PHOENIX, Arizona, December 5. AFTER a much-needed break from competition last weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving, NCAA competition is ramping up again this weekend with several major invitationals and a handful of dual meets taking place across the country.
On Thursday, Colorado Mesa University will host the Colorado Mesa Invitational, where swimmers from California Baptist, Adams State, Colorado School of Mines and Colorado College will look to pick up some NCAA provisional qualifying times in both Division II and Division III. Colorado Mesa finished second to now-Division I Grand Canyon in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships last season, and a strong showing at their home invite could give the team a huge boost heading into this year’s conference meet.
Calvin College will host the Calvin Winter Invitational this Thursday through Saturday, with a few of their swimmers aiming at NCAA Division III qualifying times. Michaela Rookus may have the best shot at making a cut this weekend, as her season bests sit within striking distance of the B cut in four events — 50 free (24.64; B cut 23.89), 100 free (53.18; B cut 52.14), 100 breast (1:07.67; B cut 1:06.08) and 200 IM (2:11.93; B cut 2:08.00). On the men’s side, Johnson Cochran is very close to the men’s B cuts in both the 100 breast (58.24; B cut 57.81) and 200 breast (2:07.81; B cut 2:06.71).
With most of the top ten teams in Division II not competing this weekend, Grand Valley State will have an opportunity to move up in the rankings with a strong showing at Calvin. The Laker men won the Doug Coers Invite at Ball State two weeks ago and could make another jump in the rankings with a strong meet. GVSU is currently ranked sixth on the men’s side and seventh on the women’s side by Collegeswimming.com.
Several Division II teams will make the trek to Rochester, Minn. this weekend for the Rochester Invite. Among those competing are St. Cloud State, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Minnesota State-Mankato, South Dakota and Wisconsin-LaCrosse. St. Cloud State should be led by All-Americans Alex Bryson and Kellyn Craig, as well as diver Tori Raihle, who will look to post individual A cuts in their best events this weekend.
MIT, ranked sixth in Division III on the men’s side and seventh on the women’s side by Collegeswimming.com, will host the MIT Winter Invitational this weekend. The Engineer men are coming off of wins over Bowdoin and Babson last weekend and are led by senior Michael Liao, who recently earned NEWMAC Swimmer of the Week honors for his performances in the 100 breast (57.74) and 200 breast (2:07.14).
Make sure to check the Swimming World website throughout the weekend for results and recaps from all of the meets this weekend.