Column by Emily Sampl
BOULDER, Colorado, November 3. WHEN the NCAA Division I, II and III men's and women's qualifying standards were announced earlier this year, swimmers across the nation knew they'd be in for a tough challenge as the cut times across all three divisions dropped to the fastest they've ever been.
America's collegiate swimmers don't appear to be afraid of a little challenge. For the second straight weekend, swimmers from every division posted a flurry of B cuts in their dual meets, setting up what should be some very intriguing scenarios for the major invitationals still to come later this month.
Here are some highlights from the weekend:
Last weekend the USC Trojans stole the spotlight with just under a dozen B cuts; this weekend, it's Texas A&M's turn. Leading the way for the Aggies was newly-crowned U.S. Olympian Christine Marshall, who garnered B cuts in the 200 free (1:47.59) and 500 free (4:47.81) in winning those events against Penn State. Also posting B cuts for A&M were Codie Hanson (200 free, 1:47.70), Triin Aljand (50 free, 22.50; a school record), and Alia Atkinson (200 breast, 2:13.32). Marshall and Hanson should be challenged in the 200 in March by Stanford's Julia Smit and Georgia's Chelsea Nauta. Smit posted a 1:47.05 in the event in the Cardinal's win over Washington, while Nauta swam a 1:47.92 against Florida on Thursday.
Several other quick times came out of the Florida-Georgia meet, including Troyden Prinsloo's 1,650 (15:14.85), Stephanie Napier's 50 free (22.75), Mark Dylla's 200 fly (1:47.36), Alek Putra's 200 back (1:55.58), and Wendy Trott's mile (16:05.94).
While the Texas Longhorns continue to build a strong recruiting class for next year, their current team has not disappointed. Freshman Kathleen Hersey showcased her versatility in winning the 200 IM (1:58.37) and 200 free (1:48.22) in Texas's win over Indiana and Michigan. Texas's Leah Gingrich and Michigan's Margaret Kelly also had impressive swims in the 500 free and 400 IM respectively.
The defending National Champion Arizona Wildcats started their seasons off right with wins over Wisconsin in a SwimmingWorldMagazine.com Meet of the Week on Halloween. Arizona proved that they'll once again be tough in the relays, winning both the 200 medley relays in solid times of 1:41.34 and 1:32.19.
Grand Valley State's men's and women's teams looked sharp over the weekend, picking up wins over Division III Calvin. Danielle Buglio and Toni Musto had strong meets for the women, with Buglio winning the 50 free in 24.73 and Musto taking the 200 breast in 2:25.22. Matt Witkowski won both the 100 (46.73) and 200 free (1:43.79) for the men.
Wayne State and Truman State put on a show in Indianapolis, with swimmers from both teams waging some close battles that figure to repeat themselves in March. Wayne State's Fernando Costa won the mile in 15:54.58, while teammate Jesper Akesson won the 50 in 20.91. Truman's Kate Aherne won the 200 IM (2:07.31) and 100 back (59.50).
Drury faced off against rival Missouri State and looked to be in great shape already this season. Kelsey Ward won the 50 free in 24.28, Jun Han won the 200 IM in 1:52.71, and Erin Dolan won both the 500 and 1000 free in times of 5:05.41 and 10:25.80
In a SwimmingWorldMagazine.com Meet of the Week streamed live on our site, Limestone and Wingate faced off in a competitive dual. In winning both the men's and women's meet, Wingate swimmers posted several NCAA B cuts. Mason Norman led the way with three individual B cuts in the 100 breast (58.75), 50 free (21.26), and 100 free (47.06). Gus Chagas (200 free, 1:43.81) and Kyle Corcoran (200 IM, 1:55.70) also posted B cuts for Wingate, while Linvern Lim and Craig Jordens swam B cuts in the 100 back and 50 free respectively for Limestone. Malin Kesmark (200 back, 2:09.21) of Wingate and Donna Wickham (100 back, 59.80) and Marta Stepien (200 breast, 2:26.69) of Limestone recorded B cuts on the women's side.