BLOOMINGTON, Indiana, November 1. TODAY’S tri-meet with host Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky had some impressive races that should gain national attention, including a fast men’s 200 backstroke.
In winning a few close races on the women’s side, Tennessee was able to secure the meet win with a score of 171-123 over Indiana and 214-84 over Kentucky. Indiana had no problem beating Kentucky as well posting a score of 199-95.
In the men’s competition, the Hoosiers held off Tennessee with a couple of 1-2 finishes that kept the score working in their favor through the meet. Indiana won the men’s meet, 179-121 over Tennessee and beat Kentucky 208-92. Tennessee collected a win over Kentucky, 177-123.
After the Tennessee women won a close race in the 200 medley relay over Indiana, 1:40.96 to 1:41.20, the Volunteer men missed an opportunity to win the opening men’s race. A disqualification put Tennessee at a major disadvantage in the points race, giving Indiana an immediate 11-point lead over Tennessee with a 1:29.98. Kentucky stayed close to Indiana, finishing second with a 1:30.44.
Indiana took the 1000 free victories, with an expected win from Lindsay Vrooman in the women’s race with a 9:38.83. Just two hours earlier, Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel put up the fastest time of the day — and the fastest time in the collegiate rankings so far — with a 9:38.49, so Vrooman now sits second in the nation, with distance ace Stephanie Peacock also set to race this weekend.
Eric Ress, known mostly as a backstroker, stepped up for the 1000 free and won with a 9:14.31 over established distance swimmers such as Kentucky’s Brandon Flynn (second with a 9:15.34) and Tennessee’s David Heron (third with a 9:17.12).
Tennessee’s Lindsay Gendron had a big battle with Indiana’s Haley Lips on her hands in the 200 freestyle, and managed to get the win with a 1:47.59 to Lips’ 1:47.96. The time is right on Gendron’s best of the season, while Lips fell almost two seconds off her season best. Also right in the hunt was Tennessee’s Mary Griffith with a 1:48.99, while Vrooman was fourth with a 1:49.01 less than 15 minutes after winning the 1000 free.
Indiana won the next three events, with unheralded freshman Anze Tavcar, a Slovenian national champion, getting his first collegiate win with a 1:38.19. He led a Hoosier 1-2-3 finish with Jackson Miller (1:39.26) and Max Irwin (1:39.68) getting Indiana back in the points race.
Next up was the 100 back, a very strong event for Indiana. Brooklynn Snodgrass’ winning time of 54.60 is well off her second-ranked time of 53.18 from the SMU Classic, but was enough to beat Tennessee’s Christina Leander, who was second with a 56.19. NCAA finalist James Wells showed off the team’s massive backstroke depth by winning the men’s 100 back with Eric Ress taking on the distance freestyles in a close race over Tennessee’s Sean Lehane, taking the victory with a 48.26 to Lehane’s 48.79.
Tennessee’s women’s team won the next four events to help gain some distance over Indiana in terms of points. First up was the 100 breast, where Molly Hannis won with a respectable 1:01.40 to beat out a rapidly-improving Indiana freshman, Bronwyn Pasloski, who swam a 1:01.99. Heather Lundstrom got the touch-out over Indiana’s Olivia Barker in the 200 fly, 1:58.74 to 1:58.88. The two are separated by three tenths of a second in the national rankings, with Lundstrom placing higher, and both were right on their season-best times today in what turned out to be one of the top races of the day.
As expected, Faith Johnson doubled up in the sprint freestyles, taking the 50 in 22.82 and the 100 in 50.05. Johnson, an NCAA finalist in the 50 free, improved on her season-best, but still not good enough to crack into the top five nationally in that event. She also made an improvement of four tenths in her 100 free, which now puts her into the top 20.
The battle on the men’s side in the 100 breast, 200 fly, 50 free and 100 free was not as one-sided. The Hoosiers won the 100 breast with a 55.01 from Cody Miller, and took the 200 fly with a 1:50.45 from Steve Schmuhl that held off Tennessee’s Tristan Slater’s 1:51.06 and Kentucky’s Chris Grimmett-Norris’ 1:51.43.
But Kentucky was not going to get through the meet without making a statement, and Eric Bruck did so with a 20.04 to win the 50 free over Tennessee’s Luke Percy, who could only manage a 20.47 today. Bruck inched closer to breaking the 20-second barrier this season, and is in a tie for fourth nationally. Percy’s best of the season still stands at 20.38 from last week’s meet against Louisville.
Percy was able to exact some revenge in the 100 free, leading a Volunteer 1-2 finish with a time of 44.66 over Sam Rairden’s 44.93. Tavcar was also able to get under 45 seconds with a 44.98 for third place.
Three swimmers got their second wins of the day in the next three women’s events. Snodgrass was the only swimmer under two minutes in the 200 back, winning with a 1:57.92, while Hannis beat Pasloski again, this time in the 200 breast with a 2:14.99 to Pasloski’s 2:16.07. And Vrooman swept the distance events with a 500 free winning time of 4:42.95.
Getting their first wins of the day were Kentucky’s Christina Bechtel with a 53.32 in the women’s 100 fly and Lauren Driscoll in the 200 IM with a 2:03.82.
On the men’s side to round out the races in individual events, Ress posted two more victories. He won his specialty, the 200 back, with a sizzling 1:44.93 over Lehane’s 1:45.13. Ress leapfrogged from fifth in the national standings to second behind Ryan Murphy’s 1:43.72 (though Jack Conger has an unofficial 1:42.50 from an intrasquad meet). Lehane lowered his in-season best by three tenths to keep himself in the top five nationally.
Ress used the time during the 200 breaststrokes to recover before taking on the 500 freestyle and winning the race with a 4:31.69 over Jackson Miller, who posted a 4:32.90 to give Indiana a 1-2 finish.
Kentucky swept the 100 fly races with a 49.00 from Lucas Gerotto over Indiana’s Max Irwin, who swam a 49.23.
Like Ress, Cody Miller got three victories today with a three-second victory in the 200 breast with a 2:00.34 and a two-second win in the 200 IM with a 1:49.68 over teammate Schmuhl, who posted a 1:51.40.
Though the meet outcome had already been decided, Tennessee did not back down in the women’s 400 free relay, taking the win over Indiana with a 3:22.09 to the Hoosier’s 3:24.99. In the men’s free relay, Tennessee wasn’t able to beat its season best of 2:57.86, but only needed a 2:59.60 to beat Indiana’s 3:01.26.