A trio of big club meets last weekend across the state of Texas produced high level swims from across the spectrum of athletes. There were noteworthy performances both by professional swimmers, as well as collegiate and age groupers.
Texas Senior Circuit Meet #3
- June 23-25
- College Station, Texas
- Long Course Meters (50m), Prelims/Finals
- Results on Meet Mobile: “2022 Texas Senior Circuit Long Course Meet #3”
A pair of pros eschewed the meet in Austin in favor of the Texas Senior Circuit event in College Station last weekend. They were joined by a group of Texas A&M undergrads, some members of the SMU team, and top club swimmers from around the state at the Texas A&M Rec Center Natatorium.
The Senior Circuit tour uses Sectionals Time Standards to provide a high-level prelims-finals long course meet schedule throughout the summer season.
On the men’s side of the pool, US National Team member Sam Stewart won three events. That included a 1:59.76 in his primary race, the 200 IM. He finished 3rd in that race at Aprils International Team Trials, just-missing the US World Championship Team.
Last weekend he also swam the 200 back (1:59.70), prelims of the 400 IM (4:24.94), and the 50 back, where he posted a new lifetime best of 25.36. He skipped the 100 back at the Senior Circuit meet.
The women’s meet was headlined by another US National Teamer, Dakota Luther. Recently-returned to her hometown of Austin after four years at Georgia, Luther is committed to swim her 5th season of collegiate eligibility next season for the Longhorns.
She swam, and won, the 100 fly (1:00.07) and her best event the 200 fly (2:10.73), in addition to a 4:28.06 in the 400 free. This meet appeared to be much more of an ‘in-training’ affair for her than her first outing in Austin, where she swam 2:07 in the 200 fly while training with her mom’s Masters group.
She was joined at the meet by future Texas Longhorn Jillian Cox, who had the best individual swim on the women’s side of the meet. She won the 200 free in 2:00.57, which is a personal best,
Her previous best time in the event was a 2:01.04 done at the August 2021 Speedo Summer Championships – West meet. At May’s International Team Trials, she swam 2:01.97 to place 21st overall (swimming out of the junior-designated C final).
Cox added wins in the 400 free (4:14.34) and 800 free (8:44.60), though neither were best times. She didn’t win, but did pick up best times, in the 50 free (27.09) and 100 free (56.73). She swam “up” from the 200 into the distance events at April’s International Team Trials, so her previous personal bests in those races were a little tougher than in the sprints.
Among the swimmers she beat in the 200 free was Texas A&M’s Chloe Stepanek. Stepanek, who finished 3rd at the SEC Championships in February in the yards version of the race, was 2nd last weekend in 2:00.87. That was about a second short of her personal best in the race.
Stepanek won the 100 free (55.77), 100 back (1:02.81), and 200 back (2:14.64 in prelims) at the meet. She posted personal bests in the 50 back (30.06), 200 back, and 50 fly (27.70).
Other Highlight Swims:
- Former Big Ten Champion Miranda Tucker, who now trains near Dallas with Texas Ford Aquatics, won the 50 breaststroke in 31.69 and the 200 breaststroke in 2:33.16. She hasn’t raced much during the long course season, and both of those swims are season-bests. SHe finished 2nd in the 100 breast behind Texas A&M swimmer Charlotte Longbottom (1:09.75).
- SMU’s Colin Feehery, who was 34th at NCAAs in March in the 400 IM, posted a new long course personal best in the event in 4:28.31. That took a big chunk out of his previous best of 4:34 done in 2018. He also swam 2:15.02 to win the 200 breast and 2:04.60 to place 2nd in the 200 IM.
- His SMU teammate Angus Corbeau also swam a pair of personal best times: 2:17.19 in the 200 breaststroke and 2:06.80 in the 200 IM. He is the younger brother of NCAA All-American and 2022 World Championship finalist in the 200 breast Caspar Corbeau.
- Texas A&M rising sophomore Trey Dickey won the 200 fly in 2:01.28. He is the 16th-best American teenager in that event this season thanks to a time about three-tenths faster at Trials in April.
- Lakeside’s Cooper Lucas, a rising high school junior and one of the top recruits in the class of 2024, won the 400 free (3:57.08) and 400 IM (4:25.41), though neither was a best time. He did swim a few best times in secondary events, though: a 2:06.45 in the 200 back and a 55.99 in the 100 fly.
- Levi Sandidge, who is off to swim at Kentucky in the fall, put up a pile of best times. That included a 15:37.90 in the 1500 free, his best event, for the win. He also swam personal bests in secondary events in the 200 breast (2:22.64), and 200 fly (2:15.85).
2022 TXLA Texas Open
- June 24-26, 2022
- University of Texas Swim Center
- Long Course Meters (50m), Timed Finals
Meanwhile in Austin, a handful of Texas undergrads showed up to get some racing in at a primarily-age group meet at the University of Texas.
On the men’s side, that includes Texas pro Will Licon, who won the 200 breaststroke in 2:12.51.
In the 200 IM, he had a showdown with rising Texas senior Jake Foster. The two traded leads early, with Licon, a breaststroke specialist, opening up a three-quarters-of-a-second gap after the breaststroke leg. Foster, though, is a good breaststroker too, and split 34.16 to keep contact with Licon’s 33.89.
Foster, though, had way more juice in the closing leg, outsplitting Licon by almost a second to win the race 2:00.09-2:00.34.
Licon beat out Foster in the 200 breast, where he swam 2:14.40.
NCAA Champion Daniel Krueger also raced at the meet, posting times of 22.83 in the 50 free and 49.64 in the 100 free. He was 8th (22.35) and 9th (48.65) in those events, respectively, at the International Team Trials in April.
On the women’s side, the top performer was Grace Cooper, who won the 50 free in 25.58 and the 100 free in 55.86. That matches her season best from April’s Pro Swim Series meet in San Antonio as her fastest time since 2019. It is also faster than she was at the International Team Trials earlier this year.
Her Texas teammate Morgan Brophy was 2nd in 26.44.
South Texas AAAA George Block Invitational
- June 23-26, 2022
- Northside ISD Swim Center and Natatorium
- Long Course Meters (50m), Prelims/Finals
There were no high-profile college or professional swimmers at the George Block Invitational in San Antonio, but there were a handful of standout swims by high schoolers and age groupers.
Most notably, that includes 16-year old Kalvin Hahn, who was visiting from GOAL Aquatics in Omaha.
Hahn picked up his first Winter US Open cut in the 100 breaststroke via a 1:04.09 prelims swim. His previous best time in that event was a 1:06.09, two seconds slower. He dropped half-a-second in the 100 yard breaststroke during the short course season, so this bigger drop in long course could be indicative of a breakout-to-come at Army-West Point. The Black Knights gave up 46 points to their rivals from Navy in the 100 breaststroke, but dominated the 200 breaststroke with a 1-2-4 finish at the Patriot League Championships.
That makes Hahn a great fit for the team’s strengths, as he already has both short course and long course US Open qualifying times in the 200 breaststroke. Over the weekend, he won the 200 breast in 2:19.77, which was a season-best but not lifetime best swim for him.
He also added personal bests in the 200 IM (2:08.66), 400 IM (4:33.73), and 50 breast (30.17).
The one breaststroke race that Hahn didn’t win was the 100, where Brayden Mandacina of the host Alamo Area Aquatic Association touched first in 1:04.75 in finals. Like Hahn, he was faster in prelims with a personal best of 1:04.30.
Mandacina showed off his versatility with best times in the 100 fly (56.74) and 200 fly (2:09.64) as well.
Other Highlight Swims:
- Alexander Thomas of the Dads Club Swim Team in Houston swam 2:30.24 in the 200 meter backstroke. That is the fastest time in the country by an 11-year old so far this season. He also swam times of 2:12.61 in the 200 free, 2:31.82 in the 200 IM, 1:10.66 in the 100 back, and 1:08.78 in the 100 fly.