LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, February 22. THE inaugural American Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championship came to a close Saturday, with the host Louisville Cardinals winning the men’s and women’s titles at the Ralph Wright Natatorium. The Cardinals also had the men’s swimmer of the meet in Joao De Lucca and women’s swimmer of the meet in Tanja Kylliainen.
The night opened with the women’s 1650-yard freestyle, the longest race contested at the Championships. Louisville earned the top three spots coming out of the final heat, with Carly Munchel taking the top spot in 16:35.63. The second spot went to freshman Abbie Houck in 16:44.64, and in third was Abby Chin, who finished in 16:46.79.
In the men’s 1650-yard freestyle, Louisville sophomore Bryan Draganosky outpaced the competition to win the mile-long race in 15:13.67. UConn’s Michael Lennon finished second in 15:25.38, and Cardinal Jake Schultz came in third in 15:31.89.
In the men’s Platform diving, SMU continued their strong showing in the Championships. Burnett won his third gold medal in diving, taking first with 399.65. Teammate Hayden Hodges placed second with 313.50, with Louisville’s Sean Piner in third with 313.50.
The women’s 200 Backstroke was won by Rutgers Joanna Wu, who took her second gold of the Championships. Wu set a pool record with a 1:54.07 to finish first, ahead of SMU’s Isabella Arcilla (1:55.27) and Louisville’s Erica Belcher (1:56.35).
The men’s 200-Yard Backstroke was a sweep of the podium by the Cardinals, with Grigory Tarasevich touching the wall first. The freshman finished in 1:41.50, nearly two seconds ahead of fellow Louisville underclassmen Aaron Green and Nolan Tesone.
In the women’s 100-Yard Freestyle, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell took her second freestlye gold of the Championships. She touched the wall in 48.47, beating Cincinnati’s Jackie Keire to the wall. UConn’s Chinyere Pigot and SMU’s Nina Rangelova tied for third with a 49.43.
In the men’s 100-Yard Freestyle, Louisville’s Joao De Lucca continued his dominance of the Championships, winning his sixth gold medal in six attempts. De Lucca set an NCAA ‘A’ Cut with the second fastest time in the nation this year, a 41.95. Teammate Caryle Blondell swam 42.72 for second, with Cardinal freshman Matthias Lindenbauer in third at 43.91.
The women’s 200 Breaststroke went 1-2 for SMU in the 200-yard breaststroke, with Tara-Lynn Nicholas winning in 2:10.10. Fellow Mustang Rachel Nicol was second in 2:10.33, with Louisville’s Andee Cottrell finishing third in 2:10.81.
In another battle between Louisville swimmers, Kameron Chastain charged late and beat Thomas Dahlia to the wall in the Men’s 200-Yard Breaststroke. Chastian reached just ahead in 1:54.68 ahead of Dahlia’s 1:54.78. Addison Bray was third in 1:55.73
Another standout swimmer for Louisville, Tanja Kylliainen picked up her third first –place finish of the Championship by swimming a NCAA ‘A’ Cut of 1:53.94 in the 200-Yard Butterfly. Devon Bibault was second in 1:57.34 and Brittany Guinee was third in 1:59.27.
The men’s 200-Yard butterfly was a Cardinals victory, with Josh Quallen beating teammate Juan Lopez. Quallen swam a 1:45.29, exactly two seconds ahead of Lopez. David Boland was third in 1:47.71.
The Women’s Platform Diving saw a Houston title, with freshman Taylor Olanski finishing first. She scored a 281.70, with Rutgers’ Taylor Scott scoring 268.55 for second and Louisville’s Andrea Acquista in third at 245. 65.
The women’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay went to Louisville, who set a NCAA ‘A’ Cut with the victory to wrap up their team championship. The Cards swam a 3:16.15, over a second ahead of SMU, with Cincinnati taking third place.
The men’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay wrapped up the title for Louisville, as they cruised to a victory in 2:50.41. SMU was second in 2:55.75, with UConn taking third.
For full coverage of the entire Championship, including video highlights and photo galleries, visit the Championship Central Page at www.theamerican.org/sd.
Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year
Artur Albiero, Louisville
Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year
Phil Spinello, Rutgers
Men’s Diving Coach of the Year
Jim Stillson, SMU
Women’s Diving Coach of the Year
Yulia Pakhalina, Houston
Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer
Joao De Lucca, Louisville, Sr.
Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer
Tanja Kylliainen, Louisville, Jr.
Men’s Most Outstanding Diver
Devin Burnett, SMU, Jr.
Women’s Most Outstanding Diver
Natasha Burgess, Houston, Jr.
Men’s Team Standings
1 Louisville 1072.5
2 SMU 768
3 UConn 683.5
4 Cincinnati 535
Women’s Team Standings
1 Louisville 977
2 SMU 624.5
3 Rutgers 572
4 UConn 459.5
5 Cincinnati 431
6 Houston 337
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