Torri Huske Out-Duels Abbey Weitzeil in the 100 Free at Southern California Invitational

2024 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INVITATIONAL

A battle-to-the-wire between two of America’s top sprinters was the highlight of day 2 of the Southern California Invitational on Thursday in Irvine.

Torri Huske and Abbey Weitzeil, two of 15-or-so serious contenders for six 400 free relay spots on the US Olympic Team, came down to the final touch, with Huske winning in 53.33 and Weitzeil placing 2nd in 53.56. Huske led the race most of the way, though the two were never really separated by more than about a foot throughout the race.

The race is featured in the live stream at about the 21 minute mark:

At last year’s US Trials, Huske was 5th and Weitzeil was 2nd, but this swam was already better than Huske was at that meet (53.41). Huske finished one spot ahead of Weitzeil at the US Open in December by a margin of 53.17 to 53.53.

Weitzeil is a pro training at Cal while Huske is taking an Olympic redshirt season off from her NCAA career at Stanford.

Also in that field was a 54.96 from Amy Tang, a 55.72 prelims swim and personal best from 37-year-old mother of 3 Brooke Boak, a near-best time of 55.73 from Gigi Johnson to win the B-Final, and a near-best time of 55.90 in prelims from Aurora Roghair, who won the 1500 in a huge time drop on Wednesday.

Roghair won the 400 free on Thursday in 4:09.46, which was another best time for her. Her previous fastest of 4:10.84 was done in June 2023 at US Trials, though she was already knocking up against that with her 4:10.87 in San Antonio in April.

The other top stories out of Thursday’s session came in the men’s and women’s 100 breaststrokes.

Tokyo 2020 Olympian Michael Andrew has been on a roller-coaster of results, but just as he did in 2021, he seems to be peaking at the right time for the Olympic Trials. He won the men’s 100 breast in 59.87, which is .05 seconds shy of the 59.82 he swam in March in France. Incidentally, it’s half-a-second better than the defending US champion Nic Fink swam in Austin on Thursday evening.

Daniel Roy placed 2nd in Irvine in 1:00.64.

In the women’s 100 breaststroke, USC Trojan Kaitlyn Dobler, the 3rd-place finisher at the NCAA Championships and Pac-12 Champion, won in 1:07.95. That’s about a quarter-second slower than the defending Olympic gold medalist Lydia Jacoby swam in Austin.

Deeper into those rankings was 32-year-old Breeja Larson. Larson was a 2012 Olympic gold medalist on the US 400 medley relay team. After a three-and-a-half year retirement from the sport, where she worked in teaching clinics and doing speaking engagements, Larson returned to the water in January. She hit her Olympic Trials cut at Sectionals in March (1:10.08) and swam 1:11.24 on Thursday evening.

A native of Arizona, she is currently training with former USC head coach Dave Salo at Irvine Novaquatics, the host team for this meet.

Other Day 2 Winners & Highlights

  • US World Championship Team member Henry McFadden won the 400 free in 3:56.41. That’s a second faster than he swam in San Antonio coming out of his freshman NCAA season at Stanford. His Stanford teammate Henry Morrissey was 2nd in 3:57.99, just three-tenths shy of his personal best time.
  • Cal’s Jack Alexy, the 2023 World Championships silver medalist in the 100 free, won that race on Thursday in 48.37. That’s very close to what Caeleb Dressel, the defending Olympic gold medalist who is working back from a break from the sport, did in Atlanta (48.30). Stanford’s Andres Dupont was 2nd in 49.33, McFadden (before the 400 free) was 3rd in 49.35, and 2021 US Olympian Brooks Curry was 4th in 49.65.
  • Cal’s Rachel Klinker, who was 4th at the 2024 World Championships, won the 200 fly in 2:09.31. That was half-a-second better than Stanford’s Caroline Bricker (2:09.80) who had a breakout year for the Cardinal.
  • 100 fly specialist Dare Rose swam 1:58.17 in the 200 fly to win that race on Thursday. He beat out Cal alum Trenton Julian, who was 2nd in 1:58.50.

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Tani
17 days ago

Torri Huske reminds me of Natalie Coughlin — highly inconsistent at LCM and highly unlikely to pull it together to win any individual gold medals (yes Natalie won 100m back x 2, but otherwise her swims at the Olympics were generally a mess, particularly in the relays where her 100m free was always a disaster).

Tani
Reply to  Braden Keith
16 days ago

No, I think she avoided that label because she was still the strongest US swimmer despite her issues. An exam would be her 54.00 lead off for the USA team at Beijing. If she had swam what she swam in the individual event they may have won the relay. She never swam particularly well on the 4×100 m relay at any international event. Also did poorly in the 4×200 relay (though she might have been tired from her individual events). Let’s also not forget her bronze medal finishes at Worlds in the 100m back.

CavaDore
26 days ago

“15 or so” seems a bit too high of a number. I’d say it’s less than 10 and the top 6 faves are undoubtedly Douglass, G Walsh, Huske, Weitzell, Manuel, and Smoliga.

Garbage Yardage
26 days ago

Don’t ruin my pick’em by making the team Mandrew.

Fair for all
Reply to  Garbage Yardage
26 days ago

Why the hate?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Fair for all
26 days ago

oh hi welcome, this must be your first day here

Callum
26 days ago

There is no chance in hell they will be close to the Australian women

RMS
Reply to  Callum
26 days ago

Just like the 800 free relay in Tokyo?

Hank
26 days ago

Where’s all the MA haters? Still a top 2 breaststroker and likely to make the team in at least breaststroke. I don’t see anyone besides Fink moving the needle in that event.

Fair for all
Reply to  Hank
26 days ago

They are still around. Just quieter when he actually performs.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Hank
26 days ago

I think he might be more likely to go a 1:00 than a 58.

Definitely think he can still make the team, but he ain’t shown he’s anywhere near where he was in 2021.

Nick the biased aussie
26 days ago

Torri taking that individual spot behind Douglass in Paris

gitech
Reply to  Nick the biased aussie
26 days ago

I hope it is for huske, but I think it will be for Walsh or Manuel, I think they have a bigger drop than huske, possible less than 52.60

Greg P
Reply to  Nick the biased aussie
26 days ago

Gretchen Walsh might have to say something about that if what Swimswam has been saying about her materialize.

RMS
Reply to  Greg P
26 days ago

Torri is more consistent in the long course. They both will make the relay tho.

Just Keep Swimming
26 days ago

Do we really believe there are 15 contenders for the 4×100 freestyle relay? Huske, Douglass, Walsh, Weitzeil, Manuel all seem pretty likely. Smoliga, Parker, Sims and De Loof seem like the only other realistic shots.

Jason
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
26 days ago

You listed 9 so far, so just adding to the list with people who have been on this relay since Tokyo: Curzan, Brown/Connoly, and Hinds brings us to 12 (technically Schmitt but retired).

Curzan’s split 52 before and had a really great Doha Champs so she’s definitely in the conversation for a 4th-6th spot.

Brown/Connoly and Hinds haven’t shown much of late but given their 53-mid swims from 2 years ago, that definitely contributes to the 15 number (I’m just trying to see if I can get this number to 15)

There’s definitely some rising stars that are being considered here. Shackell definitely given her recent progress, Moesch and Gemmel and Spink maybe? Just checking the results from 2023 Trials… Read more »

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
26 days ago

Not exactly eye-popping.

Calendar Year 2024
DeLoof – 53.88
Parker – 54.58
Smoliga – 54.99
Sims – ??.??

You just never know.

relays are fun
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
26 days ago

Obviously, they aren’t all “contenders” at the same odds as the folks you list, but I think you can find 6 legitimate options from the following list (or others I likely missed) to add to your 9 to make a “realistic” set of 15:

Natalie Hinds, Claire Curzan, Erika (Brown) Connolly, Anna Moesch, Alex Shackell, Charlotte Crush, Erica Peleaz, Leah Hayes, Teagan O’Dell, Morgan Scott, Camille Spink, Madi Mintenko, Claire Weinstein, Bella Sims, Beata Nelson, Anna Peplowski, Katherine Berkoff, Gabby Albiero, Gabi Deloof, Rylee Erisman, Amy Fulmer, Erin Gemmel, Isabel Ivey, Chloe Stepanek, Kristina Paegle, Grace Cooper.

Miss M
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
26 days ago

Outside chances: Shackell, Brown, Gemmell, Peplowski, Spink, Berkoff?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Miss M
26 days ago

And that’s 14, and I’d always keep at least one spot open for a complete funknown.

DMSWIM
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
26 days ago

I would put Hinds in there. She hasn’t done anything special lately, but she’s been known to step up when it counts.

I miss the ISL (go dawgs)
Reply to  DMSWIM
26 days ago

Sadly, methinks she’s done. Ever since she moved back to UF she’s been way off her times.

theswimflationguru
26 days ago

hold up breeja larson is back?

cynthia curran
Reply to  theswimflationguru
26 days ago

Well, she was inspired by Gabby Rose who is 46 years old. Salo is a good coach for breaststroke in the Irvine area for Breeja Larson.

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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