2023 Tennessee Invitational: Day 3 Finals Live Recap

by Riley Overend 38

November 17th, 2023 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps, SEC

2023 TENNESSEE INVITATIONAL

We’re all set for some fun matchups on the third night of the 2023 Tennessee Invitational featuring Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and Kentucky.

Tennessee junior Jordan Crooks will go head-to-head against sophomore teammate Gui Caribe in the men’s 100 free. Tennessee senior Mona McSharry, Virginia fifth-year Ella Nelson, and Virginia senior Alex Walsh will duke it out in the women’s 200 breast. And Virginia junior Gretchen Walsh is expected to swim butterfly during the 100 free on Friday night just as she did this morning en route to the 8th seed in prelims.

Stay tuned below for live updates:

WOMEN’S 1650-YARD FREE – TIMED FINAL

  • NCAA Record: 15:03.31 – Katie Ledecky, Stanford (2017)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 15:52.41
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 16:13.73

Top 8:

  1. Cavan Gormsen, Fr, Virginia – 16:08.99
  2. Aly Breslin, Sr, Tennessee – 16:11.65
  3. Madelyn Donohoe, 5Y, Virginia – 16:21.19
  4. Sophia Knapp, So, Virginia – 16:23.32
  5. Lauren Wetherell, Jr, Tennessee – 16:24.45
  6. Kate McCarville, Jr, Tennessee – 16:26.43
  7. Caroline Benda, Jr, Kentucky – 16:26.55
  8. Liberty Williams, Sr, Alabama – 16:28.25

Virginia freshman Cavan Gormsen won the first race of the evening with a time of 16:08.99, about 11 seconds off her personal-best 15:57.20 from last December.

Tennessee senior Aly Breslin was just a few seconds behind in 16:11.65, about 20 seconds off her personal-best 15:50.80 from March. She was nearly 10 seconds ahead of the rest of the field as Virginia fifth-year Madelyn Donohoe placed 3rd in 16:21.19.

MEN’S 1650-YARD FREE – TIMED FINAL

  • NCAA Record: 14:12.08 – Bobby Finke, Florida (2020)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 14:37.31
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 14:53.84

Top 8:

  1. Joey Tepper, Sr, Tennessee – 14:56.76
  2. Jake Narvid, Sr, Tennessee – 14:58.90
  3. Rafael Ponce De Leon, Sr, Tennessee – 15:11.56
  4. Sam O’Brien, Jr, Virginia – 15:16.07
  5. Tanner Hering, Sr, Virginia – 15:19.83
  6. Peter Thompson, Jr, Virginia – 15:22.68
  7. Carson Hick, Fr, Kentucky – 15:28.04
  8. Sean Mackey, So, Kentucky – 15:44.10

Tennessee senior Joey Tepper broke 15 minutes for the first time with a personal-best 14:56.76, shaving a few seconds off his previous-best 15:00.33 from January of 2022.

Tepper enjoyed a 1-2-3 finish with fellow Vols seniors Jake Narvid and Rafael Ponce De Leon. Narvid’s runner-up finish in 14:58.90 was just a second off his personal-best 14:57.85 from February of 2022. Ponce De Leon was farther behind the pack in 15:11.56, about six seconds off his personal-best 15:05.79 from February of 2022.

Reigning SEC champion Levi Sandidge of Kentucky did not compete this week due to an undisclosed illness.

WOMEN’S 200-YARD BACK – FINAL

  • NCAA Record: 1:47.24 – Beata Nelson, Wisconsin (2019)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 1:50.50
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:53.34

Top 8:

  1. Ella Bathurst, Jr, Virginia – 1:54.08
  2. Reilly Tiltmann, Jr, Virginia – 1:54.13
  3. Grace Frericks, So, Kentucky – 1:54.73
  4. Tess Howley, Fr, Virginia – 1:54.92
  5. Ella Menear, Fr, Alabama – 1:55.36
  6. Torie Buerger, Sr, Kentucky – 1:55.72
  7. Josephine Fuller, Jr, Tennessee – 1:57.29
  8. Sophia Wilson, Sr, Virginia – 1:57.57

Virginia snagged three of the top four places in the women’s 200 back as junior Ella Bathurst (1:54.08) snuck past fellow junior Reilly Tiltmann (1:54.13) for the top spot by just .05 seconds.

Bathurst has been as fast as 1:53.32 in March of 2022 while Tiltmann blazed a personal-best 1:49.63 in March of 2022.

Kentucky sophomore Grace Frericks prevented a UVA podium sweep by beating freshman Tess Howley (1:54.92) for 3rd place with a time of 1:54.73. Frericks was a couple seconds off her lifetime best while Howley was only about one second shy of her best.

MEN’S 200-YARD BACK – FINAL

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

Top 8:

  1. Tommy Hagar, Fr, Alabama – 1:41.65
  2. Will Thompson, Fr, Virginia – 1:42.24
  3. Harrison Lierz, Sr, Tennessee – 1:42.82
  4. Jake Marcum, 5Y, Alabama – 1:42.94
  5. Eric Stelmar, Sr, Alabama – 1:43.39
  6. Landon Driggers, Jr, Tennessee – 1:44.50
  7. Colin Bitz, Jr, Virginia – 1:45.97
  8. Sam O’Brien, Jr, Virginia – 1:46.83

Alabama freshman Tommy Hagar shaved more than a second off his lifetime best to triumph in the men’s 200 back with a winning time of 1:43.09. His previous best was a 1:43.09 from March.

Virginia freshman Will Thompson also posted a new personal best, clocking a 1:42.24 for 2nd place. He dropped more than a second off his previous-best 1:43.57 from last December.

Tennessee senior Harrison Lierz (1:42.82) claimed 3rd place over Alabama fifth-year Jake Marcum by just about a tenth of a second.

WOMEN’S 100-YARD FREE – FINAL

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

Top 8:

  1. Camille Spink, Fr, Tennessee – 47.28
  2. Gretchen Walsh, Jr, Virginia – 48.30
  3. Cadence Vincent, Fr, Alabama – 48.44
  4. Maxine Parker, Sr, Virginia – 48.91
  5. Brooklyn Douthwright, Jr, Tennessee – 48.93
  6. Kailyn Winter, Jr, Alabama – 49.43
  7. Maddy Hartley, So, Arkansas – 49.53
  8. Laura Littlejohn, Fr, Tennessee – 49.60

Gretchen Walsh swam the fastest 100 fly of all time with a 48.30, but it won’t count as an official record because it came in the final of the 100 free. USA Swimming has a rule that specifies “regardless of the stroke(s) used, times achieved in freestyle events can be recorded only as freestyle times.”

Kate Douglass still technically holds the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open records at 48.46 from last season’s NCAA Championships.

Walsh’s progression in the event has been remarkable this year as she has dropped more than a second in the past nine months. She was 49.89 at last year’s Tennessee Invitational and 49.34 at the ACC Championships in February.

Tennessee freshman Camille Spink threw down a huge swim to win the event over Walsh, posting a 47.28 to drop almost a second off her previous-best 48.12 from March. Walsh was flanked by a pair of rookies as Alabama freshman Cadence Vincent placed 3rd in a personal-best 48.44, going almost a full second faster than her previous-best 49.25 from March.

Virginia senior Maxine Parker (48.91) edged Tennessee junior Brooklyn Douthwright (48.93) by just two hundredths of a second in a tight battle for 4th place.

MEN’S 100-YARD FREE – FINAL

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

Top 8:

  1. Jordan Crooks, Jr, Tennessee – 41.08
  2. Gui Caribe, So, Tennessee – 41.66
  3. Charlie Hawke, Jr, Alabama – 42.31
  4. Kaique Alves, Jr, Alabama – 42.36
  5. Matt Brownstead, Sr, Virginia – 42.36
  6. Micah Chambers, Sr, Virginia – 43.09
  7. Nikoli Blackman, Fr, Tennessee – 43.30
  8. Max Berg, Sr, Kentucky – 43.38

Tennessee junior Jordan Crooks blazed a nation-leading time of 41.08 to outduel Brazilian teammate Gui Caribe in a fast 100 free final. Crooks was just .16 seconds off his personal-best 40.92 from March while Caribe was only a couple tenths shy of his personal-best 41.43 from February.

Alabama juniors Charlie Hawke and Kaique Alves continued their strong showings this week, taking 3rd and 4th place, respectively. Hawke reached the wall in 42.31, slicing .04 seconds off his previous-best 42.35 from February. Alves was right behind in 42.36, tying with Virginia senior Matt Brownstead for 4th.

WOMEN’S 200-YARD BREAST – FINAL

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

Top 8:

  1. Alex Walsh, Sr, Virginia – 2:04.22
  2. Ella Nelson, 5Y, Virginia – 2:06.10
  3. Mona McSharry, Sr, Tennessee – 2:06.64
  4. Alessia Ferraguti, 5Y, Arkansas – 2:07.53
  5. Avery Wiseman, Jr, Alabama – 2:08.24
  6. Emelie Fast, Fr, Tennessee – 2:09.87
  7. Anna Keating, Sr, Virginia – 2:10.44
  8. Emma Weber, So, Virginia – 2:11.72

Virginia senior Alex Walsh put together a great swim to prevail in a loaded 200 breast final against teammate Ella Nelson (2:06.10) and Tennessee senior Mona McSharry (2:06.64).

Walsh was just a second off her personal-best 2:03.02 from February of 2022. Nelson and McSharry were both a couple seconds off their best times of 2:04.33 and 2:04.59, respectively, both set in March.

Arkansas fifth-year Alessia Ferraguti took 4th place in 2:07.53, shaving more than a second off her previous-best 2:08.98 from March.

South African freestyle specialist Aimee Canny turned heads with a 2:08.49 in the 200 breast B-final, which would have placed 6th in tonight’s A-final right behind Alabama junior Avery Wiseman (2:08.24). Canny, a sophomore at Virginia, dropped more than four seconds off her previous-best 2:12.97 from just a few weeks ago.

MEN’S 200-YARD BREAST – FINAL

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

Top 8:

  1. Scooter Iida, Jr, Virginia – 1:53.22
  2. Noah Nichols, Sr, Virginia – 1:54.20
  3. Michael Deans, Sr, Alabama – 1:54.71
  4. Jed Garner, Fr, Tennessee – 1:57.16
  5. Will Tenpas, 5Y, Virginia – 1:57.61
  6. Lance Johnson, Fr, Kentucky – 1:58.49
  7. Matthew Heilman, So, Virginia – 1:58.63
  8. Joe Jordan, Sr, Tennessee – 1:58.87

Virginia junior Scooter Iida (1:53.22) pulled off somewhat of an upset in the 200 breast against senior teammate Noah Nichols (1:54.20), in the process coming just .04 seconds shy of his lifetime best (1:53.26) from February. Nichols has been more than two seconds faster with a personal-best 1:51.97 from February.

Alabama senior Michael Deans placed 3rd in 1:54.71, more than two seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Deans had a huge time drop, shaving more than a second off his previous-best 1:56.24 from December of 2021.

Tennessee freshman Jed Garner was just a few tenths off his personal-best 1:56.82 with his 4th-place finish in 1:57.16.

WOMEN’S 200-YARD FLY – FINAL

  • NCAA Record: 1:49.51 – Ella Eastin, Stanford (2018)
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 1:52.86
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:55.92

Top 8:

  1. Abby Harter, Sr, Virginia – 1:54.71
  2. Betsy Wizard, So, Arkansas – 1:54.93
  3. Maggie Schalow, Fr, Virginia – 1:55.28
  4. Sara Stotler, Jr, Tennessee – 1:55.47
  5. Tess Howley, Fr, Virginia – 1:55.52
  6. Lainey Mullins, Fr, Virginia – 1:56.49
  7. Maddy Hartley, So, Arkansas – 1:59.92
  8. Emma Weber, So, Virginia – 2:04.32

Virginia senior Abby Harter clocked a time of 1:54.71 to hold off Arkansas sophomore Betsy Wizard (1:54.93) for the 200 fly win. Harter has been as fast as 1:53.28 in March while Wizard was six-tenths of a second shy of her personal best (1:54.33) from last November.

Virginia freshman Maggie Schalow had a statement swim en route to 3rd place, notching a personal-best 1:55.28 to beat fellow UVA freshmen Tess Howley (1:55.52) and Lainey Mullins (1:56.49). Schalow shaved more than a second off her previous-best 1:56.75 from last November. Howley was completing a tough double after placing 4th in the 200 back earlier in the session.

MEN’S 200-YARD FLY – FINAL

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

Top 8:

  1. Martin Espernberger, So, Tennessee – 1:41.78
  2. Ryan Merani, So, Kentucky – 1:43.28
  3. Sebastien Sergile, So, Virginia – 1:43.41
  4. Matt Styczen, Jr, Virginia – 1:45.28
  5. Aidan Crisci, So, Tennessee – 1:45.68
  6. Gus Rothrock, Jr, Tennessee – 1:46.01
  7. Colin Bitz, Jr, Virginia – 1:46.91
  8. Zane Rosely, Sr, Kentucky – 1:46.97

Tennessee sophomore Martin Espernberger cruised to victory in the 200 fly with a 1:41.78, within half a second of his personal-best 1:41.39 from the 2023 NCAA Championships, where he placed 9th. This season, his time ranks 4th in the NCAA.

Kentucky sophomore Ryan Merani took 2nd place in 1:43.28, just about a tenth ahead of Virginia sophomore Sebastien Sergile (1:43.41). Both approached their best times as Merani has been as fast as 1:42.91 in February and Sergile’s lifetime best is 1:43.22 from February.

WOMEN’S 400-YARD FREE RELAY – FINAL

  • NCAA Record: 3:05.84 – Virginia (Douglass, A. Walsh, Parker, G. Walsh) – 2023
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 3:14.10
  • 2024 NCAA ‘B’ Standard: 3:16.25

Top 8:

  1. Virginia – 3:07.60
  2. Tennessee – 3:13.64
  3. Alabama – 3:13.95
  4. Arkansas – 3:16.85
  5. Tennessee ‘C’ – 3:18.14
  6. Tennessee ‘B’ – 3:18.38
  7. Virginia ‘C’ – 3:19.34
  8. Kentucky – 3:20.43

Virginia’s quartet of Jasmine Nocentini (46.75), Maxine Parker (48.33), Gretchen Walsh (45.18), and Alex Walsh (47.34) combined for a 400 free relay time of 3:07.60 — within a couple seconds of the Cavaliers’ NCAA record from last season.

Nocentini, an Italian transfer from Northwestern, dropped more than a full second off her previous-best 100 free time of 47.76. Meanwhile, Gretchen Walsh threw down the fastest 100 free relay split of all time, her 45.18 slightly faster than Maggie MacNeil‘s 45.26 from the 2023 SEC Championships in February.

Tennessee’s team of Mona McSharry (48.78), Brooklyn Douthwright (49.11), Jasmine Rumley (49.14), and Camille Spink (46.61) rallied past Alabama’s squad of Jada Scott (48.21), Cadence Vincent (48.28), Kailyn Winter (49.25), and Diana Petkova (48.21) for the runner-up finish. The Vols reached the wall in 3:13.64, just a few tenths ahead of the Crimson Tide’s 3:13.95.

Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama all finished under the 2024 NCAA ‘A’ cut of 3:14.10.

MEN’S 400-YARD FREE RELAY – FINAL

  • NCAA Record: 2:44.07 – Florida (Liendo, Chaney, Smith, McDuff) – 2023
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 2:50.44
  • 2024 NCAA ‘B’ Standard: 2:51.86

Top 8:

  1. Tennessee – 2:47.61
  2. Alabama – 2:47.95
  3. Virginia – 2:51.51
  4. Alabama ‘B’ – 2:55.02
  5. Tennessee ‘C’ – 2:55.47
  6. Tennessee ‘B’ – 2:56.24
  7. Tennessee ‘D’ – 2:57.95
  8. Kentucky – 2:58.67

After winning the individual 100 free in 41.08, Tennessee junior Jordan Crooks returned at the end of the session and fired off a 41.03 leadoff to power the Vols (2:47.61) past Alabama (2:47.95) by a few tenths. Both quartets finished under the 2024 NCAA ‘A’ standard of 2:50.44.

Crooks was joined by Gui Caribe (41.18), Nikoli Blackman (43.23), and Micah Chambers (42.17) on Tennessee’s winning team.

Alabama juniors Kaique Alves (41.44 split) and Charlie Hawke (41.45) led the way for the Crimson Tide on the middle legs of the relay. Zarek Wilson led off in 42.89 and Tim Korstanje anchored in 42.17.

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Random123
4 months ago

ALL PRAISE GRETCHEN

swim nerd
4 months ago

How about the crimson tide!!! Bright future ahead!

Swammer2009
4 months ago

Gretchen is just taking college swimming to the next level and I want to appreciate it while we can.

Remember the days where we didn’t see any best times til the “big show”… now we get to see extraordinary swims in November.

Idk I’m still in awe.. it’s so much managing school / classes, being a 20 year old & swimming all in one. These athletes are doing it flawlessly. Here to soak it up.

HOO love
Reply to  Swammer2009
4 months ago

The comm school classes she’s enrolled in are no joke either. Props to Gretchen👏🏼👏🏼

Andrew
4 months ago

Virginia has a men’s team?

Pieter H
Reply to  Andrew
4 months ago

You spoke what many are thinking

anon
4 months ago

45.1 WTF

gitech
Reply to  anon
4 months ago

Gretch walsh 100 free?

gitech
Reply to  gitech
4 months ago

This record is definitive, right? This does appear to be legal, right?

bob
Reply to  gitech
4 months ago

It’s as definitive as relay record splits get 😂

SinkOrSwim
Reply to  anon
4 months ago

Incredible!

Chris D
4 months ago

unbelievable by Gretchy but if she doesn’t translate it to the long pool, it’s not going to get her on the olympic podium. After all, that is the ultimate.

Swammer2009
Reply to  Chris D
4 months ago

Sir this is a college swimming (yds) invite…

Noah
4 months ago

Gretchen just split the fastest 100 fr of all time

Noah
4 months ago

If my math is right Gretchen split 45.2….

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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