Joey Tepper Breaks Day-Old Tennessee Record in the 500 Free at Last Chance Meet


  • March 1-2, 2024
  • Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2024 Last Chance Invitational”
  • Full Meet Results (PDF)

For the second straight day, the University of Tennessee school record in the men’s 500 free fell.

After Rafael Ponce de Leon swam 4:14.93 to slide under Evan Pinion’s 2015 School Record of 4:14.97 on Friday, Joey Tepper got the record again, posting a 4:14.90 in the 500 free on Saturday at the Tennessee Last Chance meet.

Tepper swam 4:15.62 and 4:16.09 in prelims and finals on Friday, and in his last chance he swam 4:14.90 in a time trial race on Saturday, his last shot of the meet at a time.

It took a 4:14.36 for an NCAA Invite last year, so it is unlikely that either swimmer earns an invite to the NCAA Championships in that event this season.

It was another big day for the Volunteers on day 2 of the meet. Aidan Crisci may have booked a ticket to join his older brother Flynn Crisci (who broke the school record in the 100 breast on Friday) at the NCAA Championships. Aidan Crisci swam 3:42.93 in finals of the 400 IM, which is better than the 3:43.15 that he swam at SECs last week. It took 3:42.99 to earn an NCAA Championship invite last season; this year, Crisci now move up one spot to 26th in the NCAA. With 30-32 swimmers typically being taken to the meet in each event, he’s right on the bubble with Last Chance and a few conference championship meets (notably Pac-12s) remaining.

A few other Tennessee men put themselves right on that bubble. Freshman Nikoli Blackman swam 42.30 in the 100 free; it took 42.32 to go last year, and he now ranks 34th in the NCAA this season, though a few guys ahead of him are likely to choose other events in March.

He was 42.54 at SECs, and will likely be going to the meet either way as a member of the Volunteers’ All-American caliber sprint free relays.

For the second-straight day, a Virginia Tech butterflier earned a probable NCAA ticket. After Will Hayon improved his stead on Friday in the 100 fly, sophomore Carl Bloebaum might have staked his claim in the 200 fly. He swam 1:42.16, easily under the 1:42.57 that was invited last year. He now ranks as part of a three-way tie for 24th nationally, with at least one swimmer ahead of him (Leon Marchand) probably not swimming the race at NCAAs. That’s not a lock, but it moves him up 11 spots from his ACC time of 1:42.80 and gives him a strong chance.

The aforementioned Hayon swam a time trial of the 100 fly in 45.42 on Saturday. That’s not quite as good as his 45.35 from Friday, though.

Another Hokie, Nico Garcia, improved his stead as well. After going 1:41.19 and 1:41.08 in the 200 back on Friday, he time-trialed the event on Saturday in 1:40.55. That moves him up 11 spots, from 37th to 26th, in the NCAA this season and puts him right on the bubble for an invite.

Other Notable Swims:

  • Josephine Fuller of the women’s team was already easily qualified for NCAAs via her 1:49.75 in the 200 back, 1:52.58 in the 200 IM, and 50.59 in the 100 back, all of which gave her top three finishes at the SEC Championships. She showed off a little versatility though with a 1:54.73 in the 200 fly, which is an eight second improvement on her lifetime best (from December 2020). She now ranks 7th-best all-time in program history.
  • After her huge personal best in the 200 back on Friday that likely qualified her for NCAAs after 20 months of injuries, Regan Rathwell added a best time of 53.08 in the 100 back. That vives her a “B” standard and a second event for NCAAs.
  • Jake Narvid from Tennessee swam 14:54.06 in the 1650 free, which lifts him to 6th all-time in school history (as did his 8:57.88 split in the 1000 free). He now ranks 23rd in the NCAA this season in that event. While it wouldn’t have been invited last year, this might be the rare case where an invite time gets slower year-over-year.
  • Gui Santos is already easily in to NCAAs with his 18.70 from SECs, but he got in some racing on Sunday morning with a 19.06 time trial.
  • Emilie Fast, another Volunteer who is already qualified for NCAAs, swam 58.55 in the in the 100 breast on Saturday morning. That swim is .11 seconds away from the time that earned her a silver medal at a breakout SEC Championship meet.

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1 month ago

Anyone have an update on Laura Littlejohn and Nick Simons?

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Yeah Simons hasn’t swim pretty much all year. Someone here said he had a concussion. Was hoping for an update. Littlejohn hasn’t swum since November.

Shabu Shabu
Reply to  VFL
1 month ago

I think Nick is redshirting he didn’t swim at all this season

Lemon Water
1 month ago

Kailee Morgan of Tennessee also broke 1:00 for the first time in her career in that heat with Fast in a 59.99!

Reply to  Lemon Water
1 month ago

Helluva potential last swim!!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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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