DALLAS, Texas, October 18. THE Southern California Trojans and the Indiana Hoosiers are in a close battle after the first of two days of competition at the SMU Classic, featuring six talented women’s teams made of just eight swimmers and a diver.
In the six-lane pool at SMU, each team only gets one swimmer in the fastest heat, and one swimmer in the “consolation” heat. Participating in the meet this weekend besides Southern Cal, Indiana and host SMU are North Carolina, Louisville and Miami.
Southern Cal earned the most points after today’s competition, leading Indiana by 4.5 points, 158 to 153.50. Southern Cal and Indiana each won three events today, with Louisville picking up two wins and SMU notching one victory.
The closest race of the day came in the 200 freestyle, with three women in the hunt for the crucial first-place points. World championship team member and USC freshman Chelsea Chenault beat out Indiana’s Lindsay Vrooman by the slightest of margins, 1:47.61 to 1:47.62. North Carolina’s Danielle Silverling was third with a 1:47.82. Notably, the times are third-, fourth- and fifth-fastest in the college rankings, impressive given that the SMU pool is three feet at the turning end, not necessarily ideal for championship racing but has typically produced fast times over the years.
Not satisfied with her performance, Chenault returned to lead off Southern Cal’s 800 free relay with a blazing 1:46.01 that now makes her the fastest in the nation in the event, bumping off Melanie Margalis’ 1:47.01. Chenault still claims a 1:44.01 from 2012 as her lifetime best. Chenault’s leadoff helped the Trojans beat Indiana in the relay by a little more than a second with a 7:07.92. Vrooman also improved on her individual swim, posting a 1:47.48 leadoff to help Indiana score second with a 7:09.25.
Kelsi Worrell of Louisville blazed through the 100 fly, posting a 52.94 that is not only the fastest time of the college season so far, but the fastest by a full second. For an in-season swim, it’s lightning fast,, and not far off her lifetime best of 51.55 from last year’s conference meet.
The other win for Louisville came from Tanja Kylliainen, who beat out an NCAA finalist in the 400 IM, posting a 4:07.57 to win the race. Meghan Hawthorne of USC, set to attend the Duel in the Pool in December, was never in the race, finishing fourth with a 4:13.80. Kylliainen was three seconds ahead of runner-up Cari Blalock of North Carolina, who posted a 4:10.49.
The other win for Southern Cal came in 1-meter diving, thanks to the dominating score of 304.90 by junior Haley Ishimatsu.
Indiana started the competition with a win in the 400 medley relay with a 3:36.43, then notched victory No. 2 in the 100 back, as Brooklyn Snodgrass posted a 53.18. That time barely puts her in the top of the national rankings, ahead of the 53.22 swum by Auburn’s Emily Bos.
In a close battle with SMU’s Rachel Nicol, Indiana’s Bronwyn Pasloski took the win in the 100 breast, 1:00.85 to 1:00.87. Notably, NCAA runner-up Kasey Carlson of USC placed fourth with a 1:02.46.
SMU celebrated their lone win today in the 50 freestyle, as Isabella Arcila posted a 22.78 to beat Carlson’s 22.92. Arcila also had a strong swim in the 100 back to place second with a 54.04 ahead of USC’s Kendyl Stewart, who swam a 54.42.