Kelly Pash, Erica Sullivan Blast Top Times in Nation to Lead Texas Women Over NC State (Day One); Jacoby Lowers NAG Record


Kelly Pash, Erica Sullivan Blast Top Times in Nation to Lead Texas Women Over NC State (Day One); Jacoby Lowers NAG Record

With the college dual meet season quickly approaching its conclusion, the University of Texas is hosting NC State this weekend in Austin with action commencing Friday evening and continuing Saturday. The women’s meet features the 2022 national runnerup (Texas) facing the 2021 runnerup (NC State), and the Longhorns put on a show as an unbeaten season — including a November dual meet win over two-time defending champion Virginia — rolled on. After Friday night’s session, Texas led NC State 124-62.

The star of Friday’s session was Texas senior Kelly Pash, who recorded two individual wins and the fastest time in the country in the 200 freestyle. Pash recorded a mark of 1:42.73, beating the 1:43.11 that Stanford’s Taylor Ruck posted at midseason. Pash was only a few tenths shy of the 1:42.38 she swam at NCAAs last year to place third behind Ruck and Isabel Ivey. Later on, Pash recorded a win in the 200 IM in 1:53.81, her season-best mark by four tenths and good for third in the country behind Virginia’s Kate Douglass and Stanford’s Torri Huske.

Just as impressive was junior Emma Sticklen, who became only the 10th swimmer in history to break 50 in the 100 butterfly. Sticklen won the event in 49.79, good enough to beat NC State’s Kylee Alons (50.64) by almost a second. Sticklen was fourth in the event at last year’s NCAA Championships behind the star trio of Douglass, Huske and Maggie Mac Neil, and her entry into the 49-second club will only add juice to a race already among the most anticipated in March.

Meanwhile, Erica Sullivan recorded the quickest 500 free time nationally by more than two seconds, her mark of 4:35.88 good enough to easily eclipse Alex Walsh’s previous top mark of 4:38.34 from December. Sullivan actually swam four hundredths quicker than she did in last year’s NCAA final, in which she placed third.

In the women’s 100 breaststroke, the Longhorns duo of Lydia Jacoby and Anna Elendt stormed to a 1-2 finish. Jacoby, the 2021 Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter breast, finished first in 57.45, beating the 17-18 National Age Group record she set in December while moving to No. 2 in the country behind USC’s Kaitlyn Dobler (56.94). Elendt, the World Championships silver medalist in the 100-meter breast, finished second in 57.74, leaving NC State’s Heather MacCausland in third place despite an impressive time of 58.29.

The final individual swimming victory for Texas came in the 200 backstroke, where Olivia Bray swam a time of 1:50.46 to knock a quarter-second off her previous season-best mark of 1:50.71, although she still ranks fourth nationally behind Stanford’s Claire Curzan, Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller and Cal’s Isabelle Stadden. Bray pulled away from NC State fifth-year Emma Muzzy, an NCAA finalist last year. Muzzy’s 1:51.34 moved her to sixth in the country.

Texas also swept 1-meter diving, with Hailey Hernandez winning with a score of 337.13 over Bridget O’Neil (327.45) and Janie Boyle (308.93).

The only individual win of the day for NC State came in the 50 free, where Katharine Berkoff recorded a mark of 21.90, comfortably ahead of Texas’ Bridget Semenuk (22.23).

At the start of the meet, NC State won a thrilling 200 medley relay over Texas with the teams recording the two quickest times in the country so far this year. Berkoff, MacCausland, Alons and Abby Arens won in 1:33.49, just ahead of Texas’ Bray, Elendt, Sticklen and Grace Cooper. Arens split 21.74 on the way home to take over the lead after she entered one hundredth behind.

The situation was reversed in the 400 free relay, with Texas overcoming a big lead to take a quarter-second win behind an enormous anchor leg from Pash. Diving one-and-a-half seconds behind NC State’s Katherine Helms, Pash split 46.57 to bring the Longhorns over the top. Semenuk, Kyla LeibelAva Longi and Pash combined for a time of 3:11.53, just ahead of NC State’s Berkoff, Alons, Abby Webb and Helms (3:11.78). Only Stanford and Virginia have eclipsed those times so far this season.


Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x