Tennessee Women Get Their 4th NCAA Mile Qualifier at Last Chance Meet

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 5

February 26th, 2023 ACC, College, SEC


  • February 24-25, 2023
  • Alan Jones Aquatic Center, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), Prelims/Finals + Time Trials
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “Last Chance Meet UTK”

Distance swimmers did some damage on the final day of the University of Tennessee-hosted Last Chance meet on Saturday.

During the miles session, three swimmers booked likely tickets to the upcoming NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.

For the women, Virginia Tech’s Chase Travis swam 16:05.31 and Tennessee’s Claire Nguyen swam 16:08.41.

For Travis, that knocks 8 seconds off her 16:13.39 from the ACC Championships. She was probably already in to the meet, ranking 35th in the nation coming into the day, with between 38-42 usually going in each event.

But with Nguyen’s swim, that would have become 36th, close to the edge. Travis’ new time puts her into the top 20 in the NCAA and makes her a lock for an NCAA Invite. Her best time remains a 16:00.54 from the 2022 ACC Championships.

That will be Travis’ third NCAA invite in three seasons.

Joining her at the meet will be Tennessee senior Claire Nguyen, who swam 16:08.41 in the same race. Unlike Travis, Nguyen needed this swim to really enhance her chance at an NCAA Invite – she previously ranked 40th in the country in the event, which is squarely on the bubble.

Nguyen, who missed Tennessee’s mid-season invite, dropped 5 seconds off her career best with Saturday’s swim, and now sits about 26th nationally in the event.

Tennessee’s women’s distance crew will be well-represented at NCAAs: Nguyen is the fourth likely-invite for the Volunteer women in the mile. Aly Breslin (15:52.71 – 3rd), Kristen Stege (15:53.47 – 4th), and Kate McCarville (16:05.58 – 20th) all have times already that will easily qualify them for NCAAs.

The Tennessee men, who this season are stronger in sprint than distance, picked up a probable invite in the mile as well. Jack Little swam 14:50.23 in the distance session, which jumps him from 26th in the country (14:54.25) to 17th. 26th was probably okay with Pac-12s yet to go, but 17th is a sure-fire lock.

Other Saturday Swims of Note:

  • Tennessee’s Elle Caldow kept inching her way toward an NCAA Invite. She entered the meet with a 52.54 season best from SECs. In prelims, she swam 52.26. In finals, she swam 52.25. While those times would have been last year, they’re very much on-the-bubble this year. 52.26 jumped her about 15 spots to 39th in the NCAA this season, while the 52.25 moves her into a tie for 38th with Georgia’s Marie Schobel. That one spot could make all-the-difference later this week.
  • Virginia Tech’s Caroline Bentz took three cracks this weekend at firming up a spot in the 200 back. She swam 1:56.68 in prelims, 1:54.04 in finals, and then a 1:54.12 in a time trial on Sunday. That leaves her ranked somewhere around 43rd in the country – which means she’ll have to wait for some event choices ahead of her to get an invite. Luckily for her, there are a few spots where swimmers might not choose that race at NCAAs – like Virginia’s Gretchen Walsh.
  • Tennessee’s Harrison Lierz took three stabs at a 100 back qualifying time this weekend, and in his final swim, a 45.72 time trial, he swam a 45.72, which was .02 shy of his time from SECs. Right now, he’s ranked 30th, which probably lines him up to be one of the first swimmers out for an individual invite, though he’ll still attend the meet as part of Tennessee’s medley relays.



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9 months ago

Why does everyone keep doing these last chance swims? Do they expect to go faster at NCAAs after in 2 weeks ?

Reply to  Tracy
9 months ago

Probably not but just qualifying is a big achievement….

Reply to  Tracy
9 months ago

I think for those racing they wouldn’t have a chance at individual NCAA qualification unless they put up some faster times

Reply to  Tracy
9 months ago

Nothing better to do this weekend I guess

Reply to  Tracy
9 months ago

Some swimmers only really have a shot at qualifying in one event (typically milers or breaststrokers) so they lose the ability to go to conference meets on teams deep enough to have three-event scorers. Case in point, Amro Al-Wir of Florida. He’s good at the 100 breast, great at the 200 breast, and not in a position to score at SECs in anything else. He just missed NCs last year in the 200, but dropped a huge chunk of time and swam a 1:52.3 today at the Bulldog Last Chance Meet which will absolutely qualify him for NCAAs and would have even made it to the B final last year.

Some swimmers are on the bubble of qualifying and need… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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