DALLAS, Texas, January 18. THE first night of competition at the SMU Classic featured athletes posting fast times at the men-only meet, many of whom will be in contention for individual event titles at the NCAA championships in two months.
After the first of two days of competition, Michigan leads by 21 points over Florida, 175-154. Southern California (149), Louisville (136.5), Purdue (116.5) and host SMU (106) rounded out the scoring. The meet format allows only eight swimmers and one diver per team, with each of the six teams getting one swimmer in the timed-final “championship heat.” Only one swimmer per team is also allowed in the “B final” and can only score as high as seventh in points, despite the time he posts.
The meet started with a win for Michigan in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:07.76. Florida was second with a 3:09.75. Louisville held off Southern California for third as the Cardinals posted a 3:11.08 to USC’s 3:11.52.
Florida’s Dan Wallace, who placed a surprising third in the 400 IM at last season’s NCAA championships, won the event on Friday with a 3:42.11. He’ll be looking to improve on his best time of 3:39.87 when this year’s championships approaches. Placing second in the championship final was Michigan’s Kyle Whitaker with a 3:43.51 after holding a seven-tenths lead after backstroke. Purdue’s Guillermo Blanco swam a lifetime best 3:44.32, also posting a school record for the Boilermakers. Winning the B final was Dylan Bosch of Michigan with a 3:42.94, which held as the second-fastest time of the session.
Reigning NCAA champion Joao de Lucca used a different race strategy to win the 200 free than he usually does, allowing Michael Wynalda of Michigan to take the lead at 100 yards, 45.91 to 46.56. De Lucca came on strong in the third 50 to take the lead and win with a 1:33.66. Wynalda was second with a 1:34.18, his third-fastest time of the season. Dimitri Colupaev of Southern California and Sebastien Rousseau of Florida were also in the hunt early in the race with Colupaev finishing fourth with a 1:35.50 to Rousseau’s 1:36.02.
Christian Quintero of USC and Connor Jaeger of Michigan posted the third- and fourth-fastest times of the meet in the 200 free, with Quintero winning the B final in 1:34.57, with Jaeger right behind with a 1:34.95.
Brad Deborde and Bruno Ortiz posted the only sub-20 second swims in the 50 free, with Florida’s Deborde winning with a 19.83 ahead of Ortiz’s 19.89 to score second-place points for Michigan. USC freshman Santo Condorelli placed third with a 20.11. Besides his 19.68 from the Texas Invite, tonight’s swim marked the fastest in-season time for Condorelli.
After SMU’s Devin Burnett won the 1-meter diving competition, Florida got its first win of the day with Marcin Cieslak taking the 100 fly with a 46.73. That’s his second time under 47 this season, with the first being a 46.28 from the Buckeye Invite in November. Fresh off his 400 IM B final win, Bosch placed second with a 47.00 ahead of USC freshman Michael Domagala’s 47.97. Pedro Coutinho of Louisville rounded out the sub-48 swims with a fourth-place time of 47.98.
Louisville got another win with a 47.41 from freshman Grigory Tarasevich in the 100 backstroke. Another freshman, Dylan Carter of USC, was second with a 47.72. Tarasevich and Carter have raced before, with Tarasevich taking the bronze in this event at last summer’s junior world championships while Carter was fourth. Taking third in the race at the SMU Classic was Florida sophomore Corey Main with a 47.85.
Richard Funk posted his fastest swim of the 2013-2014 season with a win in the 100 breast, posting a 52.31. He’s not too far off the 51.84 he swam at NCAAs last March to place third, but obviously has a lot of ground to make up on Kevin Cordes’ nation-leading 50.70. Kameron Chastain of Louisville, who had some strong performances at the USA Swimming nationals last month, was second to Funk with a 53.62, while Florida’s Eduardo Solache-Gomez took third with a 53.78. Ortiz posted the second-fastest swim of the day with his B final winning time of 53.17.
The session ended with Michigan dominating the 800 free relay with a 6:21.07. That’s the fastest swim of the season for the Wolverines, beating the 6:21.70 they posted at the USA Swimming nationals last month, but is still a long way from the 6:17.40 that Southern California put up at the Texas Invite. The Trojans were a distant second with a 6:24.22, just ahead of reigning NCAA champions Florida’s 6:24.62. They key to Michigan’s win was consistency; all four of their swimmers posted times in the 1:35 range, while Southern California and Florida had one swimmer each fall off that average.