Giles Smith Cracks 20 Seconds in 50 Free, Posts Nation-Leading 100 Fly in Dual With USC

TUCSON, Arizona, November 8. THE Arizona Wildcats put up some fast times, but were no match for a deep men’s and women’s team from Pac 12 rival Southern California. One day after barely beating UCLA, the Arizona women lost to USC 167-133. The Wildcat men were also outmatched, losing 172-128.

Despite a loss for the Wildcats, Arizona senior Giles Smith had an exceptional meet today. He became the fifth swimmer under 20 seconds this season in the 50 free, and all indications are that his 19.99 is the first time he’s been under 20 seconds unshaved. He might be on track to lower his lifetime best of 19.59, done as a relay leadoff. Smith also won his specialty, the 100 fly, with a 47.04, making him the fastest in the nation in the event and bumping Jack Conger’s 47.21 down to second. Smith has been in the running for NCAA titles the past two years but has fallen short. With Tome Shields done with collegiate swimming and the title seemingly up for grabs, Smith will make a play for the title, beginning with what could be a fast swim at the Texas Invite next month.

A couple of Arizona swimmers that will be strong contenders for national titles also posted some strong swims today as the teams prepare for their midseason taper meet, the Texas Invite, in a month. Kevin Cordes, the reigning NCAA champion in both breaststrokes, put up some serious swims today. He started with a 53.96 in the 100 breast, becoming the only swimmer under 54 seconds so far this season. He was the top collegiate swimmer of the season with a 54.09, and with his next meet being the Texas Invite, will likely put up a time that will be hard to beat there. He followed up his 100 breast win with a 1:58.12 in the 200 breast. While the time is 9.5 seconds slower than his jaw-dropping American record, it’s still his fastest of the season. It’s not, however, good enough to put him at the top of the collegiate ranks. That still belongs to Chase Kalisz’s 1:57.20.

Margo Geer, known mostly as a 50 and 100 freestyler, continues to show some potential to race for the top eight in the 200 free with a solid 1:48.41, beating out USC freshman (and world championship relay competitor) Chelsea Chenault, who posted a 1:48.76. Geer posted her fastest 50 free of the season, winning today with a 22.57 that moves her up to a tie for fourth in the nation.

USC stalwarts Dimitri Colupaev and Cristian Quintero, who were finalists in the 200 free at last season’s NCAAs, were 1-2 in their first head-to-head race of the season. Colupaev was first in 1:37.52, while Quintero was second with a 1:37.75. While both are strong swims considering it’s only their first weekend of official racing, it’s not fast enough to crack the top 10 nationally. Colupaev managed to get into a tight top 10 in the 100 free, winning with a 44.11 over freshman Santo Condorelli’s 44.90.

Another swimmer of note today was Arizona senior Ashley Evans. The Phoenix native came to the University of Arizona as a distance freestyle standout, placing second in the 1650 freestyle in the 2007 USA Swimming nationals and setting the Arizona high school record in the 500 free. She’s turned into a butterflyer as an upperclassmen, and she battled with some notable butterfly swimmers today. After placing third in the 200 fly with a 1:58.99 behind Jasmine Tosky (1:58.17) and Meghan Hawthorne (1:58.95), she was second in the 100 fly with a 54.15 behind Kendyl Stewart’s 54.01. Those two swims put Evans just outside the top 10 in both butterflys nationally.

Arizona had some unfortunate luck in the men’s 200 medley relay, as the A team was disqualified for an early takeoff by freestyler Jeff Amlee.

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