Ricardo Vargas Throws Down Nation-Leading 14:35.0 Mile In Athens


Among the highlights of the third and final preliminary session from the 2018 Georgia Fall Invitational in Athens was the women’s 100 freestyle, where three swimmers went sub-48 and it took a 48.35 just to make it back in the ‘A’ final.

The timed finals of the 1650 freestyles were also raced this morning, and the men’s event saw a new nation-leading time from Michigan’s Ricardo Vargas. Check out a full recap of prelims below.

Women’s Events

200 Back

Paige Madden of Virginia posted the top time in the women’s 200 back prelims by well over a second in 1:53.02, the 4th fastest swim of her career and fastest outside of the 2018 ACCs and NCAAs. Last season at this meet she was 1:53.58.

Her teammate Emma Seiberlich, who swam her best time of 1:53.45 here last year, qualified 2nd in 1:54.49, just ahead of UGA freshman Olivia Carter (1:54.76) who broke 1:55 for the first time.

100 Free

Siobhan Haughey of Michigan led an insanely fast women’s 100 free field in 47.22, just off her season-best of 47.09 which currently ranks her 3rd in the country. Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil qualified 2nd in 47.37, just off the NCAA ‘A’ cut of 47.35, and Haughey’s teammate Catie Deloof broke 48 for the first time for 3rd in 47.76.

The next five qualifiers into the ‘A’ final were all within three-tenths of each other, led by Katie McLaughlin (48.07) of Cal and bookended by Maggie MacNeil (48.35) of Michigan who both recorded new personal best times. Also in there was Veronica Burchill (48.13), Robin Neumann (48.18) and Morgan Hill (48.30).

200 Breast

100 breast winner Miranda Tucker of Michigan cruised to the top seed in the women’s 200 in a time of 2:10.37, followed by Virginia’s Vivian Tafuto (2:11.72) and Madeleine Vonderhaar (2:11.96) who were both just tenths off their lifetime best times.

Tucker’s teammate Jamie Yeung, who was the runner-up in the 100 in a PB, dipped under her 200 best time by a tenth to qualify 4th in 2:12.01.

200 Fly

In her second event of the morning, Katie McLaughlin put up the top time in the women’s 200 fly in 1:54.82, faster than she’s ever been at this point in the season. Olivia Carter also finished off an impressive double with the #2 seed in 1:55.02, her 2nd fastest swim ever only trailing her 1:53.49 from the Speedo Winter Juniors last December.

Vanessa Krause of Michigan and Dakota Luther of Georgia were not far behind in 3rd and 4th, both lowering their season-bests of 1:55.54 and 1:56.08 in 1:55.14 and 1:55.24 respectively. The rest of the field was over two seconds back.

1650 Free (Timed Final)

The 1650 free timed finals were also raced during the morning session, and it was a 1-2 for the Wolverines as Sierra Schmidt won in a time of 16:06.18, over nine seconds faster than she was here last year (16:15.42). Rose Bi lost contact with her teammate around the halfway mark, and came in for 2nd eight seconds back in 16:14.28.

Georgia’s Olivia Anderson (16:18.96) pulled away from UCLA’s Sandra Soe (16:20.87) down the stretch to take 3rd.

Men’s Events

200 Back

Cooper Wozencraft and Robby Giller of Virginia qualified 1-2 into the final of the men’s 200 back, with Wozencraft breaking 1:42 for the first time in 1:41.66. Giller was exactly one second off his lifetime best in 1:42.11.

Daniel Carr (1:42.49) and Bryce Mefford (1:42.59) of Cal qualified 3rd and 4th, and Javier Acevedo was back in the mix today qualifying 6th in 1:43.69.

100 Free

Cal nailed down the top-3 spots in the men’s 100 free, led by Michael Jensen who swam a new personal best by .07 in 42.40. Ryan Hoffer was also sub-43 in 42.69 for 2nd, and Paweł Sendyk (43.23) was 3rd.

Gus Borges (43.33) of Michigan had his 3rd best swim ever for 4th, and Acevedo (43.52) tied with Virginia’s Ryan Baker in 5th.

200 Breast

Reece Whitley threw down the top time of the morning by over a second in the men’s 200 breast, using a blistering final 50 of 28.77 to touch in 1:53.77 to put him 2nd in the NCAA. This ties his 5th fastest swim ever, and is also his fastest of 2018.

Michigan’s Jacob Montague was the only other swimmer to break 1:55 in 1:54.86 for 2nd, followed by Georgia’s James Guest (1:55.43) and Montague’s teammate Tommy Cope (1:55.46). Andrew Seliskar, who has been on fire all meet, advances in 5th in a time of 1:55.61.

200 Fly

Michigan’s Miles Smachlo used a ton of early speed (22.93, 48.84 at the 50 and 100) to get himself under 1:42 for the first time in the men’s 200 fly, clocking 1:41.84 for the 3rd fastest time in the country. His previous best was 1:42.03 from last season’s NCAAs.

Zach Fong had the fastest third 50 in the field by a wide margin (25.08), and was just a few tenths back of Smachlo for 2nd in 1:42.02. Fong has only broken 1:42 twice, both coming at the 2018 NCAAs where he was 1:41.26 and 1:41.44.

The Cal trio of Mike Thomas (1:43.30), Trenton Julian (1:43.52) and Zheng Quah (1:44.27) took seeds 3-5, and will be dangerous tonight as they all own best times inside 1:41. Quah has been 1:38.8, Thomas 1:39.9, and Julian has been 1:40.6.

1650 Free (Timed Final)

Ricardo Vargas of Michigan posted the top time in the nation, an NCAA ‘A’ cut and a new personal best to win the men’s 1650 in a time of 14:35.04, erasing his previous best of 14:40.27 from NCAAs. He overtakes Zach Yeadon (14:39.60) of Notre Dame for the fastest time in the country, and gets well under the ‘A’ cut of 14:39.56.

Nick Norman of Cal, who was 3rd at NCAAs last season, took 2nd in 14:46.56, his 3rd fastest swim ever and significantly faster than he was here last year (14:55.73).

Greg Reed (14:50.86) of Georgia, Sean Grieshop (14:56.63) and Felix Auboeck (14:56.67) were also sub-15 for 3rd, 4th and 5th, with Reed’s swim being a new best by over three seconds.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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