Kevin Cordes went 50.83 to highlight the prelims session of Day 2 at the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational. That’s only a tenth off his American record with another swim to go tonight. Wildcat teammate Michael Meyer got an NCAA “A” cut in his 400 IM in taking the top seed, and showdowns appear to loom in both 200 freestyles, where 3 women went 1:44s in prelims and the entire men’s final is separated by only a second and a half.
Meghan Hawthorne of USC took the top seed in the women’s 400 IM, going 4:09.05. The senior, who finished 9th at NCAAs last year, cut 4 seconds off her season-best. She’ll be pushed in the finals by Texas’s Madisyn Cox, who went 4:10.88 but also had the fastest freestyle split of prelims at 57.7. USC’s Stina Gardell, who won the 200 IM last night, is the third seed with a 4:11.56. Penn State’s Gabi Shishkoff and Texas’s Kaitlin Pawlowicz should also be factors tonight, taking fourth and fifth in the morning session. Rounding out the A final are Chelsea Weedman (Penn State), Shannyn Hultin (Arizona) and Aja Van Hout (Wisconsin). Andrea Kropp took her second 9th-place prelims finish after just missing the A final in the 200 IM last night. She dropped significant time at finals yesterday, so keep an eye on her in the B tonight.
Arizona’s Michael Meyer continued to pace the IM races this weekend, taking the top seed in the men’s 400 IM in an NCAA A cut 3:43.29. That’s within one second of what he went last year at NCAAs as a freshman when he placed 6th. His teammate Eric Solis wasn’t too far behind, going 3:45.95 for the second seed. Brigham Young’s Hayden Palmer went 3:47.92, just tenths off his lifetime best for the third spot. The entire top 8 got under 3:50 – that field includes Texas’s John Martens and Will Licon, Arizona’s Sam Rowan, USC’s Cary Wright and Texas freshman Austin Vacek, who is swimming unattached.
Fresh off a big 500 free win last night, Arizona’s Bonnie Brandon grabbed the top seed in the 200 free, going 1:44.05. The race should be a showdown, though, with Sam Tucker of Texas and Arizona’s Margo Geer both going 1:44s of their own. In addition, USC’s Chelsea Chenault was 1:45.1, and the rest of the A field will all come in with seeds in the 1:45s. That includes Alyson Ackman (Penn State), Kelsey Leneave (Texas), Lexie Malazdrewicz (USC), and Alex Hooper (Texas).
Clay Youngquist took the top seed in the men’s 200 free for Texas in 1:34.45. He’ll be surrounded in finals by a pair of USC swimmers who took the 2 and 3 seeds: Reed Malone and Dimitri Colupaev. Both Trojans went 1:35s. This might be one of the closest finals of the night overall, with 7 of the 8 swimmers in the A final separated by just .6 seconds. Malone is 1:35.32 for the 2-seed, and between him and 8-seed Matt Barber of Arizona (who went 1:35.90) is the loaded field of Giles Smith, Cristian Quintero, Nicholas Caldwell, and John Hauser. Notable was Smith of Arizona, who showed some nice range by going a lifetime-best 1:35.59.
Newly-signed Arena pro Laura Sogar will be the top time going into finals of the 100 breast. She went 59.00 and should look to break into the 58s tonight. Second seed is Gretchen Jaques, Sogar’s former teammate at Texas, who went 59.39. Defending NCAA runner-up Kasey Carlson comes in with the third seed at 59.56, and a pair of Arizona swimmers took the next two seeds – Emma Schoettmer and Eve Sarris. Rounding out the A final are Wisconsin’s Anna Meinholz, Arizona’s Sara Borendame and Texas’ Jordan Surhoff. The tough day for USC’s Andrea Kropp continued as she took 10th, missing yet another A final by just .09.
After lighting up the pool with a 49-second breaststroke split in last night’s 400 medley relay, Kevin Cordes was back at it again this morning, going 50.83 to take the top seed in the men’s 100 breast. That time is just a tenth off his own American record and stands as the second-best 100 breaststroke in NCAA history. He’s the clear favorite tonight, ahead of teammate and defending NCAA runner-up Kevin Steel, who has the two seed with a 52.88 going into tonight. Incarnate Word’s Thiago Parravicini was 53.74 for third, and USC’s Sergio Lujan-Rivera sits fourth with a 53.74 prelims swim. Fellow Trojan Morten Klarskov went 53.96 and Arizona’s Andrew Sovero joined him in the 53s, going 53.97. Rounding out the A final are Wisconsin’s Nick Schafer and Ian Carbone of Texas.
Lily Moldenhauer sits first in the 100 back by over a second after going 52.40 in prelims. Following her are Kendyl Stewart of USC (53.66) and Mackenzie Powers of Penn State (53.87). Alex Hooper also got under 54 for Texas, going 53.92 for the 4-seed. The rest of the A final is made up of UCLA Bruins Madison White and Linnea Mack and USC Trojans Henriette Stenkvist and Sidney Cooke.
Mitchell Friedemann took one more top seed for the Arizona men, going 45.51 in the 100 back. That chopped another half-second off his already-NCAA leading time of 46.09 from last night’s 400 medley relay. He’s followed by USC’s Luca Spinazzola, who went 46.27 (he was 46.1 on the relay last night). Texas freshman Jack Conger will be the third seed, going 46.69, and Penn State’s Nate Savoy went 46.88 for the 4-spot. His Nittany Lion teammate Shane Ryan is fifth and Wisconsin’s Drew Teduits sixth. The A final is rounded out by Aaron Gustafson from Texas and Daniel Ramirez of Oklahoma Baptist. Ellis Miller missed the A final by just .01.
Finals begin tonight at 6 p.m. Central time.