University of Virginia vs. Pennsylvania State University
- October 6th, 2018
- University of Virginia Aquatic and Fitness Center
- SCORES: Men, UVA 171 – PSU 121 / Women, UVA 178 – PSU 112
The University of Virginia opened it season with a pair of wins that highlights the talent and versatility of its large freshman class.
The Virginia women got things rolling with a victory in the first event, the 200 medley relay. The team of Megan Moroney, Kaki Christensen, Anna Pang, and Kyla Valls recorded a time of 1:40.64. Though the race was neck-and-neck with UVA’s ‘B’ team at 100 yards, a 24.04 fly split from Pang and a 22.43 freestyle split from Valls put UVA’s ‘A’ team into a lead they would hang on to, finishing more than a second ahead of their teammates on the ‘B’ team, and two-and-a-half seconds ahead of Penn State’s ‘A’ team.
Christensen went on to win the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.59, finishing just in front of teammate Mary Claire Tansill, who took the race out much faster in the first 50, 29.81 to Christensen’s 30.30, but did not have the endurance on the second 50 to hold off Christensen, who closed in a 32.29 to Tansill’s 33.05. Later in the meet, Tansill used her front-end speed to create an insurmountable lead in the 200 breast, topping Christensen who finished in third, 2:15.37 to 2:18.07, respectively.
Freshman Julia Menkhaus barely edged teammate Paige Madden for the victory in the 200 fly, finishing 2:00.44 to Madden’s 2:00.51. Though the race came down to the touch, Menkaus began with nearly a full-second lead at the 100, but was reeled in by Madden’s strong closing speed. Menkaus went on to touch second in the 100 fly behind teammate and fellow first-year Jessica Nava, 55.85 to 55.76, respectively. Neither swimmer, however, scored points in the 100 fly as each was entered exhibition.
Marcie Maguire and Caroline Gmelich, both from UVA, tied for the win in the 100 backstroke, touching in 54.92. Though Gmelich had the slight lead at 50 yards, 26.80 to Maguire’s 26.90, Maguire made up the narrow margin on the second half of the race, finishing in 28.02 to Gmelich’s 28.12. The two Cavaliers squared off again in the 200 backstroke, though Maguire touched ahead of Gmelich, 2:00.22 to 2:01.15, respectively. Maguire, however, was not champion in the 200 backstroke, which was instead won by Virginia’s Megan Moroney, who blew away the field to finish in 1:55.72, well ahead of the NCAA ‘B’ cut in the event and, a full four seconds ahead of teammate and runner-up Emma Seiberlich, who finished in 1:59.78.
Though the day largely belonged to Virginia, Penn State’s formidable distance crew dominated the women’s 1000 freestyle. 2018 National Champion and Team USA Pan Pacs swimmer Ally McHugh won the 1000 in a commanding 9:52.54, a full 14 seconds ahead of runner-up and teammate Madison Murtagh. McHugh also picked up a third-place finish in the 200 fly (2:02.28) and a second-place finish in the 500 free (4:51.32), as well as contributed to Penn State’s champion 400 freestyle relay.
On the men’s side, Casey Storch won the 200 breaststroke in a commanding 2:00.17, out-pacing runner-up and teammate Keefer Barnum by nearly two seconds, though Storch was off his best time of 1:56.67. Storch also touched first in the 200 IM (1:49.92), though did not pick up points for the Cavaliers as he swam the race exhibition. Storch also recorded a third-place finish in the 200 fly, posting a 1:49.54 and helping UVA to a 1-2-3 finish. Ahead of Storch were teammates Ted Schubert (1:48.13) and Zach Fong (1:49.23), respectively.
Barnum later won the 100 breaststroke in 55.39, edging Penn State’s Kaelen Freund, who finished second in 55.92. To start the meet, Barnum contributed a 24.78 50 breaststroke split in the 200 medley relay, exactly tying Freund’s split. Ultimately, however, UVA touched the wall a full second-and-a-half ahead of Penn State, 1:28.42 to 1:29.95, thanks to a 21.36 fly split from Bryce Keblish and a 19.80 freestyle split from freshman Lewis Burras, making Burras the only sub-20 swimmer in the field.
Cavalier frosh Justin Grender sailed to victory in the 200 backstroke in 1:47.00 with very steady splits of 25.82/27.51/26.90/26.77, starting off the season a mere 2.65 seconds from his personal best in the event, which sits at 1:44.35. First-year teammate Lewis Burras swept the sprints, winning the 50 free in 20.67 and the 100 in 45.10. Burras, who is an age group record holder in England though he originally hails from the United Arab Emirates, posted very respectable times for a first-time yards swimmer.