LAS VEGAS, Nevada, November 22. ELIZABETH Pelton and David Nolan swam off events on the second day of competition at the UNLV Invite, as Cal showed its depth in the women’s backstroke and Stanford showcased its strength in the 800 free relay.
Pelton is taking on longer races than usual this weekend, and today she put up a 4:10.83 for a dominating win in the 400 IM that puts her in the top five in the collegiate ranks. Also racing in the 400 IM was Missy Franklin, who challenged Pelton through the backstroke leg before falling off the pace and finishing second in 4:13.13. Maria Garcia completed the Cal sweep with a 4:16.31 for third place.
Pelton was back on the blocks almost immediately for the 100 fly final, which was won by Cal’s Sophia Batchelor. Pelton let Batchelor take the lead at 50 yards, but Pelton’s final push came too late, and Batchelor won with a 52.49 to Pelton’s 52.64. Katelyne Herrington of UNLV was third with a 52.78 after leading at 50 yards.
Pelton finished off her monster day leading off the winning 800 free relay with a 1:49.27. Rachael Acker, Catherine Breed and Klaren finished things off with a time of 7:09.85.
Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly mentioned that Missy Franklin swam the anchor leg on Cal’s A relay. She led off the B relay with a 1:45.33, just a couple of tenths off her nation-leading time of 1:45.19.
Though he’s the national high school record holder in the 200 IM and reigning NCAA champion in that event, David Nolan isn’t known for his 400 IM prowess, but he ventured into the longer race today, placing second behind Stanford teammate Drew Cosgrarea. After his stunning 500 free yesterday, Cosgarea continued his impressive meet with a winning time of 3:44.32 to Nolan’s 3:46.09. Like Franklin, Nolan was in the race for the first 200 meters before losing the pace on the breaststroke leg.
Nolan is the reigning NCAA champion in the 100 back as well, but he skipped that event this weekend. In his place, Henrique Machado won with a 47.79 ahead of Stanford’s Will Gunderson, who posted a 48.60. Ruchard Bohus of Arizona State was third with a 48.84.
Connor Black, who formerly held the public national high school record in the 100 fly before Caeleb Dressel erased it earlier this season, won the race today with a 47.32 ahead of Arizona State’s Alex Coci’s 47.92 and a 47.98 from 50 free winner Dillon Virva of UNLV.
Cal’s women’s team could sweep the top four places in the 100 back at the NCAA championships if coach Teri McKeever decides to go that route, and she seemed to test the waters today with some of her top swimmers. Two-time NCAA champion Cindy Tran won today with a 52.22 ahead of reigning NCAA champion Rachel Bootsma (52.52), Melanie Klaren (52.70) and Missy Franklin (53.32). Add in Pelton’s backstroke strength, and the possibilities would be endless.
To complete the Cal sweep of events on the second day, Caroline Piehl won the 200 free with a comfortable cushion. Her time of 1:46.44 beat out teammate Rachael Acker’s 1:48.01 and Arizona State’s Kat Simonvic’s 1:48.26. And to add to the Cal domination of the day, the Golden Bears swept the top three places in the 200 medley relay, with the A team of Bootsma, Garcia, Tran and Kaylin Bing posting a 1:38.56.
On the men’s side, one would think Stanford would be just as dominant as Cal’s women’s team, but a couple other teams had other plans. Besides the win in the 100 back by UNLV’s Machado, the Rebels celebrated a win over Stanford in the 200 medley relay, posting a 1:26.50 to Stanford’s 1:26.93. UNLV fell .5 short of an automatic NCAA qualifying time.
David Szele posted the other big win for UNLV, taking the 100 breast with a 53.83. It’s four tenths off his lifetime best of 53.44, and shoots him to the top of the ever-changing collegiate rankings. Stanford’s Mason Shaw was second with a 54.37 and Cardinal Daniel Le was third with a 55.57.
Wyoming’s Adam Kalms took down Stanford’s Thomas Stephens in the men’s 200 free, winning with a time of 1:35.23. Like Szele, he also jumps to the top of the collegiate standings. But for how long? Stephens was second with a 1:36.60, good for a place in the top 10 nationally, while Ethan Griffel of Wyoming gave Wyoming another podium spot with a 1:36.74.
Stanford got a bit of revenge on the day with the top three finishes in the 800 free relay. Led by Dave Nolan’s 1:35.77 (which would have placed second in the individual event), Stanford finished with a time of 6:30.23.