2023 Texas Invitational: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap

2023 TEXAS HALL OF FAME INVITATIONAL

The 2023 Texas Invitational concludes Saturday with individual races in the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, and 1650 free. The 400 free relay will be also be contested during tonight’s finals session.

Several stacked matchups are in store today, including a women’s 100 free featuring USC graduate student Vasilissa Buinaia (50 free champ on Thursday), Texas freshman Erin Gemmell, and USC freshman Minna Abraham (200 free champ on Friday). The loaded Texas butterfly group is also set to do battle again in the 200 fly after Emma Sticklen (50.36) snuck past Kelly Pash (50.37) and Olivia Bray (50.47) in Friday’s 100 fly final.

Stay tuned below for live updates:

WOMEN’S 200 BACK – PRELIMS

  • 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. Phoebe Bacon, Wisconsin – 1:51.94
  2. Natalie Mannion, Stanford – 1:52.52
  3. Berit Berglund, Texas – 1:52.80
  4. Olivia Bray, Texas – 1:52.99
  5. Alicia Wilson, Texas – 1:55.32
  6. Macky Hodges, USC – 1:55.42
  7. Mackenzie McConagha, Wisconsin, 1:55.53
  8. Alice Waldow, USC – 1:56.93

Wisconsin senior Phoebe Bacon became the first woman under 1:52 in the 200 back this season with a 1:51.94 to pace prelims. She shaved more than two seconds off her season-best 1:54.44 from last month, but is still a few seconds off her personal-best 1:48.32 from her 2021 NCAA title.

Three other swimmers put up strong performances in the 1:52 range that rank inside the top five this season. Stanford sophomore Natalie Mannion clocked a personal-best 1:52.52 for the No. 2 seed, shaving more than half a second off her previous-best 1:53.08 from February. Only Bacon and Florida freshman Bella Sims (1:52.49) have been faster so far this season.

Texas freshman Berit Berglund qualified 3rd in a lifetime best of 1:52.80, crushing her previous-best 1:53.52 from back in 2021. Texas senior Olivia Bray took 4th in 1:52.99, a couple seconds off her personal-best 1:50.09 that won her the Big 12 title last season.

MEN’S 200 BACK – PRELIMS

  • 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. Rex Maurer, Stanford – 1:40.77
  2. Will Modglin, Texas – 1:41.98
  3. Josh Zuchowski, Stanford – 1:42.63
  4. Chris O’Connor, Texas – 1:42.86
  5. Aaron Sequeria, Stanford – 1:43.07
  6. Hayden Kwan, Stanford – 1:43.22
  7. Henry McFadden, Stanford – 1:43.31
  8. Nate Germonprez, Texas – 1:43.82

Stanford freshman Rex Maurer continued his tear in Austin, chopping more than a second and a half off his best 200 back time with a top-seeded effort of 1:40.77. The versatile freestyle specialist owned a previous best of 1:42.30 from March prior to this swim.

Texas freshman Will Modglin qualified 2nd in 1:41.98, but he likely has more in the tank for tonight as his lifetime best sits at 1:40.54 from last December.

Stanford sophomore Josh Zuchowski (1:42.63) beat Texas senior Chris O’Connor (1:42.86) by just a couple tenths for the 3rd seed in prelims. Both swimmers went 1:40-point for best times this past March.

WOMEN’S 100 FREE – PRELIMS

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

Top 8:

  1. Vasilissa Buinaia, USC – 47.99
  2. Grace Cooper, Texas – 48.14
  3. Erin Gemmell, Texas – 48.28
  4. Ava Longi, Texas – 48.40
  5. Minna Abraham, USC – 48.41
  6. Anicka Delgado, USC – 48.55
  7. Emma Davidson, Texas – 48.60
  8. Kayla Wilson, Stanford – 48.62

USC graduate student Vasilissa Buinaia posted an impressive 47.99 in prelims to lead the pack, not far off her season-best 47.52 that ranks 3rd in the NCAA this season behind Virginia’s Gretchen Walsh (46.42) and Jasmine Nocentini (46.75).

Texas senior Grace Cooper led a 2-3-4 Longhorn showing prelims with a 48.14, just ahead of freshman Erin Gemmell‘s 48.28. That’s a new lifetime best for Cooper, whose previous-best was a 48.43 from the NCAA Championships last season. Gemmell was within a tenth of her personal-best 48.19 from February.

Texas senior Ava Longi was close behind in 48.40, edging USC freshman Minna Abraham (48.41) by just a hundredth of a second. Tonight’s final should be a fun one.

MEN’S 100 FREE – PRELIMS

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

Top 8:

  1. Andres Dupont, Stanford – 42.37
  2. Rafael Gu, Stanford – 42.67
  3. Artem Selin, USC – 43.06
  4. Luke Maurer, Stanford – 43.07
  5. Andrew Benson, Wisconsin – 43.08
  6. George Ratiu, UNLV – 43.09
  7. Johnathan Tan, Stanford – 43.10
  8. Henry McFadden, Stanford – 43.22

Stanford went 1-2 in the men’s 100 free, led by Cardinal sophomore Andres Dupont‘s 42.37. Dupont, who represents Mexico internationally, ranks 3rd in the NCAA this season. His personal best is a 42.17 from March.

Fellow Stanford sophomore Rafael Gu was the only other swimmer sub-43 in prelims with a personal-best 42.67, sneaking under his previous-best 42.83 from March.

USC junior Artem Selin claimed the 3rd seed in 43.06, just .02 seconds off his best time from last month. The Germany native is looking to his continue his momentum from Thursday, when he won the 50 free in 19.27.

Notably, no Texas swimmers advanced to the men’s 100 free A-final.

WOMEN’S 200-YARD BREAST – PRELIMS

  • 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. Kaitlyn Dobler, USC – 2:09.31
  2. Hazal Ozkan, Wisconsin – 2:09.80
  3. Caroline Bricker, Stanford – 2:10.40
  4. Channing Hanley, Texas – 2:10.61
  5. Katherine Adams, USC – 2:11.53
  6. Samantha Tadder, Stanford – 2:14.22
  7. Lucy Thomas, Stanford – 2:14.67
  8. Callahan Dunn, Wisconsin – 2:15.85

USC senior Kaitlyn Dobler was the fastest woman in the 200 breast prelims at 2:09.31, one of two swimmers who broke 2:10 along with Wisconsin sophomore Hazal Ozkan (2:09.80). Dobler has been as fast as 2:08.55 this season, but Ozkan set a new personal best with her runner-up finish, dropping seven-tenths off her previous-best 2:10.50 from last December.

Stanford freshman Caroline Bricker, who owns the fastest time this season at 2:07.15, qualified 3rd in prelims with a 2:10.40. She was a couple tenths ahead of Texas junior Channing Hanley (2:10.61), who was about a second off her personal-best 2:09.32 from February.

MEN’S 200 BREAST – PRELIMS

  • 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. Ben Dillard, USC – 1:52.50
  2. Chris O’Grady, USC – 1:54.15
  3. Brayden Taivassalo, Texas – 1:54.50
  4. Will Scholtz, Texas – 1:54.54
  5. Ethan Dang, Stanford – 1:56.45
  6. Hayden Zheng, Stanford – 1:57.43
  7. Alex Turney, Texas – 1:58.34
  8. Danny Beji, UNLV – 1:59.18

USC senior Ben Dillard topped the morning heats of the men’s 200 breast with a 1:52.50, the third-fastest time in the NCAA this season and just .06 seconds off his lifetime best from November of 2021. His teammate, junior Chris O’Grady, took the 2nd seed in 1:54.14, within a couple tenths of his season-best 1:53.98 from earlier this month.

Texas went 3-4 in prelims courtesy of freshmen Brayden Taivassalo (1:54.50) and Will Scholtz (1:54.54), both of whom registered new lifetime bests in the process. Taivassalo dropped about half a second off his previous-best 1:54.96 from earlier this month while Scholtz shaved more than two full seconds off his previous-best 1:56.72 from March.

WOMEN’S 200 FLY – PRELIMS

  • 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. Emma Sticklen, Texas – 1:51.50
  2. Kelly Pash, Texas – 1:53.09
  3. Lucy Bell, Stanford – 1:53.63
  4. Lillie Nordmann, Stanford – 1:53.81
  5. Charlotte Hook, Stanford – 1:55.65
  6. Campbell Stoll, Texas – 1:55.98
  7. Justina Kozan, USC – 1:56.81
  8. Caroline Bricker, Stanford – 1:58.72

Reigning NCAA champion Emma Sticklen sent a warning shot in prelims with a nation-leading time of 1:51.50 — more than a second ahead of Texas teammate Kelly Pash‘s 1:53.09, which also would have been a nation-leading mark before today.

Last season as a junior, Sticklen won the NCAA title in the 200 fly with a personal-best 1:49.95. Pash, a Pan Ams medalist in the 100 fly (silver) and 200 fly (bronze), has been as fast as 1:51.45 in February.

Stanford took the next three spots after Sticklen and Pash thanks to impressive swims from sophomore Lucy Bell (1:53.63), junior Lillie Nordmann (1:53.81), and sophomore Charlotte Hook (1:55.65). Bell knocked a tenth off her previous-best 1:53.73 from 2020. Nordmann was within a second of her personal-best 1:53.20 from last March while Hook was a few seconds faster last year at 1:52.48.

Bricker is going for a tough 200 breast/200 fly double today and managed to make both A-finals, sneaking into the 8th seed in the 200 fly (1:58.72) by just a few tenths. She clocked a personal-best 1:54.60 in the 200 fly earlier this season.

MEN’S 200 FLY – PRELIMS

  • 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. Krzysztof Chmielewski, USC – 1:41.59
  2. Michal Chmielewski, USC – 1:43.71
  3. Cole Crane, Texas – 1:44.01
  4. Dominik Mark Torok, Wisconsin – 1:44.09
  5. Sam Artmann, Texas – 1:44.27
  6. Holden Smith, Texas – 1:44.79
  7. Ryan Branon, Texas – 1:44.79
  8. Logan Walker, Texas – 1:45.04

Krzysztof Chmielewski, who won a silver medal for Poland in the LCM version of this event at the 2023 World Championships this summer, paced prelims in 1:41.59. The USC freshman was only a few tenths off his season-best 1:41.20, which bodes well for tonight’s final. His identical twin brother, Michal Chmielewski, was the only other swimmer sub-1:44 this morning with a 1:43.71, also only a few tenths off his season-best 1:43.43. Both rank in the top 10 of the NCAA this season in the 200 fly.

Texas fifth-year Cole Crane qualified 3rd in 1:44.01, just a blink ahead of Wisconsin sophomore Dominik Mark Torok (1:44.09). The Longhorns displayed their depth in this event by snagging the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th seeds courtesy of fifth-year Sam Artmann (1:44.27), sophomore Holden Smith (1:44.79), sophomore Ryan Branon (1:44.79), and freshman Logan Walker (1:45.04).

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swim dad
5 months ago

Thanks UT swimming for putting on a great invite! Lots of enthusiasm from the fans and great atmosphere and sportsmanship!

Long Strokes
5 months ago

Texas saw all the comments about it being a rebuild year for them and said, “Hold my beer.”

Andrew
Reply to  Long Strokes
5 months ago

what? they are still not a top 5 team by any stretch

Yardfan
Reply to  Andrew
5 months ago

what’s your problem?

Underachieving swimmer
Reply to  Yardfan
5 months ago

I don’t see a problem with Andrew’s comment?

As someone who really likes the Texas team, It’s no surprise to hear someone say they’re not top 5 material

JeahBrah
Reply to  Long Strokes
5 months ago

Their lack of free/fly sprinters says otherwise. Impressed with Modglin and big drops from Scholtz. But is anyone else really delivering anything unexpected?

Bad Man
Reply to  Long Strokes
5 months ago

Not one man in the top 8 in either the 50 free or 100 free at this invite, which has been slow in the free sprints compared to others. Big lack of depth is showing. They’re looking about what people have projected them to be: a ~6th place team.

Joe
Reply to  Long Strokes
5 months ago

What are you referring to? Are they even better than USC?

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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