The Week That Was In College Swimming (Week 5)

Welcome to The Week That Was In College Swimming, where every week we’ll take a look at some of the highlights from around the NCAA.

It was a big last week, with major action in each of the three divisions, with top teams going head-to-head in dual meet action. Because of that, we’re doing something a little different this week and doing a deep dive into the three meets: Texas vs. Virginia women, McKendree vs. UIndy men, and Kenyon vs. Denison.

Division I: Texas Women Beat Virginia

It was a big weekend in Austin, as the Virginia Cavaliers came to town to take on the Texas Longhorns. The first day of competition was a combined dual meet which had untraditional events like the 100 IM and mixed relay. They returned to the usual dual meet format for the second day, where the Texas women eked out a surprising win over Virginia. The Longhorns won 95-91, handing the Cavaliers their first dual meet loss since 2019.

It didn’t help Virginia that they had two of their 400 medley relays disqualified to start the day, including the ‘A’ relay, where Gretchen Walsh led off in 50.60. However, Texas had a strong showing at this meet, even outside their stellar diving. Erica Sullivan won the 1000, and they got a big win from freshman Lydia Jacoby in the 200 breast (2:09.19) ahead of Ella Nelson and American record holder Kate DouglassThe 200 fly crew did their usual thing, with Dakota Luther and Kelly Pash going 1-2 in 1:53.83 and 1:54.38.

We started our 2022-23 Power Rankings with Texas over Stanford, then flipped than in October. It’s difficult to compare the results they’ve had so far this season: the Stanford women have not faced tough competition but their depth looks better than last year. Meanwhile, Texas has their lethal diving, butterfly, and breaststroke groups. It’s up to you to decide which you value more, but Texas’ win over Virginia last weekend cements that their runner-up finish last year was no fluke.

The Day 2 scores also don’t show the impressive weekend that G. Walsh had. It feels like we just did the G. Walsh recap a couple weeks ago when Virginia raced Florida, but we need to do it again. On Day 1 of the meet, Walsh ripped the all-time fastest 100 IM in 52.09, besting her teammate Douglass’ record. She also posted the fastest 50 free in the NCAA this season (21.13), a 46.20 100 free relay split, and a 23.13 50 back which is the 11th fastest all-time.

Division II: McKendree Men Beat UIndy

The #2 McKendree men hosted #1 UIndy for a dual meet last weekend. It was a nailbiter, and came down to the final race: the 400 free relay. McKendree’s ‘A’ squad of Alireza Yavari, Caleb Law, Arthur Souzaand Gregg Lichinsky out-touched UIndy by .35 seconds, earning both the event and meet win. The final score was 151-145, and the Bearcats improved to 5-0 on the season. Early, it looked like UIndy might run away with the meet but McKendree battled back. Leo Gandaria-Hernandez earned their first event win in the 200 free, kicking off a four-event win streak for the Bearcats. Ultimately, McKendree and UIndy each won eight events.

Yes, UIndy was without their best breaststroker Liki Prema, who went to the Indianapolis World Cup. That certainly hurt them as McKendree’s Felipe Pinheiro won both the 100 and 200 breast. However, McKendree had their depth on full display the entire day. They never allowed UIndy to go 1-2 in an event. In the 100 free and 200 back a UIndy swimmer won, but the Bearcats took second through fourth, equaling the 9 points that the UIndy swimmer got for finishing first.

Queens University has won the last seven Division II men’s NCAA titles. They’re now reclassifying to Division I, which leaves plenty of opportunity for swimmers (and teams) to move up the standings. It’s still early, but McKendree sophomore Jackson Lustig looks like he plans to take full advantage. The 2022 NCAA 200 fly runner-up has dropped some fast early-season fly times so far, and he lowered them again this weekend. He put up 47.82 in the 100 fly and 1:44.77 in the 200, which is just over a second off his lifetime best 1:43.66.

At 2022 NCAAs, the McKendree men finished fourth, 103 points behind Indy. It’s a new year in Division II, and while they might not be able to pass UIndy in a championship format, it seems like McKendree should be able to make a sizable dent in that gap.

Division III: Kenyon Sweeps Denison

In Division III, Kenyon hosted their in-state division rivals Denison. They swept both meets handily, with the women taking the win 183-117. The Kenyon men had an even more decisive victory, winning 223-67.

The Denison women were coming off a big win against Division I Xavier University, but couldn’t withstand the depth of 2022 national champions. The Owls won 13 of the 16 events, with Jennah Fadely sweeping the breaststrokes with the fastest DIII times in the nation. She clocked 1:02.48 in the 100 breast, then took the 200 in 2:18.57, both of which are under the NCAA ‘B’ cut.

Senior Alexandra White also played a big part in the win, sweeping the sprint freestyles with 23.53 in the 50 free and 52.28 in the 100. Her time in the 50 free is top three in the division. The Kenyon women won their national title by only seven points over Emory. They’ve graduated some big pieces, but so far they’ve started their title defense off on a strong note, and defeating Denison (who finished third at 2022 NCAAs) is a confidence boost for them.

As the score shows, the men’s meet was quite lopsided. The Kenyon men won 15 of the 16 events, with Richie Kurlich earning Denison’s lone win in the 200 fly (1:49.30). Like the women’s team, the Owl men started their season strong with wins over Division I opponents St. Bonaventure and Cleveland State. They’ve kept rolling since then, with multiple swimmers winning multiple events at this meet.

Junior Marko Kritinic played a big role in the win for Kenyon, winning the 100 free in 46.28 and the 100 fly in 48.32. His fly time is not only an NCAA ‘B’ cut, but it’s also the second fastest in the division this season. It’s a new best time for him as well, shaving .07 seconds off the 48.39 he went to finish 19th at NCAAs, just outside the scoring. They graduated the runner-up in the event, David Fitch, so it would be a huge boost for them if they could retain some points in that event.

Odds and Ends

  • Cal’s summer breakout star Gabriel Jett put on an impressive display at Cal’s triple distance meet with Stanford. Jett has made a name for himself in butterfly and mid-distance freestyle, but he took on the backstroke triple at this meet and threw down 21.99/46.98/1:44.69 in the 50/100/200 backstroke. All three of those are lifetime bests. Given Cal’s backstroke depth, it’s unlikely they’ll need him to swim back come championship season, but it’s still intriguing to see him post competitive times in these events.
  • Speaking of experimenting, the Texas men fielded some interesting medley lineups in their meets against Virginia. The most unexpected of those was seeing their go-to breaststroker Caspar Corbeau rip a 20.08 50 fly split on Texas’ winning relay. The Longhorns have some decisions to make when it comes to their medley relay lineups, and while Corbeau will almost certainly stay on breaststroke, switching him around (and putting Carson Foster on the relay) shows that they’re experimenting with their options.
  • UCLA rolled past both Arizona and ASU this weekend. First, they cruised to a win over the Wildcats 177-123, highlighted by Claire Grover‘s 22.62 50 free and Katrina Bellio‘s distance free wins. The next day, they beat the Sun Devils 183-116. The Bruins have been quietly improving over the last few seasons, but it’s still surprising to win by these margins over their PAC-12 rivals. They’re well-suited to the dual meet format, and it should be interesting to see them face Cal in January.

Noteworthy Meet Results

Cal v. Stanford Triple Distance Meet

Florida v. Tennessee

ASU v. USC

Northwestern v. Michigan

  • SwimSwam Recap
  • Full Results
  • Final Scores:
    • Women: #14 Michigan – 162.5 v. #20 Northwestern – 137.5
    • Men: #14 Michigan – 204 v. Northwestern – 95

Alabama v. LSU

  • SwimSwam Recap
  • Full Results
  • Final Scores:
    • Women: #4 Alabama – 182 v. #18 LSU – 118
    • Men: #12 Alabama – 155 v. #16 LSU – 139

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Ice Golem
2 months ago

They worked on relay starts!

Fl Hs Fan
2 months ago

Where’s the Sarasota high boys 3 peat state championship article?

Observant Swim Fan
2 months ago

Noteworthy Meet Results:

Texas A&M vs Kentucky

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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