2021 Minnesota Invite: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

by Robert Gibbs 23

December 04th, 2021 College, News, Previews & Recaps


The last big college invite of the calendar year wraps up tonight in Minnesota with what promises to be another fun session. While a few Texas guys scratched out of this morning prelims, there’s plenty of great races in store for tonight, given the top-end talent that’s assembled in Minnesota.

Tonight’s racing will kick off with the fastest heats of the 1650s. From there, we’ll see the 200 backstrokes, where Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon and Michigan’s Wyatt Davis hold the time seeds from this morning. The women’s 100 free features top-seed Izzy Ivey of Cal, and defending NCAA champion Maggie MacNeil of Michigan. The men’s 100 free may be the marquee event of the night, with Texas’ Daniel Krueger swimming in lane 4.

Longhorn swimmers Anna Elendt and Caspar Corbeau each put up the fastest time of the morning in the 200 breast. Individual competition will close out with the 200 fly, where Texas’ Emma Sticklen and Michigan’s Gal Cohen Groumi hold the top seeds.

Women’s 1650 – Timed Finals

  • Pool Record: 15.27.84
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 15:52.41
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 16:25.47
  1. Paige McKenna (Wisconsin) – 15:57.76
  2. Erica Sullivan (Texas) – 16:03.49
  3. Evie Pfeifer (Texas) – 16:07.69

In the final final heat, Wisconsin freshman Paige McKenna built an early lead, and then maintained it, ultimately winning by nearly six seconds with a time of 15:57.67. That marks moves her to #5 in the nation so far this season and appears to be her 4th-fastest time ever, with her lifetime best of 15:48.07 coming from 2019, when she was 15. According to Wisconsin’s Twitter feed, McKenna set a school record in the 1000 free going out in this race, as she clocked a 9:36.36 to that point.

Texas freshman Erica Sullivan took 2nd in 16:03.49. That’s about 40 seconds slower than her lifetime best, also from 2019, and she should be in the running for the NCAA title in this event if she can near that time in March. Longhorn teammate Evie Pfeifer took 3rd in 16:07.69.

The top 8 overall women were all under last year’s NCAA invite time of 16:25.47.

Men’s 1650 – Timed Finals

  • Pool Record: 14:24.43
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 14:37.31
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 15:01.33
  1. Luke Hobson (Texas) – 14:40.15
  2. Yigit Aslan (Wisconsin) – 14:40.77
  3. Alex Zettle (Texas) – 14:41.04

Luke Hobson may have been the breakout swimmer of the meet, and the Texas freshman kept cruising today with a 14:40.15 win out of the final heat. That’s a new personal best for him by a whopping 40 seconds, with his previous best of 15:20.29 coming early in 2020. That’s the 2nd-fastest time in the country this season, behind only NCAA champion and U.S. Open record holder Bobby Finke’s 14:27.70.

Wisconsin freshman Yiğit Aslan also had a great swim, finishing just behind Hobson at 14:40.77. That’s the first 1650 swim on record for Aslan, a native of Turkey, and he now appears to be the 2nd-fastest Wisconsin swimmer ever. He’s now #4 in the nation this season, behind Finke, Hobson, and Indiana’s Michael Brinegar.

Hobson’s Texas teammate Alex Zettle took 3rd in 14:41.04, just ahead of Arizona’s Brooks Fail (14:41.57). Fail very nearly caught Zettle after splitting approximately 24.7/23.8 over the final two laps. Longhorn David Johnston also likely punched his NCAA ticket with a 14:50.33, while Michigan’s Jake Mitchell (14:56.99) and Minnesota’s Bar Soloveychik (15:00.23) were also under last season’s invite time.

Women’s 200 Back – Finals

  • Pool Record: 1:47.81
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:50.50
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 1:55.05
  1. Isabelle Stadden (Cal) – 1:50.02
  2. Phoebe Bacon (Wisconsin) – 1:50.48
  3. Ayla Spitz (Cal) – 1:53.87

This race came down to a battle between two of the top three finishers in this event at the 2021 NCAA Championships, and tonight, NCAA 3rd place finisher Isabelle Stadden took the win over Phoebe Bacon, the defending national champion.

Bacon was ahead with 50 to go, but Stadden out split the Wisconsin Badger 27.54 to 28.64 over the last lap, to take the victory in 1:50.02. That’s less than half a second off of her 1:49.66 from NCAAs. Stadden and Bacon now rank #3 and #4 in the NCAA this season, behind Regan Smith and Rhyan White. This should be another race for the ages come March.

Cal’s Ayla Spitz won the battle for 3rd against Texas’ Julia Cook, 1:53.87 to 1:54.01. Arizona’s Aria Bernal (1:54.52) was also under last year’s NCAA invite cut, as were B-finalists Felicia Pasadyn of Harvard (1:54.97) and Wisconsin’s Mara Newman (1:55.01).

Men’s 200 Back – Finals

  • Pool Record: 1:37.35
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:39.13
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 1:41.81
  1. Destin Lasco (Cal) – 1:39.24
  2. Daniel Carr (Cal) – 1:40.09
  3. Wyatt Davis (Michigan) – 1:42.21

Cal’s had a deep backstroke group the last few years, so it’s no surprise to see the Bears go 1-2 in this event tonight.  Destin Lasco, who was the NCAA runner-up last year as a freshman, won tonight in 1:39.24. That’s now the fastest time in the country, displacing the 1:40.27 done by Indiana’s Brenadn Burns two weeks ago. Teammate Daniel Carr took 2nd in 1:40.09 tonight, also moving him ahead of Burns.

This wasn’t a particularly fast final, as that pair of Bears were the only two men under last year’s NCAA cut of 1:41.81 tonight. Michigan’s Wyatt Davis was 1:41.59 in prelims, but added a bit of time tonight to touch in 1:42.21, still good for 3rd.

Women’s 100 Free – Finals

  • Pool Record: 46.52
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 47.18
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 48.76
  1. Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) – 47.15
  2. Izzy Ivey (Cal) – 47.57
  3. Claire Newman (Michigan) – 48.52

Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil completed her sweep of her individual events this week with a strong victory here. Her time of 47.15 moves her ahead of Stanford’s Torrie Huske for the top time in the nation this season. MacNeil won the 50 free, 100 fly, and 100 free this week, and she’s the defending NCAA champion in those latter two events.

Cal’s Izzy Ivey kept it close against MacNeil until the final turn, ultimately touching 2nd in 47.57. MacNeil’s teammate Claire Newman finished 3rd in 48.52, just touching out Cal’s Elise Garcia (48.59).

Wisconsin freshman Sophie Fiske won the B-final with a 48.59 that would’ve tied Garcia for 4th in the A-final; she set a new personal best by 0.40s in the process.

Men’s 100 Free – Finals

  • Pool Record: 39.90
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 41.71
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 42.88
  1. Daniel Krueger (Texas) – 41.45
  2. Bjorn Seeliger (Cal) – 41.75
  3. Cameron Auchinachie (Texas) – 42.16

Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger was first to the 50, flipping halfway at 19.67, but top-seeded Daniel Krueger of Texas reeled him in on the back half, winning 41.45 to 41.75.

Longhorn Cameron Auchinachie couldn’t quite match his sub-42 effort from this morning, but he managed to grab 3rd in 42.16, just ahead of Harvard’s Dean Farris (42.34). Krueger, Seeliger, and Auchinachie currently rank #1, #2, and #4 in the nation so far this season.

Women’s 200 Breast – Finals

  • Pool Record: 2:04.06
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 2:06.58
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 2:10.37
  1. Anna Elendt (Texas) – 2:06.21
  2. Letitia Sim (Michigan) – 2:09.72
  3. Alicia Wilson (Cal) – 2:09.82

This was all Anna Elendt, as the Longhorn completed the breaststroke sweep with a 3.5s victory tonight. Elendt came within striking distance of her lifetime best of 2:06.04, and she’s now the 5th-fastest woman in the NCAA this season.

The real race happened behind Elendt, as Michigan freshman Letitia Sim and Cal’s Alicia Wilson battled it out for 2nd. Sim got her hand on the wall just ahead of Wilson, 2:09.72 to 2:09.82, wand no one else within a second of the top three.

Men’s 200 Breast – Finals

  • Pool Record: 1:50.17
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:52.28
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 1:54.28
  1. Caspar Corbeau (Texas) – 1:50.81
  2. Reece Whitley (Cal) – 1:51.11
  3. Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 1:51.27

Swim fans who caught this race in person or on the livestream got a treat, as this was a great race between three of the top four finishers at last year’s NCAA championships.

Texas’ Caspar Corbeau had the fastest time this morning, but Cal’s Reece Whitley got out to an early lead, and continued to build that lead over the first 3/4 of the race, leading Corbeau by roughly 0.8s heading into the last lap.

But both Corbeau and defending NCAA champion Max McHugh pushed up over the final 50, and it looked like either of those three could’ve won with a few strokes to go. Corbeau stretched long into the final touch, and his momentum proved decisive, as he won in 1:50.81, the fastest time in the nation so far this season. Whitley (1:51.11) and McHugh (1:51.27) rank #2 and #3 this season, with no one else having cracked 1:52.

This was largely a Texas show, as the Longhorns accounted for 5 of the 8 A-finalists. Whitley and Corbeau finished 2nd and 4th last season at NCAAs, and Corbeau’s time tonight as faster than his 1:51.43 from NCAAs. It’s also worth noting that the 3rd place finisher from NCAAs, Cal’s Hugo Gonzalez, wasn’t on hand this week, as he prepares for Short Course Worlds.

Women’s 200 Fly – Finals

  • Pool Record: 1:52.17
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:53.20
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 1:57.42
  1. Olivia Carter (Michigan) – 1:51.62
  2. Kelly Pash (Texas) – 1:52.69
  3. Emma Sticklen (Texas) – 1:53.15

This was another race looked wide open with a quarter of the race left to go. But defending NCAA champion Olivia Carter of Michigan kicked it up a gear, splitting 29.48 over the last lap to win by over a second. Longhorn Kelly Pash, who tied for 4th at NCAAs, also split under 30 on the final 50, taking 2nd in 1:52.69.

Emma Sticklen and Olivia Bray, who finished 7th and 2nd at NCAAs, respectively, finished 3rd (1:53.15) and 4th (1:53.22) tonight, in a battle of Texas teammates.

Carter now has the fastest time in the country this season, moving ahead of UVA’s Alex Walsh (1:51.83). Pash moves to #4, behind Carter, Walsh, and Regan Smith, while Sticklen and Bray move to #5 and #6. So, to put more succinctly, this heat resulted in four of the top six times in the NCAA this season.

This speed of this event extended even beyond those top four finishers; the entire top 13 finishers, the whole A-final and the top 5 from the B-final, also finished under last year’s NCAA invite time of 1:57.42. Even if we look at the roughly 1:56.0 it took to make NCAAs the previous few years, there were still 9 clear qualifiers, plus another couple on the potential bubble.

Wisconsin’s Mackenzie McConagha set a school record with her 8th place time of 1:56.14.

Men’s 200 Fly – Finals

  • Pool Record: 1:38.60
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:40.44
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Cut: 1:43.47
  1. Gal Cohen Groumi (Michigan) – 1:40.90
  2. Gabriel Jett (Cal) – 1:41.92
  3. Brooks Fail (Arizona) – 1:42.30

Israeli Olympian Gal Cohen Groumi looks to be adapting quickly to swimming in yards, as the Michigan freshman won this event by over a second with a time of 1:40.90. That puts him at #4 in the NCAA this season.

Cal freshman Gabriel Jett hit yet another big personal best this week; he came into today with a best of 1:44.71, and tonight he finished 2nd in 1:41.92. Arizona’s Brooks Fail took 3rd in 1:42.30. Fail swam the 1650 a little over two hours ago, replicating the double he did at NCAAs last season.

Texas’ Sam Artmann (1:42.92) and Harvard’s Jake Johnson (1:42.99) were also pretty well under last year’s NCAA invite time of 1:43.47.

Women’s 400 Free Relay – Timed Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:14.50
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 3:16.35
  1. Michigan – 3:11.34
  2. Cal – 3:12.36
  3. Wisconsin – 3:14.22

The top three teams were all under the NCAA ‘A’ standard. Texas initially touched 3rd, but was disqualified for their first relay exchange.

The Michigan quartet of Lindsay Flynn (48.37), Claire Newman (48.08), Maggie MacNeil (47.17) and Olivia Carter (47.72) moved into the lead on MacNeil’s leg, ultimately winning by over a second with a 3:11.34.T That is now the #3 time in the nation this season, behind Alabama (3:10.59) and Stanford (3:10.72).

Cal got a 49.00 leadoff by Emily Gantriis, but Izzy Ivey threw down a 46.85 split on the second leg to briefly move the Bears into the lead. Elise Garcia (48.16) and Ella Mazurek (48.35) couldn’t quite match the Wolverines’ back half, but Cal took 2nd with room to spare. Cal now sits at #4 in the nation this season.

With Texas’ DQ, the Wisconsin Badgers grabbed 3rd with a 3:14.22. All four women split 48-something, with Sophie Fiske‘s 48.08 anchor leg the fastest of the group.

Men’s 400 400 Free Relay – Timed Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 2:50.99
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 2:52.46
  1. Texas – 2:46.46
  2. Cal – 2:48.80
  3. Harvard – 2:49.85

Cameron Auchinachie almost exactly matched his individual 100 free time with a 42.15 leadoff, then Drew Kibler (41.85), Caspar Corbeau (41.56), and Daniel Krueger (40.90) put it away with a combined time of 2:46.46. That time actually would’ve won NCAAs last year, and that’s now the the best time in the country this season, surpassing ASU’s 2:47.43.

Cal, last year’s NCAA champion in this event, took 2nd in 2:48.80. Destin Lasco led off in 42.62, freshman Jack Alexy split 42.09, Bjorn Seeliger dropped a 41.27 split on the third leg, then Daniel Carr finished it off with a 42.82 anchor leg. Cal now sits at #4 in the nation, behind Texas, ASU, and NC State.

Harvard took 3rd in 2:49.85, propelled by Dean Farris‘ 41.14 split on the 2nd leg. Michigan took 4th in 2:50.44, meaning that the top four teams all finished under the NCAA ‘A’ cut, while Arizona (2:51.79) clocked NCAA ‘B’ cuts.

Because someone will ask:

Texas B relay: Peter Larson (43.13), Anthony Grimm (42.66), Luke Hobson (42.83), Alvin Jiang (42.54) – 2:51.16
Cal B relay: Matt Jensen (43.05), Robin Hanson (42.89), Gabriel Jett (43.22), Dare Rose (42.76) – 2:51.95

Final (Unofficial Scores)


  1. Cal – 2010
  2. Michigan – 1424
  3. Texas – 1264
  4. Wisconsin – 1249.50
  5. Minnesota – 856.50
  6. Arizona – 715
  7. Harvard – 481


  1. Texas – 2089.50
  2. Cal – 1688.5
  3. Michigan – 1262
  4. Arizona – 1031.5
  5. Harvard – 834
  6. Wisconsin – 559
  7. Minnesota – 531.5

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swim fan
2 years ago

Dangerous to see that Casper is shaved and tapered and Max is neither.

Can’t wait for the exciting races at NCAAs, but we should continue to have this lineup at mid-seasons, it makes the drama and suspense so much better. Hopefully Texas and Cal come back each year. And allowing top 40 to come back give many people the opportunity for second swims.

Reply to  swim fan
2 years ago

What makes you think he’s tapered?

Grow up
Reply to  swim fan
2 years ago

So Max splits 22.5 on the relay, and he’s under heavy training, but Caspar swims a bit faster than his last NCAAs when he had mono, and he’s shaved and tapered? Max, Reece and Caspar are all good guys and great athletes. One’s accomplishments don’t diminish those of the others…

2 years ago

F.A.S.T. swimming at this meet.

2 years ago

Wow. Texas top guys shaved and Harvard not shaved and only 3 second diff. 246 to 249. Lots of hype and scholarships v. no scholarships and real academic standards. Looking forward to NCAAS. Go Crimson. Top 8 would be a team title!

Reply to  Snarky
2 years ago

UT living rent-free in your head…

Reply to  Snarky
2 years ago

I hear that the FA at Harvard is pretty damn good, especially for athletes. Plus, I’m not really sure scholarships matter that much for a lot of the guys looking to go Ivy.

Reply to  HJones
2 years ago

Financial Aid at the Ivys has nothing to do with whether you are an athlete. It is solely need based, but is generally much more generous than need based aid at other schools. They’ve legitimately made it so that anyone can afford to go and students on the lower end of the income spectrum basically go for free. For families with lower incomes the Ivys can actually be more affordable than a state school.

Reply to  Snarky
2 years ago

Kibler clearly had chest hair

2 years ago

Gabriel Jett is the most underrated class of 2025 recruit. Ranked in the honorable mentions and now drops 1:32 200 free, 4:13 500 free, and 1:41 200 fly unrested and unshaved.

Reply to  Sbdujf
2 years ago

People love to say unrested when that’s not the case. Does Cal gear up for a mid-season invite the same way they do for NCs, absolutely not. But I’m sure they backed off some heading into this meet. It’s not like Jett is a teen wolf out there either. Shaving for someone with that little hair doesn’t add much if they’ve already suited.

Scott Jett
Reply to  Sbdujf
2 years ago

To answer your question with some insider knowledge….Yes. Unshaved for sure. And I personally saw how much dessert he ate at Thanksgiving. As a first time observer of this meet I thought it was really fun to watch….even though it cost 30 bucks for the live stream! Lots of great swimming and racing. It’s going to be an exciting rest of the year for NCAA swimming as a whole.

Last edited 2 years ago by Scott Jett
Grant Drukker
2 years ago

So C. Foster just swamp the 400im and then scratched the rest?

Reply to  Grant Drukker
2 years ago


Reply to  Grant Drukker
2 years ago

Getting some rest for SC Worlds

Andy Hardt
2 years ago

WTF was that men’s 1650? One of the craziest finishes I’ve ever seen

Last edited 2 years ago by Andy Hardt
Andy Hardt
Reply to  Robert Gibbs
2 years ago

If I remember correctly, all of Fail’s last 4 splits were under 25. But I wasn’t watching him too carefully since most of my attention was on whether Asian could catch Hobson and whether Zettle could catch them both.

Thanks for (as always) a fantastic and detailed meet recap!

Reply to  Andy Hardt
2 years ago

His last 50 was like 23.77 if I remember correctly

Reply to  Robert Gibbs
2 years ago

Definitely looking for SwimSwam’s scoring combining all the mid season meets on a 1-16 point basis. That should make interesting reading and provide a rough indication of what NCAAs might look like.

Reply to  Bigboy21
2 years ago

The question is whether we should just score the mid-season invites, or the whole season to date.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Unless every school attended a mid season invite, I’d say do the whole season.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Mid Season invites as they are a targetted meet and have heats and finals just like NCAAs

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