Blaise Vera Goes 19.9/43.7 In Pitt Sweep of Michigan State

Michigan State vs. University of Pittsburgh

  • Friday, October 18, 2019
  • East Lansing, Michigan
  • SCY
  • Dual Meet Format
  • Full Results
  • Scores
    • Women: Pitt 186, Michigan State 114
    • Men: Pitt 172, Michigan State 126

Women’s Recap

The Panthers soundly defeated the Spartans, 186 to 114, winning all except three events.

The Spartans rolled to a 1:43.33 win in the 200 medley relay, but Sarah Giamber immediately put Pitt into the win column with a dominant 10:18.35 in the 1000 free, a time that was over 15 seconds faster than anyone else. Giamber doubled up the freestyle events with a 5:04.82 victory in the 500 free later in the meet.

Valerie Daigneault also doubled for the Panthers. First she led a 1-3 sweep of the 200 free with a 1:51.26, then she won the 200 back (1:59.47) later in the meet.

The two breaststroke races were the only individual events the Spartans were able to win, with Erin Szara taking the 100 breast in 1:02.86 and Kasey Venn taking the 200 breast in 2:18.05.

Men’s Recap

The score was a little closer on the men’s side, as Pitt won 172 to 126, but it was also a little more exciting, as we saw some of the top times in the nation so far this season.

Those times were courtesy of Pitt’s Blaise Vera. The junior start the day with a 20.69 fly split on Pitt’s 200 medley relay, nearly outpacing the 20.45 anchor leg the Panthers got from Ellis Cannon, en route to a 1:29.72 victory.

Vera then swept the sprint freestyles, taking the 50 free in 19.98 and the 100 free in 44.10. Vera had already dipped under 20.0 this season with a 19.93 at the TYR Fall Classic; that was the second-fastest time in the nation at that point, and is now the 3rd-fastest pending full results this weekend’s competitions.

He then ripped a 43.75 leading off Pitt’s 400 relay at the end of the session. While that time wasn’t enough to catapult a the Panthers to victory (MSU won 3:02.84 to 3:04.47), it was the fastest time in the NCAA so far this season, at least until Alec Connolly’s 43.55 Saturday at the Tennessee-Virginia dual.

The Panthers got another pair of doubles from Eben Vorster (1:38.80 200 free and 1:49.58) and Cooper Van Der Laan (55.22/2:01.06 in the breaststrokes), and then dominated the first 2/3 of the meet.

Michigan State tried mounting a comeback in toward the end of the day, as Charlie Ryan (200 back – 1:51.37), Aidan Farley (500 free – 4:34.14), and Michael Schwers (100 fly – 49.38), won three events in a row for the Spartans, but Samy Helmbaher put an end to that with a 3:58.51 victory in the 400 IM, and the Panthers withstood the Spartans’ win n the 400 free relay for a 46 point victory.

Michigan State Release

EAST LANSING, Mich.  The Michigan State swimming and diving teams fell to Pittsburgh on Friday night, the men 172-126, and the women by a 186-114 score.

“I thought we swam well and had some really good racing. They’ve got a good team. This is the first half of our weekend so we’ll see how we respond tomorrow with a Big Ten meet,” said head coach Matt Gianiodis. “I thought Michael Schwers had a good win in the fly. Our divers dove pretty well against a good team. Our medley relay on the women’s side was really kind of shocking and exciting. All around we had a good racing and hopefully can do it again tomorrow.”

Two Spartans claimed their third consecutive first-place finishes in their respective events. In the 100 butterfly was senior Michael Schwers with a time of 49.38 and in the 100 breaststroke was junior Erin Szara(1:02.86).

Capturing a first-place finish for the men was junior Charlie Ryan, touching the pad at 1:51.37 in the 200 backstroke and sophomore Aidan Farley in the 500 freestyle, (4:34.14).

Three Spartans claimed second-place finishes starting with Ryan in the 100 backstroke, 51.00, sophomore Jonathan Lee in the 100 breaststroke (57.27), and Schwers in the 200 butterfly, 1:50.07.

In the final event of the evening, the men’s 400 Free Relay, swam by Farley, Schwers, Payton Woods and Nehemiah Mork, finished first (3:02.78).

In men’s diving, sophomore Jakob Heberling took first place in the 3-meter with a score of 311.92.

For their second consecutive meet, the women’s 200 Medley Relay took first. Clocking a time of 1:43.33 was Sam Villani, Erin Szara, Kasey Venn and Allie Heineman.

In the 200 breaststroke, Venn claimed her first event victory of her Spartan career, clocking a time of 2:18.05. She also came in second in the 100 breaststroke, 1:03.71.

In women’s diving, with a score of 295.95, junior Amanda Ling finished first in the 1-meter.

The Spartan women are back home tomorrow to compete against Illinois at 12 p.m., and to celebrate the 50 years of women’s swimming and diving.

Pittsburgh Release

EAST LANSING, Mich.—In what was a memorable day of athletic success at the University of Pittsburgh, the Pitt swimming & diving teams added to the win columns with a convincing sweep of Michigan State in an ACC-Big Ten dual meet at McCaffree Pool.

In the first traditional dual meet of the 2019-20 season for the Panthers, the Pitt women’s team cruised to a 186-114 victory over Michigan State, while the Pitt men also recorded a 172-126 triumph against the Spartans.

“It was a really good meet. I’m proud of the way we competed,” said Pitt’s fourth-year head coach John Hargis after the meet. “We saw some really strong swims. Daisy Anderson‘s 400 IM was definitely a highlight win for us. And it was great to see Cooper van der Laan make his debut; his 200 Breast was certainly impressive. Overall, we won the majority of the events and made it a great meet. I’m proud of the efforts of the entire team after a long bus ride up to Michigan.”

“We have some good young athletes who are really starting to figure things out,” Hargis added. “For instance, Alyssa Conley had the meet of her life. It’s really fun to watch when athletes develop and improve and perform at a high level, and we’re seeing more and more of that throughout our team.”

Winning multiple events for Hargis’ squad were seniors Valerie Daigneaultand Sarah Giamber on the women’s side and Eben Vorster, Blaise Veraand Cooper van der Laan for the men. Australian native van der Laan, who is also eligible to represent the Netherlands, made his collegiate debut in style by sweeping the breaststroke events by large margins, posting some of the top times in the nation.

Here is a full list of Panthers to win events in the Pitt-Michigan State dual:
Daisy Anderson (400 IM)
Valerie Daigneault (200 Free, 200 Back)
Sarah Giamber (1,000 Free, 500 Free)
Kayla Graham (100 Fly)
Kathleen Lynch (100 Back)
Madison Nalls (100 Free)
Amy Read (3-Meter Diving)
Madelyn Shaffer (200 Fly)
Kailyn Swantek (50 Free)
Women’s 400 Free Relay

Wesley Ahart (1-Meter Diving)
Wojciech Dutkowiak (1,000 Free)
Samy Helmbacher (400 IM)
Luke Smutny (100 Back)
Cooper van der Laan (100 Breast, 200 Breast)
Blaise Vera (50 Free, 100 Free)
Eben Vorster (200 Free, 200 Fly)
Men’s 200 Medley Relay

Pitt swimming & diving will continue training until its next dual meet, which will be back at Trees Pool on the weekend of Nov. 8-9 when the Panthers welcome ACC rival Notre Dame to Pittsburgh.

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