Bacon, Benson Shine As Wisconsin Opens Season With Sweeps of Arizona, Hawaii

Wisconsin vs Hawaii vs Arizona

The University of Wisconsin men and women opened their 2021-22 seasons with a bang over the weekend, handily sweeping the Arizona Wildcats and the University of Hawaii.

The Badger women topped Arizona by a score of 221-93 and the Rainbow Wahine 243-71, while the Wildcats took down Hawaii 210.5-103.5. On the men’s side, Wisconsin defeated Arizona (195-119) and Hawaii (252-62), while the Wildcats topped the Rainbow Warriors 220-95.

Women’s Meet Recap

Wisconsin put on a dominant display in the women’s meet, winning 14 of 18 events with sophomore Phoebe Bacon and freshman Paige McKenna combining for five of the 11 individual victories.

Bacon, the reigning NCAA champion in the women’s 200 backstroke, won the women’s 100 back (54.00), 200 back (1:57.19) and 200 IM (2:01.39), leading 1-2-3 sweeps for the Badgers in the latter two events.

McKenna, the #6 recruit in our 2021 re-rank, won the 500 free (4:52.00) and 1000 free (9:59.08), going 1-2 with teammate Abby Carlson (4:55.41) in the 500 and leading a 1-2-3-4 sweep in the 1000.

Carlson added a win of her own in the 200 free (1:49.33), with Bacon notably taking third in 1:50.01. Bacon set a PB of 1:49.18 at Wisconsin’s intrasquad on Oct. 8.

Another one of Wisconsin’s highly touted freshmen, Mackenzie McConagha, picked up a win in her Badger debut, claiming the women’s 200 fly (1:58.91).

McConagha added a runner-up finish in the 100 fly, clocking 54.78 behind teammate Mallory Jump (54.30).

In the relays, Arizona’s team of Aria BernalJade NeserJulia Heimstead and Amalie Mortensen opened the meet with a victory in the 400 medley, clocking 3:40.72 to edge out Wisconsin (3:41.27). The Badgers were perfect after that, winning the 200 free relay (1:32.19), the 200 medley relay (1:41.13) and the 400 free relay (3:22.63).

For Arizona, Delaney Schnell swept the women’s 1-meter (305.20) and 3-meter (350.95) diving events, while the team also had an individual win from Neser in the 100 breast (1:02.26).

OTHER WINNERS

  • Lillie Hosack, Wisconsin, 50 free – 23.31
  • Elizabeth Moore, Wisconsin, 200 breast – 2:16.80
  • Sophie Fiske, Wisconsin, 100 free – 50.20

Men’s Meet Recap

The closest battle of the meet came on the men’s side between Wisconsin and Arizona, though the Badgers ultimately won seven of nine events on Day 2 to pull away and top the Wildcats by 76 points.

Wisconsin won three of four relays and swept the 50 and 100 freestyle in what was a standout performance by sophomore Andrew Benson.

Benson opened the meet by anchoring Wisconsin’s 400 medley relay in a blistering 42.87 as the team won by close to five seconds in 3:13.13. Joining him on the team were Wes Jekel (48.54), Will Myhre (53.07) and Ryan Zelen (48.65).

Benson then won the men’s 50 free in a time of 19.84, and finished off Day 1 by leading off the winning Badger 200 free relay in a slightly faster time of 19.81.

He then opened Day 2 by anchoring the victorious 200 medley relay home in 19.30, and then won the individual 100 free (43.49) before leading off the runner-up 400 free relay in 43.60.

Benson set his personal best times in the 50 free (19.25) and 100 free (42.93) at the 2021 Big Tens.

The other standout in the pool was Arizona fifth-year Brooks Fail, who put up an incredible four individual wins for the meet in the 200 free (1:36.47), 500 free (4:22.97), 1000 free (9:03.66) and 200 fly (1:46.41).

Benson was the runner-up in the 200 free in 1:37.25, just 1.1 seconds off his lifetime best from 2019.

Wisconsin also had a double winner in the form of diver Tazman Abramowicz, who swept the 1-meter (315.25) and 3-meter (384.45). In the 1-meter, Abramowicz won by a mere .05 points over Arizona’s Bjorn Markentin (315.20).

Also notably grabbing a win was Myhre, who transferred over to the Badgers from Iowa. Myhre won the 100 breast in 53.95. Last season he took sixth in the event at Big Tens in a PB of 51.70.

OTHER WINNERS

  • Jacob Newmark, Wisconsin, 200 back – 1:47.49
  • Jacob Hand, Arizona, 200 breast – 1:59.94
  • Andrew Nixdorf, Wisconsin, 100 fly – 48.89
  • Caleb Aman, Wisconsin, 200 IM – 1:50.35
  • Erik Gessner, Wisconsin, 100 back – 48.59

FINAL TEAM SCORES

Women

  • Wisconsin 221, Arizona 93
  • Wisconsin 243, Hawaii 71
  • Arizona 210.5, Hawaii 103.5

Men

  • Wisconsin 195, Arizona 119
  • Wisconsin 252, Hawaii 62
  • Arizona 220, Hawaii 95

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PVSFly
1 month ago

Lol I love how her 200 free time is *technically* slower than her 200 back time

swamswim
1 month ago

I’m assuming suited?

LFC Swammer
Reply to  swamswim
1 month ago

Not suited

Orange
1 month ago

Wisconsin is tired just looking at these times and splits. Some studs up north

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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