By Rebecca Noblett
AUSTIN, Texas, December 5. The first night of the University of Texas Invite saw the top times of the season in four events tonight. Arizona posted seven wins on the men’s and women’s sides in an impressive first night of the meet.
The USC women kicked things off with an NCAA-qualifying victory in the 200 free relay. The team of Kasey Carlson, Katarzyna Wilk, Evan Swenson, and Kendyl Stewart posted a 1:80.5 for first place. Arizona’s team of Taylor Shick, Margo Geer, Alana Pazevic, and Gracie Finnegan also earned an A-cut, with their time of 1:29.46 good for second. Texas finished third with a time of 1:29.80.
Arizona’s Bonnie Brandon earned herself an A-cut in the 500 free with her winning time of 4:35.43. That time puts her at second fastest in the nation this season behind Missy Franklin’s finish at AT&T Winter Nationals earlier in the evening. USC’s Chelsea Chenault touched second in 4:38.96, while her teammate Lynette Lim hit the wall third at 4:41.07.
Kendyl Stewart blazed to victory in the 100 fly, with her time of 51.39 good for an NCAA A-cut. UC Santa Barbara’s Andrea Ward, who earned an A-cut in prelims with a time of 51.76, came in second (52.32). Penn State’s Mackenzie Powers clocked in at 52.52 for third.
USC’s Stina Gardell took first in the 200 IM in 1:55.60, with her time good for an NCAA A-cut. She was a second ahead of teammate Meghan Hawthorne, who clocked in at 1:56.62 for second. Madisyn Cox of Texas touched third at 1:56.83.
Arizona’s Margo Geer improved on her A-cut time of 21.92 from prelims with a 21.78 to win the 50 free. That ties her for the top time this season with Stanford’s Maddy Schaefer. USC’s Kasey Carlson also earned an A-cut and posted the second-fastest time of the season with a 21.90 for second place. Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin hit the wall in 22.25 for third.
The Wildcats ended the night with another victory, this time in the 400 medley relay. The team of Bonnie Brandon, Emma Schoettmer, Ashley Evans, and Margo Geer clocked in at 3:33.66 for first place and an NCAA A-cut. USC’s team of Kendyl Stewart, Kasey Carlson, Jasmine Tosky, and Katarzyna Wilk also earned an A-cut with their second-place time of 3:33.96. Southern Cal’s B-relay took third with a 3:36.12.
The Longhorns started the night off with a win in the 200 free relay. The team of Matt Ellis, John Murray, Charlie Moore, and Caleb Weir clocked in at 1:17.57, just ahead of USC’s team of Jack Wagner, Santo Condorelli, Christian Quintero, and Dimitri Colupaev (1:17.74). Harvard took third with a time of 1:18.30.
The 100 fly saw the two fastest times in the nation this season. Arizona’s Giles Smith bettered his A-cut from prelims with a blazing 44.73 to win. His teammate Andrew Porter posted a 46.27 for second, which is the second-fastest time so far this season. USC’s Chase Block took third with a 46.59.
Michael McBroom posted the top time in the 500 free (4:12.53), just ahead of USC’s Christian Quintero (4:12.85). Quintero’s time is the fastest in collegiate swimming so far this season and is also a personal best for the Venezuelan Olympian. His teammate Reed Malone finished third with a time of 4:17.08.
The Wildcats’ Michael Meyer won the 200 IM with a time of 1:44.01. USC’s Dimitri Colupaev touched second at 1:44.57, and Arizona’s Sam Rowan hit the wall third with a time of 1:45.23.
Arizona’s Brad Tandy posted a scorching 18.97 to win the 50 free. That time earns the South African an NCAA A-cut and makes him the only swimmer under the 19-second mark this season. Matt Ellis of Texas clocked in second with a 19.37, and USC’s Santo Condorelli touched third at 19.68.
Arizona blasted past the rest of the competition in the 400 medley relay, with a winning time of 3:03.73. The team of Mitchell Friedemann, Kevin Cordes, Giles Smith, and Brian Stevens clocked in at 3:03.73, with Cordes splitting 49.78 on the breaststroke leg and Smith posting a 44.62 on the fly leg. USC’s team of Luca Spinazzola, Sergio Lujan-Rivera, Maclin Davis, and Dimitri Colupaev touched second at 3:06.5. The Longhorns’ relay of Jack Conger, Imri Ganiel, Matt Ellis, and Caleb Weir hit the wall third with a time of 3:08.80. All three times earned NCAA A-cuts.