Jacob Molacek Cements Spot at NCAAs at UNC Last Chance Meet

UNC Men’s Last Chance NCAA Qualifying Meet

  • March 10th, 2019
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Full Results (PDF)

The most fruitful of Sunday’s last chance meets, among those that have officially uploaded results into the NCAA database, was the one hosted by North Carolina. There, 4 swimmers earned their NCAA qualification times, while another danced his way on to the bubble.

NC State senior Jacob Molacek averted a disastrous non-qualifying scenario via the 100 free. Molacek, who last season scored 14 individual points for the Wolfpack via a 5th-place finish in the 100 free at NCAAs, didn’t yet have a sure-fire qualifying time for this year’s meet after getting sick just before ACCs.

But that changed on Sunday, when he swam a 42.34 in the 100 free, which ties him for 20th nationally, and is ‘safe’ for an NCAA invitation time. His previous season-best was a 42.45 from mid-season, which he improved to 42.39 in prelims and 42.34 in finals on Sunday. Even that small drop improved him from a “bubble” spot coming into the day to a “near-lock” at its end.

Virginia Tech also benefited to the tune of 2 new NCAA qualifiers at the meet. Sophomore Samuel Tornqvist swam a 1:40.77 in the 200 back, which currently ranks him 22nd nationally which should be safe. His previous season-best of 1:41.39 would not have earned an invite, though he does have a 28th-ranked 2020 IM of 1:43.75 that might have called him up anyway.

His freshman teammate Blake Manoff also probably locked-up his spot at NCAAs. He swam a 1:41.97 in the 200 fly, which improved upon his 1:42.36 from ACCs. His previous season-best would have ranked 34th nationally, which means ‘out’ of NCAA’s. His new time ranks him 24th nationally, which probably means ‘in’ for NCAA’s.

Virginia Tech head coach Sergio Lopez posted on Instagram about a number of other Virginia Tech best times and success stories at the meet, which you can read all about below:

View this post on Instagram

What a great "Last Chance Meet# for our #HokieMenSwimmers. Blake Manoff (Fr) this morning swam an impressive 1.41.97 in the 200 fly which will probably get invited to the NCAAs, he also broke the pool record here at UNC. He also swam a time trial for the 200 IM with a huge personal best of 1.46.68 and a NCAA B cut. The second #Hokie that also probably punched his ticket to NCAAs is Sam Tornqvist (So) with a 1.40.77 in the 200 Back and a new personal best. The rest of the swimmers had great swims like Jake Lamparella (Sr) going three times under 43 in the 100 free (42.7, 42.8, 42.9). Jake this season has been 5 times under 43 when his best time at the begining of the season was 44.2. So proud of him. Another Senior Ian Ho did a very good job with a 19.7, 19.5 and 19.6. Antani Ivanov (Fr) did not rest for this meet but swam to get the B cut in the 100 Fly for NCAAs and he did it with a personal best of 47.00. Three other Freshman had great swims, Filippo de Maso swam a personal best in the 200 Free 1.36.2 and right after 100 Breaststroke 56.5, Keith Myburgh had a tough 400 IM but bounced back and swam a personal best in the 100 breast with a 54.2 (Keith had appendicitis a little less that 4 weeks before ACCs where he swam incredible;-) and our last but not least Henry Clarsson swam a 47.99 in the 100 fly just 0.1 of his best. As you can see a great meet a week after an amazing ACCs. Probably we will be traveling with 9 swimmers in three weeks to the 2019 NCAA Men's Division I Championships. So proud of our #Hokies and very happy for the swimmers, their families and our staff #TheFutureIsBright #TheFutureIsFasterThanYouThink🦃🏁 #HokieSwimDiveTeam #HokieFamily #HokiePride #HokieNation #Momentum #ThisIsHome

A post shared by Sergio Lopez Miro (@sergiolopezmiro) on

The other possible qualifier to come out of Sunday’s meet is East Carolina junior Gus Santos. Last season, Santos hit a qualifying time for NCAAs at the Liberty Last Chance meet before the NCAA invalidated the men’s times there. That was because of an interpretation that 2 women’s teams wasn’t enough to make a men’s meet bona fied: there needed to be another men’s team present, which there was not.

This year, however, there were plenty of teams present, and Santos swam a 45.83. That jumps him to 30th in the country in the event. Most years, that doesn’t make an invite, but if 1 or 2 of the swimmers ahead of him choose other events, then he has a chance at NCAAs.

Other Near Misses:

  • NC State’s Gil Kiesler swam a 4:15.87 in prelims of the 500 free. The 23-year old sophomore now ranks 31st in that event nationally. He’d need a handful of swimmers to choose other events to get an invite.
  • Lyubomir Epitropov of East Carolina swam a 1:54.52 in the 200 breaststroke. That ranks him 38th nationally, which probably won’t qualify.
  • The Brown University men were chasing an NCAA “A” Cut (qualifying standard) in the men’s 200 free relay, but came up just short. They swam 1:18.85 in prelims, went under the qualifying time but had a DQ in finals (1:17.17), and then swam a 1:17.67 in a time trial (including a 19.25 from Joon Sung). They needed a 1:17.41.

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Braden — you have an error on Manoff’s time. He was not 1:40.77 in 2fly (that was Tornqvist’s back time). Manoff went 1:41.9


About those beards…


People have to remember that for every person who does a time that puts them on the right side of the bubble, another swimmer is getting bumped out of the big dance! No articles or tweets about them


Ur right we should just not post any articles about the ncaa out of respect for the people who don’t make it.


Nope just anti time trials and last chance. Do it when you are against real competition and the pressure is on. Fair for all if no one has a last chance. To me it is like someone time trialing the week after Olympic Trials and does a time that would have made the team. I might be in the minority but it is my opinion.


They’re time trialing the last week of qualification, per the rules.. what if a conference gets canceled due to weather, it allows for adaptations.. a little different than your scenario.


Eh. Even if a rule was put in place that said “you can’t qualify for NCAAs after your conference meet”, it still wouldn’t prevent teams from tapering earlier in the year and qualifying their peeps in random low pressure meets. Besides, this would be unfair since conference meets are at different times, and forcing teams to focus on conferences could put them at a disadvantageous position for NCAAs (forcing an early or late taper).

Basically it is fine the way it is. Fastest people get in. Period. Messing with which meets get to count is a rabbit hole.


Disagree. I think we’re currently in the rabbit hole re: TT’s and Last Chance meets. Hell, there’s TT’s within Last Chance meets (that are “prelims/finals” sometimes with only one or two swimmers). It’s just not the same as doing it in a “normal” competition environment. And for NCAA purposes, it’s not a qualifying time but for a qualifying “place” (i.e. invite spot). By the same logic, one should be allowed to TT at the NCAA Championships and be allowed to count that time to slot into a “place” for the event and potentially win/score. Hence the rabbit hole we’re already in.

2 Cents



Your sentiment makes no sense. You can currently qualify for NCAAs at any time between September and the end of the qualifying period in March. Anybody can qualify at any meet during the season. Last chance meets are simply meets during the last week of the qualifying period, and are no different than the in season meets that most ncaa cuts are achieved at.

What’s your alternative, only make conference meets count for ncaa qualifying? That would be stupid in like 20 different ways. I am seriously baffled by this anti last chance meet argument lmao.


That’s a terrible comparison. If you’re at all familiar with Olympic Trials, people are time trailing up to the very last day to qualify for the Olympic Trials. It’s only different in that at Trials you are shooting only for a particular time and there’s no limit of qualified athletes so there’s no “bumping” anyone off.
These guys are following the rules. There’s time trials for a reason. Congratulations to those who qualified!


Never been a fan of the constant parade of “last chance” meets. My thought is get up and do it at conference when youre supposed to! Make the playing field even for everyone instead of this constant chase for cuts

JP input is too short

Who says you’re “supposed to” qualify for NCAAs only at conference…?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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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