ACC v. Big Ten
The event-by-event lineups for this weekend’s inaugural ACC-Big Ten Challenge meet have been released. Obviously we have no clue how rested each swimmer is — some may be using this meet to get their NCAA championships cuts, while others may be waiting a few more weeks — but from a quick glance, it looks like we’re in for a fun two days.
There will be plenty of big names competing this weekend. Just a few examples: Lilly King, fastest women ever in both breaststroke events, her Indiana teammate Ian Finnerty, who became the first man under 50.0 in the 100 breast at NCAAs, and three of the four NC State men who combined to obliterate the 400 free relay record (Jacob Molacek, Justin Ress, and Coleman Stewart).
Here’s just a a few of the key showdowns and other observations:
- Louisville’s Mallory Comerford has the fastest time in the NCAA in both the 100 and 200 freestyles, and she’s entered in both events here. Her main opponent should be vs Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey. However, Haughey’s teammate Maggie MacNeil is entered in the 100 free, and it’ll be interesting to see how she does there after tearing up the 100 fly so far this season.
- Beata Nelson should have an easier time winning the 200 back now that Virginia’s Megan Moroney does not appear on the entry list at all, despite previously being announced as one of UVA’s entries.
- As hoped for, we’ll get to see Justin Ress vs Zach Apple, vs Bowen Becker in both sprint freestyle events. The Big Ten may have the edge in the 50 free, but Ress had the fastest 100 free of the bunch last season, and finished there 3rd at NCAAs.
- The men’s 100 fly features two sub-45 guys in NC State’s Coleman Stewart and Indiana’s Vini Lanza, although Louisville’s Zach Harting has been the only man to break 47 so this season.
The showdown kicks off Saturday at 5pm eastern time. The meet will be scored an a traditional college dual meet format. Right now that appears to give the Big Ten the edge, as they are probably a little more top heavy, and that format rewards wins more than depth, but anything can happen in this sort of format. Check back tomorrow evening as we’ll be providing live recaps.