San Diego State, Boise State, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the University of California San Diego, and Grand Canyon University came together for a great spiderweb of a dual this weekend in La Jolla, California at the UC San Diego Invite. The meet, instead of scoring like a regular invite, scored each team against its rivals.
On the men’s side, UC San Diego took down UNLV (156-131), while Grand Canyon won against UNLV (180-118) and UC San Diego (161-137). On the women’s side, Boise State beat UNLV (173-126), UC San Diego (198-101), and GCU (202-97). San Diego State beat UNLV (167-126), UC San Diego (179-114), and Grand Canyon (188-105). The University of Nevada Las Vegas won against UC San Diego (186-112) and GCU (179-114). In the final matchup on the women’s side, UC San Diego beat out Grand Canyon (160-138).
200 Medley Relay
On the women’s side, the SDSU team of Kate Santilena, Cecilia Zaccarelli, Summer Harrison, and Taylor Johnson won the 200 medley, just holding off the Boise State team in 1:44.18. While Boise’s backstroker Sam Wicks got way ahead of the field off the first 50 with 26.03, Johnson’s blistering 22.61 freestyle sealed the deal for the Aztec victory. Boise hit second in 1:44.47.
Grand Canyon’s Mark Nikolaev, Egyptian record-holder Youssef El Kamash, Daniil Antipov, and Mazen El Kamash took the win on the men’s side in 1:31.25, beating out UNLV by nearly two seconds. Nikolaev outsplit the field of backstrokers by almost a second.
Boise sophomore Amelia Draney outswam the field by far in the 1000, clocking 10:17.68 to come in 10 seconds ahead of her second place teammate Blake Balogh (10:28.15) and just miss her personal best.
Senior Howie Chang of UC San Diego won the men’s event in 9:43.60, followed by GCU’s Iegor Lytvenok (9:47.27) and Ethan Klein of UNLV (9:48.09).
Boise’s Emma Chard won the 200 free in 1:51.45, followed by UNLV’s Michelle Troup (1:52.08) and Chard’s teammate Felicity Cann (1:52.36). Chard’s victory came from back-half speed. Her final split, 27.20, came in about a second faster than any other swimmers were able to split on any of the last three 50s.
Mazen El Kamash took the win on the men’s side, just outtouching UNLV’s Samuel Lameynardie 1:42.90 to 1:43.04. UCSD’s Garrett Tse finished close behind in 1:43.14. El Kamash held the lead from the very beginning, letting up a little at the end, but still hitting the wall before his competitors.
The women’s 100 back was a battle between Wicks of Boise and Iryna Glavnyk of Grand Canyon. They hit the wall around the same time at the 50, Wicks in 28.26 and Glavnyk in 27.90, but then Wicks brought it back in 28.41, nearly splitting even for a winning time of 56.67.
Nikolaev, a Russian native, dominated the men’s 100 back, grabbing points for GCU by finishing nearly two seconds ahead of the field in 49.14.
UNLV’s Lina Rathsack took the win in the 100 breast in 1:04.98, followed nearly a second behind by UCSD’s Jaimie Bryan (1:05.76) and Rathsack’s teammate Kristina Hendrick (1:05.99).
Yousseff El Kamash, who set a new Egyptian national record in the long course version of this event while placing ninth at AT&T Nationals last month, won the 100 breast in 57.55. UC San Diego’s AJ Zavala finished second in 58.27, followed by Forrest Beesley in 58.40.
Freshman Rachel Kelch of San Diego State dominated the 100 fly, finishing in 2:03.13, well ahead of second-place UNLV swimmer Goezde Tekin, who finished in 2:05.68. Last year, Kelch originally committed to Western Kentucky, but after their program was suspended, changed her choice to SDSU.
Freshman Grand Canyon swimmer Daniil Antipov, who scored a bronze at World Junior Championships in the 100 distance this summer, held off UNLV’s Avi Cohen for the win in the 200 fly. Antipov hit in 1:49.95, followed by Cohen in 1:50.33.
SDSU senior Johnson destroyed the field in the 50, just missing the 23 second barrier by finishing in 23.02. UNLV’s Julia Fehervari came in second in 23.81, with Boise’s Brittany Aoyama third in 23.84.
Last year’s WAC Men’s Swimmer of the Year Dillon Virva, a UNLV senior, took the win in the men’s 50 free (20.34), coming in ahead of Ukrainian GCU junior Illya Glazunov (20.67) and Virva’s UNLV teammate Kasey Foley (20.94).
Michelle Troup of UNLV outswam SDSU duo Johnson and Savannah Miller, using an explosive 24.36 first 50 to finish in 51.25. Johnson clocked 51.61 followed by Miller in 51.77.
After his third place finish in the 50, Foley of UNLV came back to win the 100 in 46.12, leading from the very beginning and splitting 22.09 at the first 50. Mazen El Kamash came in second in 46.61.
Julia Toronczak of UCSD, a sophomore who took 16th in this event at Division II Championships last year, led the field, finishing in 2:01.49 and beating out her chiefly-DI competitors. Iryna Glavnyk of Grand Canyon hit second in 2:03.17, followed by Kelch in 2:03.71.
In the men’s event, UCSD’s Michael Cohn never let up the lead, finishing in 1:50.05 ahead of GCU’s Nikolaev (1:52.41) and UCSD’s Alexander Moshensky (1:52.96).
UNLV’s Rathsack doubled up on breaststroke wins, edging out Boise’s Emily Mathis 2:20.29 to 2:20.66. Hendrick came in third in 2:21.07.
The men’s 200 breast went to a pair of UCSD swimmers, as junior Zachary Yong and senior AJ Zavala grabbed the gold and silver. Yong swam 2:05.18, followed by Zavala’s 2:06.49. UNLV’s Beesley finished third, well behind in 2:09.32.
200 champion Chard joined up with her Boise teammate Balogh for first and second in the 500 free. Chard finished well ahead of the field, clocking 4:58.66, while Balogh finished in 5:05.21. San Diego State’s Francesca Arredondo came in next in 5:06.93
Peru native Paul Li, one of UCSD’s team captains, held a consistent 500 free to win in 4:41.27. UNLV’s Ethan Klein finished second in 4:43.08, followed closely by Li’s teammate Kevin Fink, who finished in 4:43.33.
Boise’s Brittany Aoyama battled SDSU’s Harrison for the win in the 100 fly. Harrison put out the faster first 50 in 25.99, but Aoyama came back in 29.05 to seal the deal and win the event in 55.07. Harrison finished in 55.48. Following both of them was SDSU’s Sami Guttmacher in 57.01
UNLV’s Dylan Tarazona fought hard against GCU’s Antipov in the 100 fly. They touched the wall about the same time at the 50, Tarazona in 23.04 and Antipov in 23.15, but Tarazona wasn’t able to hold off Antipov’s back half speed. Antipov added another butterfly win to his list with 49.32, while Tarazona hit second in 49.44.
200 Individual Medley
UNLV’s Lina Rathsack proved herself unstoppable in the 200 IM, taking her third event of the meet with 2:07.10. Her UNLV teammate Tekin fought hard but couldn’t quite get ahead, taking second in 2:07.47. Boise’s Wicks finished third in 2:08.57.
GCU’s Nikolaev dominated the men’s event, finishing five seconds ahead of his teammate Lytvenok. Nikolaev held a commanding lead from the very beginning, where he split 23.87 in the fly leg to start the race, and from there, the lead only increased. Lytvenok hit second in 1:53.62, followed by UC San Diego’s Tse in 1:54.67.
800 Freestyle Relay
In the final women’s event of the meet, Boise State’s Chard, Aoyama, Balogh, and Cann held a lead throughout, staving off UC San Diego’s Toronczak, Natalie Tang, Madelyn Huttner, and Dani Watkins to the very end. Boise State finished in 7:35.47, and UCSD hit 7:39.35.
UC San Diego swept first and second in the men’s event. The A relay of Michael Cohn, Chandler Pourvahidi, Michael Leung, and Li finished in 6:50.77, followed by the B relay of Chang, Hoon Lee, Alejandro Ortiz, and Austin Takeda, who finished in 6:51.42. Given their splits (A relay: 1:44, 1:42, 1:41, 1:42, and B relay: 1:41, 1:42, 1:43, 1:43), it seems as if the team strategy paid off in a relay points jackpot. GCU finished third, well behind in 6:54.45.