2023 Minnesota Invitational: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap

2023 MINNESOTA INVITATIONAL 

The final day of the 2023 Minnesota Invite has arrived. It’s been a fun weekend of racing and we’ll close today with some more exciting swims. This morning’s session will feature prelims of the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, and 200 fly. There will also be the 1650 free today, which is a timed finals event and will begin this afternoon at 3:40 local time.

Here is the livestream for this morning’s prelims session:

After a stellar 100 back last night in which she posted a huge personal best, Cal’s Isabelle Stadden could have something incredible in store in the 200 back today. Stadden is the 14th-fastest yards 200 backstroker of all-time with her career best of 1:48.75. She dropped half a second in the 100 back yesterday, so if she’s able to drop in the 200 today she’ll almost certainly move up the rankings.

Similarly, Cal’s Desting Lasco, the 3rd-fastest yards 200 backstroker of all-time, will be in action today as well. His personal best of 1:35.87 sits just 0.14 seconds off the NCAA and American Records, which are held by Ryan Murphy at 1:35.73. The leading time in the NCAA so far this season is a 1:36.54, which Arizona State’s Hubert Kos clocked about two weeks ago.

We’ll get to see the Cal sprint duo of Jack Alexy and Bjorn Seeliger in action in the men’s 100 free as well today. Both men have career bests under 41 seconds, as Seeliger has been 40.75 and Alexy 40.88.

Following her win in the w0men’s 100 fly yesterday, Arizona’s Julia Heimstead will take on the 200 fly today. Heimstead swam a tough double today, racing both the 100 fly and 200 free with just the 400 IM in between. Today, she’ll be able to focus her energy on the 200 fly. She enters the 200 fly as the top seed with her season best of 1:55.50.

WOMEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:47.24, Beata Nelson (Wisconsin) – 2019
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:50.50
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:53.94

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Isabelle Stadden (Cal) – 1:52.81
  2. Mia Motekaitis (Cal) – 1:53.97
  3. Claire Jansen (Pitt) – 1:56.26
  4. Indy Jongman (Minnesota) – 1:57.08
  5. Kate Hazlett (Harvard) – 1:57.68
  6. Paula Rodriguez (Minnesota) – 1:57.72
  7. Elizabeth Jacobs (Minnesota) – 1:57.81
  8. Molly Hamlin (Harvard) – 1:58.07

Following her electric performance in the 100 back last night, Cal’s Isabelle Stadden posted the top time of the morning in the women’s 200 back, swimming a 1:52.81. She was consistent in her splitting this morning, going 26.26 on the first 50, then splitting 28.62, 28.78, and 29.15 respectively on the remaining 50s.

Cal teammate Mia Motekaitis clocked a 1:53.97 for 2nd this morning. That swim comes in just off her career best performance of 1:53.18, which she swam at the Pac-12 Championships in February of this year. She was actually out a tick faster than Stadden this morning, splitting 54.87 on the first 100 to Stadden’s 54.88.

MEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:35.73, Ryan Murphy (Cal) – 2016
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:39.13
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:40.62

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Destin Lasco (Cal) – 1:39.41
  2. Gunnar Grant (Harvard) – 1:41.39
  3. Keaton Jones (Cal) – 1:41.40
  4. Ziyad Saleem (Cal) – 1:41.85
  5. Kai Crews (Cal) – 1:42.49
  6. Colby Mefford (Cal) – 1:43.16
  7. Will Meyers (Arizona) – 1:43.22
  8. Marcin Goraj (Pitt) – 1:43.52

Cal star Destin Lasco wasted no time in the 200 back this morning, putting up a sub-1:40 performance to leave no doubt he would be the top seed going into tonight’s final. We can expect an even faster performance from Lasco, who holds a personal best of 1:35.87, tonight. This morning, he actually negative split his race, going 49.78 on the first 100, then coming home in 49.63. Once again, Arizona State’s Hubert Kos currently leads the NCAA with a 1:36.54, so we’ll see if Lasco can get under that mark tonight in finals.

Harvard’s Gunnar Grant had an excellent swim for 2nd this morning, swimming a 1:41.39. He was out faster than Lasco, splitting 49.30 on the opening 100, then came home in 52.09.

Behind Lasco, Cal was on fire in the 200 back, putting 4 more swimmers into the ‘A’ final. Freshman Keaton Jones popped a 1:41.40 for 3rd place. Meanwhile, Ziyad Saleem was out the fastest of anyone, swimming a blistering 48.90 on the first 100. He ended up fading a bit, but still managed a 4th-place finish with a 1:41.85.

Kai Crews (1:42.49) and Colby Mefford (1:43.16) also made the ‘A’ final for Cal, finishing 5th and 6th respectively.

WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 45.56, Simone Manuel (Stanford) – 2017
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 47.18
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 48.37

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Eloise Riley (Cal) – 48.72
  2. Hannah Cornish (Minnesota) – 48.89
  3. Morgan Brophy (Cal) – 49.29
  4. Emily Gantriis (Cal) – 49.42
  5. Payton Kelly (Ball State) – 49.49 (TIE)
  6. Morgan Thomas (Minnesota) – 49.49 (TIE)
  7. McKenna Stone (Cal) – 49.52
  8. Ella Mazurek (Cal) – 49.57

Eloise Riley (Cal) and Hannah Cornish (Minnesota) both put up big season bests en route to being the only two swimmers to go under 49 seconds this morning in the women’s 100 free. Riley was out a touch faster than Cornish, splitting 23.58 on the opening 50 to Cornish’s 23.79. Both swimmers were fairly close to their personal bests in the event. Cornish has been 48.21 before, while Riley holds a career mark of 48.40.

Ball State’s Payton Kelly continues to roll in the women’s sprint events. After qualifying for the ‘A’ final of the 50 free on Thursday, Kelly has done so again, taking 5th this morning with a 49.49. She tied for 5th with Minnesota freshman Morgan Thomas.

MEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 39.90, Caeleb Dressel (Florida) – 2018
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 41.50
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 42.32

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Jack Alexy (Cal) – 41.63
  2. Bjorn Seeliger (Cal) – 42.61
  3. Matthew Jensen (Cal) – 42.84
  4. Robin Hanson (Cal) – 43.37
  5. Dylan Hawk (Cal) – 43.38
  6. Stephan Goncharov (Pitt) – 43.46 (TIE)
  7. David Greeley (Harvard) – 43.46 (TIE)
  8. Roman Jones (Cal) – 43.71

Cal has without question one of the top sprint groups, if not the top sprint group, in the NCAA currently and it was on full display this morning in prelims of the men’s 100 free. The Golden Bears put a whopping 6 swimmers into the ‘A’ final and, for what it’s worth, the 9th-place finisher was Cal’s Trent Frandson, who clocked a 43.72.

Leading the way was junior Jack Alexy, who swam a very speedy prelims time of 41.63. Alexy, who boasts a personal best of 40.88, was just off the NCAA ‘A’ standard of 41.50, which he’ll surely be trying to pick up tonight in finals. Teammate Bjorn Seeliger, the other half of what is possibly the best 1-2 sprint free duo in college swimming right now, came in 2nd with a 42.61. That swim was a bit more off for Seeliger, who has been as fast as 40.75 in his career. Nonetheless, he finished in 2nd and will have a chance to make a run at that ‘A’ cut of 41.50 tonight as well.

Cal had another swimmer go under 43 seconds this morning, as Matthew Jensen touched 3rd with a 42.84. Jensen was within a second of his career best, which stands at 42.o1 from March of this year.

Robin Hanson swam a 43.37 for 4th, while Dylan Hawk was 5th in 43.38, giving Cal the top 5 finishers from this morning. Freshman Roman Jones clocked a 43.71 for 8th place, coming in a little over half a second off his personal best of 43.17.

Pitt’s Stephan Goncharov and Harvard’s David Greeley tied for 6th with a 43.46 this morning.

WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 2:01.29, Kate Douglass (Virginia) – 2023
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 2:05.73
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 2:09.68

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Abigail Herscu (Cal) – 2:10.75
  2. Alicia Henry (Cal) – 2:10.90
  3. Hannah Brunzell (Cal) – 2:10.94
  4. Kathryn Hazle (Cal) – 2:14.00
  5. Jessie Strong (Pitt) – 2:14.01
  6. Grace Drabot (Minnesota) – 2:14.04
  7. Angelina Messina (Pitt) – 2:14.35
  8. Ava Gustafson (Minnesota) – 2:15.10

Cal continues to roll in the women’s breast events, putting the up the 4 top times of the morning. Abigail Herscu clocked a massive personal best, swimming a 2:10.75 to earn the top seed for tonight’s final. That swim took more than 2 seconds off her previous career best of 2:12.84, which she set back in 2021. She was out in 30.17 on the first 50, then split 33.16, 33.52, and 33.90 the rest of the way.

Similarly, Alicia Henry clocked a huge personal best as well. Coming into this morning with a career mark of 2:12.30 from the Pac-12 Championships in March of this year, Henry clocked a 2:10.90 this morning, taking well over a second off that mark.

The Golden Bears weren’t done there, however, as Hannah Brunzell also clocked a 2:10, going 2:10.94 to grab 3rd overall. Brunzell has been significantly faster than that before, however, as her personal best is 2:06.60, which she swam at the 2021 NCAA Championships.

Cal freshman Kathryn Hazle came in 4th this morning with a 2:14.00.

MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:46.91, Leon Marchand (Arizona State) – 2023
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:51.09
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:52.94

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Jacob Soderlund (Cal) – 1:56.69
  2. Max Matteazzi (Pitt) – 1:56.89
  3. Mitchell Oliver (Arizona) – 1:57.25
  4. Jerry Chen (Pitt) – 1:57.53
  5. Joe Rudd (Minnesota) – 1:58.18
  6. Liam Bell (Cal) – 1:58.23
  7. Joey Garberick (Ball State) – 1:58.67
  8. Jake Hand (Arizona) – 1:58.84

Cal’s Jacob Soderlund swam a 1:56.69 to post the top time of the morning in the men’s 200 breast. It was a very solid prelims swim for Soderlund, who holds a career best of 1:54.45. He had some really good closing speed this morning, swimming a 30.10 on the final 50.

Pitt’s Max Matteazzi was next in, swimming a 1:56.89. He was out slightly faster than Soderlund on the first half, splitting 55.78 on the opening 100 to Soderlund’s 55.85. Matteazzi was also more than half a second faster than Soderlund on the 3rd 50, but Soderlund was significantly faster on the final 50.

Pitt also saw Jerry Chen make it into the ‘A’ final, finishing 4th with a 1:57.53.

Keep an eye on Cal’s Liam Bell, who finished in 6th this morning with a 1:58.23. Bell was DQ’d in the final of the 100 breast last night but make no mistake, he’s one of the top breaststrokers in the NCAA currently. His personal best in the 200 is 1:51.36, which he swam at the 2022 NCAA Championships.

WOMEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:48.54, Kate Dewelley (Stanford) – 2012
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:52.86
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:55.92

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Rachel Klinker (Cal) – 1:54.98
  2. Lizzy Cook (Cal) – 1:55.58
  3. Megan Van Berkom (Minnesota) – 1:57.18
  4. Julia Heimstead (Arizona) – 1:58.57
  5. Sydney Gring (Pitt) – 1:58.84
  6. Ava Chavez (Cal) – 1:59.06
  7. Emma Kinsey (Arizona) – 1:59.37
  8. Sydney Lu (Harvard) – 1:59.77

Cal’s Rachel Klinker led the way this morning, swimming a 1:54.98. It was teammate Lizzy Cook who came in 2nd, finishing in 1:55.58. Klinker is one of the top 200 flyers in the country currently, boasting a career best of 1:52.19 in the event. Meanwhile, Cook was within a second of her career best, which stands at 1:54.70.

Minnesota’s Megan Van Berkom, the champion of the 400 IM last night, took 3rd this morning with a 1:57.18. Van Berkom holds a personal best of 1:53.89, which she set at the 2022 Big Ten Championships.

100 fly champion Julia Heimstead (Arizona) came in 4th this morning with a 1:58.57. Heimstead went a career best en route to winning the 100 fly yesterday and she holds a personal best of 1:54.90 in the 200 fly, so we’ll see what she has in store tonight in finals.

MEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:37.35, Jack Conger (Texas) – 2017
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:40.16
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:42.57

TOP 8 QUALIFIERS:

  1. Gabriel Jett (Cal) – 1:43.92
  2. David Schmitt (Harvard) – 1:44.20
  3. Aaron Shackell (Cal) – 1:44.37
  4. Jadan Nabor (Arizona) – 1:45.02
  5. Dare Rose (Cal) – 1:45.26
  6. Kaiser Neverman (Minnesota) – 1:45.83
  7. Adam Mahler (Pitt) – 1:46.47
  8. William Christenson (Minnesota) – 1:46.76

Cal’s Gabriel Jett, the winner of the 500 free and 200 free earlier in the meet, led prelims of the men’s 200 fly this morning with a 1:43.92. Jett has been as fast as 1:39.27 in the event, a time which he swam at the Pac-12 Championships in early March of this year.

We’ll want to keep an eye of Cal’s Dare Rose tonight as well. Rose is sitting very unassumingly in 5th place in this morning’s results, however, he’s also a sub-1:40 200 flyer, having swum his career best of 1:39.89 at the NCAA Championships in March of this year. Rose, of course, also won the 100 fly last night and was just 0.23 seconds off his personal best in the event, so he has as good a chance as anyone to win this race tonight.

Cal freshman Aaron Shackell, who has been a little off this week in terms of his personal bests, had his best swim of the meet so far, taking 3rd this morning with a 1:44.37. That time comes in just 0.13 seconds off his career best of 1:44.24.

Harvard’s David Schmitt, a first year, had a solid swim this morning, finishing 2nd in 1:44.20. Schmitt holds a personal best of 1:42.32 in the event, which he swam in March of this year.

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Hoffd
3 months ago

Where’s Mia Kraugh???

Austinpoolboy
3 months ago

Isn’t that close to a 1 second drop in 100 free for Morgan Brophy?

Former Cal Student
Reply to  Austinpoolboy
3 months ago

I think so, she’s had an excellent meet! 3 PBs for her, .48 in the 50 free, .95 in the 100 free, and 1.65 in the 100 fly. She’s dropped time in every finals so perhaps she’ll knock another tenth or so in the 100 free. It had been awhile since she dropped time in these events so happy for her that the transfer is showing immediate improvements!

SwimmerTX
Reply to  Former Cal Student
3 months ago

She also went a 2+ second best time in her 100 back leading off the medley relay yesterday, going from 55.75 to 53.53!

Hoffd
3 months ago

What are everyone’s thoughts on how Cal looks so far and if they can manage to knock off ASU for the 3-peat?

Last edited 3 months ago by Hoffd
Grant Drukker
Reply to  Hoffd
3 months ago

I’d say they look better than last year in most events at this point in the season, but 200/400IM, 100/200 BR look a little thin. On the other hand, 200 free looks a lot better. But still, looks like ASU is top dog as of now.

Swammer
Reply to  Grant Drukker
3 months ago

They’re short on scorers in the 500/1650 as well. They need massive points from backstroke and sprint free to win this year. And they’re gonna need to cheer real loud for Florida/IU/NCSU to play spoiler in relays

Last edited 3 months ago by Swammer
SwimFan
Reply to  Grant Drukker
3 months ago

400 IM is eye opening, as that is the strongest event for ASU. However, with Seeliger swimming at the current level and Cal’s relays still being relatively close to ASU, I wonder how rested they are for this meet. I would not write Cal off, but this is something to keep an eye on.