NCAA Teams Performing Well at U.S. Nationals in Irvine through Prelims Day 2


With the NCAA season spanning from about September through the end of March, it was a tight turnaround for most teams from the NCAA Championships in mid-March for the women and the end of March for the men to either go back into training hard before taper again or continuing a taper until the 2022 US International Team Trials at the end of April. As usual, some teams perform better than others, but so far through day 2 prelims in Irvine, NCAA teams seem to be looking strong.

Note: This list is not a full extensive list of each college and each of their best times/swims. Instead, this list is a highlight of some of the top swims that have stood out so far.

Here are some of the teams standing out to SwimSwam through prelims of day 2:


Rising sophomore Mariah Denigan had a huge 11.67 second drop from her seed time in the women’s 800 free on day 1 swimming a 8:31.12. Denigan ended up finishing second even though she swam in the afternoon heats of the event. Her time here was the fastest since summer of 2018 where she swam times of 8:28.15 at Nationals and a 8:30.01 at Junior Pan Pacs.

Brendan Burns swam a 1:58.86 in prelims of the men’s 200 fly before swimming a 1:58.98 in finals. His prelims swim was 2.21 seconds faster than his seed time and just off of his personal best of 1:58.46 which he swam at 2019 Summer Nationals.

Also standing out on the men’s side was rising sophomore Josh Matheny swimming a 2:10.19 in the men’s 200 breaststroke prelims session this morning. Matheny holds a best time of 2:09.40 from 2019 World Junior Champs. Since that swim though, he has been unable to sneak under the 2:11 mark like he did this morning. Matheny is the fourth seed heading into tonight’s final.

The women’s 200 breaststroke featured two Indiana swimmers swimming faster than their seed time. Mackenzie Looze swam a 2:27.49 dropping 0.11 off her seed time to be the top seed heading into tonight’s final. Noelle Peplowski dropped over two seconds to swim a 2:28.44 for the fifth seed heading into tonight’s final. Peplowski holds a best time of 2:29.48 from 2019 Summer Nationals but had been unable to dip under the 2:30 mark again until this morning. Notably, both women are already faster here than they were at US International Team Trials in April.


One of the biggest swims for Virginia was Matt King‘s 48.33 in prelims of the men’s 100 freestyle. King came in with a seed time of 48.87 which he swam less than two weeks ago. King went on to swim in finals where he swam a 48.44, tying with Zach Apple for the national title. In the last year, King has dropped over a second and a half in the event going from a 49.98 to a 48.33.

Another big swim for Virginia was Gretchen Walsh‘s 100 freestyle. Walsh swam a 54.77 in a practice suit in prelims before suiting up for finals swimming a 53.86 out of lane 1. Walsh ended up finishing second swimming her fastest time in three years. Her best time stands at a 53.74 from 2019 World Junior Champs. Her swim here was notably faster than her 55.57 that she swam at US International Team Trials in April.

Incoming freshman Claire Tuggle has also put on a show so far. Tuggle swam a 1:58.74 in the 200 free this morning to be the third seed heading into finals. That was her fastest time since 2019 Summer Nationals when she swam a 1:58.21.

Jack Aikins swam a 49.05 in prelims of the men’s 100 free. Aikins has dropped from a 49.98 last summer to a 49.05 this summer.

Ohio State

Amy Fulmer has continued to drop time for the Buckeyes. On night 1, Fulmer swam a 54.57 100 freestyle to win the B final. Fulmer has now dropped almost a second in the event over the last year going from a 55.41 to a 54.57. Notably, Fulmer swam the event at International Team Trials swimming a 55.54.

Like Fulmer, Kit Kat Zenick has also had success in the 100 free over the last year. Zenick swam a 55.23 in finals here to finish 14th. She has dropped over half a second in the last year going from a 55.89 to a 55.23.


Auburn’s Mason Mathias swam a 1:49.71 in prelims of the 200 free marking his first time ever under the 1:50 mark. He had. previous best of 1:50.92 from July 2021.

Mikkel Gadgaard also had a nice 200 free swimming a 1:49.60. That was his first time under the 1:50 mark since swimming a 1:49.68 at 2019 Summer Nationals.

Michael Bonson also had a huge swim with a 1:49.74. That was over three seconds faster than his best time of 1:52.79 from last summer and his fastest time since swimming a 1:51.86 back at 2019 Summer Junior Nationals.


In the women’s 800 freestyle, Kathryn Ackerman and Kathryn Shanley combined to drop over 15 seconds. Ackerman swam a 8:46.17 to finish 15th in the event. Shanley swam a 8:47.22, over nine seconds faster than her previous best of 8:56.72 which she swam in May of this year.

Rising fifth year Jared Daigle swam a 2:01.77 this morning in the men’s 200 back. That was much faster than his 2:03.95 which he swam in prelims at International Team Trials.

Connor Hunt swam a best time of 1:58.79 in the men’s 200 fly in prelims yesterday. Hunt has progressed from a 2:02.47 to a 1:58.79 in the last year.

Other Notable Swims:

  • Dakota Luther has now transferred to Texas and swam a personal best in the women’s 200 fly winning the national title in a 2:07.02 last night
  • NC State’s Will Gallant dropped almost 15 seconds in the men’s 1500 free to win in a 14:57.08
  • Gabi Albiero of Louisville swam a 54.39 to finish third in the women’s 100 free on night 1. She has dropped from a 55.85 to a 54.39 in the last year. Notably, she swam a 55.29 at International Team Trials
  • Chloe Stepanek of Texas A&M swam a 54.68 in prelims of the 100 free and a 1:59.49 in prelims of the 200 free. She swam a 55.22 and a 2:00.10 in both events at International Team Trials
  • Incoming freshman at Tennessee Nick Simons swam a 1:58.48 dropping over two seconds off his seed time in the men’s 200 back this morning.
  • Gabriel Jett won the men’s 200 fly in a 1:54.37 dropping over two seconds off his seed time. He swam a 1:56.58 at International Team Trials
  • Jake Mitchell who will be joining Florida this fall swam a 1:47.29 in the 200 free, over a second faster than his previous best of 1:48.63
  • Jake Newmark of Wisconsin dropped from his best time of 1:50.50 to a 1:48.58 in the 200 free

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1lane over
6 months ago

Could have sworn Mizzou has swimmers at this meet…

Forks Up
6 months ago

How about ASU?? Looney second in 2 fly, Matheson 4th in the mile, Kharun 2nd in the fly, Sammon C final champ in 100 free, Foelske C final champ in 2 fly… just on the first day. Certainly one of the top 4 teams so far

6 months ago

Georgia men with two top seeds for tonight

Swim Fanatic
6 months ago

How about them Mustangs 🐎

6 months ago

Florida has had some pretty substantial time drops. Gator Jake Mitchell dropped a second from his 200 free today to go 1:47.2. Yesterday, they put two in the final of the men’s 200 fly with Kevin Vargas (watch for him in the IMs) dropping from a 2:01.0 to a 1:58.1, and Mason Laur dropped from a 1:59.2 to a 1:57.6. Their best 200 flyer (Jace Crawford) isn’t even at the meet. Elise Bauer dropped from an 8:43 to a 8:37 in the 800 free yesterday which bodes really well for her 1500. Dillon Hillis dropped from a 2:14.5 to a 2:12.6 in the 200 breast with his better event yet to come. Vargas again 2:15.6 to 2:13.9 this morning, and… Read more »

6 months ago

No Cal

Former Big10
6 months ago

Thoughts on Stanford, UF, NCST, Texas, Georgia, etc?

Albiero is looking sharp. Stanford pretty hit/miss, their women look better than the men? Very surprised Minakov was so far off. NCST has had some good swims, one great one. Texas seems to be swimming pretty well, nothing insane, but solid.

Will be easier to gauge after tomorrow.

Reply to  Former Big10
6 months ago

probably need more swims to judge some of the programs. The thing is that some teams just seem to have a lot of scy studs and are pretty meh in summer and then sometimes you have the opposite when some swimmer appears to swim way above their scy ability.

NC Fan
Reply to  Former Big10
6 months ago

If you are only counting swimmers still at State / training in Raleigh I think the Pack did the mic drop and exited stage left with Willie G having the only swim and standing atop the podium. The European current-Wolfies (any beside Nyls, Kacper, Andrea…since Sophie is in the UK now?) have a high bar set for them next month.

6 months ago

How bout dem 〽️innesota Gophers aye!

Old Swimmer
Reply to  B1Guy!
6 months ago

Day 1 was great; day 2 not so great

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Government & Law and Economics at Lafayette College. There she is …

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