Houston’s Mykenzie Leehy Unleashes 21.75 50 FR Split on Day 1 of AAC Champs

AAC –  Men and Women

Team Standings (Through Day 1)

Men

  1. SMU – 374
  2. Cincinnati – 299

Women

  1. Houston – 307
  2. SMU – 240
  3. Cincinnati – 189
  4. Tulane – 156

In an AAC Champs with a smaller field than we’re used to, the Houston women and SMU men have jumped out to early leads after the 1st day of competition. With UConn not competing this season, and ECU having eliminated its men’s swimming program and just recently reinstating its women’s program, it leaves only 2 men’s and 4 women’s teams competing this year.

Women’s Recap

Despite the smaller field, we were treated to races that are just as exciting as ever. Mykenzie Leehy, a Houston freshman, gave us one such performance. Leehy, who was also the 50 free champion in tonight’s finals, threw down a speedy 21.75 split on the Cougars’ winning 200 free relay. Leehy’s split came on the 2nd leg, with teammates Rachel Hicks, Katie Power and Hannah Farmer also contributing to the 1:29.99 final time. The swim was just narrowly off the AAC championship record of 1:29.83, which is held by SMU from 2014.

Leehy had already picked up a win for Houston in the 50 free, where she swam a 22.54 in finals to touch first. Power was 2nd in the race, finishing in 22.77. Hicks was also in the A final, finishing 7th in 23.40. Houston also picked up a win in the 200 IM, where Ioanna Sacha got out to a big early lead, and was able to hold it, comfortably winning the race in 1:58.01.

Cincy had a swimming win on the night, taking the first event, the women’s 500 free. Bearcat Matea Sumajstorcic ultimately won a squeaker with Houston freshman Laura Garcia Marin, and Cincy’s Sydney St Rose-Finear. At the halfway mark of the race, both Marin and St Rose-Finear were leading Sumajstorcic by well over a second. Sumajstorcic then turned it on, chasing down the rest field, and touching first in 4:47.77, and was followed by Marin (4:47.90) and St Rose-Finear (4:48.38).

SMU was dominant in women’s 1-meter diving, going 1-2-3 in the event. Nicole Strambo won the title with a score of 288.45, with Kathryn Crown in 2nd with a score of 285.50, and Taylor Ohlhauser 3rd with a score of 281.25. Notably, Crown is the meet record holder in the event with a score of 309.45.

Men’s Recap

In what feels like a dual meet between Cincinnati and SMU in some ways, the Mustangs got out to the early lead, breaking two records in the process today.

First, Mustang sophomore Colin Feehery broke the AAC Championship record in prelims of the 200 IM, clocking a personal best 1:45.14. Leehy would then turn around and win the event in finals, nearly matching his prelims time with a 1:45.15. Feehery opened up his lead in finals with a huge 28.69 split on the breaststroke leg.

SMU also went on to break the pool record in the 400 medley relay, clocking a 3:09.84. Riley Hill led the squad off with a 46.85 back split, and Caleb Rhodenbaugh then dove in for a 52.50 breast split. Jack Easton then provided a 48.04 fly split, and Daniel Forndal anchored in a speedy 42.45. Forndal had also teamed up with Justin Baker, Lance Butler, and Charlie Kaye to win the 200 free relay in 1:18.38.

SMU’s Peter Smithson posted a dominant victory in the men’s 3-meter diving, finishing almost 62 points ahead of the next highest scorer with a final score of 410.10. He was just of the AAC Champs record of 415.10.

Justin Baker led an astounding 1-2-3-4-5-6 finish in the 50 free. Baker led the charge with a 19.67, finishing considerably ahead of 2nd-place Forndal (19.97). Butler was right behind Forndal, clocking a 19.99, and was followed by Cole Parnell (20.31), Hill (20.33), and Kaye (20.37).

Cincinnati made the most of their lone win on the day, posting a 1-2-3-4 finish in the 500 free. Michael Balcerak led with a 4:22.64, winning after pulling away from Calvin Coetzee (4:23.19) towards the end of the race. Noah Smith took 3rd with a 4:23.36, and Kevin Leibold was the 4th-place finisher in 4:24.24.

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