Michigan’s Devon Kitchel Drops 1.5 Seconds in a Week in the 200 IM to Book NCAA Ticket

2024 Ohio State Last Chance Meet (WOMEN)

  • March 3, 2024
  • McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, Columbus, Ohio
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2024 Last Chance Qualifier-Women” or search “Columbus”

University of Michigan sophomore Devon Kitchel went into hostile territory at Ohio State on Sunday and came away with an NCAA qualification time in the 200 IM.

After swimming 1:57.37 and finishing 7th at the Big Ten Championships, an extra week of rest did wonders for Kitchel. She dropped all the way to 1:55.78, which is a best time by about six-tenths over what she did at last year’s Big Ten Championship meet.

That time would have easily qualified for last year’s NCAA Championship meet and jumps her to 20th in the country this season. With women’s invites coming out this week, that’s a lock for an NCAA Invite.

Last season, Kitchel had trouble with the double taper – going 1:59.59 for 54th place at NCAAs, though with a fresh coaching staff this year, we don’t know what the patterns will be this season.

The meet featured swimmers from Michigan, Denver, Ohio, Akron, and the hosts Ohio State. For their part, the Buckeyes did a lot to improve their own NCAA Championship qualifications as well.

In the 100 fly, Morgan Kraus swam 51.76 and Tristan Harrison swam 51.98, both of which are under the 52.20 that was invited last year. Kraus’ previous season-best was 52.00, and this drop moved her from 37th in the country to 26th, which means from “on the bubble” to “good to go.”

Harrison also improved from her  52.03 at Big Tens. While the drop was just .05 seconds, that moves her from 38th in the NCAA to 37th in the NCAA this season. With 36-40 usually taken each season per event, every spot makes a difference.

Another Buckeye Kyra Sommerstad improved her qualifying position with a small drop. In the 400 IM, she swam 4:11.00 at the Tim Welsh Classic at the end of February, 4:11.24 at Big Tens, and then 4:10.74 on Sunday morning. That .26 seconds moves her from a tie-for-38th in the NCAA this season to sole possession of 38th in the NCAA this season. It’s entirely-possible that this becomes a tie-breaker for last spot in.

Other Notable Results:

  • Ohio University’s Zita Szoke swam 48.30 in the 100 free, giving herself a shot at an NCAA invite. She now ranks tied-for-39th in the NCAA this season. At least one swimmer (Queens’ Danielle Melilli) isn’t eligible for NCAAs this season, and a few others (like Texas’ Olivia Bray or maybe Stanford’s Lillie Nordmann) are unlikely to choose the race. That puts her on the bubble. If she earns an invite, it would be the first NCAA appearance for the Ohio women since Addison Ferguson swam at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
  • Ohio State’s Reese Dehen swam 2:10.29 in the 200 breaststroke. That’s a best time by half-a-second and concludes almost a three-second improvement during her junior season.
  • Akron went after an NCAA “A” cuts in the 200 free and 200 medley relays, but never got closer than 1:37.70 in the medley. They swam 1:37.44 at the MAC Championships, and the “B” cut is 1:37.00.

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1 month ago

Devon has worked so hard. Great job!

Swim mom
1 month ago

Best of luck to Zita of Ohio.

1 month ago

Hoping swimswam can do a last chance qualifier tracker (and compare against the last person to make it in each event who qualified at mid season or conference meet

B1G Fan
1 month ago

I think 1:37.00 is a “B” cut.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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