As the University of Florida, the University of Miami (FL), University of Kentucky and Washington State University convened at Ohio State University’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, already 20 Olympic Trials cuts were seen during the first prelim session earlier today. The teams got down to business again during tonight’s finals, where the format was switched back to the standard college short course yards, where athletes took full advantage of the walls missing earlier today.
Point Standings After Day 1 Men’s: Florida 425, OSU 369, Kentucky 163
Point Standings After Day 1 Women’s: Florida 345.5, OSU 285.5, Kentucky 198, WSU 171, Miami 128
The women’s meet kicked off with an ever-so-close battle to the wall between the Florida Gators and the Buckeye squad, as the women’s 200y freestyle relay was decided by just .04 of a second. The Florida foursome of Elisavet Panti (23.42), Ashlee Linn (22.19), Alyssa Yambor-Maul (23.05) and Natalie Hinds (21.50) combined for a first place time of 1:30.16. Buckeye Zhesi Li also anchored in a sub-22 time, a 21.36 charging to the wall. Li’s leg combined with the earlier splits of Annie Jongekrijg (22.83), Cheyenne Meek (23.04) and Rachael Dzierzak (22.97) collectively scored a second place finish in a final time of 1:30.20. Both times were just a hair off of the NCAA provisional relay standard of 1:29.90.
Last year’s SEC champion in the 1650, Jessica Thielmann from England, added to the Gator point total with her victory in the 500y freestyle event. She led the field with the only sub-4:40 time of the night, a 4:39.82, to out-touch 2nd place finisher Kendal Casey from Kentucky (4:42.58) and Lindsey Clary (4:44.03) from Ohio State.
Florida also racked up the points going 1-2 in the women’s 200y IM in tonight’s finals, led by senior Ashlee Linn whose time of 1:58.14 blows away her mark from this time in 2014, a 2:00.09 from last year’s Georgia Tech invite. Her time tonight now ranks as 3rd-fastest in the NCAA so far this season, pending the outcome of several other invites in progress this weekend. Teammate Georgia-Mae Hohmann wasn’t too far behind in the race, ultimately registering a time of 1:58.75, followed about a second later by Ohio State sophomore Meg Bailey in 1:59.91.
The speed Zhesi Li threw down in the first event of the night as the anchor of the Buckeye women’s relay was just the beginning, as the sophomore from China scorched the 50y freestyle field with a time of 21.83, an NCAA “A” cut. Li’s incredible time tonight set a brand new meet record and would’ve wound up 6th at last year’s NCAA Championships. Gator Hinds touched 2nd tonight in a time of 22.11, with Washington State getting on the board with Hannah Bruggman’s time of 22.96 to finish 3rd.
It was another down-to-the-wire finish in the final event of the night, the 400y medley relay, with Florida coming out on top once again. This time, the squad of Linn, Burns, Yambor-Maul, and Hinds joined forces for a collective time of 3:34.52, which was enough to out-do 2nd place Kentucky Wildcats who also cleared 3:35 with a mark of 3:34.85.
The Gator men also started off their meet right, crushing a time of 1:17.55 in the 200y freestyle relay. Caeleb Dressel led off with a phenomenal 18.96, followed by Corey Main’s 19.41, Jack Blyzinski’s 19.47 and Mark Szaranek’s 19.71. The combination of talent’s time now ranks as the top time in the NCAA this year, pending any other incoming results from other invitationals this weekend.
Florida followed up that win with a sweep in the 500y freestyle, led by sophomore Jan Switkowski from Poland. Switkowski scored a time of 4:15.43 with splits of 52.30, 51.66, 51.29 and 50.50 for the win. Teammate Mitch D’Arrigo from Italy was just over a second behind, finishing in 4:16.59, splitting 49.69 on his final 50. Earning the 3rd place spot was another foreign Florida swimmer, as Polish swimmer Pawel Werner clocked a time of 4:17.17. North Carolina State’s Anton Ipsen held the NCAA’s top mark headed into this meet, so Switkowski and company are now in the top of the rankings in the event across the country.
Scottish sophomore Mark Szaranek collected more points for the Gators, leading the field in the 200y IM event. His sub-1:45 time wipes his mark of 1:46.80 from this same month last year off the map, as he stopped the clock tonight in a time of 1:44.95. Szaranek effort now slides behind Louisville’s Nolan Tesone, who owns into op slot on top of the NCAA rankings in 1:44.07 also competing elsewhere tonight.
Dressel did it again for Florida in the speed department, registering a blistering 18.77 in the individual 50y freestyle event for a new pool record. Dressel won the NCAA title last year in 18.67, lending perspective to just how eye-popping this effort was for the sophomore at this point in the season. An 18.77 would have finished 3rd overall in that same race in Iowa City. Dressel’s time tonight blows the “A” standard of 19.18 away and signifies the NCAA’s first sub-19 clocking of the year. **Also, see breaststroke split from Dressel below…looks like the kid can do both sprint free and train breaststroke, FYI.
Also, for anyone monitoring ‘Stache Watch, whereby Florida Coach Gregg Troy said he would shave his mustache if Dressel went 18.39 this season, we’re now just .38 of a second off of the shave-time mark.
The Gators were also dominant in the 400y medley relay, with the crew of Jack Blyzinskyj, Caeleb Dressel, Jan Switkowski and Corey Main throwing down a time of 3:06.50 to win by over 5 seconds. Splits for the men were as follows:
Blyzinskyj – 45.73
Dressel – 52.42
Switkowski – 45.72
Main – 42.63
Florida’s finish tonight is the swiftest in the NCAA (by A LOT) and would have garnered 8th at last year’s NCAA Championships. In fact, Dressel’s breaststroke leg out-split that of now-graduated Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez’s time of 52.53 on Florida’s relay that finished 7th in Iowa City.