Auburn Women, Virginia Men Win Fast Dual Meet with Random Event Order

by Robert Gibbs 16

October 27th, 2018 ACC, College, News, SEC


Despite the rainy weather, the 10am start time, and an unusual method of determining event order, there was a ton of energy on the pool deck Friday in Charlottesville in a dual meet between Auburn and Virginia that saw the Auburn women upset Virginia despite both squads throwing down some scorching times and the Virginia men handily defeat Auburn.

It was the first time that former NC State assistant coaches Todd DeSorbo and Gary Taylor have squared off since Taylor landed the head coach job at Auburn earlier this year, and in order to switch things up a bit, the coaches picked the events out of hat (actually a rather old-looking, battered helmet).

Quick recap of the methodology:

  • Event entries were submitted before hand, so swimmers knew which events they would be swimming.
  • There was a relay at the beginning and end of each session, but the hat was used immediately before each relay to determine which one would go then.
  • There was five minutes between the hat draw and the race, with both men and women competing in the same order.

Women’s Recap

The Tigers came out swinging, as Claire Fisch used 21.84 anchor leg to storm ahead and give Auburn the win in 1:39.08.  Fisch followed up that sizzling anchor just a few minutes later with a 22.73 in the 50 free.

The next event to come out of the hat was the 1000 free, where Auburn swept the top two spots, led by Emily Hetzer with a 9:48.20 that currently ranks as the top time in the country this season, per the USA Swimming database.   The Tigers ended up reeling off five events win in a row. Carly Cummings (1:01.15), Bailey Nero (1:58.28), and Erin Falconer (53.76) took the next three events, the 100 breast, 200 fly, and 100 back.

The Cavaliers finally got a win, as Megan Moroney took the 200 free in 1:47.17, only about a second off from where she was a few weeks ago at the SMU classic.

The final event of the morning, the 400 medley, was another closely contested one, but Auburn hung on to win in 3:37.23 to 3:37.31.  Halfway through the meet, the Auburn women led 99-49.

Auburn would hold on during the evening session, although the Virginia women, which have historically been stronger in the 200 length strokes than the 100s, garnered quite a few more wins than they did in the morning.

The evening session started with the 400 free relay, and Fisch again led the way, splitting 48.94 as Auburn won 3:18.50 to 3:18.75.  Those times are the 2nd and 4th fastest so far this season.

The Cavaliers wouldn’t have to wait as long for a victory as they did in the morning, as Paige Madden gave the Cavalier women their 2nd win of the day with a 4:45.11 in the 500 free, a time that currently puts her 3rd in the country.

Next, Nero got her second win of the day, going 1:59.81 in the 200 IM as Auburn took the top two spots.  Virginia freshman Kaki Christensen then won the 200 breast in 2:14.47, followed by Auburn’s Alyssa Tetzloff taking the 100 fly in 53.53.

Eddy outdueled Fisch in the 100 free, with the Cavalier freshman touching in 49.97 to Fisch’s 50.16.

The individual events wrapped up with Moroney taking the 200 back in 1:54.26 and Auburn winning the 200 free relay in 1:31.06.

Virginia had been ranked well above Auburn in both our power rankings and the most recent CSCAA poll, but coaches on both sides were quite happy with the times, noting that many swimmers had season bests or even lifetimes best times, despite the unusual format.

Men’s Recap

Through the first half, the story was flipped on the men’s side, as the Cavaliers swept every event, except one.  They got things going with a 1:28.09 victory in the 200 medley relay, with both their “A” and “B” relays beating the Auburn “A” team, which finished in 1:29.68.

Most of the anchor legs jumped right back in the pool about ten minutes later, and Lewis Burras just touched out Liam McCloskey to 20.48 to 20.51.

Brendan Casey kept things rolling for the Cavs with a 9:13.03 win in the 1000.  Matthew Otto placed 2nd in 9:18.06.  While no slouch of a time, that also turned out to be an effective warmup for him, as he found himself racing again a few minutes later in the 100 breast, but still took the victory, touching in 54.77.

Zach Fong came out on top in a close race in the 200 fly.  Fong jumped out to the lead at the half way point, and held off teammate Ted Schubert and Auburn’s Santiago Grassi to win 1:47.14, with the other two touching and 1:47.41 and 1;47.55 respectively.  Next, Joe Clark led a Virginia sweep of the 100 back as he won in 48.44. 

Continuing with the mirror image of the woman’s meet, Auburn got its only win of the morning in the 200 free, as Christian Sztolcman won in 1:38.05.

Virginia wrapped up the morning session with again both their “A” and “B” squads touching ahead of Auburn’s
“A” relay, and the Cavaliers built a 107-41 lead at halfway point.

The Virginia men started the evening with an easy win in the 400 free relay.  Sam Schilling split 43.86 as the Cavaliers won by over two seconds, 2:57.61 to 2:59.62.

Next, Casey earned his second win of the day, taking the 500 free in 4:25.95 and holding off Auburn’s Josh Dannhauser, who touched just behind in 4:26.31.  Schubert followed that up with a 1:49.34 victory in the 200 IM.  Otto then earned his second victory of the day, just touching out fellow Cavalier Keefer Barnum 1:59.10 to 1:59.12 for the breaststroke sweep.  Both of those times rank in the top ten this season.

Bryce Keblish (47.94 100 fly), Burras (44.98 100 free) and Justin Grender (1:46.92 200 back) got the wins in the final three individual events.  The final race was the closest, with Auburn hanging on to beat Virginia 1:21.66 to 1:21.67 in the 200 free relay.

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Tea rex
4 years ago

9:18 and 54 br? Impressive versatility…

Reply to  Tea rex
4 years ago

And they were back to back events!!!

4 years ago

Women look like they were having a play week at practice….

Reply to  SpeculationSpectacular
4 years ago

Probably spent the week floating in the pool on inflatable pink flamingoes and unicorns

4 years ago

Vote up if you think AU will get any swimmers to Men’s NCAA this year, vote down if no.

Reply to  Socrateshatesoliveoil
4 years ago

Since more upvotes…who will qualify to swim at Men’s NCAAs for AU?

Reply to  Socrateshatesoliveoil
4 years ago

Four will make it:
1. Grassi
2. Sztolcman
3. Brewer
4. Tbd

Reply to  KCPol
4 years ago

Grassi and Brewer probably, Sztolcman and Tbd doubtful. Grassi and Brewer will both need to improve to score individually. So more likely than not ZERO points this year scored at NCAAs in swimming. Which may be a blessing as Coach Taylor WILL build the program. The meet is getting and will continue getting faster. I DO believe Coach T can get the Tiggers back into the top 10 in 4 years.

Reply to  Socrateshatesoliveoil
4 years ago

Belive in coaches recruiting and training abilities and TBD will be a mid year transfer or another existing swimmer. Stolcman’s 200free time at UV that early and his background show potential. What are your picks?
Let’s compare at season end-)
Good luck to the team!

Ken Hancock
Reply to  KCPol
4 years ago

4 is a gross underestimation. Don’t go to sleep on:
Liam McCloskey
Foster Ballard
Josh Dannhauser

And I wouldn’t be shocked to see others make the cut.

ACC fan
4 years ago

Does anyone know why Morgan Hill did not swim for UVA?

Barney Rubble
Reply to  ACC fan
4 years ago

Team rules violation.

ACC fan
Reply to  Barney Rubble
4 years ago

Good for Todd! Sitting out Morgan probably cost them the meet. That’s integrity.

Reply to  Barney Rubble
4 years ago


ACC fan
Reply to  swimmerTX
4 years ago

I’m interpreting “rules violation” as Morgan must have broken a team rule, drinking, missing study hall/practice, etc. So Todd benched her as a lesson. And no doubt with Morgan’s track record she could have changed 3 close relay losses to wins, or earned serious points somewhere else, switching the whole momentum and possible outcome of the meet. She was at the meet looking healthy and cheering the team on…I guess the real question is for Barney Rubble, is that what you meant BR?

4 years ago

Women are looking strong. The rebuild on the men’s side is going to take a bit longer.

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