2022 National Invitational Championship
- March 10-12, 2022
- Beacon Health Aquatic Center, Elkhart, Indiana
- Short Course Yards (25 yards), Prelims/Finals
- Results on Meet Mobile: “2022 CSCAA National Invitational Championship”
The 2022 National Invitational Championship kicked off on Wednesday in Elkhart, Indiana. This marks the return of the meet after missing last year because of COVID-19. The 2020 championship, which was held on the weekend where the world began to shut down because of COVID-19 restrictions, began but didn’t finish.
The meet is swimming’s equivalent of the basketball NIT – a high level end-of-season championship that primarily includes swimmers who didn’t qualify for the NCAA Championship meet (though occasional NCAA qualifiers make appearances). Historically well-attended by mid-major programs, this year saw a marked shift of participation by non-NCAA qualifiers from Power 5 programs, with recognizable names from Tennessee, Ohio State, TCU, and Virginia Tech, among others, in attendance.
The meet features the usual NCAA Championship schedule, but also adds 50 yard races of each stroke and a 100 yard IM.
Thursday, the first of competition, featured all four of the 50 yard races, plus the usual day 1 events the 200 IM and 500 free.
Among the headliners at this week’s meet is Madelyn Moore of Northern Colorado. She won the 50 free, her first event, in 22.39 on Thursday. Moore is the 9th alternate to next week’s NCAA Championship meets, just-missing becoming N. Colorado’s first-ever NCAA Championship qualifier. Her season best is 22.17.
Moore also won the 50 back in 24.77.
Top 5 Men’s Team Scores After Day 1:
- Tennessee – 279
- Ohio State – 236
- Cal Baptist – 212
- Grand Canyon – 193
- TCU – 190
Top 5 Women’s Team Scores After Day 1:
- FIU – 265
- Ohio State – 256
- Tennessee – 242
- Akron – 236.5
- Rice – 177
While they aren’t at the top of the team table, it was a group of non-qualifiers from the SEC Champion University of Tennessee that dominated the wins in the women’s meet on Thursday, though.
Tulane’s Lilly Byrne was behind Nguyen by a fingernail in that 500, finishing 2nd in 4:45.32. She was 4:42 during the season.
Tennessee’s Emma Carlton, who didn’t qualify for this year’s NCAA Championship meet but did in previous seasons while at Texas A&M, won the 50 fly in 23.55. She later also finished 2nd in the 50 free in 22.71.
The Tennessee men also won the 400 medley relay in 3:09.64
Virginia Tech’s Keith Myburgh, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last year, was back at the NIC this season, where he also raced as a sophomore. He won the 200 IM in 1:45.47. In what could be the last swim of his collegiate career (depending on whether he uses a 5th year), he missed his best time by just a tenth – but was more than a second faster than his swim at ACCs.
Remi Fabiani, the WAC Champion from Cal Baptist, won the 50 free in 19.62, beating out fellow WAC’er Jack Armstrong (19.73). Fabiani’s season-best time of 19.23 was under the NCAA Championship invite line, but because CBU is currently transitioning from NCAA Division II to Division I, they are ineligible for the NCAA Championship meet. Next season should be Cal Batpist’s last season under probation – the rule also impacted their women’s basketball team, which went 24-0 last season and won the WAC Tournament, but was ineligible to play at NCAAs.
Including a 19.30 split from Fabiani, Cal Baptist also won the 200 free relay in 1:18.75. That’s faster than the 1:19.03 they swam at WACs.
Top 5 Women’s Teams After Day 1:
- Ohio State’s Paige Hall won the 200 IM in 1:59.51. One of many incredibly-tight races on the day, Tennessee’s Danika Katzer was 2nd in 1:59.53.
- TCU’s Piotr Sadlowski won the 50 fly in 21.30, beating out Grand Canyon’s Jack Armstrong (21.37). Armstrong was also 2nd in the 50 free in 19.73. His 19.30 regular-season best in the 50 free just-missed an NCAA qualification.
- Florida International’s Sara Gyertyanffy won the 50 breast in 27.60. By comparison, she split 27.06 on the 200 medley relay when FIU won the Conference USA title in February.
- University of Delaware’s Tonislav Sabev won a nail-biter in the men’s 50 breaststroke. He touched in 24.26, while TCU’s Raphael Paiva was 2nd in 24.27 and Jadon Wuilliez, the fastest swimmer in prelims, was 3rd in 24.28.
- TCU’s Geremia Freri won the men’s 500 free in 4:18.63.
- UCSD won the women’s 200 free relay in 1:30.90, just out-touching Florida International in a relay that saw the top four teams finish within two-tenths of each other.
- The Ohio State men dominated the 400 medley relay by over two seconds, touching in 3:35.74.