Freshman Katz Comes up Big with 45.3 100 Back Split at Texas Invite

2017 TEXAS INVITATIONAL

The 2017 Texas Invitational continued on Thursday night with the 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, and 400 medley relay. Both top seeds, Clark Smith and Leah Smith, scratched out of tonight’s 500 free. Clark Smith reportedly withdrew from the 500 free final due to a heart condition.

MEN’S HIGHLIGHTS:

The Texas men bookended the meet with relay wins. Ringgold’s scorching 18.41 on the 2nd leg of the 200 free relay helped the Longhorns (1:16.13) meet the NCAA ‘A’ standard. In the 400 medley relay, both Texas (3:06.11) and Arizona State (3:07.44) met the NCAA ‘A’ mark, though the Longhorns’ A team was disqualified for an early takeoff.

Texas freshman standout Austin Katz was a key player in helping the Horns secure their NCAA spot. Despite their A relay being disqualified, Katz came up big with a 45.34 backstroke split to help the B relay to victory. Katz dropped nearly 2 seconds from his best time, which stood at a 47.06 before tonight. He was significantly faster than reigning NCAA runner-up John Shebat‘s 46.83 leadoff on the A relay. Additionally, Casey Melzer‘s (52.50) breast split on the B relay was much faster than Austin Temple‘s (53.37) split on the A relay.

Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine put up one of the highlight swims on the men’s side, breaking 1:42 for the first time in the 200 IM. DeVine shot off the blocks to take the early lead with a 21.96 fly split and controlled the race all the way through, knocking 3 tenths off his best time to win it in 1:41.99. Arizona’s Nick Thorne, an Olympic Trials semifinalist, also had a big swim, taking nearly 2 seconds off his best time with a 1:42.76 for 2nd place. Both should safely make the NCAA meet based on last season’s invite time of 1:44.34. Texas’ Sam Stewart isn’t far off that mark after breaking 1:45 for the first time and taking 3rd with his 1:44.97 tonight.

The men’s 500 free went to Grant Shoults, who overtook Texas star Townley Haas at the halfway point and never looked back. Shoults won it in 4:11.34, followed by teammate Liam Egan (4:14.03) and Haas (4:14.43). Only Shoults met the NCAA ‘A’ time and put up the #1 time in the nation thus far, but all 3 men were under the 2017 NCAA invite standard, as were freshmen Brooks Fail (4:16.21) of Arizona and Johannes Calloni (4:16.60) of Stanford. Stanford’s True Sweetser (4:16.82) was just off the mark.

Texas’ Parker Neri and Harvard’s Brennan Novak each made big drops from their best times in the B final. Neri dropped over 6 seconds from his best time throughout the day to win the consolation heat in 4:16.35, while Novak dropped a second to finish narrowly behind in 4:16.51. Both cleared the 2017 NCAA invite mark.

Oklahoma Baptist’s David Lambert took down the NCAA Division 2 Record when he touched in 19.14 to win tonight’s 50 free. He finished on top ahead of a stacked field that included U.S. Olympian Matt Grevers (19.22), Texas All-American Brett Ringgold (19.32), Olympic sprint finalist Santo Condorelli (19.48), and Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling (19.50). Ringgold was under the 2017 NCAA qualifying time (19.43), as was Schooling with his 19.33 from prelims.

WOMEN’S HIGHLIGHTS:

Though no team was able to match the NCAA ‘A’ standard in the 200 free relay, both USC (3:29.96) and Texas (3:32.59) qualified for NCAAs in the 400 medley relay. The Trojans dominated the race with Hannah Weiss leading off in a 52.35 back split. Riley Scott (breast- 58.75), Louise Hansson (fly- 51.16), and freshman standout Marta Ciesla (free- 47.70) finished the job as they turned in a final time of 3:29.96.

In the first individual race, the 500 free, Texas’ Joanna Evans ripped a personal best 4:35.05 to dominate the field in an NCAA ‘A’ cut. Arizona’s Hannah Cox (4:39.49) and Texas freshman Evie Pfeifer (4:39.64) were well under the 2017 NCAA invite time of 4:41.84 as they rounded out the top 3. UCLA’s Sandra Soe was just off the mark with a 4:41.88 for 4th.

Postgrad Longhorn Madisyn Cox continued the winning streak for Texas in the 200 IM. Cox used her back half speed to take control and dominated the race in 1:54.39. Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson, who had the early lead over Cox, wound up 2nd in 1:55.36, putting her more than 2 seconds under the 2017 NCAA invite time. USC’s Riley Scott is also a likely NCAA qualifier with her 1:55.63 for 3rd, as is teammate Louise Hansson with her 1:56.30 for 4th place. UCLA’s Emma Schanz finished 5th in 1:56.51. Texas’ Evie Pfeifer doubled up, taking 6th in 1:56.82. Each of the top 6 swimmers was well under the 2017 NCAA qualifying mark of 1:57.66.

USC freshman Marta Ciesla snapped the Longhorns’ winning streak in the 50 free. She put up a personal best 22.23 in the event to out-touch Texas All-Americans Rebecca Millard (22.28) and Claire Adams (22.34). Ciesla matched the 2017 NCAA invite time (22.213), while Millard was just off it.

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Right Dude Here
4 years ago

Great swim for Casey!

JP input is too short
4 years ago

A few guys from Stanford look like they made a bit of a leap this year:

Zdroik popped a 19.8 50 with a 19.3 relay split.

Ben Ho with the 3-second drop in the 200 IM to 1:45, and then a best time in the 50 an event later plus a best time in the 100 back leading off the B relay.

And of course, Devine continuing his meteoric rise. Surprised they didn’t slot him in in the 800 free relay, though I guess they figured they’d get Murphy/Macmillan into NCAAs for relay flexibility?

For the freshmen, Calloni dropped 4 seconds in his 500, Pastorek over a second in the IM, Mestre went his first time under 20 in the… Read more »

PsychoDad
4 years ago

400IM-100Fly-200Free-100Back-100Breast. Yup, I am going to watch prelims. My favorite day at Texas Invitational.

JP input is too short
Reply to  PsychoDad
4 years ago

I’m partial to championship meet last days, but that’s because I love the strategy of the 200s of stroke.

Bay City Tex
Reply to  PsychoDad
4 years ago

Should be a good day for the Horns. I’m interested in the 100 back, for sure. Not sure how rested some are, but Shebat, Harty, Katz, Hartmann, etc… Should be a formidable group this year.

Bay City Tex
Reply to  Bay City Tex
4 years ago

Oops! Artmann!

PsychoDad
Reply to  Bay City Tex
4 years ago

Shebat is not as rested as some other guys, IMO. I think the strategy with Shebat this year is to qualify with at little resting as possible and then big taper for NCAAs. Shebat is not the tallest guy, but strong, stocky, with big muscles. Eddie knows how to taper guys like that. Expect great things from Shebat at NCAAs, but not before.

Goldmedalgal
Reply to  PsychoDad
4 years ago

He wishes he had big muscles

Caleb
Reply to  PsychoDad
4 years ago

No one on UT looks much rested to me, probably just a day or two to sharpen up. Same w/USC. Stanford looks like they did more of a mini-taper. Arizona State, harder to tell where they’re at.

A$AP Pocky
4 years ago

Parker Neri in the span of 8 hours chopped 6.5 seconds off of an already impressive personal best. 4:23.03 to 4:20.31 to 4:16.35. This kid is dangerous.

Jeff K
4 years ago

So Stanford wins two individual events in Texas’ home pool that rank #1 and #2 in collegiate rankings and your headline is about a relay split? Hmm…

sven
Reply to  Lauren Neidigh
4 years ago

Ok, but hear me out here:

We SHOULD put every swim in the headline. It’s the only way to report the news in a fair manner. For example, I entered a meet once where Michael Andrew broke a NAG and the headline was all about him, with no mention of how brave I am for hopping up on the blocks at my advanced age. I’m not saying I’m a hero (nor am I denying it), but a little recognition would be nice.

Yes, the headlines might not fit as neatly on the website, maybe you have to shrink the font a bit, but that’s a small price to pay for the knowledge that you are a shining beacon of fair… Read more »

j pine
Reply to  sven
4 years ago

You do know that there is a limit of words you can put in the headline, smaller font or not…

Lauren Neidigh
Reply to  sven
4 years ago

I get where you’re coming from and again this seems like a well-meaning comment but it is misguided. There is a place where I put information about every NCAA qualifying swim tonight. It is in the article. I can’t apologize for expecting people to read beyond a headline to get the full information. It is my job to write articles, but writing an EXTREMELY long-winded headline like you are suggesting is just bad practice.

It is not unfair to not include every swim in the headline. I do not control the site’s font or the character limits for the headlines. As someone mentioned already, there are limits. It would, however, be unfair if I blatantly and intentionally left out a… Read more »

Horninco
Reply to  Lauren Neidigh
4 years ago

Lauren, he’s trolling you. Don’t take the bait. Your article was fine. The title was fine. Some people just like to complain.

sven
Reply to  Lauren Neidigh
4 years ago

My apologies. “Reporting on fast swims is favoritism” is a silly argument so I thought I’d take it to the extreme.

Lauren Neidigh
Reply to  sven
4 years ago

Haha 🙂

swimming
Reply to  sven
4 years ago

With your amazing idea we should just make the entire article the head line!!! That way everyone can be mentioned and no one gets left out. So no ones feelings will get hurt!

Admin
Reply to  swimming
4 years ago

I think op really just wanted his team in the headline. Pretty sure sven, knowing him, was being satirical. Sometimes with sports fans, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two 😉

sven
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Oh, Braden, you know I am always 100% serious.

Grateful
4 years ago

Thank you for the context of last year’s NCAA invite time! I always struggle to tell how far under the B cut swimmers need to be to be competitive for a spot!

Ervin
4 years ago

The A relay still would have lost to the B relay even if they didnt get DQ’d

Swimmer1
Reply to  Ervin
4 years ago

Wow.

Uberfan
4 years ago

Where is Harty

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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