White 156-Orange 127 (Texas Intrasquad)
The Texas ‘White’ squad topped their ‘Orange’ teammates on Saturday at Texas’ season-opening intrasquad meet, and Senior Nick D’Innocenzo was clearly the standout. The Longhorns need big things from him this year if they want to finish in the top 2 at NCAA’s for a 6th-straight season, and if this meet is any indication, then he’s ready to deliver. He took wins in the 200 IM (1:50.48), 200 breast (2:03.63), and 100 breast (56.70). Those times aren’t quite as good as he was at this same meet last season, but they’re within the range enough to be satisfying.
In other action in Austin, sophomore Clay Youngquist (1:38.47) beat defending NCAA Champion Dax Hill (1:39.30) to win the 200 free: those two should be a formidable pair for the Longhorns at NCAA’s, and keep them in the hunt to repeat as 800 free relay champions. Hill reversed the tables in the 100 free, winning 44.75-44.91 over Youngquist.
In both races, there was a significant dropoff to third, showing that head coach Eddie Reese still has a lot of work to do this year in what could be a bit of a rebuilding after the graduation of Jimmy Feigen.
One of the biggest potential holes in the Longhorns’ lineup this season is the butterflies; they were already thin last year, and then the transfer of Woody Joye and graduation of Neil Caskey and Feigen left them even moreso. Sophomore Tripp Cooper, though, got his season off to a very good start by winning in 48.71; Hill was 2nd in 49.56. Cooper also won the 50 free in 20.81, ahead of freshman John Murray in 20.93. Cooper’s first year in Austin got off to a slow start, but he came on like a bullet-train in February and March, and could be one of the Longhorns’ surprise performers this season.
Maybe the most encouraging swims of the whole meet were from distance swimmer Michael McBroom. He swam a 4:29.14 in the 500 free and a 9:14.86 in the 1000. After a tough 2011-2012 NCAA season, the former 1650 Champion already looks like he’s ready for a very good senior season.
Stanford 162.5, San Jose St. 135.5
With only a short time to get used to each other, the new Stanford women’s coaching duo of Greg Meehan and Tracy Duchac grabbed their first collegiate victories with a win over San Jose St.
The Cardinal, swimming predominantly off-events, finishing first in 12 of 16 events (with one exhibition, giving them 11 wins officially).
The versatile Maya DiRado, for whom it’s difficult to find an “off event,” took two wins in the meet. The first came in the 200 free, where she swam a 1:50.67. That bettered Andi Murez (1:50.81) and Andie Taylor (1:50.95).
DiRado would then fight her way to a tie for first-place in the 100 fly in 56.25, matching San Jose St. junior Ashlyn Acosta. Acosta actually won this race at this season-opening dual meet last season, as well.
Freshman Julia Anderson got a nice boost to her confidence by grabbing her first college win. The 100/200 freestyler also has some chops in the 500, which is where she picked up the victory on Friday. She did so in especially spectacular fashion, putting on a great comeback to blow by the Spartans’ Amy Friedhoff. Anderson had almost a two-second deficit headed into the last 100 yards, but closed in a very good 55.71 to overcome for the victory. Anderson’s final touch was 5:01.01, with Friedhoff 2nd in 5:05.66.
Stanford’s sprint breaststroke group, a tough spot for them last year, also looked good early. Katie Olsen, who missed most of her freshman season, split a 28.61 on Stanford’s A-relay, and freshman Sarah Haase was a 29.03 on the B. Also in those relays, Annemarie Thayer split a 25.83 on the backstroke, Haley Sims split a 25.64 on the butterfly, and sophomore star Maddy Schaefer already split a 22.66 on the freestyle anchor. Those marks are flying for this early in the year.
San Jose St. will leave this meet pleased with their performance; there was a middle-stretch where they won 4 out of 6 events. That includes a 51.60 in the 100 free from Marisa Dewames, who anchored their 400 free relay in 49.95 (the only split under 50 seconds in the event, and almost a full second faster than Schaefer did).
Women: Tennessee 195, UNC-Wilmington 99
Men: Tennessee 175, UNC-Wilmington 118
As the Tennessee Volunteers kick off their first season as a combined program, a great weekend on the shores of North Carolina included their first wins of the season, as well as some important team bonding. With the new co-ed program, and huge freshman classes, this was an important trip to bond, as the team’s spent time training on the beach, getting surf lessons, and simply learning about themselves.
In the pool, there were a lot of off-swims at this meet. Butterflier Kelsey Floyd won the 1000 free for the 2nd-straight season, breaking her own Pool Record by 2 seconds in 10:08.23. We got our first taste of freshman sprint standout Faith Johnson, who anchored Tennessee’s 200 medley relay, but unfortunately a scoreboard malfunction kept from an accurate recording of her split.
In the 400 free relay, Lindsay Gendron had a strong lead-off split for the Volunteers of 50.88.
On the men’s side, freshman Tristan Slater got his career off to a good start with a 1:53.59 victory in the 200 IM.
Women: Michigan 157, Wisconsin 143
Men: Michigan 172.5, Wisconsin 115.5
Just like Tennessee, Michigan began their combined era with matching victories over the weekend, as they topped Wisconsin in Ann Arbor.
Oddly enough, it’s been years since the Michigan and Wisconsin women have faced off in a dual meet, but needless to say this was a surprise victory for the Wolverines and an encouraging start to Mike Bottom’s work with them. Afterall, Wisconsin was 4th at Big Tens last year and Michigan only 8th.
The Michigan women sealed the meet with a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 IM, led by Courtney Beidler in 2:04.44. That’s already the third-best time of her career. Adrienne Bicek, the most note-worthy returning name on this Michigan team, won the 500 free in 4:57.24.
In a great matchup of freshman, Wisconsin’s Jenny Holtzen (10:07.17) outlasted a furious finish from Michigan’s Jessica Wolf (10:09.18). Bicek was 3rd in that race in 10:09.38.
Despite the final score, Wisconsin had great swims at the top of their lineup, but lost many points on depth. They won both relays, including the establishment of the Martin sisters (Ruby and Ivy) as a great set of relay bookends. They each swam 50-points in that relay.
Also for the Badgers, Rebecka Palm won both butterfly events – including a 55.95 in the 100. She was one of a handful of swimmers on the weekend nationwide to crack 56 seconds in the event already.
On the men’s side, a Michigan team that is refocused after a weeklong suspension performed spectacularly. Newcomer Zack Turk, a senior transfer from Division III Kenyon College, showed his value to this Michigan team early. He won the 50 free in 20.23, was 2nd in the 100 in 45.69, and had relay splits of 19.41 and 44.97 in the same on rolling starts. Coupled with sophomore Bruno Ortiz, who was 2nd in the 50 in 20.48 and won the 100 in 45.44, the Michigan sprinters looked sharp at this meet.
Olympic finalist Connor Jaeger is easing back into the post-London swing with wins in the 500 (4:30.32) and 1000 (9:18.16). Those aren’t spectacular swims, but he’s on a bit of a different timeline than most of the college swimmers.
In more big swims for new additions to this Michigan team, freshman Peter Brumm and Hassaan Abdel-Khalik, returning from an Olympic redshirt, went 1:38.75-1:38.92 for the top two spots in the 200 free. Michael Wynalda, who scored in the race at NCAA’s last year, was 4th in 1:40.48.
Another freshman, Dylan Bosch, also left a big mark by sweeping the butterflies in 48.92/1:46.77. Other winners included Richard Funk in the 100 breaststroke in 55.23, and Kyle Whitaker in the 200 IM in 1:50.21.
The Wolverine men looked spectacular. Wisconsin was without their star Michael Weiss, but those who were in attendance looked fairly good themselves. Drew Teduits won the 200 back in 1:47.87, and Daniel Lester was a 49.19 in the 100 fly for 2nd behind Bosch.
San Diego St. 146, UNLV 143
The coaches of the Mountain West Conference picked San Diego St. to win the conference title this season, and with their conference slate kicking off very early, thus far they look like they may have been right – but just barely. The Aztecs tipped the UNLV Rebels by three points on Saturday in Southern California. The Aztecs went to exhibition swims for the last three races of the day, which led to the evening-up of the score.
The only taste we got of SDSU’s star Katelyn Weddle was in the 200 medley relay, where she split a 29.19 en route to the team’s winning time of 1:45.72. Wisconsin transfer Maddy Dalcamo gave the Aztecs another win in the 100 free, with a 53.05.
UNLV will try not to read too far into their performances at their first meet. Katelyn Herrington, who finished 14th at NCAA’s in the 100 fly last year, was 2nd here in only 58.39, behind a 56.26 from SDSU’s Carmen Robb in 56.26.