Perhaps the biggest winner out of the Bulldog Invitational, as it was called, was LSU, who went a 1:18.07 in the 200 free relay in their 3rd attempt of the day, which means that they snuck just under the NCAA Qualifying Standard, which is to say the Automatic Qualifying Time, in the event, of 1:18.16.
Their best coming into the meet in 1:18.19. In their first attempt they DQ’ed, in their 2nd attempt they were further from the standard, and in a time trial they totally reworked their order and got their mark with Marco Gonzalez (19.72), Tyler Crosson (19.50), Alex Linge (19.46), and Michael Saco (19.39). That was thanks in large part to Saco going easily his best split of the three races.
Note that last year, the first year under the new invite system, 29 men were taken in each event and 38 women, when all was settled out.
While that LSU relay is big, because it’s a relay, the defending NCAA Champion Georgia women also picked up another qualification.
- Courtney Peters – 200 fly – 1:56.43 – now 31st, was 47th – high probability of qualifying.
- Shannon Vreeland – 200 IM – 1:57.80 – now 31st, but probably won’t swim this event at NCAA’s.
- Maddie Locus – 200 free – 1:46.90 – She’s already got automatic qualifying times in the 50 and 100 free, but this swim gives her a provisional time in the 200 free and gives Georgia the option to use this race, versus the 100 fly, as her third individual entry at NCAA’s.
The Florida women, even after their impressive SEC Championship meet, had some room, and they picked up a few more invites at this meet.
- Ashlee Linn – 200 back – 1:54.52 – was 50th, now 25th – bet the farm that she’ll qualify. She was probably okay for an invite thanks to her 200 IM time, but this 200 back will seal her individual invitation to Minneapolis.
- Jordan Smith – 400 IM – 4:12.63 – was 84th, now 40th – squarely on the bubble, and this is her best chance at an invite. Will depend on who ahead of her chooses this race (at least 1, Pelton, won’t).
- Lindsey McKnight – 200 IM – 1:58.01 – was tied for 49th, now 38th. That’s the definition of right on the bubble, if anybody above her doesn’t enter (there’s a few ‘maybes,’ but no ‘sure scratches’ we could see) she’ll feel a lot better about her chances. Two tenths faster and she’d be almost a sure-thing.
A few ACC teams picked up some likely invites. For Florida State, that was:
- Julia Henkel – 400 IM – 4:11.60 – was 56th, now 36th – historically, she’s probably ‘okay’. Not time to book tickets yet, though.
- Sami Pochowski – 100 breast – 1:00.67 – was 61st, now 38th – another 38th-place swimmer out of this meet who will be biting her nails come selection day. She did have a nice drop, though, and will be on Florida State’s medley relays, so she’s at least going to swim in some way.
For UNC, the noteworthy times were:
- Emma Nunn – 200 fly – 1:56.47 – was 47th, now 32nd – she’s ranked 31st in the 400 IM, so she didn’t improve her invite chances in Athens, but her odds are still pretty high based on last year.
- Abby Fisher – 200 breast – 2:11.22 – Was 80th, now 41st – after three cracks at this race over the weekend, Fisher wound up knocking two seconds total off of her previous season-best, to put herself 41st. Unfortunately, that is likely to be on the wrong side of the bubble, but she’s got a long-shot chance. At least she had a strong improvement.
Out of the mid-major ranks, Florida Gulf Coast’s Emma Svensson, who will swim at NCAA’s on a relay, ensured her third-straight year with individual entries as well, now with her focus on the sprint freestyles.
- Emma Svensson – 50 free – 22.34 – was t-62, just a two-tenths drop moved her to t-33. There will surely be some non-entries ahead of her (Missy Franklin, for example), so she’s in a good position.
And finally on the women’s side, Alabama’s Kristel Vourna, who battled injury last season that cost her an NCAA bid, should be headed back this year:
- Kristel Vourna – 100 fly – 52.23 – was 33rd, now 21st – she was a pretty safe bet before this swim, but dropping four-tenths at the last chance meet moved her into ‘lock’ territory.
Other than that LSU relay, we saw no other swims that seem to be invite-able. There were, however, a lot of season-best times by the Florida and Georgia men that are worth acknowledging (and one never knows in the men’s 100 and 200 frees who will choose to enter those events, so those times by Matt Curby and Matthew Thompson ranked in the mid-40’s have a shot).
- Matt Curby – 100 free – 43.30 (will go on relays anyway)
- Matthew Thompson – 200 free – 1:35.38
- Ryan Rosenbaum – 1650 free – 15:09.53 (37th)
- Colin Hamilton – 200 back – 1:44.00
- Luke Torres – 200 fly – 1:56.33
- Adam Bull – 400 IM – 3:49.86
- William Silva – 400 IM – 3:49.96
- Ricky Munch – 100 Breast – 53.83
- Ricky Munch – 200 Breast – 1:57.32
- Ty Stewart – 100 fly – 47.15 (he’s got an auto time in the 200 back and 200 fly already)
- Yousef Alaskari – 200 fly – 1:45.38.