Fail and Weitzeil Blast Nation-Leading Times in Minnesota Invite Day 2 Prelims

by Robert Gibbs 4

December 05th, 2019 College, News, Previews & Recaps


  • Wed. Dec. 4 – Sun. Dec. 8, 2019
  • Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center / University of Minnesota / Minneapolis, MN
  • Wed. Timed finals 6 PM
  • Thu.-Sat. Prelims 10 AM / Finals 6 PM / Diving 12 Noon
  • Short course yards (SCY) format Wed.-Sat. (LCM format Sunday)
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live Stream (days 2-4)
  • Live results (page should update when meet begins)
    • Back-up: Meet Mobile is working fine. Search “Minnesota Invite 2019”

This morning marked the first full day of racing for one of the more stacked invites we’ve seen in recent years, including at least six teams that should be vying for top-five finishes come March. Unsurprisingly, this morning’s prelims sessions saw some fast swims, including two nation-leading time.

In the 500 free, Texas junior Evie Pfeifer put up the fastest time of the morning with a 4:40.00, but Michigan freshman Kaitlynn Sims was just a hair behind at 4:40.07. It’s taken a 4:40.50 and a 4:40.96 to qualify for NCAAs in this event the past two years, so shaving off a little time this evening should help secure a NCAA invite. Those two should face some stiff competition tonight from a A-final field that will also include Sierra Schmidt (4:42.71), Kirsten Jacobsen (4:23.21), and Robin Neumann (4:43.46). That field, however, will not include Arizona’s Hannah Cox, who placed 13th this morning after going 4:47.51. At this time last year, she was roughly 4:38 in both prelims and finals.

The men’s side was a bit faster, as all 8 men who qualified for tonight’s A-final finished under the 4:16.04 it took to get an invite last season. Arizona’s Brooks Fail led the way with a 4:12.17 that narrowly passes Mark Theall’s 4:12.19 as the top time so far this season.

Texas sophomore Drew Kibler qualified 2nd after blasting a 4:13.43 that’s a new lifetime best almost exactly a second. That time would’ve qualified for the A-final at last year’s NCAA championships, but it’s questionable whether or not Kibler swim it, as he was on the verge of making the NCAA A-final in the 50 free last season, and is also an integral part of the Longhorns’ 200 free relay. Kibler will be one of four Longhorns in the A-final. That group includes Sam Pomajevich, whose time of 4:15.67 may have punched his NCAA ticket. He was a surprise NCAA A-finalist in this event as a freshman, but barely qualified for the meet last season, and a return to point-scoring form could be big for ‘Horns.

Patrick Callan (4:14.71), Alex Zettle (4:14.76), Felix Auboeck (4:15.04), Trenton Julian (4:15.78), and JohnThomas Larson (4:15.94) all were under last year’s qualifying time as well.

Cal sophomore Alicia Wilson was just a hair off of her lifetime best, qualifying first in the 200 IM with a time of 1:55.80. That’s well under last year’s NCAA invite time of 1:56.76, and she was the only woman to clear it by a considerable margin. At last fall’s UGA Invite, Wilson swam 1:56.84 in prelims before going 1:55.77 in finals, so watch for her to shave off some more time tonight. Teammate Izzy Ivey qualified 2nd this morning in 1:56.74, the only other woman under 1:57.0.

The Longhorn men swept the top three spots in the 200 IM, with veteran Ryan Harty leading the way with a 1:43.05, not too far off his lifetime best of 1:42.87. Freshman Jake Foster qualified 2nd, setting a new personal best by nearly half a second with a time of 1:43.51. A third Longhorn, Matthew Willenbring, was also under last year’s NCAA qualifying time of 1:43.82.

The 50 free was the first event on the women’s side that really saw a lights-out swim, as Cal senior Abbey Weitzeil dropped a 21.16 to lead the field by nearly a whole second. That’s the fastest time in the NCAA this season, eclipsing the 21.19s that Erika Brown and Anna Hopkin each did two weeks ago. That also ties Weitzeil’s 3rd-fastest time ever, and is by far the best time she’s ever done in the fall, surpassing her 21.44 from the 2017 UGA Invite.

Michigan sensation Maggie MacNeil put up a 22.00, while Wolverine teammate Daria Pyshnenko was only 0.03s off her lifetime best to qualify 3rd in 22.26. It’s consistently taken a 22.2 or 22.3 over the past few seasons to earn a NCAA invite in this event, putting Pyshnenko squarely on the bubble right now.

A Golden Bear qualified first in the 50 free on the men’s side as well, as Ryan Hoffer put up a 19.13. That’s just off the 19.10 done by Pitt’s Blaise Vera last month, a mark tied by JuCo Iowa Centra’s Billy Cruz as well. Michigan’s Gus Borges (19.31) and Texas’s Maxime Rooney (19.38) almost perfectly bracketed last year’s NCAA invite time of 19.35. That’s a lifetime best of 0.05s for Rooney, and teammate and fellow recent transfer Alvin Jiang knocked almost half a second off his lifetime best to qualify 4th in 19.48.

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2 years ago

Good day in the 200 IM for the Foster Bros.

2 years ago

Bear Down Brooks!!!

2 years ago

I want that “FAIL” swim cap!

Ol’ Longhorn
2 years ago

Man, Rooney’s picking up where he left off this summer.