UNLV Takes 9 of 16 Events Against Arizona On First Day of UNLV Invite

UNLV Invite

  • January 7-8, 2021
  • Buchanan Natatorium, Las Vegas, NV
  • SCY
  • Prelims/Finals
  • Live Results

The Arizona Wildcats men and women traveled up to Las Vegas this week to take on the UNLV Rebels in what’s being styled as the “UNLV Invite.” Despite there only being two teams, the meet is using a prelims/finals format, with a total of four sessions over two days.

While neither team’s release mentions scores, Meet Mobile has the UNLV men winning 562-406, and the UNLV women winning 658-370, through the first day of competition. There weren’t any super-fast times on the first day, so beyond the score, perhaps the biggest story is that UNLV swept the top four spots in both the men’s and women’s 500 free, despite that being historically a strong event for Arizona.

Freshman Victoria Gutierrez got her hand on the wall first for the Rebels, touching with a time of 4:53.84 that’s her second-fastest time ever. The UNLV men actually swept the top five spots, led by Vuk Celic‘s 4:22.07. Arizona’s Brooks Fail, who finished 3rd at the 2019 NCAA Championships in this event, went 4:24.89 in prelims, but did not compete in the evening.

UNLV also earned wins in both of the 50 freestyles, with Caitlyn Schreiber ducking under 23 to win the women’s event in 22.92, and Reece Hemmens just touching out teammate Casey McEuen, 20.19 to 20.20, to earn the win in the men’s event.

Another Rebel freshman, Ruby Howell, hit a lifetime best of 2:02.96 to win the 200 IM, while Kate Afanasyeva won the women’s 100 back with a 54.44 and Jack Binder won the men’s 100 back with a 54.09.

The UNLV women wrapped up the session with a 3:24.11 in the 400 free relay, led by Kristina Schneider‘s 49.92 leadoff. In the morning session, the UNLV men won the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:27.57, highlighted by Sam Willstrop‘s 23.98 split on the breaststroke leg.

Ogi Maric led the Wildcats with two wins, leading a 1-3 sweep of the 200 IM with a 1:46.85, then winning the 100 back in 46.95.

Arizona topped the 200 fly in both the men’s and women’s events. Julia Heimstead hit a new lifetime best of 2:00.16 to take the women’s event, and Brooks Taner went 1:48.31 to win the men’s. Brooks Fail had gone 1:47.60 in prelims.

Jade Neser was Arizona’s only other individual event winner, taking the 100 breast in 1:02.41. Arizona also earned wins in the women’s 200 medley relay (1:41.60) and the men’s 400 free relay (2:56.45).

Arizona Release

LAS VEGAS — Arizona took home seven finals victories on day 1 of the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas on Thursday The Cats and the Rebels wrap up the event on Friday.

Ogi Maric led the Wildcats with a pair of victories, winning both the 100 back and the 200 IM on Thursday. Julia Heimstead (200 fly), Brooks Taner (200 fly) and Jade Neser (100 breast) also had individual wins for the Cats on day 1.

The event will continue on Friday with prelims set for 11 a.m. MST and finals scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. MST. Watch day 2 live HERE or follow on Meet Mobile.


Women’s 200 IM
3. Axana Merckx (2:04.19)

Men’s 200 IM
1. Ogi Maric (1:46.85)
2. Daniel Namir (1:47.38)
3. Jake Hand (1:49.21)

Women’s 50 Free
3. Kayla Filipek (23.33)

Men’s 50 Free
3. Tai Combs (20.29)

Women’s 200 Fly
1. Julia Heimstead (2:00.16)
2. Hannah Farrow (2:00.30)

Men’s 200 Fly
1. Brooks Taner (1:48.31)

Men’s 100 Back
1. Ogi Maric (46.95)

Women’s 100 Breast
1. Jade Neser (1:02.41)

Women’s 200 Medley Relay
1. Axana Merckx, Jade Neser, Julia Heimstead, Kayla Filipek (1:41.60)

Men’s 200 Medley Relay
2. Ogi Maric, Ryan Foote, Noah Reid, Tai Combs (1:27.69)

Women’s 400 Free Relay
2. Julia Heimstead, Kayla Filipek, Jamie Stone, Grace Anderson (3:27.11)

Men’s 400 Free Relay
1. Daniel Namir, Hunter Ingram, Ryan Perham, Ogi Maric (2:56.45)


UNLV Release

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – The UNLV men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams claimed each of the 500 free and 50 free individual wins to highlight their opening day at the UNLV Invitational Thursday at the Jim Reitz Pool. Joining the Rebels at the two-day meet are the Arizona men’s and women’s squads.


*In her debut for the Rebel women, freshman Victoria Gutierrez made a splash with a 500 free (4:53.84) win as part of a 1-2-3 UNLV finish in the event. Following right behind Gutierrez, UNLV juniors Teneka Ash (4:55.06) and Julia Filippova (4:56.21) reached the wall in second and third place, respectively.
*Senior Caitlyn Schreiber headlined another 1-2 UNLV finish in the 50 free, swimming a time of 22.92 to touch first. Junior Kristina Schneider finished in second for the Rebel women with a time of 23.32.
*Junior Carissa Armijo finished close behind Filippova with a fourth-place finish in the 500 free for UNLV.
*The freshman duo of Ruby Howell (2:02.96) and Calysta Bartlett (2:03.44) kept up the early momentum for the Rebel women in the 200 IM, giving the Scarlet and Gray another event win with their respective first and second place finishes.
*A third-place finish in the 200 fly by Ash with a time of (2:02.6) marked the Rebel women’s best finish in the 200 fly, as the junior finished the day with two top-three finishes.
*Senior Kate Afanasyeva tacked on another individual victory for UNLV in the 100 back, touching with a time of 54.44. The finish by Afanasyeva helped give the Rebel women the top two spots in this event as well, as junior Kacey Kiuchi came in second with a time of 55.53.
*The Rebel women’s newcomer, Bartlett  enjoyed the last of her two second-place finishes on the day in the 100 breast with a time of 1:02.56. Meanwhile, her Scarlet and Gray freshman counterpart Howell added her second top-3 effort on the day with a third-place finish (1:03.95).
*UNLV’s ‘A’ squad of Afansyeva, Bartlett, Schneider and senior Caitlyn Schreiber finished second in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:41.92. The Rebel women’s ‘B’ unit, comprising senior Eva Kim, Howell, Ash, and freshman Malia Fernandez, placed third in the relay with a time of (1:45.10).
*Capping off their evening finals, the UNLV ‘A’ team of Schneider, Filippova, and seniors Camryn Wheals and Lauren Smith finished in first place with a time of 3:24.11

* Vuk Celic spearheaded another UNLV sweep of the top three spots in the 500 free with his individual victory (4:22.07). Sophomore Panos Bolanos (4:23.96) touched second for UNLV in his season debut and sophomore Christopher Mykkanen (4:24.74) placed third for the Rebel men.
*The Rebel men found their way back on track in the win column in the 50 free, as freshman Reece Hemmensclaimed the top swim with a time of 20.19. Hemmens’ victory came as part of a close 1-2 punch for UNLV in the event, as junior Casey McEuen (20.20) finished second just .01 seconds after his teammate.
*Highlighting the UNLV finishes in the 200 fly, juniors Michael Klauss (1:49.44) and Michal Cukanow (1:49.84) took second and third, respectively.
*In a highly competitive 100 back race, Bolanos (47.17) finished just shy of the top spot in second place against his former Rebel teammate in Arizona’s Ogi Maric (46.95). UNLV senior Richard Szilagyi followed behind the speedy Maric and Bolanos with a time of 49.30 to finish third.
*UNLV’s men’s squad bounced back with a sweep in the 100 breast, as the junior trio of Jack Binder, (54.09), Ivan Zhukov (54.36) and Sam Willstrop (54.42) took first, second and third, respectively.
*In a speedy 400 free relay, UNLV’s ‘A’ unit of Szilagyi, McEuen, sophomore Steven Butler and Hemmens fought until the final touch in their second place finish (2:56.75) behind Arizona’s ‘A’ squad (2:56.45).
*Topping off the morning events to begin the meet, the UNLV ‘A’ team of Szilagyi, Willstrop, senior Bryan Chavezand Hemmens gave the Rebels a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay.

QUOTABLE: “We are very happy to be racing again. Neither squad is at full strength in terms of numbers, but that is part of the challenge this season. Overall I am pleased with the way the team is approaching the competition.” -Head coach Ben Loorz

NEXT FOR THE REBELS: The Rebels will continue the UNLV Invitational tomorrow with prelims at 10 am.

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2 years ago

Where did Brooks Fail, David Schlicht and Noah Reid go? They all swam in prelims and didn’t swim at finals. Potentially Arizona’s three best swimmers…

Reply to  BTFD
2 years ago

They had to quarantine after the heats due to a Covid scare, although none have tested positive. Add in the 16 Arizona swimmers who didnt make the trip because of Covid and welcome to 2021. A long bus trip for a heat swim.

Reply to  Bigboy21
2 years ago

There was a time Arizona could travel 8 men to NCAAs and place.

2 years ago

Throw in former UNLV swimmers(Maric) and they win 12-16.

Life of the mid major coach, just keep developing them and try to keep a few if you can.

2 years ago

So, what’s the score so far? Serbian and Croatian throwing it down 💪

Reply to  MCavic
2 years ago

lol yeah a 24year old his first year in the ncaa

Reply to  swimfin5
2 years ago

He who can “cracketh” that 8,000 page NCAA rule book, shall be champion! By the way, I think the oldest NCAA swimmer ever was 26, at the University of Hawaii 🙂

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