ROCKWALL, Texas, March 23. NIGHT one of the inaugural College Swimming Coaches Association of America Collegiate Classic at the Rockwall ISD Aquatic Center in Rockwall, Texas is in the books, with Western Kentucky leading the first night of competition with four wins.
The meet, which follows the same format as the NCAA swimming and diving championships (minus diving), provides Division I swimmers who did not compete at NCAAs another opportunity for a season-ending meet. This year’s meet features teams from BYU, Campbell University, Grand Canyon University, Iona College, Rice University, Rider University, University of the Incarnate Word and Western Kentucky University.
Rice got the meet started with a win in the women’s 200 free relay. Cora McKenzie (23.29), Rachel Moody (23.13), Chelsea Fong (23.14) and Karina Wlostowska (23.35) posted a time of 1:32.91 to top Grand Canyon’s 1:34.23 and Western Kentucky’s 1:34.62. Grand Canyon rebounded in the men’s 200 free relay with four sub-20 splits to take the win. Ilya Glazunov (19.98), Mazen El Kamash (19.87), Jacob Lambros (19.75) and Michael Branning (19.39) touched first in 1:18.99 to top Western Kentucky (1:21.36) and Incarnate Word (1:22.79) by a comfortable margin.
Western Kentucky picked up two spots on the podium in the women’s 500 free, led by junior Susan Marquess in 4:49.52. Teammate Sam Holmes took third in the event in 4:57.04, while Rice’s Taylor Armstrong sandwiched the two swimmers with a 4:52.22 for second place. The Hilltoppers continued their dominance in the men’s 500 free, as Cody Reul (4:25.80) and Aymeric Le Corno (4:26.43) finished 1-2 in the race. Incarnate Word’s Connor Hennessy tried to break up the Western Kentucky duo but wound up third in 4:26.84.
Freshman Nadine Laemmler earned Western Kentucky’s third-straight win, breaking 2:00 to win the 200 IM in 1:59.03, more than five seconds faster than her prelim swim. Hannah Kastigar, another freshman from Grand Canyon, stayed in contact with Laemmler and finished second in 2:01.61, while Campbell’s Kylie Warne placed third in 2:02.59. The men’s 200 IM turned out to be one of the closest races of the night, with three swimmers finishing within two-tenths of each other. Incarnate Word senior Daniel Torres touched first in 1:47.00, while Grand Canyon teammates Iegor Lytvenok (1:47.18) and Ivan Nechunaev (1:47.19) finished one one-hundredth apart in second and third.
In the women’s 50 free, the title was decided by a mere .03, with only four-tenths separating the top six competitors. Incarnate Word’s Lana Nguyen got to the wall first in 23.33, with Rice’s Cora McKenzie right behind in 23.36. Paige Drazga of Western Kentucky rounded out the top three in 23.41. On the men’s side, Grand Canyon displayed their ridiculous depth in the event by sweeping the top five places. Ilya Glazunov led the way in 19.85, with teammate Michael Branning right on his heels in 19.97. Tanner Brotherton claimed third place honors with a 20.31.
Western Kentucky’s foursome of Nadine Laemmler (53.98), Claire Conlon (1:00.43), Courtney Marx (55.18) and Susan Marquess (50.49) topped the women’s 400 medley relay in 3:40.08. Rice finished 1.3 seconds behind in 3:41.38, while Grand Canyon placed third in 3:47.21. On the men’s side, Incarnate Word cruised to a four second victory in 3:14.28, led by Andrii Nikishenko (48.84), Thiago Parravicini (52.80), Daniel Torres (47.35) and Rostik Fedyna (45.29). Grand Canyon took second in 3:18.21, while Western Kentucky placed third in 3:19.57.