At the 2023 Cavalier Invite last weekend, Gretchen Walsh finished second in the 200 free to her newly-arrived freshman teammate, Aimee Canny. While Walsh had a formidable swim, dropping 0.51 seconds off her best time to go 1:43.24 and become the fourth-fastest performer in the NCAA this season, her swim also meant that her streak of being unbeaten in individual events this season had ended. With Walsh out of contention for a perfect season, only two swimmers from our original “undefeated swimmers” article (a list of swimmers from top 25 division I programs that had been undefeated until midseasons) are left: Leon Marchand and Maggie MacNeil.
Before I start talking about Marchand and MacNeil, I’d like to take a moment to commemorate Walsh’s incredible run this season. She scored a total of 12 individual wins, with five of them being against her teammate Kate Douglass (who keep in mind, has seen a lot of success on her own considering that she broke the American record twice in one season). In addition, Walsh has also swum a total of nine 21-point 50 freestyles this season, which speaks to her consistency in the event. She just happened to lose an event that she doesn’t typically swim (and nonetheless, still post a super impressive time) to a swimmer who could be the NCAA’s next young 200 free superstar. That being said, with how consistent and impressive Walsh has been, I wouldn’t be surprised if that 200 free race was her only individual loss of the 2022-23 season.
I’d also like to address the omission of Northwestern’s Jasmine Nocentini as an undefeated swimmer. While she was undefeated through midseasons, a shoulder injury has kept her out of competition for the last three months and makes her chances of competing at conferences or NCAAs unlikely—therefore nullifying her prospects of completing a full, perfect season.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss Marchand and MacNeil.
Not much has changed since the last time I published an undefeated article—Marchand is still the heavy favorite to win the 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 breast, or whatever he swims at NCAAs (what can’t he swim?), but one should still keep a look on swimmers like Carson Foster, who we haven’t seen compete properly rest at a meet this season. But what last weekend taught us was that “off events” are not a deterrent for Marchand, because he simply seems to win everything he races. At Saturday’s dual meet against Arizona, Marchand posted the fastest 100 back and 500 free times in the country, despite the fact that back was widely considered his “weakest” stroke headed into the meet and that he had never swum a 500-yard free in his life before. If he can even do well in events that he’s seemingly inexperienced in, it seems now that it’s more likely that he’ll go undefeated this season than it is for him to lose a single race.
Every week, Marchand’s video-game versatility becomes more prevalent, and it’s going to take immense effort for him to be stopped.
Leon Marchand, Arizona State (20 wins)
- ASU vs. Georgia vs. Missouri: 200 breast (1:57.67), 200 fly (1:43.21), 2o0 IM (1:44.32)
- ASU vs. Wisconsin: 200 back (1:42.82), 100 breast (53.16), 400 IM (3:41.59)
- ASU vs. USC: 100 breast (52.75), 200 breast (1:53.34), 200 IM (1:42.55)
- NC State Invitational: 200 fly (1:39.57), 200 IM (1:39.28), 400 IM (3:33.65)
- ASU vs. Stanford: 100 breast (51.15), 200 IM (1:38.89), 200 breast (1:49.16)
- ASU vs. Cal: 100 breast (51.01), 200 breast (1:48.82), 400 IM (3:31.84)
- ASU vs. Arizona: 100 back (44.77), 500 free (4:07.81)
I talked a lot about MacNeil’s chances in my previous article, and she hasn’t race since then, so I’ll keep this part short and sweet. She could go undefeated—there’s a chance that she wins the 50 free, 100 fly, and 100 free at NCAAs. However, she also happens to be racing the most competitive events in the NCAA, and fending off names like Gretchen Walsh (who she has never beaten), Claire Curzan, Torri Huske, and Kate Douglass will be extremely difficult. That being said, it’s almost certain that MacNeil will keep her unbeaten streak alive at SECs—there is not a single other swimmer in the conference with times that are within half a second of her PBs in her primary events (50 free, 100 free, 100 fly).
Maggie MacNeil, LSU (19 wins)
- LSU vs. Tulane vs. Vanderbilt: 100 free (47.43), 100 back (51.10)
- LSU vs. South Carolina: 50 free (21.90), 100 back (53.51), 100 fly (50.84)
- LSU vs. Denver vs. Air Force: 200 back (1:56.26)
- LSU vs. Auburn: 50 free (22.36), 100 back (52.65), 200 back (1:56.23)
- LSU vs. Alabama: 50 free (22.28), 100 free (48.81), 100 back (51.41)
- Art Adamson Invitational: 50 free (21.03), 100 back (50.70), 100 fly (49.40)
- LSU vs. Florida State: 50 free (22.17), 100 fly (52.01)
- LSU vs. Texas A&M: 50 free (22.36), 100 fly (51.91)
Has anyone gone the entire season with no losses at all, counting NCAAs (out of people that swam all 3 events)? I’m assuming there has been but no idea who
did some digging through those that have won all 3 events at NCAAs between now and 2007.
TLDR: out of the 11 swimmers that have swept their events at NCAAs in the past 16 years, Beata Nelson and Ryan Hoffer have gotten the closest to a perfect season with 1 loss each in the entire season (200 free for Nelson, 100 fly for Hoffer).
A.Walsh lost events like the 200 fly and 50 free throughout the regular season but was undefeated at ACCs and NCAAs in 2022.
Douglass’ only meet where she was defeated in 2021-2022 was at the Tennessee invitational when she placed 9th in the 200 free and 4th in the 100 breast.
Dressel was undefeated… Read more »
The article reflects remarkable seasons. Consider this supplemental information that separates Leon’s ’22-’23 year even from Maggie.
Every single individual swim by Marchand throughout the season surpassed at least the provisional NCAA standard. Every single swim, covering eight different events rather than just specialty swims.
Beyond that, 11 of the 20 listed swims — THE LAST 11 IN A ROW covering a Fall Invite in mid-November through Stanford, Cal and UofA on 2-4-23 — surpassed the NCAA A standard, each of which readers of SwimSwam know is a rarefied effort, especially considering the last 8 were in dual meets. Even beyond this, 2 of his other swim surpassed the 2022 invited swim benchmark. And in his first swim of the… Read more »
swim – swam – swum.
Didn’t marchand lose to 8th year supersenior Stetson Bennett… i mean Grant House at ASU intrasquad in 100 free
I think you answered your own question. It was an intersquad.
if it was an intersquad then yes, he is out. But it was an intrasquad so he is still alive.
It is true for that technical reason (intrasquad v dual meet), and it is true for another reason.
The Maroon & Gold meet was a Pentathalon format where the wiinner was based on summation of the times in 5 events, 100 races in each stroke and the IM. House beat him in the 100 free, but Leon won the Pentathalon.
It is equivalent to a 400 IM where someone had a faster backstroke leg but Leon got to the finish first.
I don’t think intrasquads count because they aren’t always official results
How much does it matter that MacNeil has never beaten Walsh? The only head to head I can recall is the 50 free last year at NCAAs…which neither of them won
Article states MacNeil has never beaten Walsh, but it also says Walsh will probably be undefeated rest of season but she’s never be Berkoff in the 100bk
Walsh beat Berkoff at the UVA-NC State dual meet last year pretty handily, 50.61 to 51.71. My point was more that saying someone has never beaten someone else doesn’t mean much when they’ve only competed once.
So last year’s ACC and NCAA didn’t count? That’s twice right? The big 2. But forgive me, I forgot how much weight duel meets carry.
I assumed you meant “beat” in place of “be”, and so I was correcting what you wrote. I think Berkoff showed last season how much in-season matters at the end of it all, so no need to squabble
OOOOOO…. Dripping sarcasm…..
She said that it wouldn’t surprise her, not that it’ll probably happen. Neither Walsh beating Berkoff nor Berkoff beating Walsh would surprise me, but I think someone beating both definitely would
Wow. I don’t think Marchand’s 4:07 has been talked about enough… I probably missed the article. Crazy.
you sure did. it currently has 159 comments.
another interesting thing is that Marchand has only gotten faster in each event throughout the season. not a single add
Crooks lost a 50 or 100 this season?
He lost the 50 free against Florida, the 100 fly against NC State.
And the 100 free?