Analysis: SMU Classic was Epic Jumpstart to Season

Michigan's Siobhan Haughey Photo Courtesy: Lon Horwedel

By Dan D’Addona.

The start of the college swimming season is always a little random. Some teams start earlier than others and it seems like there aren’t too many big meets early on.

After all, it is still the middle of football season and we haven’t reached the World Series yet, either.

But this weekend had a fantastic meet that should have people really ready for the college season, the SMU Classic. This annual meet has picked up steam over the past few years and this weekend, we saw a true classic.

The meet came down to the final couple of events with USC, Louisville and Michigan all within striking distance. These are three top-10 teams in the nation.

The USC women used a third-place finish in the final relay to win the SMU Women’s Classic on Saturday, edging Louisville by a half point.

A meet can’t get closer than a half a point unless there is a three-way tie for a particular place, which a team could win by a third of a point, or I suppose, a quarter of a point if there is a four-way tie.

But those rarely happen in any sort of meet, so it is pretty cool to say that this meet could not have been closer.

USC scored 331, while Louisville was runner-up with 330.5. Michigan was third with 322, followed by UCLA (239.5), Miami (230) and SMU (209).

This meet had everything: An extremely close team score and big performances by star swimmers.

There was even a pair of epic showdowns between national title contenders — yes two showdowns by the same swimmers, Louisville’s Mallory Comerford and Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey.

On Saturday, Comerford won the 100-yard freestyle in 47.00, narrowly edging Haughey (47.22) in another battle of two of the best collegiate swimmers in the world. The times are the top two in the country this year.

That followed another epic battle in the 200 freestyle on Friday when Comerford won the event in 1:41.70, ahead of Haughey’s 1:42.44.

These two swimmers are both going to be vying for national titles. Comerford had the epic NCAA finish, tying Katie Ledecky to win the 200 freestyle as the duo held off Simone Manuel and Haughey.

That 200 free is shaping up to be the event of the meet for the women once again, though the 100 free will likely see Comerford, Manuel and Haughey as well.

There were some other great performances for this early in the season, too.

Comerford won the 500 freestyle in 4:39.24, holding off Michigan All-American Rose Bi (4:40.37).

USC’s Riley Scott won both breaststroke events.

USC’s Louise Hansson won the 200 backstroke (1:52.26), edging Michigan’s Clara Smiddy (1:52.52). Hansson (1:55.80) also edged Smiddy (1:56.97) in the 200 IM.

USC’s MAddie Wright won the 200 butterfly (1:54.97).

In Friday’s final event, Michigan dominated the 800 free relay with a team of Gabby Deloof, Catie Deloof, Bi and Haughey. The quartet checked in at 7:00.71.

Louisville finished second in 7:06.36. Comerford led off in 1:43.33, a strong split.

Comerford became a star at last year’s NCAA meet, but Haughey is right on her heels. It was great to see them really race each other, especially in a 100 free that was just 22 hundredths of a second difference. Throw in a good taper and a couple of Stanford legends and the 100 and 200 freestyle events will be can-miss events at the NCAA championships, and all season leading up to an epic finale.

 

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. avatar

    You guys kill with your headlines….Louisville already got BEAT in a dual to Notre Dame…with Commerford getting BEAT twice…..so how is this a KICKOFF to a great season..when the season started with a loss…just saying

  2. John Guy Smith

    Great picture of posture in water. I suck at swimming. Gonna work on it this winter.

Author: Daniel D'Addona

avatar
Dan D'Addona is the lead college swim writer for Swimming World. He has covered swimming at all levels since 2003, including the NCAA championships, USA nationals, Duel in the Pool and Olympic trials. He is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a graduate of Central Michigan University. He currently lives in Holland, Michigan, where he also is the Sports Editor at The Holland Sentinel.

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