Kieran Smith Goes 4-4; UGA Women Also Dominant, at Georgia Tech Invite Day 1

2021 GEORGIA TECH FALL INVITATIONAL

  • November 18-20, 2021
  • McAuley Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live results (and on Meet Mobile: “2021 Georgia Tech Fall Invitational”)

2021 NCAA CUT LINES

MEN EVENT (SCY) WOMEN
19.46 50 free 22.32
42.88 100 free 48.76
1:34.04 200 free 1:46.25
4:16.75 500 free 4:44.77
15:01.33 1650 free 16:25.47
46.29 100 fly 52.7
1:43.47 200 fly 1:57.42
46.37 100 back 53.01
1:41.81 200 back 1:55.05
52.4 100 breast 1:00.12
1:54.28 200 breast 2:10.37
1:44.15 200 IM 1:57.62
3:45.67 400 IM 4:13.19

Braden Keith contributed to this report.

Day 1 of the 2021 Georgia Tech Invitational was abound with big winning streaks.

On the women’s side, the Georgia Bulldogs women, who were 8th at NCAAs last year, won all three individual events, plus the 400 medley relay.

That winning streak was matched on the men’s side by Kieran Smith alone. He won 4 total events: 2 relays and 2 individual events, to lead the Florida men to the top of the scoring after day 1.

It was also a big day for the Auburn women. They scored an NCAA “A” standard in the 200 free relay, guaranteeing them at least one relay at the NCAA Championships after not qualifying any last season.

Women’s 200 Free Relay – Final

  1. Auburn – 1:28.17
  2. Florida – 1:29.44
  3. Florida State – 1:30.00

Ryan Wochomurka made his mark with the women’s team at Houston, and so far he’s making a mark with the women’s team first at Auburn.

Last year at the SEC Championships, Auburn finished 11th out of 12 teams in the 200 free relay in 1:31.80. On Thursday in Atlanta, they won in 1:28.17 – almost four seconds faster.

Lexie Mulvihill led off in 22.39, Mykenzie Leehy was 22.04 on the second leg, Emma Steckel was 22.07 on the third leg, and Rebekah Hamilton anchored in 21.67. Of those four legs, only Steckel was on the SEC relay last season. Mulvihill and Hamilton are freshmen, while Leehy followed Wochomurka from Houston.

Auburn’s women didn’t qualify any relays for NCAAs last year. Now, with this “A” cut, they only need “B” cuts in the other relays to qualify.

They were the only team to hit an “A” cut in the final. Florida was 2nd in 1:29.44, and Florida State was 3rd in 1:30.00.

Men’s 200 Free Relay – Timed Finals

  1. Florida – 1:16.68
  2. Florida State – 1:16.96
  3. Georgia – 1:18.25

It was a intrastate battle in the 200 free relay, as both Florida and Florida State broke the 1:17 mark. 

Florida’s Adam Chaney got things going with a solid 19.23  leadoff. Eric Friese followed with a 18.93 split on the second leg, the fastest in the field, and Will Davis (19.23) and Kieran Smith (19.29) held down the back half for a total time of 1:16.68. Those same four swimmers combined with a 1:14.48 and a second place finish at NCAAs in March, only 0.12s behind Cal. With all four returning, the Gators should be in the mix for a NCAA title in this event come next March.

Florida State took 2nd in 1:16.96. Peter Varjasi led off in 19.53, the Mason Herbert (19.37), Kuba Ksiazek (19.09), and Max McCusker (18.97) got progressively faster as the Seminoles also finished under the NCAA ‘A’ cut of 1:17.07.

No other schools were under either NCAA standard, as Georgia (1:18.25) beat Georgia Tech (1:18.65) and Auburn (1:18.81) for 3rd.

Women’s 500 Free – Final

  1. Abby McCulloh, Georgia – 4:39.17
  2. Tylor Mathieu, Florida – 4:39.98
  3. Emily Hetzer, Auburn – 4:41.02

Abby McCulloh stepped into her role as the next great Georgia mid-distance freestyler with a new lifetime best in the 500 free. That broke her previous best time of 4:41.53, which was done all the way back in December 2019. She showed a more aggressive opening in this race than she has in the past, opening in a first 200 of 1:50.58.

Florida’s Tylor Mathieu dipped under 4:40 for just the second time in her career to place 2nd. Hetzer’s 4:41.0 isn’t a personal best, but it is faster than she was during the 2020-2021 season.

Elise Bauer of Florida (4:41.10), and another Georgia freshman Dune Coetzee (4:42.04) were also under the NCAA invite time from last season.

Men’s 500 Free – Finals

  1. Kieran Smith (Florida) – 4:10.72
  2. Alfonso Mestre (Florida) – 4:11.26
  3. Trey Freeman (Florida) – 4:13.87

Kieran Smith dropped the hammer in finals, knocking nearly seven seconds off of his prelims time to win in a swift 4:10.72. Smith, of course, is the fastest man ever in this event and is coming off a strong Olympic summer. 

The Gators swept the top 4 spots, with Alfonso Mestre taking a strong 2nd behind Smith at 4:11.26, Trey Freeman finishing 3rd in 4:13.87, and 800/1500 Olympic gold medalist Bobby Finke taking 4th at 4:15.21. All were under last year’s invite time of 4:16.75.

It’s early in the season, but the Gators are looking like they could pile up the points in this event come March.

Women’s 200 IM – Final

  1. Zoie Hartman, Georgia – 1:55.20
  2. Hannah Ownbey, Auburn – 1:57.36
  3. Nina Kucheran, Florida State – 1:57.56

The Georgia women picked up their second-straight win when NCAA runner-up and defending SEC Champion Zoie Hartman won the 200 IM in 1:55.20. That’s about two seconds slower than the 1:53.54 she swam at NCAAs last year.

Hartman was 1:54.35 at the team’s November invite last season, and 1:53.69 mid-season as a freshman, so this time is slower than both of those prior years.

After Auburn’s Hannah Ownbey in 2nd, Florida State’s Nina Kucheran was 3rd in 1:57.56. That’s a new lifetime best for her by a second-and-a-half and breaks the Florida State school record of 1:58.11 that was set by McKayla Lightbourn in 2013.

Men’s 200 IM – Finals

  1. Kieran Smith (Florida) – 1:42.52
  2. Zach Hils (Georgia) – 1:44.52
  3. Reid Mikuta (Auburn) – 1:44.76

Smith pulled off the double here, winning the 200 IM comfortably in 1:42.52 not too long after his victory in the 500 free. Georgia’s Zach Hils finished 2nd in 1:44.52, not too far off of last year’s NCAA invite time of 1:44.15, followed by Auburn’s Reid Mikuta (1:44.76).

While it’s been a long two and a half years, swim fans might recall that Smith actually swam the 200 IM, not the 500 free, as a freshman. He made the A-final in this event at the 2019 NCAA Championships, finishing 8th, before making the move to the 500 (and 200) free the next year.

Women’s 50 Free – Final

  1. Gabi Fa’Amausili, Georgia – 22.27
  2. Talia Bates, Florida – 22.41
  3. Rebecca Moynihan, Florida State – 22.43

Gabi Fa’Amausili is making the most of her bonus season of NCAA eligibility. After a 22.15 relay leadoff, she won the individual event in 22.27.

She’ll probably need a few more hundredths, at least, to secure an NCAA invite: it took 22.32 last season, and this year is expected to be a faster season, overall, than last year.

Men’s 50 Free – Finals

  1. Adam Chaney (Florida) / Dillon Downing (Georgia) – 19.18
  2. (tie)
  3. Max McCusker (Florida State) – 19.41

Yet another win for the Gators, although this one was shared. Adam Chaney improved on his 19.23 leadoff earlier in the session with a 19.18 effort in the individual event. However, Georgia’s Dillon Downing touched at the exact time after going 19.28 leadoff off the Bulldog relay earlier tonight. FSU’s Max McCusker took 3rd in 19.41, while Gator Eric Friese matched last year’s NCAA invite time of 19.46 for 4th.

Men’s 3m Diving – Finals

  1. Leonard Garica (Florida) – 409.75
  2. Conner Pruitt (Auburn) – 404.75
  3. Ruben Lechuga (Georgia Tech) – 391.55

Women’s 400 Medley Relay – Final

  1. Georgia – 3:33.23
  2. Florida State – 3:34.03
  3. Auburn – 3:35.73

Led by a 58.5 breaststroke split from Hartman and a 48.40 freestyle anchor from Maxine Parker, even after finishing just 7th in the 50 free, the Georgia women wrapped the session with a 4th straight win and an NCAA “B” standard. They’re still looking for an “A” standard to get those “B” standard relays in to the NCAA Championship meet.

Florida State was 2nd in 3:34.03, including a 58.80 breaststroke split from Kucheran and a 48.58 anchor from Rebecca Moynihan.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay – Timed Finals

  1. Florida – 3:05.77
  2. Auburn – 3:06.65
  3. FSU – 3:06.81

Kieran Smith went a perfect 4-4 tonight, as he anchored the Gators with a 41.98 to wrap up a busy night of racing. Chaney led off in 46.46, followed by Dillon Hillis (52.36) and Friese (44.97), as the Gator quartet combined for a 3:05.77.

Auburn took 2nd in 3:06.65, highlighted by a fast 50.73 breaststroke split by Reid Mikuta. Florida State finished 3rd in 3:06.81, with all three of those schools under the NCAA ‘B’ cut of 3:07.53.

Scores Through Day 1

Women

1. Georgia, University of 393
2. University of Florida 348
3. Auburn University 273
4. Florida State University 213
5. Georgia Institute of Technolog 179
6. University of Iowa 39
7. Florida Gulf Coast University 19

Men

1. University of Florida 452.5
2. Auburn University 297
3. Florida State University 271.5
4. Georgia Institute of Technolog 241
5. Georgia, University of 181

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swimdaag
1 year ago

Auburn not playing around😳

Thoughts
Reply to  swimdaag
1 year ago

Just a credence to the recruiting the last Head Coach and staff brought into Auburn. So sad that Auburn’s AD couldn’t stand up to the Alumni’s insistence that it must be an Auburn Family person leading the way. So very sad and disappointing that the precious staff weren’t given the chance to reap the benefits of their hard work. Wonder what the results would have been had they been gifted with the team that the current staff has inherited.

Aquajosh
1 year ago

That’s a PB for Mestre by a second and a half and would have put him in the NCAA A final last year.

Ledecky will go 3:55 in Paris
1 year ago

Auburn’s 200 free relay was so impressive

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