Purdue’s Meitz Drops 4:36 500 Free on Day 1 of Purdue Invitational

2017 PURDUE INVITATIONAL

MEN’S HIGHLIGHTS:

The Florida Gators kicked off the first night of finals at the 2017 Purdue Invitational with a Pool Record in the 200 free relay. Sprint ace Caeleb Dressel was the leadoff man, getting the ball rolling in a nation-leading 18.66, taking down his season best by nearly a half second. He combined with teammates Jan Switkowski (19.12), Mark Szaranek (19.56), and Enzo Martinez Scarpe (19.33) as the Gators broke the Pool Record in 1:16.67. Though the Indiana squad that finished behind the Gators was ultimately disqualified for an early takeoff on the 2nd leg, Blake Pieroni put up a personal best 19.24 on the leadoff.

The Indiana men also took down a Pool Record, winning the 400 medley relay. They were neck-and-neck with the Gators through the first 3 legs. Florida had the slight edge up front with Michael Taylor posting a 47.11 back split to Mohamed Samy‘s 47.28. Breaststroker Ian Finnerty outsplit Dressel, 51.28 to 51.35, on the breaststroke leg to keep them nearly even. Vini Lanza gave them the lead by a tenth after fly, putting up a 45.48 fly split to Switkowski’s 45.65. Pieroni was the big difference maker, blazing to a 41.54 anchor split while Florida’s Khader Baqlah posted a 43.31. The Indiana men touched in a final time of 3:05.57 to Florida’s 3:07.42.

Following his nation-leading 50 free on the relay leadoff, Dressel impressed with a huge performance in the 200 IM. He took 2 full seconds off his best time, crushing the field in 1:40.61 ahead of Switkowski (1:42.58), Lanza (1:43.15), and reigning NCAA champion Szaranek (1:44.50).

Florida’s Baqlah smashed his former best time in the 500 free, lowering it from a 4:19.54 to a 4:16.87 to top the field. The Gators swept the top 5, with Andrew Brady and Ben Lawless joining Baqlah under 4:20 to round out the top 3. Brady had the edge by a second through the 300, but Lawless started to close the gap and pulled ahead by hundredths with 50 yards to go. Brady was able to bounce back, outsplitting Lawless by a tenth on the final 50 to beat Lawless 4:18.60 to 4:18.66.

Virginia Tech sprinter Ian Ho brought home a win for the Hokies in the 50 free. In a tight race to the finish, Ho got his hand to the wall to win in 19.64 and came within hundredths of his best time. Indiana’s Bruno Blaskovic clipped Florida’s Martinez Scarpe 19.76 to 19.77 for 2nd place, while fellow Hoosier Ali Khalafalla was 4th in 19.86.

WOMEN’S HIGHLIGHTS:

Purdue’s Kaersten Meitz took almost a full second off her best in the 500 free today with a big performance in front of the home crowd. She blew away the field, putting up a 4:36.59 to clip her time from prelims. She’s now the 2nd fastest woman in the NCAA this season, pending results of the Art Adamson Invitational tonight, behind only Katie Ledecky. Coming in behind her to round out the top 3 were Indiana teammates Kennedy Goss (4:40.72) and Cassy Jernberg (4:42.71). Freshman standout Taylor Ault wound up 4th for the Gators in 4:44.00.

Indiana’s Lilly King, the reigning NCAA breaststroke champion, went up against Virginia Tech All-American Reka Gyorgy in the 200 IM. Gyorgy led the way by nearly a second at the halfway mark, but King made her big push on the breaststroke leg with a 32.51 split to take over the lead. She held on to that lead through the freestyle leg, finishing over a second ahead of the field in 1:55.96. Gyorgy wound up 2nd in 1:57.11.

Another Hoosier, freshman Grace Haskett, impressed with her performances in the 50 free today. Coming into the meet, her lifetime best was a 22.68. She lowered it to a 22.44 in prelims before taking it down even further on the 200 free relay leadoff. Haskett lead off in 22.10 to give them a big lead up front. Ally Rockett (22.21), Shelby Koontz (22.24), and King (22.40) kept building the lead as the Hoosiers dominated in 1:28.95. Haskett later won the individual 50 free in 22.19.

Indiana swept the relays, winning the 400 medley relay in 3:32.04. Rockett popped a personal best 52.45 backstroke leg to get things started. King followed with a 58.67 breaststroke leg. Christie Jensen threw down a 51.98 on the fly, while Haskett closed in a 48.94 free split to secure the win.

MEN’S TEAM SCORES THROUGH DAY 1:

  1. University of Florida- 300
  2. Virginia Tech- 188
  3. Indiana University- 163
  4. Purdue University- 109
  5. Missouri State University- 104
  6. Southern Illinois University- 59
  7. University of North Carolina- 49
  8. U.S. Naval Academy- 28

WOMEN’S TEAM SCORES THROUGH DAY 1:

  1. Indiana University- 258
  2. University of Florida- 235.5
  3. Purdue University- 143
  4. Virginia Tech- 113.5
  5. Florida International- 88
  6. Missouri State University- 63
  7. Southern Illinois University- 47
  8. University of North Carolina- 26

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently a coach at Loggerhead Aquatics …

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