2023 Georgia Invite: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap

2023 Georgia Invitational

  • November 16-18, 2023
  • Gabrielsen Natatorium, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), Prelims/Finals
  • Prelims start at 9:30AM Eastern, Finals at 5:30 PM Eastern
  • Participating teams: #3M/#6W Florida, #13M/#25W Auburn, #17M/#15W Michigan, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Wisconsin (diving)
  • Live Stream Links (different per session)
  • Meet Results (not updated as of 11/16 evening)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “UGA Fall Invitational 2023”

We’re back for day 2 of the 2023 Georgia Fall Invite and there are no relays this morning so (fingers crossed) getting the results should be smooth sailing.

It’s 100s of stroke day in the 3-day championship meet format, which means that this is what the lineup looks like: 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, and 100 backstroke.

After winning the 500 freestyle last night, Bella Sims has opted for the 400 IM over the 200 free. She hasn’t swum the event yet this season, so it will be interesting to see what kind of time she puts up this morning. The Florida women have a deep 400 IM crew, with Olympic medalist Emma Weyant, Zoe Dixon, Julia Podkoscielny, Alex Mitchelland Madison Kolessar all seeded in the last two heats for the Gators.

Two other Gator women to keep an eye on are Micayla Cronk and Izzy Ivey. Cronk swam a PB to win the 50 free yesterday, and Ivey took the 200 IM. Today, they’ll take on the 200 free and 100 backstroke, respectively. In the 200 free, Cronk will have to contend with Rachel Stege, who clocked a massive personal best (4:32.87) for 2nd place in the 500 free. She led a deep Georgia crew in that race, so keep an eye out to see if they can extend that depth to the 200.

On the men’s side, Josh Liendo is all set to go in the 100 butterfly. Liendo dropped two sub-19 second 50 frees yesterday (his first two of the season) and dominated the 50 free.

The other two individual event winners from yesterday were Jake Magahey (500 free) and Berke Saka (200 IM). Magahey is slated to race the 400 IM, while Saka will contest the 100 backstroke.

Another name to keep an eye today is Georgia transfer Ruard van Renen. He arrived in Athens this year after being the top mid-major scorer at the 2023 NCAAs. The move is clearly paying off for him so far: he went a best in the 50 free, then turned in a 400 medley lead-off just two-tenths off his 100 backstroke best. He’ll get another run at his 44.60 mark today and he’ll also race the 100 fly.

WOMEN’S 400-YARD IM – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:03.62
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 4:11.36

Top 8:

  1. Emma Weyant (FLOR) — 4:06.21
  2. Bella Sims (FLOR) — 4:08.87
  3. Hannah Ownbey (AUB) — 4:09.81
  4. Julia Podkoscielny (FLOR) — 4:10.47
  5. Zoe Dixon (FLOR) — 4:10.86
  6. Kathryn Ackerman (MICH) — 4:11.82
  7. Hannah Bellard (MICH) — 4:12.46
  8. Anna Auld (FLOR) — 4:14.78

The Florida women took over the 400 IM prelims, putting five swimmers into the ‘A’ final. Emma Weyant leads the pack as she coasted to a season-best 4:06.21 in the penultimate heat for the top time of the morning. She’s sitting 2.66 seconds ahead of her freshman teammate Bella Sims, who won the 500 free yesterday in a new school record.

None of the ‘A’ finalists really showed their cards this morning, potentially a sign of a great race to come tonight. Even behind Weyant and Sims, there should be an interesting race. One person to keep an eye on is Auburn’s Hannah Ownbey. Yesterday in the 200 IM, she posted a prelims time faster that what she went at 2023 NCAAs, then swam a personal best in finals. She’s set herself up to the do the same thing here in the 400 IM as her 3rd place 4:09.81 is already faster than what she went in Knoxville in March.

Julia Podkoscielny, Zoe Dixon, and Anna Auld round out the five Gator women in this ‘A’ final. Like Sims, Podkoscielny and Dixon are both freshmen and they’re adding great depth to the Gators 400 IM contingent. After prelims, the two are separated by .39 seconds, Podkoscielny sits 4th in 4:10.47, with Dixon running 5th in 4:10.86.

MEN’S 400-YARD IM – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 3:28.82, Leon Marchand, Arizona State (2023)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:38.90
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 3:42.99

Top 8:

  1. Jake Magahey (UGA) — 3:44.15
  2. Mason Laur (FLOR) — 3:44.68
  3. Danny Schmidt (AUB) – 3:45.30
  4. Ian Grum (UGA) — 3:45.75
  5. Giovanni Linscheer (FLOR) — 3:45.75
  6. Jacques Rathle (AUB) — 3:45.82
  7. Nils Bognar (GT) — 3:46.34
  8. Eitan Ben-Shitrit (MICH) — 3:46.42

There was a great race between Jake Magahey and Mason Laur in the final prelims heat of the 400 IM. Laur held the lead by over eight-tenths heading into the freestyle, having out-split Magahey on each of the previous three legs. But Magahey, a distance freestyle specialist, dug in on the final 100-yards. He split 51.62, passing Laur and securing lane 4 for tonight’s final.

Both swimmers went season-bests; Magahey swam 3:44.15 with Laur sitting about-five tenths behind. Expect a similar race strategy from both of them tonight. It’s been interesting to see Magahey play around with his events so far this season. He turned heads earlier this season in the 200 fly, and now he’s racing the 400 IM for just the second time since 2019. He’s historically opted for the 200/500/1650 free at NCAAs but could be mixing it up this season.

Auburn’s Danny Schmidt holds down 3rd place in 3:45.30, ahead of Magahey’s teammate Ian GrumGrum had a tough morning swim yesterday in the 200 IM and missed out on the ‘A’ final. However, he’s safely through in 4th here and if on form, is plenty capable of getting in on the action at the front of the race.

WOMEN’S 100-YARD FLY – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 48.46, Kate Douglass, Virginia (2023)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.69
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 52.20

Top 8:

  1. Olivia Peoples (FLOR) — 51.59
  2. Izzy Ivey (FLOR) — 51.78
  3. Meghan Lee (AUB) — 52.12
  4. Anna Boemer (MICH) — 52.44
  5. Jenny Halden (FSU) — 52.55
  6. Brady Kendall (MICH) — 52.80
  7. Morgan Carteaux (AUB) — 52.98
  8. Aris Runnels (FLOR) — 53.02

The Florida women continue to impress through the first day and change of this meet. They lead the way in the women’s 100 fly with a 1-2 punch from Olivia Peoples and Izzy Ivey. Peoples, who was one of Florida’s unsung heroes of their dual with Virginia, swam a new lifetime best to take the top seed. Her 51.59 here betters the 51.62 she swam in prelims at 2023 NCAAs.

Ivey checked in with a new season-best of 51.78, which is the fastest she’s swum since she set her personal best 50.68 at 2022 NCAAs. She and Peoples were the only two to break 52 seconds this morning, but Auburn’s Meghan Lee could join them under the barrier in finals; her best is a 51.01 from 2023 SECs.

Michigan freshman Anna Boemer set a new personal best as well. She swam 52.44 to qualify for the final in 4th, which is a PB by .33 seconds.

MEN’S 100-YARD FLY – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 42.80, Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 44.64
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 45.57

Top 8:

  1. Josh Liendo (FLOR) — 44.67
  2. Gal Cohen Groumi (MICH) — 45.64
  3. Tyler Ray (MICH) — 45.84
  4. Ruard van Renen (UGA) — 46.07
  5. Scotty Buff (FLOR) — 46.09
  6. Mason Herbet (FSU) — 46.36
  7. Sohib Khaled (AUB) — 46.51
  8. Kalle Makinen (AUB) —  46.61

As he did yesterday in the 50 free, Josh Liendo blew away the field in prelims of the 100 fly. He posted a huge season-best of 44.67 which as of writing, puts him #3 in the NCAA season rankings behind Luke Miller and Leon Marchand. It’s also already a big improvement on where he was at this point last season. At this meet in 2022, Liendo turned in a 45.79, which was his first time sub-46 seconds.

Gal Cohen Groumi is best of the rest, taking 2nd place ahead of his teammate Tyler Ray. Ray turned in a new best time of 45.84, breaking the 46 second barrier for the first time. His previous best was 46.58 from 2023 Big Tens. The two Wolverines sit ahead of Georgia’s Ruard van RenenThe South African took 4th in 46.07, cutting three-hundredths from his best. He’s seeded two-hundredths ahead of Florida freshman Scotty Buff. 46.09 is a season-best for Buff, but since he turned heads as a sub-45 100 flyer out of high school, we know he can be faster.

Rounding out the ‘A’ final is a pair of Auburn swimmers: Sohib Khaled and Kalle Makinen. Both international students, the pair also both swam lifetime bests to make the ‘A’ final. Khaled clocked 46.51 and Makinen went 46.61 in what looks like his first time officially swimming this event.

WOMEN’S 200-YARD FREE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin, Cal (2015)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:42.84
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:45.31

Top 8:

  1. Stephanie Balduccini (MICH) — 1:43.96
  2. Sloane Reinstein (UGA) — 1:44.64
  3. Dune Coetzee (UGA) — 1:45.19
  4. Ekaterina Nikonova (FLOR) — 1:45.42
  5. Polina Nevmovenko (AUB) — 1:45.50
  6. Katie Crom (MICH) — 1:45.55
  7. Shea Furse (UGA) — 1:45.59
  8. Rachel Stege (UGA) — 1:45.67

Michigan freshman Stephanie Balduccini took over prelims of the women’s 200 freestyle, swimming away for a 1:43.96 to establish the top time of the morning. The Michigan women, particularly the freshmen, have been turning in strong swims so far at this meet–a good sign for first year head coach Matt Bowe.

Balduccini sits almost seven-tenths up on a field that looks quite similar to the 500 freestyle due to the influx of UGA caps. The Georgia women put four into this ‘A’ final, with 500 free finalists Sloane Reinstein and Dune Coetzee sitting 2nd and 3rd. They, like majority of the field, didn’t give too much away this morning so we’ll see if anyone makes a run at challenging Balduccini tonight.

The other two Georgia swimmers qualifying for the ‘A’ final, Shea Furse and Rachel Stege, did so with new personal bests. Both broke 1:46 for the first time, with Stege swimming her first PB in the event since 2020. She had a massive drop from prelims to finals in the 500 free yesterday, so she could be about to drop even more time in finals.

MEN’S 200-YARD FREE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:29.15, Dean Farris, Harvard (2019)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:31.74
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:32.85

Top 8:

  1. Josh Liendo (FLOR) — 1:33.39
  2. Tomas Koski (UGA) — 1:33.40
  3. Macguire McDuff (FLOR) — 1:33.43
  4. Michael Bonson (AUB) — 1:33.64
  5. Jake Mitchell (FLOR) — 1:34.05
  6. Ryan Husband (AUB) — 1:34.21
  7. Yordan Yanchev (FSU) — 1:34.50
  8. Sean Sullivan (FLOR) — 1:34.89

In the penultimate heat, the sprinter Liendo chased down his distance specialist teammate Jake Mitchell, posting a personal best 1:33.39 that held up as the fastest time of the morning. Mitchell was out in 45.74, a second ahead of Liendo who flipped at 46.73. But Liendo came charging home, out-splitting Mitchell by 1.65 seconds with a 46.66 back half.

It’s a personal best by .84 seconds for Liendo, who was 1:34.23 at this meet last year.

In the last heat, freshman Tomas Koski nearly beat Liendo’s time, clocking a 1:33.40 to head into finals in 2nd seed. That’s a new best time for Koski as well, getting under his previous standard of 1:33.71.

Mitchell clocked 1:34.05, which slots him into 5th heading into finals, behind his teammate Macguire McDuff and Auburn’s Michael Bonson. Like they’ve been doing all meet, the Florida men flexed their depth here, putting four swimmers up in the ‘A’ final.

WOMEN’S 100-YARD BREAST – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 55.73, Lilly King, Indiana (2019)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 58.02
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 59.73

Top 8:

  1. Maddy Huggins (FSU) — 59.38
  2. Sabyne Brisson (GT) — 59.49
  3. Molly Mayne (FLOR) — 59.63
  4. Zoie Hartman (UGA) — 1:00.08
  5. Stasya Makarova (AUB) — 1:00.26
  6. Olivia Peoples (FLOR) — 1:00.68
  7. Clarissa Sabin (GT) — 1:00.92
  8. Grace Rainey (FLOR) — 1:01.09

Florida State’s Maddy Huggins continues to impress through the first half of the season. She cracked a new personal best of 59.38 for the top time of the morning in the women’s 100 breast, bettering the 59.91 she swam at Florida State’s dual meet against Georgia Tech. Before that meet, she had never broken 1:00.

Two more swimmers joined her under the minute mark in prelims, both of them breaking that barrier for the first time. Georgia Tech’s Sabyne Brisson is just .11 seconds behind Huggins after swimming a new personal best of 59.49. Like Huggins, her previous best came from a dual meet this season, where she went 1:00.11.

And then there’s Florida’s Molly Mayne, who came into this meet with a PB of 1:02.08, set at Florida’s dual with Virginia, and absolutely shattered that time here, clocking 59.63 for 3rd; a 2.45 second drop. That sets up a great race between the three in finals tonight, where Zoie Hartman (4th, 1:00.08) and Stasya Makarova (6th, 1:00.26) will aim to get in on the action.

MEN’S 100-YARD BREAST – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 49.69, Ian Finnerty, Indiana (2018)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 51.10
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 51.90

Top 8:

  1. Aleksas Savickas (FLOR) — 52.47
  2. Henry Bethel (AUB) — 52.63
  3. Joao Caballero (GT) — 52.78
  4. Julian Smith (FLOR) — 52.96
  5. Alejandro Flores (AUB) — 53.00
  6. Leandro Odorici (GT) — 53.11
  7. Tommaso Baravelli (FSU) — 53.14
  8. Peter Varjasi (FSU)– 53.17

The entire ‘A’ final of the men’s 100 breaststroke is separated by less than a second, which means that it could give us one of the closest all-around races that we’ve seen so far this meet. Florida’s Aleksas Savickas sits at the top of the pile, courtesy of a season-best 52.47. The Lithuanian sophomore is one of the main contenders in a wide open race for the NCAA title in the men’s 100 breaststroke.

Less than two-tenths behind is Auburn’s Henry Bethel, who out-touched Joao Caballero by .15 to win their heat and grab lane 5 for the final. Caballero’s 52.78 is a new personal best for him and his first time sub-53. He was 53.26 at 2023 ACCs.

In addition to being one of the closest fields we’ve seen so far, it’s also one of the most balanced. Each team represented in the final (Florida, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Florida State) have two representatives. Savickas is joined by Julian Smith, Bethel by Alejandro Flores, Caballero by Leandro Odorici, and Tommaso Baravelli and Peter Varjasi make up the Florida State contingent.

WOMEN’S 100-YARD BACK – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 48.26, Gretchen Walsh, Virginia (2023)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.88
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 52.36

Top 8:

  1. Izzy Ivey (FLOR) — 51.18
  2. Ellie Waldrep (AUB) — 52.53
  3. Meghan Lee (AUB) — 52.66
  4. Casey Chung (MICH) — 52.70
  5. Catherine Choate (FLOR) — 52.86
  6. Kyla Maloney (AUB) — 52.87
  7. Aris Runnels (FLOR) — 52.91
  8. Carly Meeting (FLOR) — 53.07

Ivey concluded her 100 fly/100 back double by swimming the fastest time of the morning in the 100 back. She posted 51.18 to grab lane 4 by 1.35 seconds ahead of Auburn’s Ellie Waldrep. This is the fastest 100-yard back that Ivey has swum since 2021 NCAAs.

This event is another one that has the potential to be a lot faster in finals. Ivey is clearly the favorite, but Auburn’s duo of Waldrep and Lee have both been sub-52 seconds before. Waldrep’s best is a 51.74 from this meet last year, and Lee went 51.66 leading off Auburn’s 400 medley relay at 2022 NCAAs.

Casey Chung holds a PB of 52.53, and she was just under two-tenths off that time this morning, slotting in 4th with a 52.70.

MEN’S 100-YARD BACK – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 43.35, Luca Urlando, Georgia (2022)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 44.71
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 45.70

Top 8:

  1. Nate Stoffle (AUB) — 45.19
  2. Aidan Stoffle (AUB) — 45.43
  3. Max Wilson (FSU) — 45.50
  4. Mason Herbet (FSU) — 45.77
  5. Jack Wilkening (MICH) — 45.86
  6. Jonny Marshall (FLOR) — 45.99
  7. Ruard van Renen (UGA) — 46.07
  8. Wesley Ng (UGA) — 46.27

The Stoffle brothers have been a strong duo for Auburn in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. They showed up big here in prelims with the absence of Adam Chaney, who scratched the event. Nate Stoffle holds down the top time with a season-best 45.19. Last year, he was Auburn’s lone individual ‘A’ finalist at 2023 NCAAs.

His brother Aidan Stoffle, who didn’t race individually yesterday, sits 2nd with a 45.43, seven-hundredths ahead of Florida State’s Max Wilson.

Chaney’s absence hurt Florida, but they still got a big swim out of freshman Jonny Marshall. Marshall broke through here with a 45.99, breaking 46 seconds for the first time in his career. His previous best was a 46.31 from February 2023.

After a double, van Renen snuck into the final in 7th with a 46.07, well off the 44.80 he led off yesterday’s medley relay with. If he can improve from prelims to finals, he should be right up there vying for the win.

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Former Big10
5 months ago

Georgia women need to find some non-freestylers
Thought the men would be a bit more solid in the back/fly

him
Reply to  Former Big10
5 months ago

UGA women usually have Eboni Mccarty for back, but I don’t know where she is. I think she’s been 52 in 100 back.

Aquajosh
5 months ago

This meet has long course time trials on Sunday. I wonder how many teams will stick around and how many will just go to the US Open instead. When are psych sheets out?

This Guy
5 months ago

I still can’t get over seeing Marchond’s 400 IM record of 3:28
It doesn’t make sense

i need money
5 months ago

What time does prelims start?
This says 930 Eastern but ESPN says 1030 Eastern time? Is ESPN delayed?

i need money
Reply to  i need money
5 months ago

Never mind it is on ESLP now.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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