Kelly Pash Rips 1:51.45 for #2 200 Fly in the NCAA this Season – Sterkel Classic Recap

2023 STERKEL CLASSIC (Texas, TCU, Rice)

  • Saturday, February 4, 2023
  • Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, Austin, TX
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Results

Texas hosted the Sterkel Classic today in Austin. Many of Texas’ star swimmers didn’t compete, however, there were still a handful of performances, most of which came at the hands of the Texas women’s team.

First off, Texas’ Kelly Pash clocked a lifetime best of 1:51.45 in the women’s 200 fly, winning the race by over ten seconds. Pash dipped under her previous personal and season best of 1:51.96, which she swam at the Minnesota Invite at mid-season. Additionally, she’s now moved up to #2 in the NCAA this season in the event. Texas teammate Dakota Luther was the #2 swimmer in the NCAA this season with the 1:51.58 she swam last weekend against NC State and has now been bumped to #3 behind Pash.

Texas still has the top three swimmers in the women’s 200 fly in the NCAA this season. Emma Sticklen leads the NCAA with the 1:51.37 she swam last season, Pash is now second (1:51.45), and Luther is third (1:51.58). We’re at a point in the season now where it’s worth noting that Texas’ Olivia Bray, who was an NCAA ‘A’ finalist in the 200 fly last year, has yet to race the 200 fly this season. Bray has a personal best of 1:52.03 in the 200 fly, so if she does end up racing it in her championship meets, Texas could have four swimmers right at the top of the NCAA in the event.

As far as Pash’s swim today, she put together a well-balanced race. She was out in 53.94 on the first 100, then put up a 28.46 split on the third 50 and 29.05 on the final 50, for a 57.51 on the second 100 of the swim. The 200 fly was Pash’s only race of the day.

Texas’ Abby Pfeifer had an exceptional performance in the women’s 1650 free, clocking a 16:07.14. Not only is the swim likely to be fast enough for Pfeifer to qualify for NCAAs for the first time in her career, it marks a lifetime best for the sophomore by a whopping 30 seconds. Pfeifer’s previous best was a 16:37.19, which she swam at the 2021 Minnesota Invite. She swam a very consistent race, going 4:52.82 on the first 500, then 4:54.01 on the second 500, and 4:53.91 on the third 500 before roaring home in 1:26.40 on the final 150 yards. Her performance also makes her #8 in the NCAA this season in the event.

Speaking of exceptional distance performances, fellow Texas sophomore Olivia McMurray ripped a new lifetime best in the women’s 500 free. She won the race convincingly, going a 4:39.38. It was the second weekend in a row in which McMurray posted a personal best in the 500, as she swam a 4:42.48 last weekend against NC State, which at the time was a new personal best by around a second. She’s now taken another three seconds off that time with her 4:39 today, also swimming a time which will all but certainly be enough for her to qualify for NCAAs for the first time in her career, like Pfeifer.

Additionally, McMurray’s 500 time today makes her the #5 performer in the NCAA this season. On top of that, Texas junior Olivia Bray came in second in the 500 today with a 4:40.80. That swim marks a personal best for Bray as well, coming in well under her previous best of 4:44.32.

Texas senior Bridget Semenuk also posted a personal best today, winning the women’s 50 free in 22.06. Semenuk has set her previous personal best of 22.21 at the Minnesota Invite about two months ago.

Another Texas sophomore, Channing Hanley, ripped a huge new personal best in the women’s 200 breast, winning the event in 2:10.41. Like several of her teammates, Hanley had just swum her personal best of 2:12.16 last weekend against NC State, then doubled down today, shedding off more time. Hanley also won the women’s 100 breast today in 1:00.58, that time touching just off her lifetime best of 1:00.52, which was also swum last weekend.

Longhorn junior Ava Longi took the women’s 100 fly in 52.84, marking yet another lifetime best for the Texas swimmers. Longi dropped nearly a second from her previous best of 53.72, which she swam last February at the 2022 Big 12 Championships.

Longi also won the women’s 100 free in 48.90, clipping her previous best of 48.94, which she had swum at the Minnesota Invite in November. Teammate Emma Sticklen came in second in the 100 free, also posting a personal best of 48.95.

Rice’s Zoe Spitz won the women’s 200 back in 1:55.01, establishing a new lifetime best as well. She was out fast, swimming a 56.85 on the first 100, then came home in 58.16. Her previous best was a 1:55.77, a time which she swam in a dual meet with Tulane in November.

In the men’s events, Texas’ Sam Artmann had a very solid swim in the 200 fly, winning in 1:42.77. The swim marks a season best for Artmann, as well as his first time under 1:43 this season. Artmann’s personal best is a 1:42.12, which he swam at the Big 12 Championships last year.

OTHER EVENT WINNERS

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Dmswim
1 month ago

I called that Abby Pfeifer swim in the comments last week after her 1000. Congrats Abby!

Ya mother
1 month ago

Gotta throw it out there that Artmann was 1:41.3 or something last night against SMU but got DQ’d

PFA
1 month ago

New AR for KD in the 2 breast!!! 2:01.43…

Demarrit Steenbergen
1 month ago

It was just this week that we questioned their depth but it looks like they might be able to have enough depth for a solid challenge to the hoos.

Demarrit Steenbergen
Reply to  Demarrit Steenbergen
1 month ago

It doesn’t have a lot of the mini invite times from today and yesterday but Texas leads in a simulation on swim cloud with the top 20 teams

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Demarrit Steenbergen
1 month ago

Virginia will be missing 55 points from the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships with the departures of Alexis Wenger and Emma Weyant.

oxyswim
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Canny, Nelson, Parker, Tuggle, Yegher, Novelline will make up for that and then some.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Aside from Parker in the W 50 FR, I don’t see any of the other swimmers reaching the final of an individual event at the 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.

oxyswim
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Ella Nelson just swam the 4th fastest 200 IM time in the country and would have been 6th at NCs last year, I’d be shocked if she doesn’t score in the 2BR as well. Canny went the second fastest time in the country in the 200 FR with a time that would have been 5th, and I’d bet on her scoring in the 100 after a 22.3 and 1:42 200. Tuggle, Yegher, and Novelline all have PBs that would have scored last year and I’m betting on small improvements because every top swimmer in that program has gotten better.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Agree about Canny and Tuggle but Nelson has been on the team and scoring points for 3 years

oxyswim
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

My bad on Nelson. Total brain fart there.

CavaDore
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

After tonight’s Cavalier Invite swims by UVA your comment isn’t aging well.