Today is the first day of the Tennessee Invitational that will kick off about a 3 week period where we’ll see many of the top teams load up to a few, elite invite meets. These meets will start to see some spectacular times (though, does anyone else get the feeling that we’ve seen more fast times early this year than normal?) as teams look to make statement swims before hopping into their high-volume holiday training. These meets will often simulate the NCAA Championships schedule in a 3-day, prelims-finals format.
This run will include USA Swimming Winter Nationals the first weekend of December.Winter Nationals this year will be slightly-more-lightly attended by college teams because it’s held in a long course meters format.
For teams intending to get NCAA qualifying times in December, that’s not as good of a fit as it will be for those trying to hit Olympic Trials Qualifying marks. Of note, USC will be forgoing Nationals this year to swim at the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational this year (which is going to be even huger than ever). The Cal men still have Nationals on their schedule, however.
Many of the bigger-name swimmers will probably post their NCAA qualifying times in the next few weeks, and a few “A” times should emerge. Not every program follows this model – historically Florida has been the big exception – but most do.
Let’s look at the lineups (and links to live results, when available) for some of these meets. Bookmark this page and come back often, as we’ll update the listings as we get more information:
Tennessee Invitational (November 16-18)
This meet, which kicks off today, will feature some great head-to-head matchups. Take, for example, Tennessee’s Lindsay Gendron versus LSU’s Amanda Kendall in any freestyle event (if Gendron goes short), or Gendron against the Arkansas distance group (if she goes long). Also look out for Louisville’s breaststrokers against A&M’s. Those races alone could see 3 or 4 All-American swimmers from just those two teams.
Prelims of this meet will be in a 50-meter course, with finals in yards.
Arkansas (women only)
Texas A&M (women: swimming and diving; men: diving only)
Georgia Tech Invitational (November 18-20)
This invite has a solid grouping from the Florida schools, which seem to be travelling in a pack this year. The Gators are the top dog, but the Clemson Tigers, despite winding down their program, have put together some huge early season men’s swims. Also keep an eye on Florida Gulf Coast’s Emma Svensson, who has shown great sprint versatility this year and really put her program in the national eye for the first time. Perhaps a matchup between her and Florida’s Sarah Bateman is in order?
Florida Gulf Coast
Live results will be here (eventually).
Terp Cup (November 17-19, College Park)
Get out and support the Terps at the Terp Cup. Maryland are the headliners, but this is also a great chance to see an improving North Carolina State program, a rebuilt Towson program after graduating All-American Meredith Budner, and a good mid-major in Richmond.
William & Mary
Psych Sheets available here.
Texas Invitational (December 1-3, Austin)
As mentioned in the intro, this meet will be bigger-than-ever this year with the addition of USC and Stanford to the mix. Some have termed this as a mini “NCAA Preview” meet and they’re probably not far from the truth there. The race of the meet will be Texas’ Jimmy Feigen versus USC’s Vlad Morozov in what should be a preview of podium-placers in the sprint frees at NCAA’s. Both have been hot early this year.
UCLA (swimming only)
More teams to be confirmed
Georgia Fall Invitational (December 1-3, Athens)
Georgia has lured in the Cal women in a rematch of last year’s NCAA top-two. Anna Vanderpool-Wallace versus Liv Jensen in the sprint frees should be fireworks, and don’t sleep on a very good, but underrated, Indiana program. Virginia will bring some National Championship candidates into the mix too, including stars Lauren Perdue and Rachel Naurath.
Maryland (Diving Only)
Florida (Diving Only)
Missouri Invitational (December 1-3, LC Time Trial December 4th)
This is a meet to see some of the very strong up-and-coming programs in the country. Missouri is doing big things under Greg Rhodenbaugh, and the North Texas Mean Green have come light-years from where they were prior to the arrival of coach Joe Dykstra.
More teams to be confirmed.
Live results when meet starts.
Ohio State Invitational (December 2-4, Columbus)
More teams to be confirmed.
Hawkeye Invitational (December 2-4, Iowa City)
This meet all-of-a-sudden ups it’s profile with the surge of the Iowa men’s program, who debuted at #10 in the CSCAA poll after an upset of Minnesota. The Hawkeye women haven’t looked too shabby either. This meet will actually be loaded with Goliath-slayers: the Michigan men knocked off NCAA favorites Texas, and UW-Milwaukee men beat rivals Wisconsin this year for the first time ever. Denver is one of the best mid-major programs in the country and are a rising-factor in the suddenly-hot Denver swimming scene.
Rhode Island Invitational (December 2-3, Rhode Island)
These New England teams tend to swim each other a lot, and so the rivalries can be huge though the schools are small. A lot of programs in this meet are bound for record-breaking seasons in the next few years. Rhode Island has a huge class of 15 freshman who will be seeing their first collegiate invite.