This morning brought the final prelims session of the 2015 Georgia Fall Invitational. Swimmers competed in the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, and the 200 fly. Tonight’s finals session begins at 3:00 PM Eastern Time.
Fresh off a win in the 100 back, Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew kicked off a strong session with a nation leader in the 200 distance. Her 1:50.46 usurps the time Tasija Karosas put up last night at the Texas Invite by .03 seconds. Following her into the A final will be her teammate Jen Marrkand (1:52.96) and Georgia’s Hali Flickinger (1:53.24) and Kylie Stewart (1:53.33).
Auburn secured the fifth through seventh seeds with Caroline Baddock, Jillian Vitarius, and Sarah Reynolds. Georgia distance star Brittany Maclean will round out the A final with her morning swim of 1:57.25.
Cal backstrokers Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley head into the finals with the top two seeds in the 200 back. Murphy and Pebley are only separated by a hundredth after this morning, finishing in 1:41.53 and 1:41.54. Two more swimmers this morning hit the 1:41 mark, with Georgia’s Taylor Dale touching in 1:41.68 and Cal’s Jeremie Dezwirek finishing in 1:41.87.
Auburn’s Joe Patching will take the fifth spot, followed by Georgia’s Garrett Powell and Virginia’s Austin Quinn. Georgia’s Jay Litherland marks the last A final spot with a time of 1:44.03.
Olivia Smoliga of the Bulldogs became the third woman in the country to crack 48 seconds, clocking in this morning at 47.89. She was followed by a dominant Virginia crew, featuring Megan Moroney (48.56), Ellen Thomas (48.57), Eryn Eddy (48.88), and Shannon Rauth (48.90). Penn State’s Alyson Ackman, Auburn’s Allyx Purcell, and Virginia’s Caitlin Cooper (49.35) laid claim to the final three A-final spots.
Peter Holoda of Auburn has spent the weekend rewriting his best times, and this morning was no exception: his 42.55 100 freestyle cracks his personal best by a half second and he now holds the top seed by a full second ahead of Georgia’s Michael Trice (43.51). Holoda’s time also now ranks him fourth in the country this year.
Florida State’s Jason McCormick, Georgia’s Matias Koski, and Auburn’s Kyle Darmody were also under 44 seconds. Tonight’s heat will be rounded out by Virginia’s Nicholas Magana, Auburn’s Jacob Molacek, and Cal’s Kyle Coan.
Melissa Rodriguez of Penn State topped Georgia IM ace Annie Zhu for the top time in the 200 breast, finishing in 2:09.26 to Zhu’s 2:09.45. Annie Lazor of Auburn (2:10.38) and 100 breaststroke champion Laura Simon (2:10.44) followed closely in tow.
Georgia’s Emily Cameron barely missed her personal best to qualify fifth. She was followed by Auburn’s Natasha Lloyd and the Virginia pair of Vivian Tafuto and Natalie Martin (2:15.36).
Eight men swam under 2:00 in the 200 breast this morning, led by Virginia’s Yannick Kaeser in a season best of 1:55.96. Kaeser placed 23rd in the 200 breast at last year’s NCAA championships after posting a season best at this meet last year. Cal’s Hunter Cobleigh and Josh Prenot were neck-and-neck to qualify second and third in 1:56.75 and 1:57.00. Prenot was a quick 55.37 at the 100, indicating that he most likely shut things down this morning to conserve energy.
Auburn 100 breast champ Michael Duderstadt qualified in fourth, leading Florida State’s Jason Coombs and Georgia’s James Guest. Cal’s Nick Silverthorn and Matt Whittle (1:58.31) round out the A final.
Hali Flickinger, last year’s NCAA bronze medalist, came within a second of her best time this morning to qualify first in 1:53.53. She led her teammate Megan Kingsley (1:55.37) by nearly two full seconds and also posted the second fastest time in the country, Stanford’s Ella Eastin by two tenths. Auburn’s Bailey Nero and Jen Marrkand qualified third and fourth in 1:55.89 and 1:56.05.
Penn State claimed two A-finalists in fifth place qualifier Katie Rowe and seventh place qualifier Katelyn Sowinski. Auburn’s Alex Merritt and Georgia’s Courtney Weaver will cap off the A-final tonight.
Georgia’s Pace Clark threw down the third-fastest time in the country this year to claim the top spot over his teammate Mick Litherland. Clark’s 1:41.56 improves on his best by nearly a second and would have placed him fourth last year at NCAA’s. Litherland touched in 1:44.00 and led Auburn’s Hugo Morris (1:44.27) and Georgia’s Gunnar Bentz (1:44.29) to the wall.
Cal’s Long Gutierrez and Andrew Seliskar followed in fifth and sixth, joined in their 1:44 swims by Georgia’s Ty Stewart. Brazilian national Arthur Mendes claimed the eighth spot for the Auburn tigers in 1:45.10.