Regan Rathwell Emerges from Injuries with 1:52 in the 200 Back at Last Chance Meet

2024 Tennessee Last Chance Meet

  • March 1-2, 2024
  • Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2024 Last Chance Invitational”

Collegiate “last chance” season is underway, with post-conference competitors taking a swing at last-minute NCAA qualification times at locations around the country.

The University of Tennessee-hosted meet is often one of the most-fruitful of these last chance meets, and after one day of last-ditch efforts, the 2024 edition is no different.

The biggest news on the day was a 1:52.96 in prelims of the 200 back by Tennessee redshirt freshman Regan Rathwell. That puts her about four-tenths under the 1:53.34 that earned an invite last year and crushed her personal best of 1:55.47 that was done in a dual meet in October 2022.

Rathwell, who has battled injury over the last two years, including a labrum injury and a broken foot suffered in a weight room accident, was 5th at the 2022 Junior Pan Pac Championships in the 200 back before heading to Tennessee. She redshirted her freshman year after swimming just one dual meet, and this year swam at the mid-season Tennessee Invitational and in a dual meet against LSU in late January.

After missing the SEC Championships, though, this swim in a race that was her best event in high school is a positive sign for her and the Volunteers. She swam only the 50 free (24.02 in yards) and 100 breast (1:14.42 in meters) mid-season, so this swim is by-far the most successful of her collegiate career.

The 1:52 from Friday morning ranks her 22nd in the NCAA this season with other last chance meets, the Big 12 Championships, the Pac-12 Championships, and a few mid-major conferences yet to go. With around 38 swimmers taken in each event each season, that puts her in a strong position to get an NCAA Championship invite.

On the men’s side, the highlight performance of the day was a 51.19 in the 100 breaststroke from another Tennessee swimmer, 5th-year Flynn Crisci.

His previous best time was a 51.87 at last year’s ACC Championships done while swimming at Pitt. He was close to that time, 51.90, at the SEC Championships in his first (and only) season with the varsity team at Tennessee, but another week’s rest put him well-under the 51.90 that was invited to last year’s NCAA Championships.

That ties him for 6th in the NCAA so far this season with a few meets left to go. While it’s not an “A” cut that would be an official lock, it’s as good-as-gold with around 30 men taken to NCAAs each year in each event.

A third swimmer, Virginia Tech sophomore Will Hayon, also gave himself a shot at NCAA qualifying with a 45.35 in the 100 fly final. It took 45.57 to qualify for NCAAs in both 2022 and 2023. He’s under that time, so it will just depend on how much faster the cut gets (if at all) this season. That ranks him 24th in the NCAA this season, which usually gets an invite, but there are still a few chances for him to get bumped in the next couple of weeks before invites go out. The good news is that there’s at least one swimmer (Leon Marchand) ranked in front of him who won’t likely swim this race in March.

Other Notable Swims and Near-Misses:

  • Tennessee junior Amber Myers took three cracks in the 50 free, swimming 22.69 in prelims, 22.37 in finals, and 22.28 in a time trial. Last year, it took 22.15 to earn an NCAA Championship invite, and it’s rare for times to get slower (barring the COVID year). All of those times were slower than the 22.15 that she swam at SECs, which currently leaves her teetering on the bubble in 40th place (though some of the swimmers ahead of her are probably going to choose other events, like Bella Sims). She could technically get a split on the front-end of the 100 free, and Tennessee could take three cracks at 200 free relays, if she wants to sneak in extra attempts at qualifying.
  • Duke’s Catherine Belyakov swam 1:57.05 in the 200 IM final. That’s .15 seconds shy of her best time (which was done last season in a dual meet), but it is a season best, undercutting the 1:57.61 she did at ACCs. 1:56.90 was the invite time last year (she was the last swimmer in). That time ranks her a precarious 41st nationally, which is probably on the wrong side of the bubble at this point. She didn’t use her time trial swim yet, so she could take another crack on Saturday.
  • Flynn’s younger brother Aidan Crisci swam 3:43.33 in the 400 IM in the final, which just-missed the 3:43.15 best time he swam at SECs. He currently ranks 25th in the NCAA this season; 3:42.99 was invited last year.

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1 month ago

It’s an amazing news for Canada as well! Trials are becoming more and more exciting and intriguing!

1 month ago

So happy for Regan! Anyone know where Laura Littlejohn is? Is Nick Simons still out with concussion?

1 month ago

Sherry Smit is crying happy tears somewhere

1 month ago

Regan has worked so hard through all this. She is incredible.

1 month ago

Way to go, Regan

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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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