Simonas Bilis Splits 43.2 As NC State Wins All-North Carolina Invite

The freestylers of NC State were out in full force at the All-North Carolina Invite, as the Wolfpack opened its season with two dominating wins.

Maybe the most impressive swim of the meet was the very last one of the night. Anchoring the Wolfpack 400 free relay, Simonas Bilis belted out a split of 43.22, powering one of two evenly-matched NC State relays to the title in 2:57.63.

NC State are the returning NCAA runners-up in that relay, and are already looking strong in the 2015-2016 campaign. The team split its best swimmers between two relays and went 1-2 at the meet. Sophomore Ryan Held anchored the other relay in 43.57. The ‘Pack also got a 44.07 from Virginia Tech transfer Joe Bonk on the B relay, a 44.52 from top freshman Justin Ress on the A and a 44.65 from Soeren Dahl also on the A relay.

Freestyle continued to carry the weight of the men’s team over the final two sessions of the three-session meet. (You can read Friday night’s recap here). Bonk won the 100 free for his first win as an NC State swimmer. He was 44.84, easily beating Dutch import Dion Dreesens (45.30), who was competing under the Queens University banner at this meet.

Dreesens blasted a 1:36.58 to win the 200 free, but Held was a solid second in 1:37.52, with Ress going 1:38.04 for third.

On the women’s side, Ashlyn Koletic won twice to power the Wolfpack to a team title. Her 54.83 crushed the meet record in the 100 back, and she also added a 57.13 to win the 100 IM by just a hundredth over teammate Alexia Zevnik (57.14).

A Division II NCAA champ for Queens, Patricia Castro was also a double-event winner. She took the 400 IM in a blowout at 4:21.44, and went 51.08 to solve NC State’s sprint gauntlet in the 100 free.

Queens’ best swimmer on the men’s side – U.S. World University Games team member Matt Josa – is sitting the year out with a redshirt, but he still competed alongside college swimmers like Dreesens and won two events in the final session. Josa went 49.03 to take the 100 IM, then took the 200 fly in 1:47.07.

Queens teammate Nick Arakelian also won twice, taking the 1650 free (15:55.16) and 200 breast (2:03.33). He very nearly won three races, but came up .06 seconds short in the 400 IM. NC State’s Anton Ipsen won that event in 3:56.82, with Arakelian going 3:56.88.

A few other notable event winners:

  • Wolfpack freshman Lindsay Morrow added to her Friday night 200 IM win with a 200 back title on day 2. She went 2:00.91.
  • NC State’s Natalie Labonge came from a half-second deficit to beat East Carolina’s Bailie Monahan for the 100 fly title, 56.24 to 56.81. Monahan, though, would come back to take the 200 fly win in 2:04.05.
  • A tight 200 free finish saw Kristin Connors pick up a win for NC State. Her 1:51.46 beat teammate Zevnik and Davidson’s Elise Lankiewicz by just a few tenths.
  • Soeren Dahl had a nice swim to win the 100 fly in 48.33. His teammate Simonas Bilis was second at 49.18.
  • Queens swept the 100 breaststrokes, with Shelly Prayson taking the women’s race in 1:04.78 (a touchout over East Carolina’s Megan Sellers) and Fedyna Rost winning the men’s with a 55.24.

Full results

Team Scores


  1. NC State – 1713
  2. East Carolina – 1314.5
  3. Davidson – 977
  4. Gardner-Webb – 958
  5. Queens University – 918
  6. Lenoir Rhyne – 507.5
  7. St. Andrew’s – 503.5
  8. Catawba – 435.5


  1. NC State – 1688
  2. East Carolina – 1343
  3. Davidson – 946
  4. Queens University – 867
  5. Campbell – 831
  6. Gardner-Webb – 803
  7. UNC-Asheville – 747
  8. Lenoir Rhyne – 268
  9. Catawba – 220
  10. St. Andrew’s – 211
  11. North Carolina A&T – 173

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Derek Mead
5 years ago

USC won the 400 free relay at NCAAs last season, not NC State but I’m hoping they can break through and get a win this year.

Reply to  Derek Mead
5 years ago

Gotta find that fourth leg (in replacement of Williams), but with both Ress and Bonk under 45 already, shouldn’t be a daunting task (assuming the legs of Bilis, Held, and Dahl hold to form).

5 years ago

Why isn’t UNC in this meet?? Seems like an excellent opportunity to compete with a pretty good mix of in-state schools without having much by way of travel costs…

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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