Mallory Beil, Emily Sykes Improve NCAA Chances at Tennessee Last Chance Meet


  • February 26, 2021
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Short course yards (SCY)
  • Results on Meet Mobile

With conference championships running or finished, we’re in last chance meet season. Last chance meets are opportunities for swimmers to race again before the NCAA Championships, effectively ‘last chances’ for them to qualify for the meet.

On the women’s side, ACC and SEC Championships are finished, while Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12 are wrapping up this weekend as are some mid-major conferences. That’s all to say: most of the swimmers in the country have swum their last races pre-NCAAs, but there are still some swims trickling in, so people seeded outside of the top 30 or so aren’t entirely safe.

Tennessee hosted a two-session meet yesterday, with two Lady Vols putting themselves into pretty safe positions for qualification.

First up was junior Mallory Beil, who swam a 51.99 Friday evening in the 100 fly. Beil, who qualified for 2020 NCAAs (which were canceled) as a sophomore with a 52.33, was 52.11 going into this meet from her swim at the 2021 SEC Championships. That had her at 21st in the nation, which was fairly safe, and a couple-tenths ahead of the invite cut-off last year.

Beil went 52.09 Friday morning in prelims, moving her up to a tie for 20th with Northwestern’s Maddie Smith and setting a new personal best. Her 51.99 in finals, then, was another best (by a tenth), and as Pac-12 results came in, Beil’s 51.99 now settles at 21st with the new entries.

Had Beil not raced this meet, she would’ve been down at 26th. While that would’ve probably been safe for an invite, she is now even safer at 21st.

Meanwhile, Lady Vol senior Emily Sykes dropped a lifetime best 2:09.23 in the 200 breast. A new best for the 22-year-old, and her first time under 2:10, Sykes now moves to 28th in the nation. Sykes was 2:10.26 mid-season for UT, then 2:10.04 Friday morning for a new best and finally her 2:09.23 Friday night. Big Ten prelims, Pac-12 finals and Big 12 finals are coming this evening, which could see more swimmers beating her time.

Sykes still had a key move with her finals swim; with her 2:10.26 from mid-season, she would’ve been only 33rd.

There were no other NCAA-worthy times at the last chance meet, but a couple of other interesting swims.

Kentucky freshman Bridget Engel, who didn’t make the Wildcat SEC roster (Kentucky just won the SEC team title), picked up huge new bests in both breaststroke events. Engel was 1:02.98 in 2019 and 2:18.36 mid-season coming into this meet; she got down to 2:14.50 in the 200 breast prelims and 1:01.18 in the 100 breast finals. Her 100 breast time would’ve made the C-final at SECs.

Friday evening, Tennessee senior Megan Sichterman popped a 24.82 in the 50 back, a lifetime best by a tenth. That’s the fastest 50 back by a Tennessee swimmer this year.

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Bobby shmurda
2 months ago

how many people make ncaas?

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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