CHRISTIANSBURG, Virginia, November 22. MICHAEL Flach put together a solid 500-yard freestyle to highlight the opening night of competition at the Virginia Tech Invitational, where three Virginia Tech freshmen also posted wins.
Flach, a senior at South Carolina, swam a 4:21.38 in winning the event over teammate Gerard Rodriguez’s 4:23.92. For about a couple of hours, Flach’s time was the fastest in collegiate swimming this season, until Stanford’s Drew Cosgarea posted a 4:19.63 in Las Vegas. Flach still has a ways to go to reach his lifetime best, a 4:15.32 from last season’s SEC championships. Placing third in Thursday evening’s race in Virginia was Connecticut’s Chris Grig with a 4:25.64.
Jan Switkowski, a freshman from Virginia Tech hailing from Poland, posted a quick 1:45.95 in the 200 IM to win the title. He fell just nine tenths short of the Virginia Tech school record of 1:45.06 by Gregory Mahon from 2011, but the time puts him in the top five nationally. Teammate Lucas Bureau finished second with a 1:49.47, while South Carolina’s Jared Kaufman was third in 1:49.66.
Jessica Hespeler, another freshman from Virginia Tech, won the 500 freestyle with a 4:49.91. Hespeler held off a late charge from South Carolina’s Victoria Mitchell, who was second with a 4:50.08. Rachel Sepanski of Virginia Tech was third with a 4:54.83.
Virginia Tech’s third freshman to claim a victory on the opening night was Fiona Donnelly, who won the 200 IM with a 2:00.91. Weronika Paluszek finished second with a 2:01.16 and Abby Galbreath of South Carolina took third in 2:02.40.
William & Mary got two wins today, starting with a victory in the women’s 200 free relay with a time of 1:32.19 to keep Virginia Tech from winning all four relays Thursday. After leading off the relay in 22.60, Megan Howard returned to win the women’s 50 free with a 22.43, just missing Katie Radloff’s school record of 22.30. Katarina Filova of Virginia Tech took second in 23.06, while Connecticut’s Chinyere Pigot placed third with a 23.08.
Joe Bonk led a Virginia Tech 1-2-3 sweep of the men’s 50 free, posting a 20.14. Morgan Latimer finished second with a 20.18 and CJ Fiala was third with a 20.19.
Virginia Tech took three of the four relays, winning the men’s 200 free relay (1:18.90), women’s 400 medley relay (3:38.41) and men’s 400 medley relay (3:13.12).