Tennessee vs. UNC Wilmington
- October 1, 2022
- SCY (25 yards)
- David B. Allen Natatorium, Wilmington, North Carolina
- Full Results PDF
On Saturday, the Tennessee swimming and diving team traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina to open up their season with an away dual meet against UNC Wilmington. The Volunteers came out victorious, with the men winning 216 to 78 and the women winning 190 to 105.
As seen in social media posts from the meet, neither team was suited.
Tennessee won almost every single event on the men’s side of the meet, and the only events where they didn’t win were the 200 IM and 200 free relay, where their fastest swimmers were all listed as exhibition swimmers.
The star of the show on the men’s side of the meet was Jordan Crooks. He won the 50 free in a time of 19.36, which overtakes Josh Liendo‘s 19.69 as the fastest time in the country for the event this season. It’s not very common that we see a time as fast as 19.36 this early on in the season, as last season, as of November 1, 2021, the fastest time in the country was a 19.47—over a tenth slower than Crooks’ October 1st time from this year.
This performance came just a week after Crooks’ eye-popping 50 free at the end of practice, where he was hand-timed and reportedly went 18.9 (although swims that are hand-timed usually do not give us the most accurate results).
Crooks’ best time in the 50 free is a 18.53, which he clocked at the 2022 SEC Championships to break Caeleb Dressel’s freshman record. He’s established himself as one of the best collegiate sprinters, having tied for third at NCAAs with a time of 18.60, but his early-season speed could indicate that he’s on a path to becoming the top gun. In fact, Crooks’ time today was faster than the 19.39 he went at mid-season invites last season.
You can watch Crooks’ 19.36 race from Saturday here:
Picking up where he left off!
— Tennessee Swimming & Diving (@Vol_SwimDive) October 1, 2022
In addition to the 50 free, Crooks also won the 100 fly in a time of 46.81. His personal best in the event is a 45.33, which he swam to finish third at SECs last year. He swam fly on the 200 medley relay as well, splitting 20.66. The team of Harrison Lierz (22.59), Jarel Dillard (24.77), Crooks, and Scott Scalon (20.33) won that race for Tennessee with a time of 1:28.35.
Tennesee also went the fastest time in the 200 free relay, as Aleksey Tarasenko (20.59), Scalon (20.48), Gui Caribe (19.87), and Crooks (19.33) combined for a 1:20.27 but were marked as exhibition swimmers. The “official” winners in this relay where UNCW’s E’Likai Crompton-English (21.14), Noah Sipowski (20.62), Robert Tars (20.87), and Wesley Carter (21.16), who combined for a 1:23.79.
Caribe’s times from this meet were particularly intriguing, as aside from his 19-point relay split, he also took second to Crooks in the 50 free with a 20.22 and went 43.86 to win the 100 free. He’s a freshman coming from Brazil, and his particularly fast times in early October bring up the question of whether he will have a breakout freshman season similar to what Crooks (who is also an international sprinter) had last year. The Brazilian isn’t new to sprinting success though, as he’s been as fast as 22.35/48.71 in long course (which converts to 19.41/42.44 in yards) and is a Brazilian age group record holder.
Another international swimmer who claimed victory was Michael Houlie, who won the 100 breast in 53.87. He beat his fellow fifth-year teammate Dillard who was second in 55.15. However, Dillard won the 200 breast in 2:00.65. Houlie and Dillard were Tennessee’s two fastest swimmers in the 100 breast last season, with Dillard having finished 8th at NCAAs in a time of 52.00 (although he set a best time of 51.29 to finish second at SECs).
Joaquin Vargas won both mid-distance freestyle events, going 1:38.88 in the 200 free and 4:30.51 in the 500 free. The 1000 free was won by sophomore and 2022 U.S. Open Water World Championships team member Joey Tepper, who clocked a 9:27.84. In the 100 back, Lierz went 48.47 to defeat Nick Simons who went 49.01, although Simons won the 200 back in 1:47.79. Lierz also had the fastest time in the 200 IM at 1:50.44, but he was swimming exhibition and the event was won by UNCW’s Jacob Durachinsky with a time of 1:54.07.
Also swimming in the 200 back was Landon Driggers, who finished second in a 1:49.03. He also swam exhibition in the 100 back and 200 IM, clocking times of 52.04 an 1:51.80 respectivley. Driggers is a sophomore transfer from the DII University of Indianapolis, and is competing in the NCAA for the first time since the 2021 DII NCAA Championships where he was 2nd in the 400 IM (3:47.73), 4th in the 200 back (1:45.38), 18th in the 200 IM (1:48.94), and 27th in the 100 back (49.74).
The 200 fly was won by Martin Espernberger with a time of 1:49.10. His personal best in the event is a 1:46.01 set back in March 2021. Bryden Hattie swept the diving events, socring 412.30 points in the 3-meter and 324.65 points in the 1-meter.
Simillar to the men’s team, the Tennessee women won nearly every event besides the 100 free, 100 fly, 200 IM, and 200 free relay, having swum exhibition in the latter two events. The team was missing two of their biggest stars, Ellen Walshe and Julia Mrozinski. Walshe is staying in her home country of Ireland for the fall semester, and plans to return back to Tennessee for the winter. Another notable absence was Jasmine Rumley, a 21.81/48.41 freestyler who is the team’s fastest returning sprinter.
This meet marked the debut for freshman Regan Rathwell, a Junior Pan Pacs finalist from Canada. She won her primary event, the 200 back, in a time of 1:59.17. She also led off Tennessee’s 200 medley relay in a 26.11 as her, Kailee Morgan (28.59), Mona McSharry (24.19), and Josephine Fuller (23.31) won in a time of 1:42.20. Rathwell has been as fast as 2:09.54 in the 200 back long course, which converts to 1:52.73 in yards—a time that would have been the fastest on the team last season by nearly a second. The shorter backstroke event was won by Olivia Harper, who went 55.76 in the 100 back.
Kristen Stege, the 2022 SEC Champion in the 1650 free, won the 500 and 1000 free with times of 4:59.63 and 10:08.34 respectively. The shorter mid-distance freestyle event was won by Sara Stotler, who clocked a 1:51.49 in the 200 free. Natalie Ungaretti won the 50 free in 23.91, although the Volunteers’ hopes of a freestyle sweep were thrwarted when UNCW’s Tink Niebel won the 100 free in a 52.08. Niebel also won the 200 IM in a 2:07.89, although Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller was the fastest in the event at 2:01.35 but swam exhibition.
The only other event in which UNCW won (and actually posted the fastest overall time in) was the 100 fly, where Maura Schoppa touched first in 56.39. The 200 fly was won by Tennesse’s Kate McCarville, who went 2:02.49.
Tennessee’s sprint freestyle is currently experiencing a rebuild after the loss of AJ Kutsch, the team’s fastest 50 freestyler. Julia Burroughs, the fastest freshman 50 freestyler on the team who holds a PB of 22.65, was swimming distance events on Saturday, going 1:51.56 and 5:03.30 to finish second in both the 200 and 500 free. She also posted a split of 23.45 on the 200 free relay, where her, McSharry (23.37 leadoff), Amber Myers (23.22), and Brooklyn Douthwright (23.64) posted the fastest time of 1:33.68 in the race but swam exhibition. The event was won by UNCW’s Sarah Olson (23.53), Cameron Snowden (23.90), Bethany Tart (23.87), and Quinn Bike (24.12) who combined for a 1:35.42.
Kailee Morgan swept the breaststroke events, going 1:03.77 in the 100 and 2:19.82 in the 200 breast. McSharry, the team’s top breaststroker who went 57.18 to finish 4th at NCAAs last year, did not swim breaststroke on Saturday and only raced exhibition the 50 free, where she went 23.43.