Emma Weyant Clocks 4:45.14 500 Free And 4:10.60 400 IM In Her Florida NCAA Debut

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 2

January 14th, 2023 College, National, News, SEC

Florida vs. FAU

  • January 13, 2023
  • SCY (25 Yards)
  • Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida
  • Full Results

On Friday, the University of Florida hosted their senior day meet at home, competing against Florida Atlantic University. Both Gator teams dominated, with the women winning 207-83 and the men winning 209-77.

Women’s Recap

Emma Weyant‘s first-ever NCAA meet as a Florida Gator was a success, as she won three individual events in UF’s dual against FAU yesterday and clocked some of her fastest dual meet times ever.

Weyant, who spent her freshman year at Virginia, was not eligible to compete for the first semester of the 2022-23 season because she transferred to Florida last summer after the May 1 transfer deadline had passed. However, she recently got cleared for NCAA competition this past week.

To kick off the meet, Weyant won the 200 free by over a second, clocking a 1:47.49. That time is the fastest she’s been in the event since December 2020, when she set her personal best of 1:45.28, and also considerably faster than her 2021-22 season best of 1:48.39.

Weyant also raced the 500 free, which she won in a time of 4:45.14. She was the only swimmer in the field under five minutes, and was the first to the wall by over 25 seconds. Weyant is the 2022 NCAA runner-up in the 500 free and holds a best time of 4:34.99 in the event, but her fastest time from a dual meet prior to yesterday was a 4:47.18. With her being the fastest returning 500 freestyler in the NCAA, this swim is a good sign of things to come later on in the season, and she should be the favorite for both the SEC and NCAA title.

Weyant also took the 400 IM in a time of 4:10.60, racing as an exhibition swimmer. And while this time wasn’t a dual meet best for her, it’s still the fastest overall 400 IM time clocked at a dual meet this season (given, the 400 IM isn’t raced all that much at dual meets). Last year, Weyant finished fourth at NCAAs in the event, setting a personal best of 4:03.17.

Another swimmer who had strong performances on the women’s side was Ekaterina Nikonova, who won the 50 free in a time of 22.89 and split the fastest time on Florida’s 400 free relay.

Florida swept both relays, with Runnels (25.38), Nina Kucheran (27.55), Talia Bates (24.49), and Katie Mack (22.49) winning the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:39.41, whereas Bates (51.31), Nikonova (48.69), Mack (49.84), and Micayla Cronk (50.29) won the 400 free relay.

Roberta Circi was the best performer for the FAU women, finishing second in the 200 back (2:05.13) and 200 IM (2:08.27). The 200 back was won by Zoe Dixon, who clocked a 1:56.41, and Nina Kucheran won the 200 IM in 2:01.78.

Dixon was faster in the 200 back at this meet than she was at midseason invites, where she went 1:57.22 in prelims and 1:57.87 in finals. Her season-best is a 1:56.00 from the Florida-Georgia dual meet, and her best time is a 1:53.82. Coming into the 2022-23 season, Dixon was SwimSwam’s #9 freshman recruit, but she has yet to hit near her high school times this season—though her swimming her fastest times at dual meets is a sign that she is still adjusting to Florida taper.

Tylor Mathieu clocked a season best time of 9:49.17 to win the 1000 free, surpassing the 9:57.10 she swam to open her 1650 free at midseason invites.

Other Event Winners:

  • 100 free: Katie Mack, Florida — 50.30
  • 100 back: Aris Runnels, Florida — 54.17
  • 100 breast: Jessica Strong, Florida — 1:04.24
  • 200 breast: Anna Moore, Florida — 2:19.76
  • 100 fly: Olivia Peoples, Florida — 53.52
  • 200 fly: Allie Piccrillo, Florida — 2:00.57
  • 1-meter dive: Maha Amer, Florida

Men’s Recap

The Florida men won their dual in similar lopsided fashion, sweeping all of their events.

Julian Smith was a key contributor with two event wins, as he touched the wall first in both the 50 free and 100 fly. In the 50 free, he was the only swimmer under 20 seconds, clocking a 19.98. He set a personal best of 48.08 to win the 100 fly, improving upon his mark of 50.06 from March 2021.

After not qualifying for NCAAs last year, Smith has had a breakout 2022-23 season for Florida, dropping from a 44.90 to 42.08 in the 100 free, 20.41 to 19.49 in the 50 free, and 52.49 to 51.60 in the 100 breast to become Florida’s primary breaststroker and a potential contender on their freestyle relays.

Combining for two event wins were the Mestre brothers. Alberto Mestre took the 100 free in 43.85, while Alfonso Mestre clocked a 1:35.91 in the 200 free. Behind Mestre in the 200 free was Josh Liendo, who went 1:36.27. Liendo opened in 46.27 compared to Mestre’s 47.05, but Mestre, a more distance-oriented swimmer, outsplit Liendo by over a second on the back half of the race.

Recent transfer Jake Mitchell swept the backstrokes, swimming a 50.01 in the 100 back and a 1:48.28 in the 200 back. His 100 back time was a personal best, beating the 53.46 he clocked all the way in 2017 when he was a freshman in high school.

The best performer for FAU was Alec Peckmann, who finished second in the 100 free (46.35) and 200 IM (1:53.95). In both events, Florida decided to exhibition two swimmers ahead of him.  That 200 IM race was won by Florida’s Mason Laur, who clocked a 1:49.66 and was the only swimmer sub-1:50.

The Gators dominated both relays, as Adam Chaney (22.46), Smith (24.38), Liendo (20.58), and Macguire McDuff (20.43) won the 200 medley relay in 1:27.85 and McDuff (43.88), Liendo (43.08), Smith (43.84), and Alberto Mestre (43.80) won the 400 free relay in 2:54.60.

Other Event Winners:

  • 500 free: Nico Hernandez-Tone, Florida — 4:24.61
  • 1000 free: Brennan Gravley, Florida — 9:10.48
  • 100 breast: Dillon Hillis, Florida — 54.83
  • 200 breast: Raphael Rached Windmuller, Florida — 1:58.36
  • 200 fly: Jace Crawford, Florida — 1:49.54
  • 400 IM: Kevin Vargas, Florida — 3:49.87
  • One-meter diving: Christopher Donald, Florida

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4 months ago

She’s really stepping into her daylight guys

4 months ago

Also of note – Leo Garcia in his first meet back after getting injured at the beginning of the season was within five points of the UF school record in the 3-meter. Don’t underestimate the points Florida is going to score in diving when it counts.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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