COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 22. THE Florida Gators and Virginia Cavaliers exchanged body blows throughout the evening as both squads put up some strong times, albeit the Gators did have the bulk of the top-level efforts at the Ohio State Invitational.
Florida kicked off the festivities with a school and meet record en route to an NCAA A cut. Sinead Russell (22.55), Natalie Hinds (21.87), Ellese Zalewski (22.18) and Kaitlin Frehling (22.89) turned in a 1:29.49 for the win in the women’s 200-yard free relay. Virginia’s Ellen Thomas (22.90), Emily Lloyd (22.46), Rachel Moore (22.84) and Rachel Naurath (22.60) finished second in 1:30.80, while Ohio State and Purdue put up matching 1:31.40s to tie for third overall.
The Gators then clinched the men’s 200 free relay crown as Marcin Cieslak (20.21), Brad deBorde (19.13), Corey Main (19.56) and Matt Curby (20.18) earned the win with a 1:19.08. Ohio State’s Josh Fleagle (19.96), Michael Disalle (19.65), Vlad Komarov (19.92) and Steffen Hillmer (20.15) placed second in 1:19.68. Virginia’s Jacob Pearce (20.41), Parker Camp (19.69), Gabriel Espinosa (19.96) and Charles Rommel (19.63) wound up third in 1:19.69 as the top three all finished in the 1:19s.
Virginia super frosh Leah Smith rolled to the top time in the NCAA with an NCAA A cut of 4:36.19 in the women’s 500-yard free. That’s a lifetime best for the JCC Sailfish club circuit star, who previously posted a top time of 4:36.41 in March of this year before heading off to college. The swim led a UVA top-three sweep as Caroline Kenney (4:42.34) and Hanne Borgersen (4:42.51) took second and third with B cuts. Notably, Florida freshman Danielle Valley, who had a tough time making the big final in prelims, dropped eight seconds with a 4:40.72 to bin the B final tonight, while Florida’s Alicia Mathieu won the C final with a 4:42.24.
Florida’s Mitch D’Arrigo, who had originally planned to attend Virginia before having a change of heart once UVA had a change in head coach from Mark Bernardino to Augie Busch, clobbered the men’s 500-yard free meet record with a blistering 4:15.04. That’s not only an A cut, but also pushed him to the top of the NCAA this year. Where UVA dominated the women’s middle distance, the Gator men did the same as Dan Wallace (4:16.20) and Sebastien Rousseau (4:17.97) took second and third for Florida under the B cut.
Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel followed with a lifetime best meet record of 1:54.59 to win the 200-yard IM. That swim beat Emma Reaney’s meet mark of 1:55.05 from last year, and tied Beisel’s previous best in the event from the 2013 SEC Championships. That’s a scary proposition for the rest of the nation if Beisel is already in championship form at a mid-season qualifier. With the likes of Missy Franklin to chase after, Beisel could be looking to end her senior season in dominant fashion.
Virginia’s Ellen Williamson took second in 1:56.13, while teammate Kaitlyn Jones picked up third in 1:56.58, both under the B cut. Russell, meanwhile, won the B final in 1:57.68.
Cieslak continued the strong night for the Gators with an NCAA A cut and meet record of 1:42.69 in the men’s 200-yard IM. That smashed Rousseau’s 2012 record of 1:44.02, and put Cieslak atop the NCAA in the event at this point in time. Teammate Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez finished second in 1:43.90 for a B cut, while Virginia’s Parker Camp placed third in 1:45.70.
Florida teammates Natalie Hinds and Ellese Zalewski turned in matching 22.27s to win the women’s 50-yard free and beat the B cut, while Purdue’s Carly Mercer broke up the Florida/Virginia deadlock on podium positions with a third-place time of 22.70. Notably, Kentucky’s Tina Bechtel topped the B final in a B cut time of 22.68.
Florida’s Brad deBorde dropped a 19.48 to win the men’s 50-yard free, and beat his 2012 meet mark of 19.54. Ohio State’s Josh Fleagle finished second in 19.93, while Kentucky’s Eric Bruck placed third in 20.00 as the top three all beat the NCAA B cut.
The women’s 400 medley relay featured some of the strongest swimming of the night. Florida’s Russell (51.96), Hilda Luthersdottir (59.49), Zalewski (51.29) and Hinds (47.53) collected an NCAA A cut of 3:30.27 with Russell posting a 100 back leadoff A cut as well.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew crushed the 100 back leadoff with an NCAA leading time of 50.80 as Virginia also cleared the A cut in the relay with a 3:32.07. Virginia’s B squad took third in 3:40.07.
The Gator men’s team of Main (47.37), Solaeche-Gomez (53.08), Cieslak (45.95) and deBorde (42.85) finished with an NCAA A cut of 3:09.25 to win the men’s 400 medley relay. Virginia’s Jack Murfee (47.37), Yannick Kaeser (52.63), Kyle Dudzinski (48.17) and Camp (42.92) took second in 3:11.09, while Ohio State’s Garrett Trebilcock (47.39), Keanu Stevenson (53.55), Matt McHugh (47.43) and Fleagle (42.88) placed third in 3:11.25.
In diving, Virginia’s JB Kolod won the men’s one-meter with 383.95 points, while Purdue’s Casey Matthews topped the women’s three-meter with a meet record 371.60 points tally.
1. Virginia, 364
2. Florida, 336
3. Ohio State, 180.5
4. Purdue, 163.5
5. Kentucky, 112
1. Florida, 328
2. Ohio State, 286
3. Virginia, 268
4. Kentucky, 167
5. Purdue, 43