Bulldog NCAA “Last Chance” Qualifying Meet
- February 27-28, 2021
- Gabrielsen Natatorium, Athens, Georgia
- Short Course Yards (25 yards)
- Day 1 Results
Swimming on the first day of a “Last Chance” Invitational on Saturday, at least one swimmer locked up an NCAA Championship invites on Saturday in Athens, Georgia as part of a UGA-hosted NCAA Qualifying Meet.
In the women’s 100 fly, Georgia’s Courtney Harnish swam 51.96 in the 100 fly in prelims before scratching the final. This is the second-straight season where she’s gone to the Georgia Last Chance Meet and swum a new best time in the 100 fly – last year, she went 52.39.
Harnish is already well-qualified for the NCAA Championships. She won the 500 free, was 2nd in the 200 free, and was 2nd in the 200 fly at the SEC Championships last week, and while this 100 fly gives her another event option for NCAAs, it’s not an event she’s likely to swim.
The more significant qualifying result came in finals, where 21-year old Florida State freshman Jenny Halden swam 52.15. That time is fast enough to have qualified for every NCAA Championship meet in history (last season, 52.34 qualified), and with cuts expected to be slightly slower than normal this year, that should get her in for Greensboro.
Halden is originally from Norway.
Her preious best time from the ACC Championships of 52.62 ranked her tied-for-40th in the country. Her swim on Saturday jumps her up to 26th place. With the last of the pre-nationals women’s NCAA D1 conference championship meets wrapping up this week, that makes her a lock for an NCAA invite.
Another Florida State freshman, Pia Murray moved herself into ‘bubble’ territory in the women’s 200 back. Murray swam a 1:55.21 in the event final, which is her best time by 1.6 seconds. That moves her from ranking 75th in the country this season into 44th place nationally.
There are a few swimmers ahead of her who plausibly won’t enter the race at the NCAA Championships – like Paige Madden of Virginia, Kate Moore of NC State, and Alex Walsh of Virginia. Those few spots improve Murray’s chances, though she’ll still probably need some ‘help’ to earn an invite.
The Seminoles ended the day by improving their seaosn-best time in the 200 medley relay from 1:36.97 to 1:36.79. That leaves them .39 seconds short of the “A” cut they need to be eligible for NCAA Championship relays (Halden is only their 2nd likely individual qualifier for the meet).
Other Noteworthy Saturday Swims:
- BYU’s Katie McBratney swam a 1:00.01 in the 100 breaststroke prelims, which shaved .09 seconds off her season-best time in the event. Those few hundredths could prove to be crucial to her NCAA qualifying hopes as they move her from 38th place nationally to 35th place – from the dark side of the bubble to the positive side.
- Georgia freshman Maxine Parker, one of the top sprinters in the country, swam the first 500 free of her college career, posting a 5:12.52. That’s a lifetime best for her by two-tenths. She’ll be going to the NCAA Championships, albeit to race the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles.
- Division II team Carson-Newman University attended the meet and put up some fast times. With the D2 national championship field cut to 75% this season, swimmers are doing everything they can to move up a spot or two in the rankings. On Saturday, sophomore Nikita Puzevich swam a 19.99 in the 50 free, improving on his previous season-best of 20.43. That moves him to 18th in the national D2 rankings this season. We don’t really have a good guess yet as to where the D2 cut line will fall this year.