Gunnar Bentz Swims NCAA “A” Cut in 200 Fly at Bulldog Last Chance


  • February 24th-25th, 2018
  • Gabrielsen Natatorium, Athens, Georgia
  • 25y (SCY) Course
  • Live results

Georgia senior Gunnar Bentz entered the season as a favorite to win an NCAA title, especially the 400 IM, in March. After breaking his collarbone early in the season, though, he began competition only in the spring semester, and while he swam well at the SEC Championships, it wasn’t quite enough to earn him an NCAA qualification time.

He stamped his invite in stone on Sunday, though, in his only swim of the Bulldog Last Chance Meet, when he swam a 1:40.97 in a 200 fly time trial. That improved a 1:42.51 that he swam in a February dual meet against Emory (and a 1:43.07 at SECs). The 1:42.51 was in a ‘bubble’ position for an invite with the Pac-12 men’s championship yet to come next weekend, but his new time is an Automatic Qualifying Time, guaranteeing his opportunity to swim the 200 IM individually, as well as the 200 and 400 IM where he also has “B” cuts (the 100 fly would be an option too, though an unlikely one). He now ranks 8th nationally in the 200 fly.

He was one of a number of Bulldogs trying to cement their qualification on Sunday. Powell Brooks swam a :14.2.87 in the 200 fly, which leaves him in a precarious 30th place nationally in the event, which is unlikely to earn an NCAA invite. He opted to scratch the final rather than shoot for a drop (he would’ve needed to take off around 4-tenths to really feel comfortable heading into next weekend).

Freshman Greg Reed is in slightly better position: he knocked 2 seconds from his season best in the 1650 free to finish in 14:54.20. That time would’ve been under the invite line by two-and-a-half seconds last season, but this year it’s right on the edge. There are 4 swimmers from the Pac-12 with season-bests between 14:55 and 15:00, and if more than 2 of those swimmers jump Reed, he’ll probably be out, with around 29 men usually invited per event.

One swimmer who left no doubt for the Bulldogs on Sunday is sophomore Walker Higgins. He swam a 4:14.69 in the 500 free, which jumps him into 13th in the latest rankings and that will assuredly be enough to earn an NCAA invite. His teammates Kevin Litherland (4:16.14 – 27th) and Tal Davis (4:16.71) are probably out. Litherland’s 27th would be in if the season ended right now, but with 5 Pac-12 swimmers already having regular season times between 4:16.2 and 4:16.8, his time and ranking will have a target.

Youssef Said is another swimmer teetering. His 46.13 in the 100 back final on Sunday improved his season-best from 46.80 and ranks him 28th in the country. While his time is .15 inside of what it took to get invited last year, this season it could take a 46.0 to earn a spot in Minneapolis.

Other Significant Swims:

  • Auburn’s Luis Martinez swam a 45.72 in a 100 fly time trial. That improved upon his 45.91 from Saturday’s event final, and jumps him from 23rd in the country to 16th, which will lock in his NCAA Invite.
  • His teammate Tommy Brewer made a similar move. After a 52.71 that moved him up quite-a-few-spots in the national rankings on Saturday to 21st, Sunday’s small improvement moved him to 18th and a near-lock for an NCAA Invite.
  • Auburn freshman Carly Cummings swam a 2:10.00 in the 200 breaststroke final. That would’ve been in, easily, last year, but everything has gotten much faster this year. It currently ranks her 36th, and with Sunday being the last day for women’s qualifications, that should be good enough for an NCAA Invite.
  • Hawaii had two near-misses on Sunday. Lucia Lassman swam a 52.53 in a 100 fly time trial, which is .01 slower than it took to qualify last year, but this year ranks her 46th, and barring a lot of unexpected scratches in the event, out of an invite. The Hawaii men’s 400 medley relay took 3 cracks at a Qualifying Standard on Sunday, and their best of those 3 efforts, a 3:07.51 in the official event final, is .05 seconds short of an NCAA Qualification Time. The Hawaii men have individual storke qualifiers in the 100 back and 100 breast, and a top-50-ish in the nation butterflier, but without any swimmers who even have “B” cuts in the 100 free this season, they didn’t quite have the anchor leg to ensure their relay invites.

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4 years ago

A question about ECAC’s for those in the know: are the people from NCSU, Virginia, etc. just people who didn’t make the conference team? Do those teams send coaches there? How does that work? Just curious…

Reply to  kcswimjk
4 years ago

Some of them are looking to have another shot at making nationals, but most as you stated are those swimmers not good enough to make the conference meet

Reply to  kcswimjk
4 years ago

Usually the top 2 or 3 in each event are using it as a last chance meet while the rest are those that didn’t make conference teams for conferences that have squad size limits.

4 years ago

I’d add John McIntyre of NCSU to the list – his 14:47 for 1650 at the ECAC meet has him ranked 15th.

4 years ago

When will the invited lists be sent out?

Reply to  Anon
4 years ago

Women entries due today and final sheets are out Wednesday for women
Men have same timeline next week

4 years ago

And more guy last chance meets next weekend

4 years ago

Hate to see the dawgs having to scramble for so many NCAA bids at this time of year

Reply to  Gogators
4 years ago

I agree, I think it’s really annoying that the dawgs didn’t focus more on secs. I get they have a history of over looking that meet , but they don’t have the teams they did in the past years and should’ve aimed for secs as their main meet bc regardless they won’t be a contender for the title at ncaas on either side, they had a better chance at getting sec titles.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Gogators
4 years ago

Florida had a bunch of last-chance meet probable qualifiers this weekend too – Taylor, Balogh, Sanders, Lebed at least. Maybe Bayley Main but it look like the 100 back cut might dip under 46.

Reply to  JP input is too short
4 years ago

Taylor’s 1:40.2 200 Back is pretty much a lock. Clark Beach and Brennan Balogh’s 1:41.1s might just make it in. Crazy to think that a 3:44 is most likely not going to make NCs this year. It wasn’t that long ago that would have been a scoring swim. Really happy for Amelia Maughan. Her 1:44.4 200 free is a PB and should get her in.

JP input is too short
Reply to  Aquajosh
4 years ago

I think the progression of the 200 back is most ridiculous – in 2008, Pat Schirk won in 1:40.22 and Cory Chitwood got 2nd in 1:41.21. That second place time wouldn’t have qualified this year.

Matter of fact, scrolling through that 2008 meet results really quickly, I don’t think there’s an event besides the 100 free where the top-8 would have all made the meet this year.

That was my freshman year of college… that wasn’t that long ago.

Reply to  Gogators
4 years ago

Hahaha. He was already going. This just got him and A cut. Also lets no show if dawgs or gators have been better year to year guys AND girls. Jack and Harvey can coach anyone. The results show just look at what most the kids come out of high school and leave college at. Results year and year out undeniable amazing staff of coaches.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Ok so it wasnt guaranteed, however to act like its somehow negative, as gogator says it, to get cuts at a last chance meet is crazy especially for a guy that was out basically the whole season. Alot of top team have people make cuts at last chance meets.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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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