#22 SMU Men Win a Nailbiters, #24 Minnesota Women Dominate in Split Decision

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. SMU Mustangs

  • October 20-21, 2023
  • Robson & Lindley Aquatic Center, SMU, Dallas, Texas
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), dual meet
  • Meet Results
  • Team Scores
    • Men: #22 SMU 185-Minnesota 166
    • Women: #21 Minnesota 273-SMU 80

The #21 Minnesota women dominated the SMU Mustangs in a two-day dual meet, while the #22 SMU men slid by the Golden Gophers by 19 points over the weekend in Dallas.

“Our guys really stepped up,” SMU men’s head coach Greg Rhodenbaugh said. “They showed themselves winning both days and then of course, the entire meet. A lot of people on our team stepped up, it was all the way down, through not just first and second places but also third, fourth and fifth places. Minnesota is a really good team and it was good to see our guys step up in a moment like this.”

Men’s Meet Recap

The men’s teams were suited

The biggest head-to-head matchup of the meet came in the men’s 1000 free, where SMU’s best swimmer, 5th-year transfer Jack Hoagland, faced off against Minnesota’s two best swimmers, All-American Bar Soloveychik and NCAA qualifier Chris Nagy.

While the field held the pace early, Hoafland accelerated from the 150 yard mark through the 650 yard mark to pull away.

He would ultimately win in 8:57.03, which is his second time under 9 minutes in the race this season in two attempts. He swam 8:55.63, the #2 time in the NCAA this season, in the team’s quad meet last weekend.

Soloveychik finished 2nd in 9:04.03 and Nagy was 3rd in 9:09.87. Minnesota’s distance coach, Jeff Kostoff, retired in the offseason.

That was the highlight of a big weekend for Hoagland that saw him win all four of his individual events, including:

  • 400 IM – 3:46.93
  • 500 free – 4:17.66
  • 1000 free – 8:57.03
  • 200 breast – 1:58.69

That swim in the 500 free was a season best that broke the SMU and ASUN Conference records. The old school record was Jonathan Gomez’s 4:17.68 from 2017.

The 200 breast was a new lifetime best for him. While he’s probably not going to swim the 200 breast at any championship meets in the spring, that is a positive sign for his breaststroke, which is part of his IM strength on the back-half.

Minnesota got in a hole early when their opening 200 medley relay was DQ’ed after initially touching the wall first when anchor Lovro Serdarevic jumped by .01 seconds. That cost them 9 points in a meet separated by 19.

They stayed in the fight, though, thanks to Italian freshman Davide Harabagiu.

An unheralded recruit, Harabagiu has already had a big impact for the Gophers. At this meet, he won the 100 fly 46.11), and 100 free (43.96), both season bests. The latter came in a win over SMU’s crucial breakout sprinter Sage Sungail, a sophomore qualifier, who swam a personal best in the 100 free in the SMU Classic earlier this month.

Sungail was 44.12 this weekend, just off the 43.97 he swam two weeks ago.

While Harbagiu was good individually, for the most part he was unable to match that prowess in relays. For example, he was just 44.58 leading off the 400 free relay, but in that race he was picked up by teammate Kaiser Neverman, who split 43.18 on the 2nd leg.

Neverman won the 50 free (20.12) and his primary event the 200 fly (1:44.40) individually and split 19.43 on the second leg of Minnesota’s winning 200 free relay.

In all, Minnesota touched first in three of four relays, though the DQ cost them one win. SMU also won the 400 medley relay in 3:11.22 led by a monster 42.86 anchor from Sungail.

Women’s Meet Recap

The women’s teams were not suited

Unlike the men’s meet, which was competitive throughout, the Minnesota women exhibited thorough domination throughout the weekend.

Not only did the Minnesota women win 18 out of 19 events on the weekend, they took 16 out of 19 runner-up finishes as well.

On the scoreboard, the top performer for Minnesota was junior Hannah Cornish, who won six events on the weekend.

The Gophers’ top sprinter, Cornish won the 50 free (23.14) and 100 free (50.43) individually and was on all four Minnesota winning relays. She split 22.88 on the anchor leg of the team’s 200 medley relay that combined for 1:42.22, 51.43 on the leadoff leg of their 400 free relay, 50.43 on the anchor of the 400 medley relay, and 22.97 on the second leg of their winning 200 free relay.

Megan Van Berkom also had a big weekend for the Mustangs, winning three of her four individual events.

She topped the field in the:

  • 400 IM – 4:13.06 (NCAA B cut)
  • 200 fly – 1:59.75
  • 200 IM – 2:01.48

And was 2nd in the:

  • 500 free – 4:51.54

She was significantly faster in this meet than she was in the same meet last year (2:00.68 in the 200 fly, 4:16.69 in the 400 IM). She finished 6th at last year’s NCAA Championship meet in the 400 IM.

Minnesota freshman Katie McCarthy was the only swimmer to beat out Van Berkom. She won the 500 free in 4:51.38 with a gutsy swim that she led virtually wire-to-wire with her All-American teammate. That’s the second-best time of her career behind only her time from last spring’s NCSA Junior National Championships, where she had a monster meet and swam 4:47 in the 500 free.

The lone SMU swimmer to score a top two finish individually, let alone a win, was Lucrezia Napoletano, who won the 200 free by more than two seconds in 1:49.56. Napoletano was the 2023 AAC Conference Champion in the 50, 100, and 200 yard freestyles.

While it would not have changed the outcome of the meet, the SMU women were without Valentina Becerra at the meet. On Sunday, she swam 59.21 in the 100 meter fly, which broke the Columbian Record and makes her the 2nd fastest woman in history in Latin America.

In her absence stateside, Minnesota’s Ava Yablonski won the 100 fly in 54.90.

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8 months ago

Stacy is doing GREAT things for the women at Minnesota!! 💪🏻

Tyson Huynh
8 months ago


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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