The Buckeyes and the Hawkeyes host meets in the Midwest this weekend. Many teams, especially those in the Big Ten, opted for closer competition rather than traveling to Austin. The result? Fast swimming and a few A cuts.
The first night of OSU featured multiple NCAA A cuts, close races, and a medley relay pool record to close the night.
On the women’s side, UNC distance star Stephanie Peacock and Florida Olympian Elizabeth Beisel both picked up A cuts in the 500–a very close race that went to Peacock at the finish, whose 4:34.42 just beat Beisel’s 4:34.54. The third A cut of the night went to Notre Dame’s Emma Reaney, a breaststroke specialist who’s very capable in the IMs as well. She won in a 1:55.05, pulling away from the field after a 33.0 breaststroke leg.
The team of Maddy Schaefer, Katie Olsen, Maya Dirado, and Andi Murez won the final relay in a time of 3:33.73. Murez split a huge 48.2 on the freestyle leg, but the other three were very strong as well with 52s on the back and fly and a 59 in the breast. That bodes well for them going into the stroke events tomorrow, even though they currently sit in second place behind Florida. Though Schaefer was the backstroker, she also set a pool record on her way to winning the 50 in a 22.18. In the sprint relay, however, the Florida team of Natalie Hinds, Ellese Zalweski, Lindsey McKnight, and Kaitlin Frehling came away with the victory after swimming a 1:29.49. Wisconsin’s team got the second slot, and Stanford was third.
Ohio State sits well in the lead in the men’s meet, and two relay victories bookending the night definitely helped that. Florida, however, is not far off and had some great swims Friday as well. The OSU team of Jason Schnur, Zach Birnbrich, Zach Holmes, and Tim Phillips swam a very fast 1:17.84 in the 200 free relay, which was good for an A cut. But though the Buckeyes had the upper hand in the relays, strong performances by the Gators kept it competitive.
In the 200 IM, Florida’s Sebastien Rousseau led a 1-2-3 sweep, winning in an A cut time of 1:44.02. And though OSU took spots 2-6 in the 50, Florida’s Bradley deBorde swam a 19.54 got the top spot.
In Iowa Friday night, it was the Michigan men’s team who really stole the show, picking up 3 A cuts and winning every event of the night. They sit well ahead of second-place Notre Dame. Evan Gregg, Sean Fletcher, Zachary Turk, and Miguel Ortiz swam to a 1:17.79 in the first relay to open the session, Turk’s 19.03 on the third leg really helping them there. Their sprint power was evident in the 50 free as well, when Ortiz swam an 19.83 to lead a 1-5 sweep.
Junior Connor Jaeger dominated competition in the 500, setting a pool record in a A cut of 4:14.84. Notre Dame’s Frankie Dyer (yes, the men are in Iowa and the women in Ohio) was second in a 4:20.63, good for a B cut. The Wolverines also went 1-3 in the 200 IM, with Kyle Whitaker leading the pack in 1:44.40.
Michigan women lead their meet as well, but by less of a margin than the men do. This meet may well get closer, if not for first then definitely for second, as currently Iowa and Nebraska are tied for second and Northwestern sits just over 10 points behind them.
This invite also featured a close race in the 500, with host team sophomore Becky Stoughton fighting off Michigan’s Adrienne Bicek to take first by just .08 in 4:43.20. The Wolverines got the 200 IM though when freshman Marni Oldershaw won in a 1:58.25. UW Milwaukee breaststroker Emily McClellan had a good swim here too, being the only other swimmer to break a minute in 1:59.30.
Northwestern’s Taylor Reynolds picked up the first victory of the meet for the Wildcats with a 22.93 to win the 50. Though Nebraska’s highest finish in that event was fourth from Hayley Martin, they fielded the best sprint relay team, and won in a 1:31.07 with a 22.1 on the last 50 from sophomore Taryn Collura. Michigan’s team won the 400 medley, which should make them excited going into the 100 stroke events Saturday.