The Louisville Cardinals topped Georgia Tech on the road, with the Cardinal women sweeping all swimming races and the men winning all but one.
Tanja Kylliainen won three individual races for Louisville, but the biggest fireworks of the day came in the men’s sprint free races where Georgia Tech’s leader Andrew Kosic went head-to-head with Louisville’s best swimmer Joao de Lucca in three knock-down dragouts over the course of the meet.
De Lucca and Kosic first tangled in the 50 free, tying for the event win, a sign of the big struggle to come. Both men were 20.41 – not terribly fast for either man, but a solid time considering both teams have just returned from training trips in Florida and showed their fatigue across the board.
In the very next swimming event, with only a diving break in between, de Lucca topped Kosic in the 100 free, going 44.48 to power away from Kosic in the back half. Kosic was still 44.80 for second place.
Then, in the final event of the night, Kosic and de Lucca each led off their team’s 200 free relay, setting up a rematch of the 50 free tie from earlier. This time it was Kosic who evened the score, going 20.12. De Lucca was 20.30, faster than he was in the open race as well, and his Louisville relay emerged victorious by just three tenths.
The Louisville men won the meet 191.5-70.5 and the women took the meet 202-60
On the women’s side, Tanja Kylliainen was the powerhouse, putting up three wins and showing some big-time toughness in winning three difficult events. She took home the 200 fly (2:01.54), the 500 free (4:55.52) and the 200 IM (2:02.85), winning all three by four seconds or more.
The Cardinals asserted their dominance from the opening relay, going 1-2-3 in the 400 medley. The winning team was Krissie Brandenburg, Andrea Cottrell, Kelsi Worrell and Breann McDowell – they went 3:45.02. The Louisville B team finished in 3:53.19, touching out the C relay’s 3:53.36 before Georgia Tech’s top team got to the wall at 3:53.81.
The closing relay didn’t go quite so well for Louisville. Their top 200 free relay was disqualified when McDowell jumped early on the third leg. Even so, the B team of Alexandra Sellers, Mackenzie Buss, Hanna Cowley and Rachael Lewis stepped up to win the event for the road team in 1:37.21.
Louisville got multiple wins from three more women besides Kylliainen. Mackenzie Buss swept the backstroke races, going 57.54 to win the 100 and 2:05.64 for the 200 title and Andrea Cottrell did the same with the breaststrokes, going 1:04.16 in the 100 and 2:20.10 in the 200 to win both.
Kelsi Worrell took home the 50 free in 23.15 and also took the 100 fly with a time of 54.43. Worrell was noticeably absent from the 200 fly – a new event for her, but one she blew up in at US Winter Nationals, putting up the 3rd fastest time in the NCAA. It’s still up in the air whether she’ll swim that event at AACs and NCAAs. She’s a potential national finalist there, but Louisville is already loaded in the 200 fly with Kylliainen, who owns the 4th fastest time in college swimming, just .01 behind Worrell. More than likely, Worrell was held out today to keep her fresh for relays, but it’s worth watching moving forward how much she swims the 200 fly to help predict where she’ll enter come championship meet season.
Other winners for Louisville were Abigail Chin in the 1000 free (10:14.45), Breann McDowell in the 200 free (1:51.51) and Krissie Brandenburg in the 100 free (51.26).
On the men’s side, Kameron Chastain swept the breaststrokes for a talented Louisville breaststroke group that showed off depth, even with rising star Addison Bray fighting obvious fatigue. Chastain was 56.25 in the 100 and 2:04.96 in the 200. His teammate Thomas Dahlia took second in both races.
Bryan Draganoski won the 500 and 1000 frees, going 4:34.06 and 9:19.81. The other Louisville double winner was Grigory Tarasevich, who swept the backstrokes in 49.96 and 1:48.38.
Georgia Tech got a home win from stud freshman Ben Southern. He went 1:50.18 to eke out a gritty win in the 200 fly against a Louisville team that was absolutely rolling.
Trevor Carrol took home the 200 free for Louisville in place of his teammate and defending NCAA champ de Lucca, who focused more on sprints this weekend. Carrol was 1:40.54. Pedro Coutinho took the 100 fly easily, putting up a nice early-January time of 48.75.
The final individual event of the day was a tight race between Cardinal teammates – Evan Noble touched out Nolan Tesone in the 200 IM 1:51.19 to 1:51.21.
The Cardinal men won both relays, going 1-2 in the medley. Grigory Tarasevich was 49.19 leading off the 400 medly, almost a full second faster than his open 100 later in the night. That helped power the relay of Chastain, Aaron Young and de Lucca to the 3:19.18 win.
The 200 free relay featured that final showdown between Andrew Kosic and de Lucca on the leadoff leg. Kosic won the split, but Louisville won the relay, going 1:22.57 to the Yellow Jackets’ 1:22.80. The rest of the Cardinal relay was Carlyle Blondell, Thomas Dahlia and Trevor Carrol.
No diving events were contested at the meet. Final results available here.