Claire Curzan Rips 1:48.50 200 Back as Stanford Women Continue Impressive Performance at NC State Invite

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Claire Curzan -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Claire Curzan Rips 1:48.50 200 Back as Stanford Women Continue Impressive Performance at NC State Invite

During the final session of the NC State Invitational in Greensboro, N.C., Stanford freshman Claire Curzan posted the top performance as she jumped onto the all-time top-10 list in the women’s 200 backstroke. It has been an impressive performance over all three days for head coach Greg Meehan’s Cardinal team, and later on, Stanford swimmers Torri Huske (100 freestyle) and Charlotte Hook (200 butterfly) swam the top times in the country in their respective events.

On the men’s side, Arizona State’s Leon Marchand had the top performance of the night as he dipped under 1:40 in the 200 butterfly.

Women’s 1650 Freestyle

Stanford’s Aurora Roghair cruised to the top overall time in the 66-lap race by more than eight seconds. She finished in 16.09.84, which ranks fourth in the country so far behind three other swimmers racing this weekend, Georgia’s Abby McCulloh, Alabama’s Kensey McMahon and Georgia Tech’s Deniz Ertan. Roghair was less than four seconds off her NCAA Championships time from last year, a 16:06.04 that was good for 15th place overall.

The NC State duo of Brooke Travis (16:18.38) and Yara Hierath (16:20.40) placed second and third, respectively.

Men’s 1650 Freestyle

Penn State freshman Eduardo Cisternas led throughout the 1650 free and had enough of an advantage to hold off Stanford’s Gabe Machado by almost two seconds at the end. Cisternas finished in 15:16.25, with Machado claiming second in 15:17.91. Third went to Arizona State’s Parker Reynolds in 15:20.29.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

Stanford freshman Claire Curzan became the 10th-fastest performer in history in the 200 back with a dominant effort in Greensboro. Curzan, a bronze medalist in the 100-meter back at the World Championships and a finalist in three other individual events at Worlds, is better known for her sprinting abilities but enjoys racing the 200 back, and she showed off those skills with a 1:48.50 swim.

That time is by far the fastest in the country this season, with Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller sitting second at 1:50.12 and no one else having broken 1:51 yet. Curzan’s time would have placed second at last year’s NCAA Championships behind Regan Smith, who left NCAA swimming after one year, and ahead of rivals such as Phoebe BaconRhyan White and Isabelle Stadden.

In this race, Taylor Ruck placed second for Stanford in 1:51.66. Ruck swam the quickest time in the nation in the 200 freestyle, but she was more than four seconds off her lifetime best in the 200 back, a 1:47.59 which ranks her fourth all-time. NC State’s Emma Muzzy took third in 1:52.22.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

Stanford’s Leon MacAlister just missed getting under 1:40 as he came from behind to beat Arizona State’s Jack Wadsworth. The Sun Devils swimmer was more than a second up on the field at the halfway point, but MacAlister, fifth in the event at the NCAA Championships last year, blasted a 25.54 split on the third 50 and 25.97 on the way home to move into a comfortable lead by the finish.

MacAlister won the event in 1:40.13, behind only Georgia’s Ian Grum and Auburn’s Aidan Stoffle in the early season national rankings, while Wadsworth held on for second in 1:40.90. Owen McDonald, also of the Sun Devils, placed third in 1:41.28.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

Torri Huske, the Stanford sophomore who became one of the best swimmers in the world in 2022, dominated a field that included NCAA Championships third-place finisher Katharine Berkoff. Huske showed significant improvement in the 100-meter free this year as she won the event at the U.S. International Team Trials (her last trip to Greensboro before this meet) and took bronze in the event at World Championships, and she finished this race in 46.85, more than a second ahead of Berkoff.

Huske’s time was the quickest in the country so far this year, just hundredths faster than the 46.89 that defending NCAA champion Gretchen Walsh swam at the Tennessee Invite. Berkoff took second here in 47.96, while Huske’s Stanford teammates Lillie Nordmann (48.45) and Kayla Wilson (48.70) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Men’s 100 Freestyle

The Arizona State men showed signs of the massive performance they are capable of in the 400 free relay as Sun Devil swimmers occupied the top four spots in this race. Max McCusker took the win in 42.03, holding off teammate Grant House, who took second in 42.11. Patrick Sammon (42.45) and Jack Dolan (42.53) completed the sweep.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Duke’s Sarah Foley used a brilliant final 100 to come from behind and overtake NC State’s Andrea Podmanikova for the win here. Foley was eight tenths behind Podmanikova at the halfway point, but she finished in 1:05.23 to claim the win in 2:06.61, just ahead of Podmanikova in 2:06.77. Those times rank fifth and sixth in the country, respectively, behind the American record from Kate Douglass at the Tennessee Invitational as well as Virginia’s Alex Walsh, Indiana’s Noelle Peplowski and Alabama’s Avery Wiseman.

It was a 1-3 finish for Duke here as Kaelyn Gridley placed third in 2:07.82.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

In an extremely tight finish, Penn State’s Mariano Lazzerini came from behind to top Arizona State’s David Schlicht and win the race by 0.11. Lazzerini finished in 1:54.38, while Schlict came in at 1:54.49. Another Penn State swimmer, Dan Raisanen, fell back on the third 50 but finished well to claim third in 1:54.66.

Women’s 200 Butterfly

A head-to-head duel between Stanford’s Charlotte Hook and Arizona State’s Lindsay Looney saw Hook pull even on the third 50 and then pull away at the end on the way to the fastest time in the country. Looney was out in 54.07 at the halfway point, three tenths ahead of Hook, but the Stanford freshman returning to her home state of North Carolina was brilliant on the back half.

Hook finished in 1:52.48, the fastest time in the country so far this season, while Looney ended up almost a full second behind in 1:53.42, good for No. 2 in the national rankings. NC State’s Abby Arens placed third in 1:54.83.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

Arizona State’s Leon Marchand opted for the 200 breaststroke instead of the 200 butterfly at last year’s NCAA Championships, and he won a national title in that event while becoming the second-fastest performer in history. But in addition to his individual medley skills, Marchand is an elite butterfly swimmer as evidenced by his silver medal in the 200-meter fly (behind Kristof Milak) at the 2022 World Championships. He raced the event in yards Saturday evening in Greensboro, and he went under 1:40 for the first time.

Marchand went wire-to-wire and finished in 1:39.57, moving to No. 16 on the all-time list in the event, one spot ahead of Michael Phelps. He is the first man to break 1:40 so far this season while ASU teammate Alexander Colson finished second in 1:40.78 for the second-quickest mark so far this year. Andrew Gray completed the Sun Devil sweep as he took third in 1:40.78.

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay

Stanford dominated the field in the 400 free relay by two-and-a-half seconds as the team of Taylor RuckLillie NordmannClaire Curzan and Torri Huske swam a time of 3:09.82. Ruck led off in 47.44, while Curzan split 47.21 and Huske came home in 46.96 as the Cardinal recorded a mark more than a second quicker than Virginia’s loaded squad swam Saturday evening at the Tennessee Invite.

NC State’s Abbey WebbKatharine BerkoffKylee Alons and Abby Arens finished second in 3:12.47, with Berkoff splitting 47.40 on the second leg, and Stanford’s B-team finished third in 3:14.86 behind Anna ShawKayla WilsonAmy Tang and Morgan Tankersley.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

Arizona State’s men dominated the 400 free relay to finish off the competition. Max McCuskerGrant HouseLeon Marchand and Patrick Sammon combined for a mark of 2:47.93, with both House (41.83) and Sammon (41.51) splitting under 42. The time was seven tenths behind Tennessee’s 2:47.27 as the top mark in the country so far. In ASU’s breakthrough sixth-place overall finish at last year’s NCAA Championships, the Sun Devils placed second in this relay behind Texas in 2:46.40.

NC State’s Bartosz PiszczorowiczGiovanni IzzoLuke Miller and Hunter Tapp finished second in 2:49.3w, with Miller blasting a 41.69 split that was second-best in the race behind Sammon. NC State’s B-team of Jack DolanJulian HillCody Bybee and Jonny Kulow took third in 2:49.79, with Kulow splitting 41.91.

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