Ian Grum Hits 1:38 200 Back; Jake Magahey, Josh Liendo Win Again at Georgia Invite

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Ian Grum Hits 1:38 200 Back; Jake Magahey, Josh Liendo Win Again at Georgia Invite

During the final night of the Georgia Invitational, Ian Grum of the Bulldogs swam the fastest time in the nation so far this season in the men’s 200 backstroke while his teammate Jake Magahey won his third freestyle event of the weekend. Meanwhile, the Florida women and men showed off their sprint depth as Josh Liendo concluded the first half of his first season of college swimming in fine fashion.

Women’s 1650 Freestyle

Georgia sophomore Abby McCulloh swam the quickest time in the country so far this season in winning the event in 15:57.08. McCulloh, who took fifth in the race at the NCAA Championships last year, was just over seven seconds off her top time as she eclipsed the 15:59.10 that Alabama’s Kenzie McMahon swam Friday at the Art Adamson Invitational. Georgia Tech’s Deniz Ertan placed second in 16:04.82, and Auburn’s Emily Hetzer took third in 16:10.38. Those times rank third and fifth, respectively, in the early national rankings.

Men’s 1650 Freestyle

Georgia’s Jake Magahey won his third event of the weekend with a 10-second triumph in the 1650 free. Magahey had previously won the 500 free (in the top time in the country) as well as the 200 free, and in the mile, he took over the lead from Florida’s Alfonso Mestre around the halfway point before pulling away. Magahey, who ranks 11th all-time in the event at 14:24.96 and took fourth at last year’s NCAA Championships, finished with the second-best mark nationally so far behind Alabama’s Victor Johansson, who went 14:39.63 at the Art Adamson Invitational Friday.

Mestre placed second in 14:54.44, with Auburn’s Mason Mathias ending up third in 14:54.44.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

After winning the 400 IM one day earlier, Florida’s Mabel Zavaros pulled ahead of her heat on the second half to win the 200 back. Zavaros was actually in fifth place at the halfway point, and even with 50 yards remaining, Georgia’s Marie Schobel led by more than a second with Auburn’s Kensley Merritt also slightly ahead. But Zavaros had the best final 50 to pull ahead of the heat and win in 1:54.27.

Auburn’s Daisy Platts also closed well to take second in 1:54.51, and third went to Schobel in 1:54.49. Merritt faded to fourth in 1:55.21.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

Georgia’s Ian Grum went to the top of the national rankings in the men’s 200 back as he went wire-to-wire for a 1:38.84 win. Grum placed 23rd in the event at NCAAs last year, but he swam a time that would have been good for third in the national final behind Cal’s Destin Lasco and Texas’ Carson Foster.

Auburn’s Aidan Stoffle, who won the 100 back Friday, finished third in 1:39.64, good for second-best in the country so far this season, while Georgia Tech’s Berke Saka placed third in 1:40.02.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

The Florida Gators showed off some depth in the women’s 100 free as Talia Bates roared to the front of the event and three of her teammates went with her. Bates, a B-finalist at NCAAs last year, placed first in 47.75, while her teammates Micayla Cronk (48.28), Ekaterina Nikonova (48.56) and Katie Mack (48.60) placed second, third and fourth, respectively.

Men’s 100 Freestyle

Just like in the women’s event, the Gators went big in the men’s 100 free. Josh Liendo, a World Championships medalist and Commonwealth Games champion over the summer for Canada, has shown his value for Florida at his first collegiate invitational, and after winning the 50 free and 100 fly earlier in the meet, he put up the top time in the 100 free at 41.70, with teammates Macguire McDuff placing second in 41.95 and Julian Smith earning third in 42.08.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Georgia’s Zoie Hartman was another swimmer who missed scoring big points at last year’s NCAA Championships but swam an A-final-worthy time Saturday evening. She dominated the 200 breast final by more than two seconds, and her final time of 2:06.97 would have been good for seventh at the NCAA Championships last year, a meet where Hartmann actually finished 15th. She was followed in this race by the Auburn duo of Stasy Makarova (2:09.35) and Brynn Curtis (2:10.16).

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

It has been a strong meet for relatively unheralded Florida men’s breaststrokers. Julian Smith and Aleksas Savickas both went sub-52 in the 100 breast, and in the 200-yard event, Savickas swam away from Auburn’s Reid Mikuta for a strong victory. Savickas finished in 1:51.29, while Mikuta took second in 1:52.80. Florida’s Kevin Vargas finished well back in third (1:55.06).

Women’s 200 Butterfly

Georgia’s Callie Dickinson went out hard, opening up a lead of more than two seconds by the halfway point, and even as she faded down the stretch, she held on for a strong win in the 200 fly. Dickinson touched in 1:55.21, nine tenths ahead of fast-finishing Florida swimmer Amanda Ray (1:56.10). Florida State’s Edith Jernstedt took third in 1:56.58.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

Florida’s Joaquin Gonzalez Pinero pulled away from Georgia’s Andrew Abruzzo to win the final individual event of the meet. Gonzalez Pinero swam a time of 1:42.30 for the win, a half-second ahead of Abruzzo’s 1:42.82. Florida’s Jace Crawford hit the wall third in 1:43.95.

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay

The same four swimmers who swept the top four spots in the women’s 100 freestyle were dominant as expected in relay action. Florida’s team of Ekaterina NikonovaTalia BatesMicayla Cronk and Katie Mack pulled away from the heat to win in 3:12.91. Georgia’s Eboni McCarty put the Bulldogs more than a second ahead of Florida after the first leg, but Bates split 47.55 and Cronk split 47.87 to open up a sizeable gap.

Georgia’s McCarty, Sloane ReinsteinEmma Norton and Zoie Hartman finished second in 3:14.64, and Auburn’s Lexie MulvihillClaudia ThammPayton Marvin and Polina Nevmovenko took third in 3:15.88.

Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay

Just like the Gator women in the previous event, there was going to be no stopping the Florida men in the 400 free relay. Josh Liendo split a blazing 41.16 on the second leg, leaving no other team with any chance. Macguire McDuff, Liendo, Adam Chaney and Eric Friese combined for a time of 2:47.94. McDuff led off in 42.55, while Chaney split 42.04 and Friese came home in 42.19.

Auburn finished second in 2:50.02 with Aidan StoffleKalle MakinenLogan Tirheimer and Christopher Sztolcman. Makinen went 42.07 on the second leg for the quickest split. Georgia’s Zach HilsBradley DunhamJake Magahey and Dillon Downing finished third in 2:50.32, with Downing coming home in 42.01.

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