Just before the start of the Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara, we reported scratches from all the major Florida swimmers, followed by the news that they had also entered a meet closer to home, the Sizzlin’ Summer Invite at Georgia Tech.
The bulk of the Gators squad chose to swim that Georgia Tech meet instead, coming up with multiple wins, but mostly looking like Florida tends to look in the heat of a Gregg Troy training block: tired.
Elizabeth Beisel was by far the biggest name in attendance. A multi-time NCAA champ and one of the core swimmers on the U.S. National Team, Beisel won two races and likely would have won two more had the team competed at finals on the last day of competition.
The 22-year-old Beisel got her first win on Friday night, pacing the 400 IM easily. Her time of 4:44.13 won’t turn any heads (Beisel has been much faster already this season), but it was plenty enough to beat German Olympian and Gator teammate Theresa Michalak (4:50.84).
Beisel would come back the next day to pace the 200 fly in 2:16.39. That’s a little more in line with where she’s been this season, sitting just about a second off her season best.
Beisel and Michalak tangled again in the 200 IM later in that session, but this time the German earned the win. Michalak built a lead of about two seconds on fly and back (not easy to do against Beisel, who speicalizes in backstroke) and only expanded from there, going 2:13.61 to Beisel’s 2:17.47.
That was one of two wins for Michalak, who also won the 100 free in 57.17.
Both Michalak and Beisel could have added to their win totals, but the Florida team scratched out of Sunday night’s finals, likely to return home in time for Monday training. Michalak had the top 100 fly time out of prelims that day at 1:01.21, and Beisel led the 200 back (2:15.62) and 200 free (2:05.12).
Maybe the best swim of the meet, though, came from Spanish breaststroker Eduardo Solaeche, who just wrapped up his collegiate eligibility with Florida. Solaeche was 2:16.56 to win the 200 breast, beating Florida teammate Mark Szaranek by a whopping 10.5 seconds.
A couple other notable performances:
- South Africa’s Sebastien Rousseau wasn’t anywhere near lifetime-bests, but still had enough to win two races. Rousseau topped Solaeche in the 400 IM 4:26.92 to 4:28.69, then won the 200 fly in 2:01.65. He also had the top 200 free time out of prelims at 1:54.34 before scratching the final.
- Gator Swim Club’s Nikita Denisyako, a Russian national who competed for Texas A&M in his college days, won two races and was the top qualifier in a third. He took the 100 free (52.18) and 200 IM (2:01.23), and was sitting first in the 100 fly at 55.67 before scratching Sunday night.
- Rising Gator junior Jack Blyzinskyj won the 50 free (24.37) and 100 back (57.70) and was also the top seed in the 200 back with a 2:09.74 on Sunday morning.
- Also winning multiple events was Lindsey McKnight, who won the unusual combination of the 50 free (27.23) and 200 breast (2:40.74) and was the top morning qualifier in the 100 breast (1:16.31).