2023 Tennessee Invitational: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

by Riley Overend 23

November 16th, 2023 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps, SEC

2023 TENNESSEE INVITATIONAL

The second day of the 2023 Tennessee Invitational continues Thursday evening with SCY finals of the 100 fly, 400 IM, 200 free, 100 breast, and 100 back.

University of Virginia junior Gretchen Walsh won’t be contesting the 100 back, where she’s the fastest woman in the history of the event, but she is set for a thrilling matchup in the 200 free against two of her teammates: her sister, senior Alex Walsh, and South African sophomore Aimee Canny. This morning, Canny (1:59.73) edged Alex Walsh (2:00.18) and Gretchen Walsh (2:01.17) in the LCM prelims.

The 100 breast races also have the potential to be fast tonight. The entire top 8 in the women’s 100 breast were under the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials cut (1:10.29) during LCM prelims this morning, led by Tennessee senior Mona McSharry‘s 1:06.72. Pan Ams silver medalist Noah Nichols paced the men’s 100 breast with a 1:00.34, faster than his runner-up finish last month in Santiago, Chile.

Virginia fifth-year Ella Nelson is the top seed in the women’s 400 IM, the same event which she placed 2nd in at NCAAs last season (3:59.54). She currently owns the eighth-best time this season at 4:12.26. Tennessee junior Landon Driggers will attempt to continue his dominance in the men’s 400 IM after cruising to the top seed in LCM prelims by nearly four seconds with a 4:19.84.

Women’s 200-Yard Medley Relay – Final

  • NCAA Record: 1:31.73, Virginia (2023)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:36.24

Top 8:

  1. Virginia – 1:33.69
  2. Tennessee – 1:36.79
  3. Virginia ‘B’ – 1:37.97
  4. Tennessee ‘B’ – 1:38.13
  5. Alabama ‘B’ – 1:38.25
  6. Virginia ‘C’ – 1:38.29
  7. Tennessee ‘C’ – 1:39.84

Virginia’s quartet of Gretchen Walsh (22.98 back), Jasmine Nocentini (26.06 breast), Alex Walsh (22.66 fly), and Aimee Canny (21.99) cruised to a three-second victory in the women’s 200 medley relay with a total time of 1:33.69. They were within a couple seconds of their own NCAA-record 1:31.73 from the 2023 NCAA Championships. Gretchen Walsh has been as fast as 22.54 earlier this season, setting a new American record during last month’s dual meet against Texas.

Josephine Fuller (24.87), Mona McSharry (26.14), Sara Stotler (23.71), and Jasmine Rumley (22.07) led Tennessee to a runner-up finish in 1:36.79. The showing was a huge season best as the Lady Vols had only been as fast as 1:40.30 last month vs. Texas A&M, but they were still about half a second shy of the NCAA ‘A’ cut this season (1:36.24).

Alabama’s ‘A’ team was disqualified, and Virginia’s ‘B’ squad (1:37.97) edged Tennessee’s ‘B’ team (1:38.13) by a couple tenths for 3rd place.

Men’s 200-Yard Medley Relay – Final

  • NCAA Record: 1:20.67, NC State (2023)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:23.71

Top 8:

  1. Tennessee – 1:23.14
  2. Virginia – 1:23.96
  3. Alabama – 1:25.78
  4. Tennessee ‘B’ – 1:26.31
  5. Virginia ‘B’ – 1:27.30
  6. Tennessee ‘C’ – 1:27.74
  7. Virginia ‘C’ – 1:28.45
  8. Alabama ‘C’ – 1:28.84

Tennessee senior Harrison Lierz (21.63 back), fifth-year Flynn Crisci (23.25 breast), junior Jordan Crooks (19.64 fly), and sophomore Gui Caribe (18.62 free) helped the Vols hit the NCAA ‘A’ cut with a total time of 1:23.14.

Perhaps the most impressive split of the race came courtesy of Virginia senior Noah Nichols, who blazed a 22.52 on the breaststroke leg to lead the Cavaliers to a runner-up finish in 1:23.96. That’s one of the fastest 50 breast splits ever behind Leon Marchand‘s 22.27 from last season. Nichols was joined by UVA senior Matt Brownstead (21.86 back), junior Tim Connery (20.51 fly), and fifth-year August Lamb (19.07 free) as they shaved exactly three seconds off their season-best time from last month’s dual meet against Texas.

Women’s 100-Yard Fly – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Maggie Schalow, Virginia – 52.31
  2. Maddy Hartley, Arkansas – 52.74
  3. Abby Harter, Virginia – 52.90
  4. Sara Stotler, Tennessee – 52.92
  5. Kailyn Winter, Alabama – 52.97
  6. Carly Novelline, Virginia – 52.98
  7. Betsy Wizard, Arkansas – 53.04
  8. Gaby Van Brunt, Alabama – 53.13

Virginia freshman Maggie Schalow blasted a new lifetime best in the 100 fly to capture the crown in 52.31, shaving a quarter-second off her previous-best 52.56 from Winter Juniors last December. She was ranked as a “Best of the Rest” butterfly specialist coming out of Corona Del Mar, California.

Arkansas sophomore Maddy Hartley continued her tear this fall, securing 2nd place in a personal-best time of 52.74. Coming into this season, her best time was a 55.28 from March of 2022. Hartley lowered that mark twice last month down to 53.57 before dropping almost another second tonight.

The battle for 3rd place was extremely close as Virginia senior Abby Harter (52.90), Tennessee junior Sara Stotler (52.92), Alabama junior Kailyn Winter (52.97), Virginia sophomore Carly Novelline (52.98) were all separated by less than a tenth. Arkansas sophomore Betsy Wizard (53.04) and Alabama freshman Gaby Van Brunt (53.13) weren’t far behind, either.

Men’s 100-Yard Fly – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Jordan Crooks, Tennessee – 45.30
  2. Bernardo De Almeida, Alabama – 46.12
  3. Gui Caribe, Tennessee – 46.58
  4. Micah Chambers, Tennessee – 46.75
  5. Kamal Muhammad, Virginia – 46.85
  6. Bjoern Kammann, Tennessee – 47.15
  7. Martin Espernberger, Tennessee – 47.54
  8. Zarek Wilson, Alabama – 48.32

After placing 4th in LCM prelims this morning, Jordan Crooks bounced back in his short-course specialty with a winning time of 45.30. The Tennessee junior owns a lifetime best of 44.04 from the 2023 SEC Championships. Crooks went on to place 5th at NCAAs in 44.29.

Alabama junior Bernardo De Almeida clocked a new personal best en route to his runner-up finish in 46.18, sneaking under his previous-best 46.18.

Tennessee took 3rd and 4th place thanks to solid swims by Gui Caribe (46.58) and Micah Chambers (46.75), who were both a few tenths off their best times from the 2023 SEC Championships. Virginia sophomore Kamal Muhammad was the only other swimmer under 47 seconds in the final with a 5th-place finish in 46.85.

Women’s 400-Yard IM – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Ella Nelson, Virginia – 4:03.61
  2. Ella Bathurst, Virginia – 4:10.46
  3. Sophia Wilson, Virginia – 4:13.81
  4. Madilyn McGlothen, Kentucky – 4:16.33
  5. Caroline Benda, Kentucky – 4:16.85
  6. Anna Havens Rice, Kentucky – 4:17.09
  7. Sydney Sanders, Alabama – 4:17.16
  8. Laurel Blase, Alabama – 4:18.07

Virginia fifth-year Ella Nelson threw down a blistering 4:03.61 to take over the top time in the NCAA this season, as of publication. The NCAA runner-up also went exactly 4:03.61 to win the 400 IM at last year’s Tennessee Invitational.

Reigning NCAA champion Alex Walsh didn’t contest the 400 IM, but the Cavaliers still claimed the top three spots in this race. UVA junior Ella Bathurst posted a new personal best en route to 2nd place, dropping more than half a second off her previous-best 4:11.00 from February’s ACC Championships, where she placed 5th.

Virginia senior Sophia Wilson took 3rd place in 4:13.81, just a couple seconds off her personal-best 4:11.10 from the 2022 NCAA Championships. She placed 6th at ACCs last season in 4:11.89.

Men’s 400-Yard IM – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Landon Driggers, Tennessee – 3:43.96
  2. Gus Rothrock, Tennessee – 3:45.82
  3. Aidan Crisci, Tennessee – 3:46.00
  4. Matt Styczen, Virginia – 3:46.66
  5. Ryan Merani, Kentucky – 3:47.17
  6. Colin Bitz, Virginia – 3:47.83
  7. Tommy Hagar, Alabama – 3:49.51
  8. Joey Tepper, Tennessee – 3:49.76

Tennessee junior Landon Driggers swam the second-fastest 400 IM this season behind Leon Marchand (3:37.96) with a winning time of 3:43.96, about two seconds ahead of a pair of Vols teammates: junior Gus Rothrock (3:45.82) and North Carolina transfer Aidan Crisci (3:46.00).

A former Division II standout, Driggers opened with a 52.50 100 fly split, then went 55.16 on the backstroke leg, 1:03.96 on the breaststroke leg, and 52.34 on the freestyle anchor. His lifetime best is a 3:40.94 from the 2023 SEC Championships.

Rothrock blasted a huge new best time, shaving almost two seconds off his previous-best 3:47.48 from last year’s Tennessee Invitational. Crisci was a few tenths away from his personal-best 3:45.68 from the 2023 ACC Championships as a freshman at UNC.

Women’s 200-Yard Free – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Gretchen Walsh, Virginia – 1:41.32
  2. Aimee Canny, Virginia – 1:42.93
  3. Alex Walsh, Virginia – 1:43.43
  4. Cavan Gormsen, Virginia – 1:45.07
  5. Sophia Knapp, Virginia – 1:45.45
  6. Reilly Tiltmann, Virginia – 1:46.21
  7. Mackenzie Brandt, Alabama – 1:47.70
  8. Kate McCarville, Tennessee – 1:47.99

After placing 3rd behind Alex Walsh and Aimee Canny in the LCM 200 free this morning, Virginia junior Gretchen Walsh showed off her SCY prowess with a massive lifetime best in the 100 free to beat both of her talented Cavalier teammates in an off-event for the sprint specialist.

Gretchen Walsh reached the wall in 1:41.32, shaving almost two seconds off her previous-best 1:43.24 from the Cavalier Invitational in February. Her new personal best would have won last season’s NCAA title in the 200 free by more than a second over Stanford’s Taylor Ruck (1:42.36). Gretchen Walsh was 48.50 at the midway point of the race before coming home in 52.82.

Canny placed 2nd in 1:42.93, within half a second of the 1:42.50 that placed her 3rd at NCAAs last season as a freshman. The South African sophomore’s best time is a 1:42.34 from her 4×200 free relay leadoff at NCAAs. Alex Walsh touched 3rd in 1:43.43, a couple seconds away from her personal-best 1:41.63 from the 2023 ACC Championships.

Distance specialist Sophia Knapp showed off her range with a personal-best 1:45.45 en route to 5th place behind UVA teammate Cavan Gormsen (1:45.07). Knapp’s previous best was a 1:46.81 from the 2023 ACC Championships.

Men’s 200-Yard Free – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Charlie Hawke, Alabama – 1:31.30
  2. Kaique Alves, Alabama – 1:31.97
  3. Sebastien Sergile, Virginia – 1:34.14
  4. Joaquin Vargas, Tennessee – 1:35.23
  5. Max Berg, Kentucky – 1:35.28
  6. Rafael Ponce De Leon, Tennessee – 1:35.93
  7. Nikoli Blackman, Tennessee – 1:37.20
  8. Jack Stelter, Tennessee – 1:37.24

Alabama junior Charlie Hawke triumphed in the men’s 200 free with an NCAA ‘A’ cut of 1:31.30, exactly a tenth of a second slower than his personal-best 1:31.20 from the 2023 SEC Championships. It was still good for a meet record — his second in as many days after breaking the 500 free mark on Wednesday night. At NCAAs last season, the Australian went 1:32.42 in the 200 free prelims and missed the A-final by .14 seconds.

Hawke edged his Brazilian teammate, Kaique Alves, who dropped almost a full second off his previous-best 1:32.93 en route to the runner-up finish. Alves, a junior, is only a couple tenths shy of the NCAA ‘A’ cut this season (1:31.74).

Virginia sophomore Sebastien Sergile rounded out the podium with a 3rd-place showing in 1:34.14, within a tenth of his personal-best 1:34.05 from February of 2022.

Women’s 100-Yard Breast – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Mona McSharry, Tennessee – 56.87
  2. Emma Weber, Virginia – 59.02
  3. Emelie Fast, Tennessee – 59.07
  4. Alessia Ferraguti, Arkansas – 59.26
  5. Avery Wiseman, Alabama – 59.77
  6. Diana Petkova, Alabama – 1:00.07
  7. Zoe Skirboll, Virginia – 1:00.17
  8. Kailee Morgan, Tennessee – 1:01.80

Tennessee senior Mona McSharry crushed a new SEC record in the 100 breast with a winning time of 56.87. The Irishwoman was faster than her runner-up finish at NCAAs last season (57.16) and faster than what Texas freshman Lydia Jacoby went to win the event last season (57.03). McSharry’s new lifetime best ranks 1st in the NCAA this season ahead of USC’s Kaitlyn Dobler (57.35).

UVA sophomore Emma Weber placed 2nd in 59.02, edging Tennessee freshman Emelie Fast (59.07) by a blink. Weber was about half a second shy of her personal-best 58.61 from the 2023 ACC Championships. Fast, a freshman from Sweden, demolished her best 100 breast time by almost two full seconds as she held a previous best of 1:01.07 from last month’s dual meet against Texas A&M.

Men’s 100-Yard Breast – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Noah Nichols, Virginia – 51.67
  2. Trey Sheils, Alabama – 52.74
  3. Flynn Crisci, Tennessee – 52.95
  4. Michael Deans, Alabama – 53.40
  5. Scooter Iida, Virginia – 53.79
  6. Lance Johnson, Kentucky – 54.53
  7. Will Tenpas, Virginia – 55.01
  8. Jed Garner, Tennessee – DQ

After splitting 22.52 on the breaststroke leg of Virginia’s 200 medley relay to open the session, senior Noah Nichols continued his hot streak with a nation-leading time of 51.67 in the 100 breast. His best time is a 50.82 from the 2023 ACC Championships.

Alabama senior Trey Sheils was only a few tenths shy of his personal-best 52.42 during his runner-up finish in 52.74. He now ranks 8th in the NCAA this season, as of publication.

Tennessee fifth-year Flynn Crisci rounded out the podium with a 52.95. The Pitt transfer was about a second away from his personal-best 51.87 that placed 5th at ACCs last season.

Women’s 100-Yard Back – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Josephine Fuller, Tennessee – 52.11
  2. Reilly Tiltmann, Virginia – 52.34
  3. Ella Menear, Alabama – 52.67
  4. Torie Buerger, Kentucky – 52.79
  5. Cadence Vincent, Alabama – 52.83
  6. Izzy Bradley, Virginia – 52.84
  7. Tess Howley, Virginia – 53.15
  8. Grace Frericks, Kentucky – DQ

After Virginia junior Reilly Tiltmann won the LCM battle of the 100 back this morning, Tennessee junior Josephine Fuller got redemption this evening with an SCY win in 52.11. Fuller’s lifetime best is a 51.00 from last season’s NCAA Championships, where she placed 7th. Tiltmann has been as fast as 50.42 at the 2022 ACC Championships.

Alabama freshman Ella Menear posted a personal-best 52.67 to snag 3rd place ahead of Kentucky senior Torie Buerger (52.79) and Crimson Tide teammate Cadence Vincent (52.83). Menear shaved seven-tenths of a second off her previous-best 53.37 from March of 2022.

Men’s 100-Yard Back – Final

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

Top 8:

  1. Harrison Lierz, Tennessee – 45.71
  2. Will Thompson, Virginia – 46.75
  3. Matt Brownstead, Virginia – 47.07
  4. Eric Stelmar, Alabama – 47.18
  5. Jack Berube, Virginia – 48.36
  6. Brendan Conners, Alabama – 48.44
  7. Bjoern Kammann, Tennessee – 48.52
  8. Jake Marcum, Alabama – 48.76

Tennessee senior Harrison Lierz won the men’s 100 back by more than a full second with a time of 45.71. The Colorado native was just .01 seconds shy of his personal-best 45.70 from a 400 medley relay leadoff at the 2023 SEC Championships.

UVA freshman Will Thompson posted a huge personal best, taking 2nd place in 46.75 and shaving exactly one second off his previous-best 47.75 from March. This morning, Thompson won the LCM 100 back in a personal-best 55.00, dropping almost a full second off his previous-best 55.93 from July.

UVA senior Matt Brownstead rounded out the podium in 47.07, beating Alabama senior Eric Stelmar (47.18) by just a tenth of a second.

Women’s 800-Yard Free Relay – Final

  • NCAA Record: 6:45.91, Stanford (2017)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 7:00.86

Top 8:

  1. Tennessee – 7:10.17
  2. Arkansas – 7:14.71
  3. Tennessee ‘B’ – 7:16.43
  4. Kentucky – 7:17.52
  5. Tennessee ‘C’ – 7:24.24
  6. Kentucky ‘B’ – 7:28.14
  7. Arkansas ‘B’ – 7:28.46

Tennessee’s quartet of Brooklyn Douthwright, Julia Burroughs, Sara Stotler, and Kate McCarville cruised to victory in the 800 free relay with an SEC-leading time of 7:10.17, but MeetMobile splits did not appear to be accurate as of publication. We’ll check back later.

Men’s 800-Yard Free Relay – Final

  • NCAA Record: 6:03.42, Texas (2023)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 6:16.02

Top 8:

Jordan Crooks crushed a new school record in the 200 free during his leadoff leg of Tennessee’s relay, ripping a personal-best 1:32.07 to lead the Vols to the win in 6:19.77. The junior sprint star from the Cayman Islands flexed his range, dropping more than two seconds off his previous-best 1:34.30 from last year’s Tennessee Invitational. The previous Tennessee school record stood at 1:32.35 by Joey Reilman in 2019.

Gui Caribe (1:36.09), Joaquin Vargas (1:36.35), and Rafael Ponce De Leon (1:35.26) joined Crooks on the Vols’ winning relay.

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Ho4ke
4 months ago

Nichols’ 22.52 relay was a good prelude to his 100 finish. I think the 100 breaststroke is a wide open field and anyone’s guess at NCAAs this year

ChrisP
4 months ago

Lungard with a pretty nice showing with a limited roster. Cats have a good one in him.

Willswim
4 months ago

I apologize if this has already been explained a few times recently, but please remind me what the reasoning is behind Virginia not swimming the 800 free relay at mid-season invitationals.

Noah
Reply to  Willswim
4 months ago

Don’t know their reasoning but the way I see it is don’t tire out swimmers with a relay they don’t wanna swim, midszn points dont matter

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Willswim
4 months ago

Wears them out, and they can qualify with adding up 4 times.

Yikes
4 months ago

Why didn’t Nocetini swim the 100 breast?

anon
4 months ago

UVA might have a shot at stanford’s 800 record this year. It’s 1:41.5’s

1:41.3 G Walsh
1:41.1 A Walsh (2023)
1:42.0 Canny (2023 lead off – 0.3)
1:42.9 Nelson (2023)

They need to find like a second and a half and thats with a midseason time

Last edited 4 months ago by anon
Swimfan27
Reply to  anon
4 months ago

I doubt they’d take Gretchen out of any of the shorter relays, though, unless maybe at ACCs just to go for the record.

jess
Reply to  Swimfan27
4 months ago

I was also thinking ACCs might be the move, as well, they have all been quite fast at ACCs in past years

anon
Reply to  Swimfan27
4 months ago

IMO the shot at all 5 records is worth it. Likely 4 wins either way and I doubt they break Douglass times

Swimfan27
Reply to  anon
4 months ago

Fair

Swimfan27
4 months ago

Gretchen broke Alex’s team record in the 200 free lol

PFA
4 months ago

Meanwhile Gretchen just threw down a massive 1:41.32 PB was out quick 22.9/48.5 then had a very long finish to the wall.

jess
Reply to  PFA
4 months ago

Yeah I thought that was a 1:40 high, but she fooled me with the long finish

Noah
4 months ago

Gretchen 1:41.3 🤫🤫 getting that back end speed for 1 fr LCM

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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