By Emily Sampl
BOULDER, Colorado, November 17. AFTER a few weeks worth of dual meets under their belts, America's top collegiate swimmers continue to inch closer to the NCAA A cut times. This weekend proved to be one of the fastest yet, as multiple swimmers turned in nation-leading times in their respective events. Here are a few highlights from the past three days.
USC sent shockwaves through the swimming community on Saturday as both its men's and women's teams upset the defending Division I National Champion Arizona Wildcats. Behind numerous personal bests and school records, the Trojans sent a strong message. Kristen Lahey (100 back, 52.99), Rebecca Soni (100 breast, 59.48, 200 breast, 2:07.86) and Tanya Krisman (200 fly, 1:56.43) turned in dazzling performances for the women, while Buddy Turner (100 free, 44.30) and James Martin (400 IM, 3:50.36) had superb outings for the men. For Arizona, Lara Jackson turned in the fastest 50 free time in the nation this year, winning the event in 22.47. Leone Vorster added her name to the mix of what should be a very competitive 200 free, posting a time of 1:47.14.
Meanwhile, traditional powerhouses Auburn and Georgia squared off on Saturday for bragging rights in the SEC. Auburn split with the Bulldogs, with the men coming out on top 163-136 and the women falling 167-128. Matt Targett showcased his sprinting talents, taking the 50 in a blazing 19.73, while also splitting an incredible 42.00 on Auburn's winning 400 free relay. Look out for Targett when he's rested and shaved! Ava Ohlgren turned in a sub-two minute 200 IM, winning the event in 1:59.73. Neil Versfeld was impressive in the 200 breast as well, posting a time of 1:57.70.
Grand Valley State had a great weekend despite falling to Big Ten power Michigan State, posting numerous B cuts. Matt Witkowski led the way with two cuts, in the 100 (46.59) and 200 (1:43.11) free. Several members of the women's team swam B cuts, including Kim Baughman (50 free, 24.38), Jenna Thayer (100 fly, 57.67), Carly Bush (500 free, 5:11.18), and Toni Musto (100 breast, 1:06.25). Hans Hill also achieved a B cut in the men's 100 breast, swimming a time of 58.76.
Wayne State faced off against a pair of Division III teams over the weekend, easily dispatching Calvin College and just holding off Denison. Elaina Hogle surpassed the A cut in the women's 200 fly with a 2:06.79, while Sean Smith led off the 400 medley relay with an A cut in the 100 back (50.79). Smith had an outstanding meet, as he was also under the 200 fly B cut with a 1:52.91 and in the 200 back (1:52.65). Jesper Akesson just missed the A cut of 20.52 in the 50, touching in 21.06.
Perennial Division III powerhouse Kenyon took on Miami-Ohio, and gave the RedHawks all they could handle. Elizabeth Carlton finished second in the 50 free in 24.45, just off the B cut of 24.41. Teammate Alisa Vereshchagin swam a B cut in winning the 100 breast (1:05.96), while also taking second in the 200 IM in 2:09.86, another B cut.