last year.

Green Bay senior Anna Liu continued to have an excellent meet, picking up her 2nd individual title. After winning the women’s 50 free on Thursday, Liu took the 100 fly tonight with a 54.75. She used her speed to propel herself to the early lead, splitting 25.25 on the first 50, which was the fastest split in the field by 0.75 seconds.

Oakland junior Ben Davis also picked up his 2nd title of the meet, taking the men’s 200 free with a 1:36.66. Davis already picked up the 500 free title on Thursday, and the way he’s swum thus far, he’s possibly on his way to a 3-win meet. Davis’ endurance was on display in the race, as he split 47.71 on the first 100, and came home in 49.95.

Oakland sophomore Christian Bart posted a massive 100 breast to pick up his 2nd title of the meet. Bart was the 50 free champion on Thursday, then went on to swim a blistering 52.56 to claim the title tonight. The swim was not only a big improvement for Bart, it was nearly under the time in took to earn an invite to Men’s NCAAs this year (52.40). Defending champ in the event, Ryan Geheb, an Oakland senior, took 2nd with a 53.67.

Oakland sophomore Marko Khotynetskyi earned his first Horizon League title of the meet, roaring to a 46.61 in the men’s 100 back. The swim was good to win the event by 1.2 seconds, and brought the sophomore extremely close to the HL Champs Record of 46.41.

Mack Flowers, an Oakland senior, picked up another win for the Golden Grizzlies, taking the men’s 100 fly in 47.42. Flowers was out slightly slower than Cleveland State’s Colin Martin, splitting 21.90 at the 50 mark, compared to 21.87 from Martin. Flowers was faster on the way home, ultimately touching at the finish 0.30 seconds ahead of Martin.

The Golden Grizzlies swept the relays again tonight, making them 4/4 in both men’s and women’s relays so far in the meet. At the beginning of the session, the Oakland squad of Susan LaGrand (25.40), Sydney McDowell (27.26), Mia Keranen (24.52), and Ronja Riihinen (23.08) teamed up for a 1:40.26 to win the women’s 200 medley relay. Just as they did in the 400 medley relay, Oakland won this race handily as well, touching 3 seconds ahead of runner-up UIC. Other notable splits included a 22.38 anchor from UIC’s Poleena Kovalaske.

LaGrand had a busy night, as she went on to lead off the women’s 800 free relay in 1:49.03, which notably, would have been fast enough to win the event individually. LaGrand was followed by 200 free runner-up Sohvi Nenonen in 1:50.49, then Kiera Brough in 1:54.19, and 200 free champion Emily Aycock anchored in 1:52.35. The Golden Grizzlies swam a 7:26.06 to win the event by over 9 seconds, and importantly, they return all 4 swimmers next year.

Oakland had the benefit of putting up a men’s 200 medley relay team featuring the 2021 100 back champ, 100 fly champ, 50 free champ, and the 2020 100 breast champ. The squad of Marko Khotynetskyi (22.48), Ryan Geheb (23.95), Mack Flowers, (20.97), and Christian Bart (19.20) posted a 1:26.60, winning the race by 0.70 seconds over Cleveland State.

Khotynetskyi and Flowers were back at it in the men’s 800 free relay, along with 200 free champion Ben Davis, and junior Danylo Hrebelnyi. Khotynetskyi led the team off in 1:36.82, with Davis following in 1:37.96, Hrebelnyi going 3rd in 1:38.91, and Flowers anchoring in 1:38.03. The Golden Grizzlies finished in 6:31.72, with Cleveland State taking 2nd in 6:35.30.

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SWIMGUY12345
29 days ago

Why hold these meets after NCAA’s?…

Admin
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
29 days ago

Why not hold these meets after NCAA’s?

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  Braden Keith
29 days ago

…so the swimmers have a shot of actually going to NCAA’s?

Admin
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
28 days ago

I think these conferences decided that they’d rather give a more complete competition season, ending in a conference championship meet, to the 99% of their swimmers who are not going to qualify for NCAAs, than rushing in a 4 week regular season and conference meet before NCAAs.

There’s nothing that stopped these teams from trying to qualify for NCAAs at non-conference championship meets. There were some mid-majors (Buffalo, Akron) that have conference meets post-NCAAs that qualified swimmers for NCAAs.

Dave Rollins
Reply to  Braden Keith
28 days ago

And LaGrand from Oakland competed at NCAAs, becoming an All-American and scoring points for her team in the process!

samulih
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
29 days ago

Better to hold them now safely, seems that swimmers are liking the chance to swim as they are swimming fast