Josh Liendo Clocks 19.69 50 Free In Florida’s Season Opener Dual Meet

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 26

September 23rd, 2022 College, National, News, SEC

Florida vs. Nova Southeastern (men) vs. Arkansas (women)

  • September 23, 2022
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida
  • Full PDF Results

On Friday, the Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams opened their season at home, with the men facing NOVA Southeastern and the women facing Arkansas. The Florida men beat the NOVA Southeastern men with a score of 244 to 44, while the Florida women beat the Arkansas women 219 to 79.

This meet marked the debut of several newcomer Gators, such as highly-touted freshmen Josh Liendo and Hayden Miller and recent transfers Jake Mitchell and Nina Kucheran. However, two transfers missing from this meet were Emma Weyant and Caroline Pennington. Both swimmers entered the transfer portal after May 1 (the transfer deadline for winter sports) this year, and need a waiver in order to get cleared for competition this season. Florida recently told SwimSwam that Weyant had not cleared her NCAA waiver yet.

None of the teams were wearing tech suits for this meet.

Men’s Recap

The Florida men dominated NOVA Southeastern, winning every single individual and relay event. They kicked things off with the 200 medley relay, where Adam Chaney (22.53), Dillon Hillis (25.18), Josh Liendo (20.74), and Alberto Mestre (19.59) won by over two seconds in a time of 1:28.04. In fact, the Gators ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams finished second and third respectively in this relay, although the ‘C’ relay swam exhibition and their performance didn’t count for any points.

The first individual event of the day was won by 2022 U.S. Open Water World Championships team member Brennan Gravley, who clocked a 9:09.98 in 1000 free. Following him was Canadian freshman Eric Brown, who went 9:11.61.

In the 200 free, Julian Smith led of trio of 1:37s in an incredibly tight race. He touched first in 1:37.56, Jake Mitchell was second in 1:37.57, and Oskar Lindholm was third in 1:37.59. This meet was Smith’s first time swimming the 200 free since 2018, so he dropped over ten seconds off his previous best time of 1:49.15. Following that, Chaney won the 100 back (48.45), Hillis won the 100 breast (55.39), and Billy Jones won the 200 fly (1:49.00).

Canadian World Championships medalist Josh Liendo made his individual NCAA debut in the 50 free, where he clocked a time of 19.69 to hit his first-ever NCAA ‘B’ cut. Also getting under 20 seconds in that was was Mestre, who went 19.97. Then came the 100 free, where Smith went yet again another best time to claim victory. He put up a 43.53, which beats out his previous best time of 44.90 set back in March 2021. Mestre and Trey Freeman hit 44-point times in this race, with Mestre going 44.31 and Freeman going 44.47.

Chaney made it a backstroke sweep when he won the 200 back in 1:49.11, although Kevin Vargas was not that far behind with a time of 1:49.67. Chaney, who is stronger at the sprint backstrokes, raced his first 200 back since January 2020 this meet and dropped substantially from his previous best of 1:54.51. Then, Raphael Windmuller won the 200 breast (2:00.13) and Jake Mitchell won the 500 free by three seconds (4:24.92), holding 26-high and 27-low splits for most of his race but coming home in a 24.87 final 50.

In the 100 fly, Liendo claimed his second victory of the day, clocking a 48.06. However, Jace Crawford was just 0.3 seconds behind, touching second in 48.36. Then, Vargas won the 200 IM, which was the final individual event, in 1:46.80. There was also an exhibition 400 IM contested afterwards, where Gravley took first with a time of 3:55.29.

Florida closed things off with the 400 free relay, where Lindholm (44.64), Alfonso Mestre (44.34), Ed Fullum-Hout (46.12), and Freeman (44.31) won and combined for a time of 2:59.41. The team of Alberto Mestre (44.92), Liendo (44.38), Smith (44.67), and Chaney (44.95) was faster at 2:58.92 but swam exhibition in this race.

Freshman Gustav Henriksen was the top scorer for NOVA Southeastern, taking fifth in the 100 back (51.13) and fourth in the 200 back (1:53.02).

Women’s Recap

On the women’s side, the Gators were almost equally as dominated as the men, winning every single event except for one. Opening things up were Katie Mack (25.68), Nina Kucheran (28.42), Olivia Peoples (24.22), and Talia Bates (22.40), who won the 200 medley relay in a 1:40.12. Freshman Hayden Miller followed with a victory in the 1000 free, where she clocked a 9:53.52 to win by 13 seconds in her NCAA debut. Miller comes into this season as the fastest miler in the high school class of 2022.

The streak of Gator victories continued as the meet went on, as Tylor Mathieu won the 200 free (1:49.36), Bates won the 100 back (54.23), and Kucheran won the 100 breast (1:02.09) in her first individual race for Florida. However, Luciana Thomas snapped this win streak by placing first in the 200 fly with a time of 1:59.01, earning Arkansas’ lone victory from the entire meet.

In the 50 free, there were three 22-point times, as Florida’s Ekaterina Nikonova (22.45) and Katie Mack (22.56) went 1-2 to hit NCAA ‘B’ cuts while Arkansas’ Bella Cothern was third in 22.93. Nikonova made it a sprint sweep when she won the 100 free in 48.95, less than a second off her best time of 48.05 set at NCAAs last year.

Mabel Zavaros was dominant in the 200 back, winning by nearly four seconds with a 1:56.92. The opposite occurred in the 200 breast, where Kucheran won in 2:15.76, but Arkansas’ Vanessa Herrmann was just 0.08 seconds behind with a time of 2:15.85. There was another closer race in the 500 free, where Miller ultimately got the best of Elise Bauer, touching first in 4:51.10 while Bauer clocked a 4:51.93.

Bates earned her second individual victory in the 100 fly (53.84), and Zavaros took her second individual victory right afterwards in the 200 IM (2:01.21). Finally, Bates (49.51), Micayla Cronk (50.90), Nikonova (49.35), and Kathleen Golding (50.80) won the 400 free relay in a time of 3:20.56.

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John26
4 days ago

The GOAT has spoken:
“Popovici, in my opinion, he’s going to be the first person to break 1:42 (in the 200 freestyle). That’s a record that people thought was untouchable. If there’s one person on the planet who will go below, it’s Popovici. It’s just a matter of time before he swims even faster. The kid is 18.”

tea rex
5 days ago

I think the big news is that Julian Smith (I looked him up, he’s a breaststroker!), is going 1:37 / 43.5 and beating teammates who go 1:33 / 42 tapered.

Swimmer
Reply to  tea rex
5 days ago

I grew up swimming against Julian he always a super nice guy that could swim anything

Virtus
Reply to  Swimmer
4 days ago

Ayo same 😂

Swammer
5 days ago

No emma weyant?

Thomas
Reply to  Swammer
5 days ago

Read the article

Radiogaga
5 days ago

A pretty pedestrian swim compared the Crooks 18.9ish at the end of a practice! I mean we are talking a body length behind!

Radiogaga
Reply to  Yanyan Li
5 days ago

Ms Li – Please define “Troll account” for me since you categorize mine as such. I assume it is an honorific label? Thank you.

Last edited 5 days ago by Radiogaga
swimmer
Reply to  Yanyan Li
4 days ago

Liendo is a much more developed swimmer than Crooks was coming in

uwk
Reply to  swimmer
4 days ago

He is also just a better overall swimmer than Crooks as of now. I dont think the comparisons to Crooks are fair to Liendo cause at the end of the day we’re talking a World Championship bronze medalist vs a NCAA elite. And this is coming from a huge Crooks fan

Radiogaga
Reply to  uwk
4 days ago

Crooks had a great summer as well. His explosive start, underwater and walls give him an edge in scy and scm. Liendo is an amazing talent and will have great success under Coach Nesty. Crooks can win both the 50 and 100 this NCAA meet. My pick for sure. As Ms Li pointed out the phenomenal improvement from first dual meet in 2021 to NCAA. Jordan should be 17.high and 40.low this season.

Aquajosh
Reply to  Radiogaga
5 days ago

Reminder that Caeleb Dressel, who had infinitely more yards experience than Liendo, swam a 20.53 and finished 3rd in the 50 in his first dual meet with Florida. He lost to a teammate who was primarily a backstroker, and a swimmer from Nova Southeastern.

We all know how that turned out.

Miac back
5 days ago

Mitchell goes 24.7 last 50…good to see the Florida last 50 training is setting in well!

Andrew
5 days ago

Part of me feels bad for Liendo, he’s been getting so much hype and never raced SCY prior to this meet. Honestly not sure what to think, and it’s obviously too early to jump to conclusions.

With that being said, Dressel’s records (particularly 50 free and 100 fly) aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Andrew
5 days ago

Chaney was 22.5/48.4 in the back, he was 20.1/44 low last year. It was the first meet of the year, mid September. Relax. I’m sure Liendo and the rest of the team didn’t rest, shave, and suit up. I bet he’s very fast along with the rest of the team when he needs to be.

I remember Dressel going 19.9/44 low in a dual meet early on his senior year too. Relax.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Yanyan Li
4 days ago

Most Canadian clubs don’t race this early either. I doubt Josh has ever opened his season this early in his entire life…

Admin
Reply to  Bo Swims
4 days ago

According to Canada’s official results database, this is Josh’s first-ever race in September.

Mike
Reply to  Andrew
5 days ago

I’m curious what times you were expecting at his first ever SCY meet in September?

Swimmer
Reply to  Andrew
5 days ago

19.6 in his first duel duel meet scy in September is filthy and his other times are pretty respectable. That 50 record is stupid fast but that 100 fly is within reach of a few guys this year

swimmer
Reply to  Swimmer
4 days ago

who are the few guys that could break the 100 fly record this year?

Tiny hands
Reply to  Swimmer
4 days ago

Heh? A “few guys” are within reach of a record that nobody has ever been close to?

Pass the good stuff over here, my dude!

Swimmer
Reply to  Tiny hands
3 days ago

3 guys that went 43 and all of them were underclassmen and everyone still thinks that record is so far away

Bailey
5 days ago

Was that 19.6 in a brief?

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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