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:
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.