LAS VEGAS, Nevada, November 23. MISSY Franklin and David Nolan put up some stunners in the 200 backstrokes today to close out the UNLV Invitational.
Franklin, the world record holder in the long course and short course meters 200 backstroke, put up a strong in-season time of 1:53.73 to win tonight. If it were not for Felicia Lee’s impressive 1:53.36 earlier tonight at the Art Adamson Invitational, Franklin would be the top swimmer in the collegiate ranks. But Franklin has much more in the tank, as evidenced by a lifetime best of 1:48.42 from this past March. Al took the top four spots in the race tonight, as Franklin was followed by Sophia Batchelor (1:54.61), Hoi Shun Au (1:57.35) and Melanie Klaren (1:57.84).
Franklin followed up her 200 back win almost immediately with a second-place finish to Elizabeth Pelton in the 100 free. Pelton, who did not swim any of her typical events this weekend, likely saving them for the USA Swimming nationals, won the 100 free with a 48.71 to Franklin’s 48.83. Cal’s Rachael Acker finished third with a 49.43.
Nolan was also impressive on his way to winning the 200 backstroke. He posted a 1:42.40 to post the fastest swim by anyone in the collegiate ranks this season, including the 1:42.50 by Jack Conger from Texas’ intrasquad meet that had stood as the unofficial benchmark for the past two months. (Because the meet was not officially sanctioned, Conger’s time was never listed in the official rankings.) Like Franklin, Nolan has a lot more to give, as he was second at the NCAAs last season with a 1:39.31. Drew Cosgarea was second with a 1:43.21, and Will Gunderson rounded out the Stanford sweep with a 1:45.57.
Cosgarea’s swim in the 200 back was made more impressive by the fact that he had just completed the 1650 freestyle, finishing second in that race to another Stanford teammates. Danny Thomson posted a swift 15:08.21 to put him at the top of the collegiate standings, though not many 1650 freestyles had been swum before this weekend. Cosgarea posted a 15:23.37. Stanford’s Justin Buck was third with a 15:23.73 after being five seconds behind Cosgarea at the 1000-yard mark.
Unlike yesterday’s races, Stanford’s men’s team was more dominant on the third day of the meet, winning every individual race except the men’s 100 free. Stanford couldn’t break into the top three in that race, with 200 free winner Adam Kalms of Wyoming getting to the wall first with a 43.82. UNLV’s Samuel Lameynardie and Dillon Virva completed the top three, with Lameynardie second with a 44.22 and 50 free champ Virva taking third with a 44.23. Stanford’s Thomas Stephens was fourth in 44.25.
Max Williamson won the 200 breast for the Cardinal, touching in 1:58.97 ahead of teammate Mason Shaw’s 1:59.65. Brandon Meier of UNLV was third with a 1:59.98.
Tom Kremer held off a charge by UNLV’s Blaint Batka on the third 50 of the 200 fly to win with a 1:45.40 to Batka’s 1:45.67. Arizona State’s Alex Coci was third with a 1:46.42.
Stanford did not compete in the 400 free relay, leaving UNLV to take the top two spots. The A team posted a 2:55.06 for the win, while the B team wasn’t far behind with a 2:56.88.
Cal’s women’s team won five of the six events tonight, with Maria Garcia winning the 200 breast in a 2:10.98 that moves her further up the top 10 ranks. Celina Li, in the first race of her double tonight, was second with a 2:13.72 and Arizona State’s Tory Houston was exactly a second back with a 2:14.72.
Li returned in the next women’s event to win the 200 fly with a 1:57.55. She took the lead from Batchelor at the 150-yard mark, leaving Batchelor to settle for silver with a 1:57.68. Arizona State’s Tristin Baxter, who normally swims the 1650 freestyle, stepped out of that event to place third in the 200 fly with a 1:59.79.
The women’s 1650 was the only event Cal did not win tonight. Oregon’s Samantha Harrison took the win with a 16:19.81 over Cal’s Catherine Breed, who could not match Harrison’s sub-30 second splits and posted a 16:38.13. Anna Olasz of Arizona State was third with a 16:50.29.
Cal rounded out their meet with a 1-2-3 finish in the 400 free relay. The A team posted a 3:16.42, while the B team swam a 3:17.92 and the C team finished with an exhibition swim time of 3:18.82.