Florida’s Leah Braswell Jumps to #1 in the Country (by 10 Seconds) in 1650 Free


  • November 22nd-24th, 2019
  • McAuley Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia (Georgia Tech)
  • 25 yards, SCY, Prelims/Finals format
  • Live Results
  • Full Results (PDF)

While most of the University of Florida’s top male swimmers have been absent from the Georgia Tech Invitational, one of those swimmers, US National Team member Bobby Finke, showed up for the final day of competition in Atlanta and race to a season-best time in the men’s 1650 free.

Finke, who was 12th in the mile at NCAAs last season after entering the meet as the top seed, swam a 14:47.51 in the event on Sunday evening at Georgia Tech. That includes an 8:55.54 split at the 1000 yard mark. He was the only swimmer in the event to go under 15 minutes.

Finke’s tame ranks 3rd in the country this season, behind the 14:32 done by Notre Dame’s Zach Yeadon at the Ohio State Invitational and the 14:46.25 done by Indiana’s Mikey Calvillo at the Tennessee Invite.

Finke wasn’t the most impressive miler for Florida on Sunday, however. That honor goes to sophomore Leah Braswell of the Gator women, who went 15:47.85 in the women’s race. Besides easily being an NCAA Automatic Qualifying Time, that’s the fastest time in the country this season in the event by almost 10 seconds (Virginia’s Paige Madden went 15:58.25 in Tennessee).

Braswell’s previous lifetime best is a 15:53 that she did at the 2019 SEC Championships. Last season, she was 15:59 mid-season and 16:09 at NCAAs; this year, an early qualification for the NCAA Championships mid-season should allow her to line up the end of her season to peak in March instead of February.

Braswell previously won the 500 free this weekend (4:37.25) and was 2nd in the 200 free (1:47.10).

Braswell swam 1 of 2 individual “A” cuts in Sunday’s final session. The other was done in the women’s 200 yard backstroke, where Alabama sophomore Rhyan White swam 1:50.00 in the final, which is also the best time in the nation. She first broke the school record with a 1:52.14 in prelims and then crushed it in finals in 1:50.00.

Later in the session, she broke another team record, swimming a 1:55.78 in the 200 fly.

The old school record in the 200 back was a 1:53.88 done by Emma Saunders in 2015, and the old record in the 200 fly was a 1:57.55 done by Suzanne Schwee in 2010. White didn’t swim the 200 fly in finals.

Flora Molnar also won a race and set a school record for the Alabama women. She swam a 48.15 in prelims in the 100 free and a 47.98 in finals, both of which broke Bailey Scott’s old school record of 48.38. Molnar’s previous best time was 48.51, but has benefited from the coaching of first year Alabama head coach Coley Stickels, who is most notable for his success coaching sprinters, including NCAA Champion and U.S. Open Record holder Abbey Weitzeil.

Molnar later would split 47.32 on a rolling start on Alabama’s 400 free relay.

Other Winners and Noteworthy Swims on Sunday in Atlanta

  • The North Carolina women continued to step up under first year head coach Mark Gangloff, especially in the sprint freestyles. Led off by a 48.22 from Emma Cole, and followed by Caroline Hauder (48.23), Sophie Lindner (48.43), and Grace Countie (48.27), UNC roared to a win in the 400 free relay in 3:13.15. That’s an NCAA Automatic Qualifying Time. That’s a new school record, beating a 3:13.42 that was set in 2017. All 4 swimmers are underclassmen as well. Alabama also hit an “A” time in that relay, touching 2nd in 3:14.26. Junior Flora Molnar had the fastest split of the entire field with a 47.32.
  • Florida State senior Griffin Alaniz finished off a sweep of the men’s backstroke races with a 1:41.84 in the 200 yard back. That was about half-a-second short of his personal best after he went a lifetime best of 45.44 on Saturday.
  • The Florida State men picked up a win at the end of the session as well, winning the 400 free relay in 2:52.16. The winning relay included Peter Varjasi (43.44), Jakub Ksiazek (43.19), Max McCusker (42.77), and Vladimir Stefanik (42.76). Utah took 2nd in that relay in 2:53.80, including a 42.9 rolling start split from Liam O’Haimhirgin, and Alabama was 3rd with a 42.87 leadoff leg from Zane Waddell.
  • O’Haimhirgin won the 100 free earlier in the meet in 42.72, even faster than his relay split, with Alabama’s Waddell taking 2nd in 42.79. Florida State freshman Varjasi took 3rd in 42.86 with a 22.2 split on the back-half: the fastest of the field.
  • South Carolina got their first win of the meet via senior Albury Higgs in the women’s 200 breaststroke. She swam a 2:10.96, just barely holding off UNC sophomore, and her younger sister, Lilly Higgs, who was 2nd in 2:11.08. Albury has been 2:07, but Lilly was within two-tenths of a second of her lifetime best in that swim.
  • Georgia Tech All-American Caio Pumputis took a comfortable win in the men’s 200 breaststroke, winning wire-to-wire in 1:53.88.
  • Bryanna Cameron (1:56.24) and Brooke Perrotta (1:56.35) gave UNC a 1-2 finish in the women’s 200 fly. Cameron opened up a half-second lead at the 150 yard mark, but Perrotta clawed back over the last lap – ultimately running out of room at the finish.
  • Georgia Tech picked up another win from Christian Ferraro, who touched first in the 200 fly in 1:42.42. That’s good enough to rank him 4th in the nation so far this season. While his was not a school record, Georgia Tech did get two school records on Sunday – Caroline Lee set one with a 1:55.18 in the 200 back, and Emily Ilgenfritz set one in the 1000 free (9:52.52) en route to a full mile swim (16:23.71).
  • Alabama freshman Tanesha Lucoe won the platform diving event with a score of 254.70.
  • Roy Romero, a freshman from East Carolina, won the men’s platform diving event with a score of 347.80.

Final Team Scores


  1. Florida – 1,211
  2. North Carolina – 1,051.5
  3. Alabama – 934
  4. Florida State – 561.5
  5. Georgia Tech – 527
  6. South Carolina – 521
  7. Utah – 366
  8. East Carolina – 333
  9. Georgia Southern – 124
  10. Virginia (diving only) – 117


  1. Florida State – 983.5
  2. Utah – 893.5
  3. North Carolina – 759
  4. Georgia Tech – 714
  5. Florida – 674.5
  6. Alabama – 660
  7. East Carolina – 450.5
  8. South Carolina – 431
  9. Virginia (diving only) – 84



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4 years ago

I was worried at first that this was Florida’s main team but I see it’s not. Is Vanessa Pearl similarly sitting out this meet for the girls?

4 years ago

Alabama was extremely impressive this meet, particularly on women’s side. White’s 1:50 2 back is quite a drop.

4 years ago

Looks Like Griffin Alaniz’s 100 back was also a nation-leading time and it’s not mentioned

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  Nate
4 years ago

Shaine Casas 44.48 on Friday

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
4 years ago

Weird, it looks like Collegeswimming hasn’t uploaded that time. I guess it serves me for relying on that website lol

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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