Indiana-Texas-Michigan Dual Meets Feature Close Battles, Fast Swims

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana, October 25. THREE of the best collegiate swimming and diving teams are in Hoosier territory today, racing in a two-day dual meet that featured some shake-ups on the national collegiate standings lists today.

Today’s meet featured the typical 16 events held during a college dual meet, while tomorrow’s competition, dubbed the “Eddie Reese Invitational,” will have races two to three times the normal distance.

Texas and Indiana ran away with the competition on the women’s side, with Michigan notching no wins but getting a few swimmers into the top three. Texas beat Michigan with a score of 210-90, and had another nailbiting score reminiscent of last weekend’s dual with Texas A&M, beating Indiana 151.5 to 148.5.

On the men’s side, it was a close battle between Texas and Michigan, with some notable swims from Indiana to break up the monotony in the top spots. Michigan got the double team victory today, beating Texas 166-134 and Indiana 203-97. Texas was able to beat Indiana 204-96.

Indiana opened the meet with a win in the women’s 200 medley relay in a time of 1:42.36. Texas’ B team got to the wall ahead of the A team to place second and third.

Michigan is the NCAA record holder (1:22.27) and reigning national champion in the 200 medley relay, and that dominance showed today with a 1.7-second victory in a time of 1:27.51 that improves their nation-leading time by three tenths.

Indiana’s Lindsay Vrooman continues to show that she could be in the running for the NCAA titles in the distance freestyle events, putting up a 9:46.51 in the 1000 free today. That’s third-fastest in the country behind 1650 NCAA record holder Stephanie Peacock (9:42.95) and Olympian Elizabeth Beisel (9:43.79). Kaitlin Pawlowicz also put up a strong time on the board, placing second with a 9:48.06 that puts her in the top five.

The surprise of the men’s 1000 freestyle was not that Connor Jaeger won with a 9:07.66, but that Texas’ Sam Lewis got the second-place points ahead of NCAA finalist Sean Ryan of Michigan. Lewis even outsplit Jaeger on some of the 50s by a few tenths, posting a 9:09.92 to Ryan’s 9:16.91.

Sam Tucker of Texas and Haley Lips of Indiana fought to get the much-needed first-place points in the women’s 200 free, and Tucker got those points with a time of 1:47.43 to Lips’ 1:47.91. With just the men’s 1000 free to serve as a time to recover, Vrooman placed third in the 200 free with a 1:48.44.

Michael Wynalda, the fastest man in college swimming so far this season in the 200 free with a 1:37.31 from the tri-meet against Notre Dame and Auburn, beat that time today with a stellar 1:36.31. But it wasn’t enough to win the race and maintain his spot at the top of the rankings. Texas’ Clay Youngquist took the win with a 1:35.71. This is the exact outcome these two had at last year’s meet, with this year’s times just a shade slower. Younquist was 1:35.26 last year, while Wynalda was 1:36.11. Wynalda turned the tables at the NCAA championships, placing fifth in the 200 free a few tenths ahead of Youngquist.

After helping Indiana win the medley relay, Brooklynn Snodgrass got a win of her own in the 100 back with a 54.36. It’s her fastest time of the season, but not fast enough to crack into the top five nationally yet this season. Two others broke 55 seconds as well in the close finish. Tasija Karosas of Texas was second with a 54.46 and Indiana’s Allie Day placed third with a 54.86.

In his first 100 back of the season, Texas freshman Jack Conger put up a 48.36 to win today, just ahead of Indiana’s Jim Wells, who posted a 48.55. Wells’ teammate Eric Ress, an NCAA finalist in this event, was third with a 48.82. Conger sits in a tie for sixth nationally with Sean Lehane, while Ress still lingers outside the top 10 with his 48.63 from two weeks ago.

Bronwyn Pasloski prevented Michigan from getting a win in the women’s 100 breast with a time of 1:02.56. Angie Chokran was second with a 1:02.93.

Richard Funk, a junior from Michigan, continues to impress in the breaststroke events this season. Before today, he was second in the nation with a 54.69. He leapfrogged over Anton McKee’s 54.67 to sit at the top of the national rankings with a 54.14, beating out fellow NCAA finalist Cody Miller, who was a distant second with a 55.14. It’s a big improvement for Miller, who had posted a 56.40 against California two weeks ago. Texas’ Will Licon also moved up the collegiate ranks with a 55.88 for third place to sit just outside the top 10.

Indiana freshman Olivia Barker was the only one to break two minutes in the women’s 200 fly, winning with a 1:58.93. Michigan’s Courtney Beidler took second with a 2:00.20.

Dylan Bosch of Michigan will be in the hunt for an NCAA title in the 200 fly in March, and the South African native posted a time today that cemented his status as a serious title contender. His time of 1:44.17 is nearly a second faster than fellow title contender Marcin Cieslak of Florida has swum this season, and is now the fastest in the nation. Bosch was “only” a 1:45.54 at this meet last year. Teammate Kyle Whitaker also posted a fast time, his 1:46.05 good enough for second at the meet and fifth in the nation.

Texas junior Gretchen Jacques was the first person to score double wins today, starting with a 23.19 in the 50 free, then following it up with a 50.18 in the 100 free less than 30 minutes later. Kait Flederbach of Indiana was runner-up in both events with times of 23.23 and 50.20.

Bruno Ortiz took the 50 free for Michigan with a 20.30, followed by Texas’ Caleb Weir with a 20.41. Younquist scored his second win of the day with a blazing 44.13 in the 100 free to inch him closer to the top of the national rankings, currently held by Louisville’s Joao de Lucca with a 43.02. Youngquist touched Wynalda for the second time today, as Wynalda posted a 44.40 for second ahead of Ortiz’s 44.57.

Karosas moved up from fourth to third in the national standings in the women’s 200 back, posting a winning time of 1:56.74 that leapfrogs over Beisel’s 1:56.96. Snodgrass held strong for second place with a 1:57.39 to give her another season-best time.

After posting a 1:42.50 in the 200 backstroke at the non-sanctioned intrasquad meet, Jack Conger put up an official time today, winning the event with a 1:45.13. It wasn’t an easy win. Ress, who should contend with Conger and others for the NCAA title in March, was a very close second with a 1:45.91. Ryutaro Kamiya of Michigan was also in the battle with a 1:46.80.

Three swimmers broke away from the pack early and fought for the win in the women’s 200 breast. It was Texas’ Madisyn Cox who got the victory with a 2:15.60 over Michigan’s Bri Jurries, who was second with a 2:16.23, and Indiana’s Pasloski, who touched third in 2:16.63.

Funk made it a sweep of the breaststroke events today with a 1:58.82 to win the 200 breast and be the only swimmer under two minutes today. Will Licon of Texas got to the wall ahead of Miller, 2:00.01 to 2:00.85.

Vrooman and Lips gave Indiana a 1-2 finish in the 500 free, with Vrooman winning in 4:49.01. Lips never strayed more than two seconds from Vrooman, finishing with a 4:50.23.

Jaeger blazed through the 500 free to post a 4:22.13 that’s now the fastest in the nation, bumping Dan Wallace’s 4:23.09 down to third and giving Jaeger a two-second improvement this season Notably, it’s a second slower than he swam at this meet last year. Michigan’s Andres Nielsen had a race with Indiana’s Ress, who showed no signs of fatigue after three races so far with a strong final 100 yards. Nielsen managed to place second with a 4:27.23 to Ress’ 4:28.32.

Natalie Hinds was the only swimmer under 54 seconds in the 100 fly before today, but now she’ll be joined by Indiana’s Gia Dalesandro and her 53.96 that won today’s meet. A great final 50 yards helped her break the barrier and keep Jacques from getting a third win today. Jacques was second in an impressive 54.32 ahead of teammate Brynne Wong’s 54.46.

One of Jack Conger’s events at the NCAA championships might be the 100 fly, given that he’s now swum it at both dual meets so far, and that his time is higher on the collegiate standings than his 100 back. He posted a 47.21 that not only won the race but put him at the top of the rankings. With Tom Shields done with college, the NCAA 100 fly title is wide open for the taking. Conger beat out Bosch to the wall, with Bosch second in 47.71 and Michigan’s John Wojiechowski third in 47.84. Those times put Bosch and Wojiechowski third and fourth in the nation, giving Michigan some serious ammunition in that event, especially where the medley relay is concerned.

Cox managed a come-from-behind victory in the 200 IM, posting a 2:00.58 that beat out Michigan’s Marni Oldershaw’s 2:00.64.Oldershaw took the lead after backstroke but couldn’t match Cox’s 28.29 freestyle.

Whitaker dominated the 200 IM from start to finish and won with an impressive 1:46.71. It puts Whitaker in the top two in the nation, just behind Cieslak’s 1:46.00. Whitaker, a former national high school record holder in the 200 IM, had an off-season in his junior year but is taking major strides in his senior season. A tired Bosch tried to stay with Whitaker after the butterfly, but settled for second with a 1:48.06.

After Indiana touched first after the opening leg of the women’s 400 free relay, Texas took the lead and never looked back, winning with a 3:21.06 to Indiana’s 3:23.60. Michigan was in second place from 150 to 350 yards, but fell back to third with a 3:23.78.

It was all Michigan in the final event, the men’s 400 free relay, though Texas kept it interesting throughout. The Wolverines posted a 2:56.09 to the Longhorns’ 2:57.12. Those are the fastest and third-fastest relay swims so far this season.

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