MINNESOTA V. PURDUE V. WISCONSIN
- January 23, 2021
- Madison, WI
- Short course yards (SCY)
Wisconsin hosted its first-ever meet in the brand new Soderholm Family Aquatic Center, as match-ups were competitive pretty much across the board in this Big Ten tri. Overall an impressive meet from all three programs, Max McHugh of Minnesota stole the show with the nation’s #1 time in the 100 breast and the T-3rd-fastest 50 breast split in history on the 200 medley relay.
- Wisconsin 191.5, Purdue 104.5
- Wisconsin 163, Minnesota 133
- Minnesota 173, Purdue 127
- Notable absences
- Purdue: Maizie Seidl
- Minnesota: Grace Bennin, Abbey Kilgallon, Patricia Van Law, Joy Zhu
- Wisconsin: Tereza Vithoulkas
Wisconsin freshman star Phoebe Bacon led the charge for the Badgers, securing their first home win in the new natatorium.
Bacon tripled up individually, posting wins in the 100 back (52.27), 200 back (1:53.87) and 200 IM (1:57.80). She won the 100 back by almost two seconds and the other two races by almost four. Bacon now sits #13 nationally in the 200 back and T-14th in the 100 back.
Another freshman, Emily Ecker, had a big debut yesterday; she first won the 1000 free (9:51.63), then returned to claim the 500 free (4:50.70). She went her first lifetime best in the 1000 since 2017, chopping over five seconds off of her old best.
Wisconsin’s fly group was dominant yesterday, led by Alex Reddington. The senior won the 100 fly (54.59) and 200 fly (1:58.83), as Wisconsin took the top two spots in the 100 and the top three in the 200. Freshman Kaylyn Schoof was the 100 fly runner-up (55.05) and she placed third in the 200 fly (2:00.68) behind Reddington and sophomore Mikayla Seigal (1:59.98).
Lillie Hosack nearly tripled up, too, for the Badgers. She won the 100 free and 200 free, going 49.60 in the 100 and 1:46.98 in the 200.
Hosack was denied the win in the 50 free, though, by Minnesota freshman Indy Jongman. The Dutch sprinter won the 50 in 22.98 ahead of Hosack (23.14), and she was the 100 free runner-up (49.78). She also split 22.21 anchoring Minnesota’s B 200 medley relay.
Sprint free was a weaker point for the Gophers last season, as they touched just eighth in both of the shorter free relays at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. Jongman was 50.22 leading off Minnesota’s 400 free relay yesterday, though, which already looks nearly as strong as their 2020 Big Ten relay; Jongman, Jordan McGinty (50.11), freshman Pyper Doo (50.45) and Olivia Bloomer (50.44) won the relay yesterday in 3:21.22, less than two seconds off of their 2020 Big Ten time.
Minnesota sophomore Emma Lezer was another standout performer for the Gophers. First, she split 27.55 breast on Minnesota’s 200 medley relay, lifting them to the relay win (1:39.36). She would go on to sweep the breaststroke events, going 1:00.63 in the 100 and 2:13.85 in the 200 and coming within tenths of lifetime bests in both.
2019 NCAA champion in the 1-meter, Sarah Bacon, is back off of a redshirt season for Minnesota; she won the 1-meter (349.15) and 3-meter (369.60) yesterday.
Purdue was led by sophomore Kate Beavon, who picked up second-place outings in the 1000 free (9:56.05) and 500 free (4:52.47), while sophomore Riley Kishman (1:01.47) and freshman Masy Folcik (1:01.79) went 2-3 in the 100 breast. Senior Natalie Myers also snagged a runner-up finish in the 200 IM (2:01.76), and diver Emily Bretscher was second to Bacon on both boards.
- Wisconsin 165, Minnesota 135
- Wisconsin 153, Purdue 147
- Purdue 176, Minnesota 124
- Notable absences
- Minnesota: Aidan Dillon, Cale Berkoff, Tim Sates
- Wisconsin: Matthew Hillmer, Matt Novinski, Graham Miotke, Frank Niziolek
- Purdue: Nikola Bjelajac
Minnesota junior Max McHugh was an absolute force yesterday, his meet highlighted by the nation’s #1 time in the 100 breast (50.63) and a monstrous 22.69 breast split on Minnesota’s 200 medley relay.
His time in the 100 breast brings him just .33 off of his lifetime best from 2019 NCAAs, while his 22.69 split ties him with former Tennessee star Peter John Stevens for the #3 performer slot in history. On a legal medley relay, only Carsten Vissering (22.58) and Chuck Katis (22.64) have ever been faster.
McHugh is now the only swimmer in the NCAA under 51.3 this season in the 100 breast. He also won the 200 breast yesterday, going 1:53.78 for the #7 time in the NCAA. Shadowed by McHugh in the 100, Purdue’s Trent Pellini put up a solid 52.43, which ties him for #12 nationally with Louisville’s Evgenii Somov. McHugh was also 44.78 leading off Minnesota’s runner-up 400 free relay at the meet’s end.
The medley relay had more fireworks, too: Purdue’s Nikola Acin dropped the hammer on their A relay anchor leg, churning out an 18.71. He flew by Minnesota and Wisconsin, helping Purdue to the win at 1:26.00 ahead of the Badgers (1:26.33) and Gophers (1:26.88). Pellini was also 23.42 on Purdue’s breast leg in that relay, while Wisconsin had the best back leg in Wes Jekel (21.96) and the best fly leg in Erik Gessner (20.77). Acin would’ve been the third-best 200 medley relay anchor at the 2020 Big Ten Championships with his split yesterday, and Purdue’s 1:26.00 is the best time in the Big Ten this season and their third-best showing in program history.
Huge relay swims aside, Wisconsin picked up wins over both Purdue and Minnesota, powered by a slew of glowing performances from their freshman class.
Jake Newmark kicked things off for the Badger rookies, winning the 200 free by almost a second in a lifetime best 1:35.77. He edged out his old best by .11. In the 200 back, he torched his old best by three seconds, winning the event with a time of 1:44.79. Newmark added a third lifetime best leading off Wisconsin’s third-place 400 free relay, hitting a 44.46 to take three-tenths off of his old best.
Andrew Benson was another freshman with lights-out swims for Wisconsin. He was touched out in his first race, the 50 free, by Acin; Acin touched in 19.53 (#14 nationally) to Benson’s 19.85, but it was still Benson’s first time under 20 seconds ever. In the 100 free, Benson muscled out the win with a time of 43.43 over Acin’s 43.56, taking over a half-second off of his old best there.
In the 200 IM, Benson destroyed his old best by over three seconds, unearthing a 1:46.64 to lead a Wisconsin 1-2-3 with sophomore Jekel (1:48.40) and junior Caleb Aman (1:49.41). Earlier in the meet Jekel won the 100 back (47.11) and finished second in the 100 fly (47.35) behind teammate Gessner (47.25). Gessner was also the runner-up in the 100 back behind Jekel (48.19).
Freshman Jude Williams had a strong meet, too, finishing second in the 500 free (4:25.57) behind Auburn transfer Josh Dannhauser (4:24.64). Williams and Dannhauser finished third and second, respectively, in the 1000 free; Dannhauser was 9:07.95 and Williams 9:13.68.
The 1000 free went to Minnesota first-year Sawyer Grimes, one of the Gophers’ strongest rookies. Grimes won in 9:03.21, while he went a lifetime best for second in the 200 back (1:45.79) behind Wisconsin’s Newmark. In the 500 free, Grimes went 4:28.20 for third behind Dannhauser and Williams. Kaiser Neverman and redshirt freshman Lucas Farrar were two other bright spots for the Gophers, as Neverman won the 200 fly (1:46.59) and split 19.7 on Minnesota’s medley anchor, and Farrar went 20.14 to take third in the 50 free and split 44.0 on Minnesota’s 400 free relay.
It’s exciting to see some life in the Gophers’ sprint group after they finished last in the 400 free relay and second-to-last in the 200 free relay at the 2020 Big Ten Championships, and they only had one man under 20 seconds in the 50 and one under 45 in the 100 last season. Like their women, they look a lot stronger this year in the sprint free.
Purdue was also powered yesterday by wins on both boards, with Greg Duncan in the 1-meter (380.45) and Brandon Loschiavo in the 3-meter (379.65). Freshman Coleman Modglin contributed for the Boilers, too, with a runner-up finish in the 200 breast (1:59.12) and a third-place effort in the 100 breast (55.08), while junior Nick Sherman added a runner-up touch in the 200 free (1:36.57) and a 43.43 400 free relay anchor.
That’s Sherman’s first time under 1:40, a massive swim for him; he’s predominantly a breaststroker/IMer. Purdue won that final relay in 2:55.32, getting a 43.25 lead-off from Acin.