Lea Polonsky Wins 1st Event as Golden Bear in Session 1 of Chick-Fil-A Invite

2021 Chick-Fil-A Invitational

  • Dates: October 8-9, 2021
  • Session 1: Friday, October 8 – 11:00AM
  • Session 2: Friday, October 8 – 6:00PM
  • Session 3: Saturday, October 9 – 10:00AM
  • Fresno State Aquatic Center, Fresno, California
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Teams: Fresno State (hosts), San Diego State, San Jose State, Cal, UCLA and Washington State
  • Results: Meet Mobile (“Chick Fil A Invite 2021”)
  • Video: Mountain West Network

The 2021 Chick-Fil-A Invitational kicked off Friday morning in Fresno, where the women from three Mountain West Conference teams (Fresno State, San Diego State, and San Jose State) and three Pac-12 Conference teams (Cal, UCLA and Washington State) are meeting for some early season racing.

In the first of three sessions, Cal dominated every event. The Golden Bears swept the first three spots in the 200 medley relay; the top eight in the 500 free; the top two in the 200 IM; the top six in the 50 free; and the top three in the 200 free relay. Senior Elise Garcia won the 50 free (22.72) by .18 over freshmen teammates Ella Mazurek (22.90) and Mckenna Stone (23.13). Junior Ayla Spitz was first to the wall in the 500 free (4:52.54), ahead of freshman Fanni Fabian (4:56.42) and senior Isabel Ivey (4:57.98). Freshman Lea Polonsky led a 1-2 Cal punch in the 200 IM, touching in 2:02.77 in front of senior Robin Neumann (2:03.67).

Cal’s Isabelle Stadden (25.34), Ema Rajic (28.10), Ivey (24.04), and Garcia (22.21) produced the fastest 200 medley relay. San Diego State was only about half a body length behind for the first three legs and finished maybe 1.5 seconds behind Cal, but the Aztecs were disqualified. The winning 200 free relay was made up of Mazurek (22.96), Emily Gantriis (22.78), Garcia (22.62), and Ivey (22.49).

San Diego State was in second place at the end of the session. Senior Kristina Murphy produced the Aztecs’ top finish with a fourth in the 200 IM (2:04.40). Freshman Meredith Smithbaker and senior Klara Thormalm tied for eighth in the 50 free (23.51). Divers Emma Duggan and Ximena Lechuga Gonzalez, Summer Westmoreland, and Gillian Garcia were 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th in 3-meter diving.

UCLA had a pair of top-8 finishers in the 200 IM, with seniors Ella Kirschke (2:04.15) and Delaney Smith (2:04.49) touching 3rd and 5th.

Fresno State earned most of their points from diving, with Silvia Alessio (1st), Emilie Hingray (3rd), Yuliya Tikhaya (6th), and Ashley Martinez Vargas (7th) all finishing in the top-8 on the 3-meter boards.

Washington State earned a seventh-place finish in the 50 free from senior Chloe Larson (23.42). San Jose State’s top performance came from freshman Zsofia Muzsnay, who was ninth in the 500 free (5:02.86).

San Diego State senior Thormalm, the 2021 and 2020 MWC Swimmer of the Year, time-trialed the 100 breast and clocked a 59.18, which was just .02 slower than what she swam in prelims at 2021 NCAAs to make the B final. Teammate and fellow Swede Wilma Johansson, a sophomore, went 2:00.57 in her 200 fly time trial. That’s more than 1 second faster than she was in her 10th-place finish at 2021 MWC Championships.

Team Scores

  1. Cal – 431
  2. San Diego State – 234
  3. UCLA – 209
  4. Fresno State -148
  5. Washington State – 106
  6. San Jose State – 69


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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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