Invitational Roundup: Leon Marchand Blasts 1:41 200 IM; UVA Sprinters Start Fast

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Invitational Roundup: Leon Marchand Blasts 1:41 200 IM; UVA Sprinters Start Fast

Leon Marchand is in fine form to start out the NC State GAC Invitational on Thursday, blasting a season-best time of 1:41.00 to take the top seed in the final Thursday night.

His best time this season had been 1:44.32 in a tri-meet at Georgia. The French Olympian holds the NCAA record in the 200 IM at 1:37.69 from championship season last year. He was more than three seconds clear of prelims runner-up, teammate Grant House (1:44.21).

A look at some of the notable swims from Thursday’s prelims sessions of the major fall invitationals:

NC State GAC Invitational

Duke’s Sarah Foley buzzed just over a second off her school record in taking the top seed in the 200 IM in 1:55.62. In the process, she edged Stanford Olympian Torri Huske, who went 1:55.89.

Huske turned around to grab the top seed in the 50 free in 21.66, edging teammate Claire Curzan’s 21.78. NC State’s Kylee Alons joined them under 22 at 21.99. The top eight are evenly split between the Cardinal and Wolfpack, with NC State adding spots nine and 10.

Ross Dant paced the men’s 500 free field in 4:16.46. Teammate David Curtiss set the standard in the 50 free in 19.14.

Tennessee Invitational

The response to Maggie MacNeil’s nation-leading time in the 50 freestyle seems immediate, at least from two of the main chasers down in Knoxville.

Kate Douglass led the way in prelims at 21.17 seconds, .14 off the time set by MacNeil on the first night of her invitational performance at Texas A&M Wednesday. Douglass’ time is .01 behind what had been the nation-leading performance, by Virginia teammate Gretchen Walsh. Walsh is the second seed in the final at 21.21. North Carolina’s Grace Countie is third in 21.64.

The men brought the speed, too, with Jordan Crooks leading the way in 18.68. That is an NCAA A cut for the Tennessee sophomore. A battle might materialize in the final, though Matt King (19.25) and Matt Brownstead (19.46) of UVA were only third and fifth, respectively, in prelims.

Alex Walsh is the second seed in the 500 free with a 4:42.35. She was fractionally behind Michigan freshman Katie Crom. Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller threw down a very fast 1:55.54 to lead the 200 IM.

Georgia Invitational

Josh Liendo’s time of 18.83 in the men’s 50 free was the standout of the first morning session in Athens. It’s .11 off his season-best time but bested the field by .35 seconds, with Florida teammate Maguire McDuff second, among four Gators in the A final.

Jake Magahey added a big time in the 500 free, the Georgia senior going 4:12.91. It’s a season-best by nearly six seconds for the 2021 NCAA champ. Teammate Andrew Abruzzo was second in 4:14.36.

Abigail McCulloh of Georgia, Florida’s Mabel Zavaros and Auburn’s Emily Hetzer are in for a finals showdown in the 500 free, all within a half-second in the 4:41 range.

Georgia’s Eboni McCarty joined the sub-21 club this season by going 21.91 in the 50 free. She and Katie Mack of Florida will duel in the final. Mack went 22.36 as the second seed in the morning, though she’s been 21.96 this year.

Art Adamson Invitational

MacNeil, in what counts as news given her stature in global swimming, did not secure the top seed in prelims of the women’s 100 fly. But that only means that it’s shaped up as one heck of a race.

Texas A&M’s Olivia Theall led the way in 52.45 seconds. MacNeil, who has been 50.84 this season, and Alabama’s Morgan Scott tied for second in 52.49. Spicing up the mix is ‘Bama Olympian Rhyan White in fifth in 52.60, and Anicka Delgado of USC isn’t too far behind in 52.63.

MacNeil was also fifth in prelims of the 100 back in 52.97. White led the way there in 52.32, with Scott second. Andrea Sansores of Arkansas and USC’s Aria Bernal are also ahead of MacNeil, who has a 51.10 to her name this year.

Chloe Stepanek was way out in front of the 200 free field with a time of 1:44.41. The same is true for the 100 breast top seed, USC’s Kaitlyn Dobler, who went 58.54.

Alabama’s Charlie Hawke delivered the standout men’s swim of the morning. He went 1:32.24, downing the school record set in 2019 by Robert Howard (1:32.76). Hawke’s previous best was 1:33.09. It’s the second school record in as many days, after Victor Johansson downed the 500 free mark Wednesday night.

Andres Puente Bustamante led the way in the 100 breast in 51.98, a half-second off an A cut.

A couple of noteworthy unattached times from the morning: Canadian Olympian Sydney Pickrem went 1:45.56 in the 200 free. Mexican Olympian Angel Martinez went 45.45 in the 100 fly. Both train at A&M.

Ohio State Invitational

Notre Dame’s Jack Hoagland, in his first major meet since missing his junior season with a hand injury, seems to be back. He took the top time in the 500 free in 4:15.57. Yale’s Noah Millard was second in 4:16.92, with Charlie Clark of the hosts third in 4:19.58.

Van Mathias of Indiana leads the A final of the 50 free in 19.44. Just .12 seconds separate the top seven finishers in prelims.

On the women’s side, Kentucky senior Kaitlynn Wheeler grabbed the top seed by dropping 13.5 seconds off her previous season-best. The 4:41.49 is a personal-best for her and jumps to fifth in program history. She’s the top seed in the final by a quarter-second over Indiana’s Ching Gan.

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