Caspar Corbeau Wins Breaststroke Showdown, Five Top-Ranked Times on Final Night of Minnesota Invitational

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Caspar Corbeau -- Photo Courtesy: Luke Jamroz Photography

Caspar Corbeau Wins Breaststroke Showdown, Five Top-Ranked Times on Final Night of Minnesota Invitational

At last season’s NCAA Championships, Minnesota’s Max McHugh, Cal’s Reece Whitley and Texas’ Caspar Corbeau finished first, second and fourth, respectively, in the 200 breast. Their showdown Saturday night produced the three fastest times in the nation, with all three swimmers more than a second clear of anyone else nationally, and just like in Friday’s 100 breast, it was Corbeau who came out on top.

Corbeau, a native of the Netherlands, hit the wall in 1:50.81 to jump to No. 15 all-time in the event, while Whitley finished second in 1:51.11, just ahead of defending NCAA champion McHugh (1:51.27). Expect those three to face off in another tight showdown in less than four months at the national championships.

Texas’ Danny Krueger could be in position to capture his first individual NCAA championship in 2022 after he tied for second in the 100 free with teammate Drew Kibler last season and race winner Ryan Hoffer of Cal graduated. Krueger recorded the fastest time of the season in prelims with a 41.49, and he swam slightly quicker in the final at 41.45.

Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger posted his best swim of the weekend to finish second in 41.75, and third went to Texas’ Cameron Auchinachie in 42.16. Seeliger now ranks fourth nationally, and Auchinachie, off a 41.92 prelims swim, is fifth. Auchinachie has recorded a breakout weekend after posting the No. 1 time in the country in the 50 free and the second best-time in the 100 back.

The Cal men have a significant strength in the backstroke events, and here, the top two returning finishers from last year’s NCAA Championships claimed the top two spots. Sophomore Destin Lasco (second) won in 1:39.24, while fifth-year teammate Daniel Carr touched in 1:40.09 for second place. Those two times are the fastest in the country so far this season.

Meanwhile, Kibler has not swum his best this weekend, but he did win the B-final in 43.00.

In an exceptional four-way race in the men’s 1650 free, four men finished within a second-and-a-half of each other. The winner was the breakout swimmer of this meet, Texas freshman Luke Hobson. Hobson swam a 14:40.15 to move to third in the NCAA so far this season behind U.S. Olympians Bobby Finke and Michael Brinegar, while fellow freshman Yigit Aslan of Wisconsin finished second in 14:40.77 to move to fifth in the national rankings.

Texas’ Alex Zettle (14:41.04) and Arizona’s Brooks Fail (14:41.57) were both in the mix, and they moved to sixth and seventh in the nation, respectively, while Texas’ David Johnston (14:50.33) and Michigan’s Jake Mitchell (14:56.99) were also under 15:00.

The final individual race of the weekend belonged to a pair of freshman. After twice finishing in the top-three earlier in the meet, Michigan’s Gal Cohen Groumi picked up his first win in the 200 fly, clocking 1:40.90 for the country’s fourth-fastest mark. Cal’s Gabriel Jett finished second in 1:41.92, and Fail returned not long after swimming the 1650 to place third in 1:42.30.

Texas then capped off an utterly dominant performance by winning the 400 free relay. Auchinachie (42.15), Kibler (41.85) and Corbeau (41.56) handled the first three legs before Krueger anchored in an insane 40.90 to bring Texas home in 2:46.46. That time was the fastest in the country, and it actually beat the winning time in the event from last season’s NCAA Championships (Cal, 2:46.60).

Cal finished second here in 2:48.80 with Lasco, Jack Alexy, Seeliger and Carr, and Harvard’s Mahlon ReihmanDean FarrisMarcus Holmquist and Raphael Marcoux took third in 2:49.85. Farris split 41.14 on the second leg for the second-quickest split overall behind Krueger, while Seeliger had the quickest leg for the Golden Bears at 41.27.

On the women’s side, Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil posted a nation-leading time for the second straight day. After the Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter fly swam a 49.97 in the 100-yard fly Friday, she returned to swim a 47.15 in the 100 free. That surpassed Torri Huske’s 47.39 as the country’s quickest time, but it was well off the 46.02 that MacNeil swam last season to win the national title.

Cal’s Isabel Ivey, fresh off a very impressive 1:43.13 in the 200 free a day earlier, took second here in 47.57 (fourth in the country), and third went to Michigan’s Claire Newman (48.52).

In the women’s 200 fly, another Michigan swimmer threw down the nation’s fastest time as defending NCAA champion Olivia Carter swam a 1:51.62 to clip the 1:51.83 by Virginia’s Alex Walsh two weeks ago for the top spot. Carter was just three tenths off her winning time from last year’s NCAAs (1:51.33). Meanwhile, Texas’ Kelly Pash tied her lifetime best of 1:52.69 to finish second, and her teammate Emma Sticklen was third in 1:53.15. Sticklen’s prelims time of 1:52.47 ranks third in the nation, while Pash sits fifths in the rankings.

Just two women, Stanford’s Regan Smith and Alabama’s Rhyan White, have broken 1:50 in the 200 back this season, but Cal’s Isabelle Stadden almost joined that group as she swam a 1:50.02. Stadden took down the reigning NCAA champion in the event, Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon, but Bacon checked in with an impressive 1:50.48 for the country’s fourth-fastest time. The quartet of Smith, White, Stadden and Bacon figures to set up one of the most exciting races of March’s NCAAs. Third here went to Cal’s Ayla Spitz in 1:54.01.

Texas freshman Erica Sullivan, the Olympic silver medalist in the 1500-meter freestyle, was the big name in the women’s 1650 free, but another freshman, Wisconsin’s Paige McKenna, stole the show and won the event by almost six seconds in 15:57.76. Only five swimmers broke 16:00 at last season’s NCAAs, so McKenna figures to be in the mix at the end of this season. Sullivan claimed second in 16:03.49, and third went to Texas’ Evie Pfeifer in 16:07.69. Those times rank fifth, seventh and 10th, respectively, in the country.

After breaking 58 for the first time in Friday’s 100 breast, Texas’ Anna Elendt dominated the women’s 200 breast. She came in at 2:06.21 to win by 3.5 seconds and improve to sixth in the country. Second place went to Michigan’s Letitia Sim in 2:09.72, and Cal’s Alicia Wilson was third (2:09.82).

The Michigan women triumphed in the women’s 400 free relay by more than a second. The team of Lindsay Flynn (48.37), Newman (48.08), MacNeil (47.17) and Carter (47.72) finished in 3:11.34, while Cal’s Emily Gantriis, Ivey, Elise Garcia and Ella Mazurek finished second in 3:12.36. Third went to Wisconsin’s Lillie Hosack, Bacon, Alana Palmer and Sophie Fiske in 3:14.22.

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  1. avatar
    Anna Ramirez-Adam

    Please take me off your email list.

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