Longhorns Improve NCAA Chances, SMU Record Falls, at American Short Course Champs Day 1

2023 American Short Course Championships

The American Short Course Championship meet has never been a USA Swimming-recognized championship meet. However, it often has served as a combination last chance meet for college swimmers and a chance for both teenage club swimmers and professionals to throw down some big times, including Ricky Berens’ American Record in the 200 free in 2013 and Abbey Weitzeil’s record in the 50 free in 2016.

In recent years, the event has been scaled down to a small last chance meet for a few college teams, and we haven’t seen as many big swims. But the hosts Texas Longhorns made the most of today’s finals session, as three men greatly improved their chances at qualifying for the NCAA Championships with some strong swims. The biggest action didn’t come in the official events, but rather in a flurry of time trials after the normal schedule was complete. Teammate Carson Foster was live-tweeting the meet as part of an assignment for a class, and we’ve included a few of his takes as well.

Fifth year Braden Vines struck the first blow with a 3:41.86 in a solo 400 IM time trial. His previous season-best was a 3:42.47, and tonight’s swim appears to move him up from #25 nationally to #21.

Next, Chris O’Connor hit a new lifetime best in a 200 back time trial, clocking a 1:40.21. His previous best of 1:40.47 came at this meet last year. Coming into today, he’s been 1:40.65 so far this season, which put him 27th nationally and quite possibly out of qualifying range after Pac-12s and any other last chance meets from this weekend. He now moves up to 19th nationally, essentially guaranteeing his NCAA invite.

Teammate Ethan Harder swam 1:41.15 in the same time trial, a few tenths off of his season-best time of 1:40.79, which has him ranked 30th overall. Harder has previously qualified for NCAAs several times, but has yet to swim at the championship meet since Texas has routinely qualified more than the 16-18 swimmers they can bring.

Sam Artmann also climbed the national rankings with a 1:42.16 in the 200 fly time trial. He now also has an almost-guaranteed invite with a #19 ranking, whereas he sat at #31 previously with a 1:42.63.

But it wasn’t just Longhorns swimming fast tonight. Colin Feehery of Southern Methodist University improved his NCAA qualifying position, and blasted a new school record, with a time of 1:52.06 in the 200 breast. He was on the bubble of an invite with a #27 position in the 400 IM, but he now moves up to #15 in the 200 breast, just ahead of Texas’ Jake Foster.

UNC set a squad to the meet, and the trip proved worthwhile, as they picked up a NCAA ‘A’ cut in the 800 free relay. Patrick Hussey led off in 1:34.16, a new lifetime best, then Louis Dramm (1:33.99), Tomas Sungalia (1:33.90), and Noah Rutberg (1:33.92) swam a trio of sub-1:34 splits for a total time of 6:15.97. That’s not far off the Tar Heel school record of 6:15.54, done at the UNC Last Chance meet last season. UNC doesn’t appear to have any other relays qualified, so look for them to swim a few more over the next two days.

Of course, there was an actual final session, albeit scaled-down, before the flurry of fast time trials.

Texas sophomore Jackson Huckabay went 4:19.29 in the 500 free prelims this morning, a few seconds off of his lifetime best, and then scratched out the final. In the championship final tonight, Texas A&M’s Trey Dickey won a close race against Longhorn Manning Haskal. Dickey stayed on Haskal’s hip the entire race, but then bore down on the final 50 to get past Haskal and win 4:22.22 to 4:22.35.

Longhorn freshman Spencer Aurnou-Rhees got under 1:45 for the first time to win the 200 IM in a time of 1:44.72, while SMU’s Lance Butler won the 50 free with a 19.65.

A few minute later, Butler improved that time with a 19.60 leading off SMU’s 200 free relay. The Mustangs touched first in 1:18.21, ahead of a ASU quartet that was competing here while the bulk of the team is at the Pac-12 Championships.

The action continues tomorrow with the traditional Day 2 championship schedule, presumably

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2 months ago


2 months ago

UNC also got A cut in 800 free relay time trial

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