Houston Women Wrap Up 3rd-Straight AAC Title, Cincinnati Men Repeat

by Andy Hardt 0

March 03rd, 2019 AAC, College, News

AAC –  Women & Men

Women’s Recap

Houston dominated the meet for their third straight title, and they dominated tonight, winning four events to stretch their final margin to over 300 points. Behind them Cincinnati overcame a 26.5 deficit to SMU to take a 3.5 point lead heading into the final relay. If SMU won the 400 freestyle relay or if they beat Cincinnati with a team in between, SMU would take second place; otherwise Cincinnati would. But Cincinnati didn’t let either of those things happen, taking second in the event to Houston, and therefore taking second in the meet.

Houston women – AAC champions – courtesy Houston Athletics

Erin Trahan of SMU was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer, and Monica Marcello of UConn was named Most Outstanding Diver. Trahan won all three of her individual events at this meet, including the 200 fly tonight, while Marcello was 2nd on 1 meter and 1st on 3 meter. Katie Deininger of Houston won Freshman of the Year.

Final Team Standings

1. Houston – 916

2. Cincinnati – 604.5

3. SMU – 599

4. Tulane – 504.5

5. Connecticut – 466

6. East Carolina – 338

Olivia Johnson of Tulane  won the 1650 after surviving a hard charge by Connecticut’s Ryan Dulaney. This is Johnson’s second title of the meet, after the 400 IM, and she was second in the 500. Dulaney took the race out with purpose, hitting the first 200 in 1:57.63, and maintaining about a second lead over Johnson all the way through the 1000 (9:59.82 to 10:00.76). But Dulaney bent just a little, slipping from 30-low to 30-mid, and Johnson never faltered, pulling even and then edging away over the last third of the race. Johnson won in 16:31.20, Dulaney was second in 16:34.13, and third was Mariana Lippert of East Carolina (16:36.89).

In the platform diving event, Katie Deininger of Houston was the top seed in prelims at 231.5, and she improved on that substantially at night to win easily with 268.25. It was good for her that she did because Johanna Holloway of SMU had her own 30-point jump to finish second with 234.95. Mary Warker (214.60) of ECU won a close fight for third against Cincinnati teammates Claire Schuermann (213.95) and Patricia Roscoe (211.95)

Monique Rae was only 11th in the 100 back last night, but with a powerful last 100, the Houston sophomore won the 200 back. Rae’s teammates Laura Laderoute (56.76) and Eleanna Koutsouveli (56.84) were the top two at the 100, with Rae back in 4th (57.24). But Rae’s third split (29.37) took her into the lead, and her final 50 of 29.03 gave her a comfortable win in 1:55.64. Koutsouveli held on for second in 1:56.30, as 100 back champ Laderoute was third (1:58.05).

Zarena Brown, after anchoring Houston to a big comeback win in the 400 medley relay last night, showed no ill-effects as she won the 100 free in 48.76 for her third individual win of the meet (500 free, 200 free). But it was the closest of the three, as Brown trailed East Carolina’s Catherine Johnson at the 50 (23.35-23.59). Brown’s teammate Mykenzie Leehy was close as well (23.71). But Brown took the lead in the second 50, and won in a time of 48.76, as Johnson faded to third (49.90). Leehy used a strong last 25 to swim (49.03) and almost challenge Brown, but it was Leehy’s third second place in as many races.

The top of the 200 breast leaderboard looked a lot like the 100 breast: Andrea Podmanikova of SMU defeated Peyton Kondis of Houston to win. But whereas the 100 breast came down to the wire, here Podmanikova took the lead early and never looked back, winning in a meet record time of 2:08.66, 0.63 seconds faster than she managed last year. Kondis was a couple ticks back in 2:10.62, and Kate McDonald of Tulane was third (2:12.09).

And Erin Trahan of SMU took her third victory of the meet by a convincing 1.75 margin in the 200 fly. Trahan was 25.34 at the 50, 54.61 at the 100, and the gap only got bigger from there. She won in a time of 1:56.44. Trahan’s teammate Olivia Grossklaus was second (1:58.19), and Houston’s Rebecca Brandt was the only other swimmer under 2 minutes in 1:59.00.

The 400 freestyle relay went as the meet did: a fight from Cincinnati, but then a clear Houston win. Zarena Brown (48.97) was the only sub-50 leadoff, and Houston continued to lead through Laura Laderoute (50.91) and Kathryn Power (50.28). But Cincinnati shrunk the lead on both those legs with Anhelina Kutsko (49.82) and Olivia Schmelzer (49.31), and leading into the anchor, they trailed by just 0.19 seconds. But Houston anchor Mykenzie Leehy was too much, and with the fastest split in the field (48.88), she pulled Houston away to a 3:18.29 win. Cincinnati was second in 3:19.79 ahead of SMU at 3:21.39 in third in the battle over second place in the overall standings.

Men’s Recap

Cincinnati repeated as champs, and did so with an emphatic final session, winning every event except the 200 breaststroke. After two days of the meet East Carolina looked liked they might challenge Cincinnati, but Cincinnati had another gear on the last two days. East Carolina settled for second, as Connecticut beat out SMU for third.

Din Selmanovic of Cincinnati won Most Outstanding Swimmer after winning the 500 free and 200 free, and coming 2nd in the 1650. Parker Hardigree of SMU, first on both boards and third off the platform, was Most Outstanding Diver. Hardigree and ECU’s Marek Osina were co-freshmen of the year.

Final Team Standings

1. Cincinnati – 966

2. East Carolina – 820

3. Connecticut – 647

4. SMU – 613

In the 1650, 500 and 200 free champ Din Selmanovic of Cincinnati quickly took the lead with a 1:44.12 first 200. Selmanovic kept pressing, and at the 1000 (9:10.38), his lead was over five seconds on second place teammate Tyler Jones (9:15.62). Jones was only 8th in the 500, and even with his prelims time, was over 8 seconds back of Selmanovic there. But this was a different race, and Jones accelerated to 27-high, just as Selmanovic slipped to 28-low, 28-mid, 28-high. By 1400, Jones had taken the lead, and by 1550, the race was over, and Jones powered home to win in 15:19.01. Selmanovic was second in 15:24.35, and UConn’s Karl Bishop was third (15:31.26).

In the 200 back, Blake Hanna of Cincinnati took the win just barely after holding off a ridiculous last 50 from Magnus Anderson of East Carolina. Hanna led at the 100 in 49.99, with only his teammate Joseph Puglessi within a second (50.73). Hanna then had the fastest third 50 in the field (26.60). But Anderson did what he did in the morning and turned on the jets from almost 2 seconds back, swimming the last 50 in 25.57 to Hanna’s 27.34. But it wasn’t quite enough as Hanna held on and won in 1:43.93, with Anderson just behind at 1:44.09. Puglessi held on for third (1:45.04).

Cincinnati’s Alexander Fortman was sixth in the 50 free and third in the 200 free, but the middle event suited him quite nicely. Fortman won in a time of 43.69, splitting 20.83-22.86 to overcome a challenge by William Kearsey of UConn, who was out in 20.75. Kearsey, the 50 champ, couldn’t quite hold on in the back-half, and he finished second in 43.93. Victor Martins of East Carolina was third (44.26).

Jacek Arentwicz of East Carolina then completed a sweep in the breaststroke events, adding the 200 breaststroke title (1:54.74) to the 100 title he won yesterday. It was the only men’s event of the night that Cincinnati didn’t win. Arentiwicz had each of the fastest splits in the field, and was never challenged. Behind him, Dominic Polling of Cincinnati was second (1:56.85), to complete the meet with a 200 IM title and seconds in both breaststroke events. Markus Hunter of UConn was third (1:58.50).

Parker Saladin took Cincinnati’s fifth title on the night in the 200 butterfly, in a race he blew open in the back half. Saladin was tied for second at the 100 (50.58) with Connecticut’s Cooper Knapp, well behind 100 fly champ Gustavo Santos of East Carolina (49.43). But Santos cratered (28.02) at the same time Saladin surged (26.55), and by the 150 wall (1:17.13), Saladin had already taken the lead. A 27.61 final 50 sealed the deal, and Saladin won in 1:44.74. Garrett Carson of SMU was second (1:46.90), coming from behind to beat out Knapp (1:46.92) at the wall. Santos was fourth in 1:47.24.

Last but certainly not least, the 400 freestyle relay may have been the race of the meet. Cincinnati’s Dominic Polling gave them the lead (43.97) over East Carolina’s Victor Martins Dos Santos (44.62). But East Carolina came back, and after Eric Hinderup (43.75) outsplit Alberto Garcia (44.19) and Gavin Erdmann (44.09) outsplit Justin Crew (44.66), ECU had taken a 0.36 second lead. But Cincinnati had 100 champ Alexander Fortman on anchor, and he pulled into a near tie with Cincinnati’s Blaz Demsar at the 50. But Demsar did not give up, and the two fought to the wall together, touched together, but when the bubbles had cleared Fortman and Cincinnati had gotten the win by a fingernail: 2:56.01 to 2:56.02. Demsar (43.56) had the second fastest split in the field, but it wasn’t quite enough as Fortmann had the fastest (43.19).

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