2022 Minnesota Invite: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2022 MINNESOTA INVITE

The first day of the highly-anticipated Minnesota Invite kicks off tonight with timed finals of the men’s and women’s 200 medley and 800 free relays. Teams competing at this invite include hosts Minnesota, Cal, Texas, Wisconsin, Harvard, UNLV, Arizona, and Pitt.

Arguably the biggest storyline of the meet is the battle between Cal and Texas, the top two men’s teams. The two squads are expected to split the relays tonight, with Cal being the favorite to win 200 medley relay and Texas being the favorite in the 800 free relay, the event in which they hold the NCAA record. The Texas men has suited up on several occasions this season including the SMU Classic and the UVA vs. Texas dual meet, while Cal will be suited for the first time since NCAAs last year.

On the women’s side, we will see the “suited and rested” debut of Texas, who were the 2022 NCAA runners-up. They are fresh-off handing Virginia their first dual meet loss in three years and being ranked #1 in the CSCAA polls, and look to build on their momentum during invites. Cal will be competing at their first invite under new head coach Dave Durden, who took over the womens’ program in addition to his duties as mens’ head coach after former Cal coach was placed in administrative leave following allegations of abuse.

Cal vs. Texas in the women’s 800 free relay should be a close one. Although Cal beat Texas by three seconds last season, they are without key relay piece Isabel Ivey this time around. Meanwhile, Texas also loses Evie Pfiefer and they have yet to find someone capable of replicating her times. The 200 medley relay is expected to be a tight battle between the two teams as well.

Another team making their midseason debut under a new coach is Pitt, which is in their first season led former Cal assistant Chase Krietler.

WOMEN’S 200 MEDLEY RELAY – FINAL

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 1:36.24
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 1:37.02

Top 3:

  1. Texas ‘A’ Relay —1:34.46 (A)
  2. Cal ‘A’ Relay — 1:35.62 (A)
  3. Texas ‘B’ Relay — 1:36.66

The Texas ‘A’ relay of Olivia Bray (23.79), Anna Elendt (26.49), Emma Sticklen (22.70), and Grace Cooper (21.48) won this relay in a time of 1:34.46, which is the third-fastest time in the nation behind UVA’s 1:34.33 and NC State’s 1:34.77. This mark was nearly as fast as the Longhorns’ season-best time of 1:34.04 from last year, which is also a Big 12 conference record. There were quite a few lineup changes on the Texas relay from last year, with Bray swimming back instead of fly like she did at NCAAs, Sticklen swimming fly instead of back, and Cooper being added on as the anchor.

In second place was Cal’s Isabelle Stadden (23.65), Jade Neser (26.85), Mckenna Stone (23.32), and Emily Gantriis (21.80). Their combined time of 1:35.62 is ranked #6 in the nation. A notable lineup decision was putting Lea Polonsky and Mia Kragh, the breaststroker and flyer for Cal at NCAAs last year on the ‘B’ relay. Polonsky and Kragh split 27.06 and 23.27 respective on their own relay.

Stadden set a personal best with her backstroke leadoff, beating out her old mark of 23.80 from the 2021 Minnesota Invite.

Finishing third was Texas’ ‘B’ relay of Meghan DiMartile (24.79), Lydia Jacoby (26.69), Kelly Pash (23.22), and Bridget Semenuk (21.96).

Other notable splits from this relay included Phoebe Bacon‘s 24.15 backstroke leadoff for Wisconsin and Dakota Luther‘s 23.82 fly split on the Texas ‘C’ relay.

MEN’S 200 MEDLEY RELAY – FINAL

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 1:23.76
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 1:24.42

Top 3:

  1. Cal ‘A’ Relay — 1:22.84
  2. Texas ‘A’ Relay — 1:24.16
  3. Arizona ‘A Relay — 1:24.94

The Cal men were dominant in this relay, roaring to the second-fastest time in the nation—just 0.02 seconds behind Florida’s 1:22.82 from the Georgia Invite.

Bjorn Seeliger got things started with a quick 20.73 leadoff (the fastest 50 back time in the nation), and Liam Bell (23.20), Dare Rose (20.06), and Jack Alexy followed (18.85).

In the absence of their multi-stroke relay threat Caspar Corbeau, Texas’s Carson Foster (21.38), Will Chan (23.39), Cole Crane (20.58), and Danny Krueger (18.81) finished second with a 1:24.16—which is slower than the 1:23.83 they went at a suited dual meet against Virginia in early November (that being said, Corbeau was on their Texas vs. UVA relay).

Finishing in a surprise third was Arizona’s Billy Oates (21.73), Ryan Foote (23.72), Seth Miller (20.52), and Marin Ercegovic (18.97). They combined for a time of 1:24.94, which is just a few tenths slower than their 2021-22 season-best time of 1:24.10 from Pac-12s. In addition, the Wildcats were a bit over a second off their team record time of 1:23.23 set back in 2013.

The fastest breaststroke split was, of course, done by Max McHugh, who went 22.78 on Minnesota’s fourth-place relay. As it stands, his split is the second sub-23 split in the country this season, with the first one being Reid Mikuta‘s 22.88.

Gabriel Jett threw down an intriguing 21.28 backstroke split on the Cal ‘B’ relay, taking a large chunk off his personal best of 21.99 from the Cal-Stanford triple-distance meet. He’s been experimenting with backstroke more this season, having set PBs in the 50/100/200-yard lengths of the stroke. Also swimming on the ‘B’ relay was Reece Whitley, who was slightly off his best and split 24.01 on breast.

On the Texas ‘C’ relay, former Colorado club swimmer Peter Paulus split 20.54 on the fly leg, but was DQed for an early start. Destin Lasco swam fly on the Cal’ relay, splitting 20.65.

WOMEN’S 800 FREE RELAY – FINAL

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 7:00.86
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 7:05.88

Top 3:

  1. Texas ‘A’ Relay — 6:59.67
  2. Cal ‘A’ Relay — 7:02.04
  3. Wisconsin ‘A’ Relay —7:05.05

Remember when I said the 800 free relay would be a close race between Texas and Cal? Well, I was very wrong, because Texas blew Cal out of the water tonight.  The quartet of Kyla Leibel (1:44.75), Kelly Pash (1:43.45), Erica Sullivan (1:45.47), and Emma Sticklen (1:46.00) combined for a time of 6:59.67 to become the second team under 7:00 this season, behind Stanford’s 6:56.45.

Erica Sullivan is a new addition to this Texas relay, and her split tonight could indicate that she’s the potential replacement for the graduated Evie Pfiefer, who was on the 800 free relay at NCAAs last year and split 1:44.29.

Although Wisconsin was slightly ahead for the first portion of the race, Cal firmly took control of second the 300-yard mark. The time of 7:02.04 set by Polonsky (1:45.81), Ayla Spitz (1:44.99), Isabelle Stadden (1:46.10), and Mia Motekaitis (1:45.14) is the third-fastest in the country.

Polonsky’s leadoff time was just 0.06 seconds off her personal best of 1:45.75 from last December.

Wisconsin’s Abby Carlson (1:46.17), Bacon (1:45.33), Abby Wanezek (1:47.80), and Blair Stoneburg (1:45.75) were third in 7:05.05.

On the Texas ‘B’ relay, Olivia Bray led off in a 1:45.10, a massive drop from her best time of 1:46.37 set back in 2017. Her time should make a strong case for her to be on the ‘A’ relay come time for conferences and NCAAs.

MEN’S 800 FREE RELAY – FINAL

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 6:16.02
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 6:20.41

Top 3:

  1. Texas ‘A’ Relay — 6:08.79
  2. Cal ‘A’ Relay — 6:10.35
  3. Minnesota ‘A’ Relay — 6:16.25.

Like the women, the Texas men had full control over the 800 free relay, as Luke Hobson (1:32.73), Peter Larson (1:32.78), Coby Carrozza (1:32.53), and Carson Foster (1:30.75) roared to a 6:08.79—overtaking ASU’s 6:08.97 to become the #1 time in the country. Foster was notably faster than he was at NCAAs last year, when he anchored in a 1:31.05 to help Texas break the NCAA, US Open, and American record.

Coming in second was Cal’s Patrick Callan (1:33.64), Gabriel Jett (1:32.72), Robin Hanson (1:33.20), and Destin Lasco (1:30.70). Lasco was a full second faster than the 1:31.70 he split at NCAAs last year. Cal’s combined time of 6:10.35 gets them under the ‘A’ cut, and makes them the #3 team this year.

Minnesota had a big showcasing for third, as Chris Morris (1:34.22), Bar Soloveychik (1:32.79), Kaiser Neverman (1:33.64), and Alberto Hernandez Garcia (1:35.60) put up a 6:16.25. The team crushed their former team record of 6:20.61, which was set back in 2009. In addition, they are also just 0.23 seconds away from NCAA qualification. The Golden Gophers notably didn’t qualify any relays for NCAAs last year after their infamous NCAA ‘A’ cut 200 medley relay was DQed at Big Tens.

Notably, Alec Enyeart split 1:33.92 on the Texas ‘B’ relay, substantially faster than his flat start best time of 1:36.93.

Scores After Day One:

Women:

  1. Texas — 286
  2. Cal — 278
  3. Wisconsin — 182
  4. Minnesota — 172
  5. Arizona — 160
  6. Harvard — 128
  7. Pitt — 120
  8. UNLV — 26

Men:

  1. Cal — 264
  2. Arizona — 220
  3. Texas — 202
  4. Minnesota — 166
  5. Wisconsin — 160
  6. Harvard — 130
  7. Pitt — 120
  8. UNLV — 90

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Gummy Shark
2 months ago

Alright fine, I’ll say it, Tony Grimm’s retirement left a huge hole in Texas’s backstroke group.

Former Big10
Reply to  Gummy Shark
2 months ago

don’t think people expected anything else? It’s hard to replace an all-american with the drop of a hat…. even if you’re Texas. This should really tell you how well Texas has done, to stay on top for 50 freaking years, at replacing talent/developing guys.

Andrew
2 months ago

Nice to see a legacy program in Arizona clicking, even with limited star power on their team. I feel like they surprise a lot of people every year.

Former NM Coach
2 months ago

Wow! 26.6 split for Lydia on the B relay!!!! Lots of teams wish they had that problem.

GOOFYGOOBY
2 months ago

Hi Jason

chinnychenchen
2 months ago

crazy how Jett outsplit Foster in in that medley relay despite Foster being known as a backstroker, insane improvement for Jett

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  chinnychenchen
2 months ago

True but Foster isn’t known for having 50 speed, he’s a 200 guy. Although I suppose the same can be said about Jett. Maybe Jett’s UWs are slightly better for a 50.

Crimson chin
2 months ago

*wisco left the chat*

Forkfull
2 months ago

Between Marchand, foster, and Lasco, is it possible that the 3 best 200 freestylers in the country don’t even race it at NCAAs?

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Forkfull
2 months ago

House might still be the best and he will swim it individually. But other than House, these 3 could finish 2-4 at NCAAs if they swam it.

Brooks Curry and Lucas Miller were 1:31 lows last year too.

Jay Ryan
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
2 months ago

House is really good, and there were also 2 guys at 1:31 high at from A&M and Air Force. People will be fast at NCAA.

SWIMFAN
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
2 months ago

The TX group will be racing two 500 Free races at max effort the first day of NCAA’s. They will get couple hours of sleep and then have to swim a max effort mistake free 200 Free first thing the next morning just to make finals. House, Miller and Curry will be fresh and rested with some 50 Free Splashes the first day.

Swammer
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
2 months ago

I still think Curry has a lot more to give in the 200. He takes it out slow for a guy with 18.5/40.8 speed. Could be a sleeper pick for the title this year

Andrew
Reply to  Forkfull
2 months ago

obviously those 3 arent gonna race at NCs lol what a dumb comment. Marchand 2/4 IM, 2 Br, Lasco 1/2 back, 2 IM, Foster, probably 2/4 IM, 2 back

Konner Scott
2 months ago

Man, I remember the long-ago days when Michael Wynalda split 1:30 on Michigan’s 8free relay and everybody lost their minds. Now 1:30 splits are not only common, but almost expected… is there an SCY event that has had a more dramatic shift in the past 10 years than the men’s 200 free? (Maybe 200fly or 200breast?)

USA
Reply to  Konner Scott
2 months ago

200 IM probably. 1:41.9 to win in 2012, in 2022 a 1:39 wins the B final

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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