The final session of the 2021 Tennessee Invite is primed to feature some great races, including Ellen Walshe vs Alex Walsh in the 200 fly and Avery Wiseman vs Kate Douglass in the 200 breast. We’ve seen plenty of great relays the last two days as well, and tonight’s session will close out with always-fun 400 free relay, which should include UVA’s Matt Brownstead, who missed the first days of the meet, but clocked a 19.2 in a 50 free time trial this morning.
2021 NCAA Qualifying Times
Women’s 1650 – Timed Finals
- Kensey McMahon (Alabama) – 15:52.05
- Kristen Stege (Tennessee) – 15:57.63
- Emma Weyant (Virginia) – 16:02.51
Alabama’s Kensey McMahon got the evening going with a five-second win in the last heat of the 1650, taking the top time overall. McMahon’s time of 15:52.05 was good for a NCAA ‘A’ cut, and it was actually faster than her 16:00.62 from NCAAs (although she’d been faster earlier in the season).
Kristen Stege took 2nd in 15:57.63, about five seconds shy of the time that earned her 4th at NCAAs. Virginia’s Emma Weyant took 2rd in 16:02.51. UVA’s Maddie Donohoe (16:04.85) and Tennessee’s Claire Nguyen (16:23.94) were also under last season’s NCAA invite time of 16:25.47.
Men’s 1650 – Timed Finals
- Cam Castro (UNLV) – 15:04.59
- Jake Narvid (Tennessee) – 15:08.68
- Rafael Ponce de Leon (Tennessee) – 15:18.86
The UNLV men picked up a win here courtesy of Cam Castro, whose time of 15:04.59 was over four seconds faster than anyone else in the field. Tennessee swept the next two spots, with Jake Narvid taking 2nd in 15:08.68 and Rafael Ponce de Leon another then seconds back in 3rd, at 15:18.86.
In contrast to the women’s race, where the top three times all would’ve finished in the top three at last year’s NCAAs, none of the men’s times were even under last season’s qualifying time, although the top 7 were under the NCAA ‘B’ cut of 15:26.19.
Women’s 200 Back – Finals
- Rhyan White (Alabama) – 1:49.73
- Reilly Tiltmann (Virginia) – 1:51.04
- Ella Bathurst (Virginia) – 1:54.08
Olympian Rhyan White made it 2-2 for the Alabama women with a swift 1:49.73 in the 200 back. That time is only 0.74s slower than she was in her 2nd-place effort at NCAAs, and it may be the fastest time in the country this season, pending other results from tonight.
UVA took 2nd and 3rd, with Reilly Tiltmann clocking a 1:51.04, less than 0.4s away from her NCAA time, and freshman Ella Bathurst finished 3rd in 1:54.08. Tennesee’s Bayley Stewart (1:54.19) and Summer Smith (1:54.59) and Alabama’s Morgan Liberto (1:54.92) were all under last year’s NCAA invite time of 1:55.05.
Men’s 200 Back – Finals
The UNLV men are now 2-for-2 tonight, as Panos Bolanos went out fast and hung on to win in 1:41.18 in an incredibly close race. Alabama’s Jake Marcum touched just behind, at 1:41.18. His teammate Eric Stelmar was another second behind, with a 1:42.22, while a third member of the Crimson Tide, Matthew Menke finished 4th in 1:42.85 after going 1:41.41 in prelims.
Women’s 100 Free – Finals
Not only is Alabama now 3-3, but they swept the top three spots as well as Kalia Antoniou (47.71), Morgan Scott (47.94), and Cora Dupre (48.49) led the way. Arkansas’ Kobie Melton (48.53) and Alabama’s Diana Petkova (48.56) were also under last year’s invite time of 48.76.
Results are still rolling in from other meets, but no one had been under 48 this season heading into this weekend. Alabama is rolling, but Virginia and Tennessee both have plenty of sprint talent, setting up a fun 400 free relay later on this evening.
Men’s 100 Free – Finals
Tennessee freshman Jordan Crooks completed the sprint free sweep with a 42.41 victory in the 100 free, after winning the 50 free on Thursday night. UVA’s Matt King took 2nd, just as he did in the 50 free, with a time of 42.54.
Both Crooks and King were under last year’s invite time of 42.88, while 3rd place went to Alabama freshman Kaique Alves (42.93).
Women’s 200 Breast – Finals
- Kate Douglass (Virginia) – 2:03.58
- Avery Wiseman (Alabama) – 2:05.46
- Ella Nelson (Virginia) – 2:05.65
Where to start with this one? The top three times all would’ve finished in the top 5 at last year’s NCAAs.
UVA’s Kate Douglass led the way with an ACC record performance of 2:03.58, lowering the mark of 2:03.86 set by NC State’s Sophie Hansson. Douglass’ time moves her to #4 all-time.
Alabama’s Avery Wiseman threw down a 2:05.46, which seems to break her own school record, and is a very fast time for anyone, but especially a freshman. NCAA runner-up Ella Nelson of UVA finished 3rd in 2:05.65.
Mens’ 200 Breast – Finals
- Derek Maas (Alabama) – 1:52.46
- Lyubomir Epitropov (Tennessee) – 1:52.47
- Noah Nichols (Virginia) – 1:54.08
It can’t get any tighter than this without being a tie. Alabama’s Derek Maas and Tennessee’s Lyubomir Epitropov stayed virtually side by side the whole race, but Maas got his hands on the wall first, 1:52.46 to 1:52.47, to set a new meet record.
Tennessee’s Jarel Dillard and Virginia’s Noah Nichols were actually out ahead for the first half of the race, but faded a bit down the stretch. Nichols took 3rd in 1:54.08, and Dillard finished 4th in 1:54.58. The top three men were all under last year’s NCAA qualifying time of 1:54.28.
Women’s 200 Fly – Finals
- Alex Walsh (Virginia) – 1:51.83
- Ellen Walshe (Tennessee) – 1:53.96
- Sara Stotler (Tennessee) – 1:55.22
The uber-versatile Alex Walsh took this event by two seconds, with a time of 1:51.83 that’s over 2.5s faster than anyone else had been heading into this week’s invites. Walsh went out in 53.99, clocked identical middle splits of 28.84, then closed in 29.00 to win by over two seconds.
Tennessee freshman Ellen Walshe nearly matched Walsh over the final 50, splitting a 29.13, and she “settled” for 2nd in a time of 1:53.96, also faster than anyone else had been this season prior to this round of invites. Her teammate Sara Stotler took 3rd in 1:55.22
Men’s 200 Fly – Finals
- Josh Fong (Virginia) – 1:44.20
- Charlie Hawke (Alabama) – 1:44.32
- Justin Grender (Virginia) – 1:44.71
Justin Grender took 3rd in 1:44.71. Grender is primary a backstroker, but the Cavalier scratched the 200 back after putting up the 2nd-fastest time of the morning in that event, and opted to swim just the 200 fly tonight instead.
Women’s 400 Free Relay – Timed Finals
- Alabama – 3:10.59
- Virginia – 3:12.56
- Tennessee – 3:14.59
It wasn’t too much of a surprise when UVA’s Kate Douglass three down a 47.56 leadoff, a time that would’ve won the 100 free, not too long after swimming one of the fastest 200 breaststrokes ever.
Nor was it a surprise when Alabama’s depth enabled them to quickly move past UVA and win by nearly a second and a half. Kalia Antoniou led off in 47.79, just 0.08s slower than her winning time in the individual 100 free, then Morgan Scott (47.64), Diana Petkova (47.97) and Cora Dupre (47.19) rattled off triple-47s as the Crimson Tide won in 3:10.59.
All four of those women except Petkova were on the Alabama relay that won NCAAs last season with a school record time of 3:09.78, and the quartet should be vying for another NCAA title come March.
UVA finished 2nd in 3:12.04, also under the NCAA ‘A’ cut, while Tennessee (3:14.59) and Arkansas (3:15.01) were also under the NCAA ‘B’ cut.
Men’s 400 Free Relay – Timed Finals
- Virginia – 2:50.19
- Alabama – 2:50.41
- Tennessee – 2:51.98
The Virginia men have been a bit uneven this week (not unusual for their midseason invite), but they went out on a high note, grabbing a NCAA ‘A’ cut with a 2:50.19 victory. Matt Brownstead, who missed the first two days of the meet, and was only able to swim a time trial this morning, led off in 42.47, just shy of the winning time in the individual 100 free. August Lamb and Connor Boyle split 42.84 and 42.95 respectively, then Matt King brought it home with a 41.93, the the fastest split in the field.
Individual 100 free champion actually improved on his earlier time with a 42.33 leadoff, as Tennessee went 2:51.98 for a NCAA ‘B’ cut. UNLV’s time of 2:52.41 was also under the NCAA ‘B’ cut.
1. University of Tennessee 1203.5
2. University of Alabama 881.5
3. Virginia, University of 809.5
4. University of Arkansas 408
5. South Carolina, University of, 405.5
6. Carson-Newman University 139
7. University of Nevada, Las Vega 55
1. University of Tennessee 1004
2. University of Alabama 980
3. Virginia, University of 728
4. University of Nevada, Las Vega 518
5. South Carolina, University of, 405
6. Carson-Newman University 184
7. Emory University 30