Arizona Sweeps Relay Titles With Three Meet Records on Night One in Austin

AUSTIN, Texas, November 29. THE Arizona Wildcats dominated night one of the U.S. Winter Short Course Nationals with a relay sweep, while plenty of Olympians put up some stellar times throughout the evening in Austin.

Women's 200 free relay
Arizona threw down a meet record in the finale, taking down the short-lived standard of 1:29.21 set by Southern California during prelims. Arizona's Margo Geer (21.82), Megan Lafferty (22.00), Kaitlyn Flederbach (22.23) and Alana Pazevic (22.58) blitzed the field with a winning time of 1:28.63, far surpassing the NCAA A cut of 1:29.80.

Texas' Ellen Lobb (22.28), Kelsey Amundsen (22.26), Gretchen Jaques (22.56) and Bethany Adams (22.04) placed second at home with a 1:29.14 for an A cut of their own, while USC's Kasey Carlson (21.90), Jasmine Tosky (22.94), Katarzyna Wilk (22.11) and Joan Christel Simms (22.52) checked in with third-place 1:29.47, a bit slower than their prelim swim.

Arizona B (1:31.04), UCLA (1:31.24), USC B (1:32.13), Indiana (1:32.40) and TCU (1:33.37) rounded out the championship finale.

Men's 200 free relay
Arizona's Giles Smith (19.71), Mitchell Friedemann (19.20), Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (19.48) and Nicholas Popov (19.56) just missed the meet record with a sterling time of 1:17.95. USC's time of 1:17.90 set at the 2010 edition of the meet in Columbus withstood the effort. However, it is good news for the Wildcats as Arizona now has its NCAA A cut salted away in the event, clearing the 1:18.36 that is the automatic qualifying standard.

USC's John Wagner (19.75), Fred Abramyan (20.06), Chase Bloch (19.69) and Paul Davis (19.87) finished second in 1:19.37, while Texas' Charles Moore (20.15), Madison Wenzler (19.98), Kerrington Hill (19.46) and Dax Hill (19.46) placed third in 1:19.53.

Texas B (1:19.69), Arizona B (1:20.26), Michigan State (1:20.61), Cleveland State (1:21.60) and USC B (1:22.32) also competed for the national title.

Women's 500 free
NCAP's Katie Ledecky gave it a go, but wound up just a bit short of the 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record in the event with a winning time of 4:34.53. That swim just missed Katie Hoff's age division standard of 4:34.21 set back in 2006, but did represent Ledecky's first time under 4:35 as she downed her lifetime best of 4:35.14 set in 2011 at the National Age Group Challenge. She moved up to ninth all time in the event's history as well with her swim, and became the second-fastest 16-and-under ever. Dagny Knutson was the second fastest with a 4:34.78 as a 16-year-old back in 2008.

For more context on Ledecky's time, she would have finished second at the NCAA Division I Women's Championships last March. USC's Haley Anderson won in 4:34.48, while Georgia's Amber McDermott took second in 4:35.09.

Anderson claimed second-place honors tonight in 4:36.87, an NCAA A cut in the event, while U.S. Junior National Teamer Leah Smith of JCC Sailfish took third in 4:36.90. Minnesota's Ashley Steenvoorden (4:41.55), Texas' Kelsey Leneave (4:43.31), Indiana's Lindsay Vrooman (4:43.35), Arizona's Bonnie Brandon (4:44.92) and Texas' Kaitlin Pawlowicz (4:45.73) rounded out the championship heat.

The Fish's Isabella Rongione, 13, became the third-fastest 13-and-under with her C final winning time of 4:47.08. That chopped nearly three seconds from her previous best of 4:49.76 set during prelims, and vaulted her to third in 13-and-under rankings. Only Olympic gold medalists Katie Ledecky (4:45.63) and Missy Franklin (4:46.67) have been faster at this age. Rongione's time this morning had put her fourth behind Becca Mann's 4:48.00 from 2011.

Men's 500 free
Arizona's Matt Barber went out hard, but could not hold onto the lead as he faded to third with a 4:16.62. Texas' Michael McBroom (4:16.08) and USC's Cristian Quintero (4:16.56) used some more strategic races to push past Barber down the stretch for a 1-2 finish. Unfortunately, no one had the speed to beat the swift NCAA A cut of 4:15.89 to guarantee a spot at the pinnacle meet of the season.

Trojan's Nikita Lobintsev (4:18.10), DSA's Clark Smith (4:18.38), Dynamo's Evan Pinion (4:19.78), USC's Nicholaus Johnson (4:26.42) and AGUA's Michael Domagala (4:28.06) also competed in the finale. Meanwhile, Texas' Clay Youngquist blitzed the B final with a sterling time of 4:17.57 that would have placed him just off the podium in the A final.

Women's 200 IM
Celina Li picked up some big-time scalps in this finale, surging past the field to win the finale in 1:55.28. USC's Stina Gardell placed second in 1:55.32, while Olympic superstar Missy Franklin picked up third in 1:55.88. Li moved to 23rd all time with the swim, just ahead of Franklin's lifetime best of 1:55.32. Gardell, meanwhile, has a 1:54.90 to her credit from last year's NCAA Championships. The time is an NCAA A cut for Gardell, while future California Golden Bears Li and Franklin have already proven they will easily qualify for the meet when they compete in the NCAA.

USC's Jessica Schmitt (1:56.49), Meghan Hawthorne (1:56.60), Jasmine Tosky (1:56.67) and Andrea Kropp (1:57.30) finished fourth through seventh, while crosstown rival Anna Senko took eighth for UCLA with a 1:59.50. Longhorn's Karlee Bispo posted a swift 1:56.94 to win the B final, while Texas' Skylar Smith took home the C final win in 1:57.66.

Men's 200 IM
Olympic superstar Ryan Lochte obliterated the field with a winning time of 1:40.97, nearly four seconds ahead of USC's Alex Lendrum's 1:44.24. Lochte's time is the sixth-fastest ever, giving four of the top six times under 1:41. His American record stands with a 1:40.08, while he's also been 1:40.55 and 1:40.89. Bradley Ally (1:40.49) and Michael Phelps (1:40.58) are the other members of the sub 1:41 club. Lendrum, meanwhile, came up a bit short of the incredibly fast NCAA A cut of 1:43.62, while Texas' Austin Surhoff checked in third with a 1:44.39. Bolles' Ryan Murphy (1:44.43), Tucson Ford's Austen Thompson (1:44.52) placed fourth and fifth.

NBAC's Chase Kalisz, seen being coached by Bob Bowman before finals tonight even though Bowman has been said to be on a one-year sabbatical, took sixth in 1:44.76. Arizona's Miles Joye finished seventh in 1:45.67, while Dynamo's Gunnar Bentz placed eighth in 1:45.79 after setting the 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record with a 1:45.17 during prelims. NCAP's Andrew Seliskar nearly cleared the NAG with his B final win of 1:45.21.

Women's 50 free
Last minute decisions sometimes work out. Trojan's Jessica Hardy, who already had a strong Fall with a FINA World Cup circuit, decided earlier this week to compete in Austin. Tonight, she came through with a victorious time of 21.83 as she touched out Arizona's Margo Geer. Geer, meanwhile, took silver in 21.84 while Tucson Ford's Christine Magnuson placed third in 21.91 for her second sub-22 of the day. Hardy's time is a lifetime best, as her previous top short course swim in the event had been a 22.04 from the 2009 Short Course Nationals. She moved to 13th all time in the event. Geer also moved into the top 15 in the event.

USC's Kasey Carlson (22.04), GTAC's Olivia Smoliga (22.05), NCAP's Janet Hu (22.26), Texas' Ellen Lobb (22.31) and T2's Erika Erndl (22.53) completed the championship field. Olympians Missy Franklin (22.41) and Lia Neal (22.54) had a close finish for the B final title.

Men's 50 free
With Nathan Adrian scratching the rest of the meet after a warmdown mishap with a lane line, Tucson Ford's Matt Grevers still served up a sizzling time of 18.88 just missing Adrian's meet record of 18.82 from prelims. That is a lifetime best for Grevers, bettering his 18.95 from the 2008 Short Course Championships, and shooting him to ninth all time in the event's history. Fellow Olympian Davis Tarwater blitzed the pool with a silver-winning 19.36, while SwimFlorida's Pavel Babaev touched third in 19.44.

Louisville's Joao De Lucca (19.61), Longhorn's Garrett Weber-Gale (19.64), Tucson Ford's Adam Small (19.65), USC's John Wagner (19.79) and UCD's Jakob Allen (19.88) placed fourth through eight in the finale. Notably, Arizona's Mitchell Friedemann won the B final in 19.79, while Bolles' Ryan Murphy crushed the C final in 19.78.

Women's 400 medley relay
Arizona's Lauren Smart (52.57), Ellyn Baumgardner (59.21), Megan Lafferty (52.65) and Margo Geer (46.73) cranked out a winning time of 3:31.16, well under the meet record of 3:32.20 set by USC back in 2010. USC's Kendyl Stewart (53.11), Kasey Carlson (58.50), Jasmine Tosky (52.05) and Katarzyna Wilk (48.54) also matched the previous record with a 3:32.20. Texas' Sarah Denninghoff (52.55), Laura Sogar (58.37), Gretchen Jaques (53.71) and Kelsey Amundsen (48.87) placed third in 3:33.50.

USC B (3:36.80), Arizona B (3:36.87), Indiana (3:38.42), UCLA (3:40.27) and Texas B (3:41.52) comprised the rest of the top eight.

Men's 400 medley relay
Arizona smashed the meet record with a sterling time of 3:05.69, which blasted the 3:07.03 set by Tucson Ford back in 2008. Arizona used a strong four legs with Mitchell Friedemann (46.45), Kevin Cordes (51.15), Giles Smith (45.33) and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (42.76) each turning in best legs amongst the final field. Arizona's second squad of Michael Sheppard (47.16), Carl Mickelson (51.67), Miles Joye (48.01) and Matt Barber (43.59) took second in 3:10.43, while USC's Luca Spinazzola (46.87), Morten Klarskov (53.97), Chase Bloch (46.65) and John Wagner (43.63) earned third in 3:11.12.

Texas (3:14.26), Indiana (3:14.86), NCAP (3:18.51), TCU (3:19.47) and NYAC (3:19.54) finished fourth through eighth in the timed final event.