Relay Records Bookend SMU Men’s Team’s Win at SMU Invitational

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Photo Courtesy: SMU Mustangs

Relay Records Bookend SMU Men’s Team’s Win at SMU Invitational

Southern Methodist University’s men’s swimming team bookended the weekend with relay pool records in winning the 2022 SMU Invitational.

The Mustangs started with at time of 1:17.17 in the 200 free relay to chip one-hundredth of a second off a mark set by the University of Texas last February. That foursome was Justin Baker, Lance Butler, Cole Bruns and Charlie Kaye. Bruns, Butler and Kaye joined Sage Sungail to go 2:52.95 on the concluding 400 free relay, clipping .07 off a record from the spring of 2021 (of which Butler and Kaye were also a part).

In between SMU tallied 1,272 points over the three-day meet from Thursday to Saturday, some 450 points more than Drury in the five-team men’s event. San Diego State tallied 907 points to win the women’s SMU Invitational, prevailing from a field of eight teams and holding off the 713 points tallied by the University of Hawaii.

SMU Invitational Team Scores

Women’s

  1. San Diego State 907
  2. Hawaii 713
  3. Miami (Fla.) 677
  4. SMU 666
  5. Wyoming 364
  6. Drury 358
  7. TCU 65
  8. Arkansas 44

Men’s

  1. SMU 1272
  2. Drury 809
  3. Hawaii 690
  4. Wyoming 502
  5. TCU 138

SMU’s sprint depth went a long way to the win. It swept the top four spots in the 50 free and grabbed six of eight A final berths. Butler led the way in 19.54 seconds, with Baker trailing in 19.63, both NCAA B cuts. Bruns and Butler were second and third, respectively, in the 100. Sungail, who finished fourth in the 50, was third in the 200 free. SMU also won both medley relays.

There, Colin Feehery played a role. He won the 200 individual medley in 1:43.45, both he and runner-up Angus Corbeau hitting NCAA B cuts. Feehery also won the 400 IM, in 3:43.82, with Cotton Fields and Corbeau following in NCAA considerations times, then Feehery won the 200 breast with Corbeau third. Fields added the 200 fly title. Evan McCormick was second in the 100 breast, and Hunter Lund and Joshua Miller went 2-3 in the 1,650 free.

The only A cuts of the meet were garnered by Division II Drury, which more than held its own against Division I opposition. Dominik Karacic went 46.41 in prelims and was just .01 slower in finals to win the 100 fly in an automatic qualifying time. The same was true for Nathan Bighetti, who dropped 3.5 seconds from prelims to smash through the A standard in the final of the 200 back with a time of 1:42.82. Cameron Craig was just a tenth of a second off of adding a third such cut in the 100 free, having gone 43.25 in prelims before winning the event in 43.54 at night. Craig narrowly missed an A cut with his time of 46.79 for second in the 100 fly.

The Panthers picked up plenty of hardware on the day. Karacic was second in the 200 fly. Bighetti also won the 100 back. That was a 1-2 with teammate Kham Glass, where the 200 was a 1-2 with Andrew Rodriguez. Joao Nogueira and Anisse Djaballah seized the top two spots in the 500 free then joined Craig and Karacic to win the 800 free relay. Davi Mourao won the 100 breast, was second in the 200 and third in the 200 IM. He joined Bighetti, Karacic and Glass to win the 200 medley relay.

Wyoming picked up a pair of distance wins. Quinn Cynor went 1:36.62 to upset Hawaii’s Mario Surkovic, who’d been 1:35 in the morning, to win the 200 free. Charlie Clark prevailed in the mile.

The women’s meet ended with a pool record as well, the fourth win out of five races for a Hawaii team that nonetheless settled for second in the overall team standings. Holly Nelson, Laticia-Leigh Transom, Anna Friedrich and Gabrielle Williams-Scudamore clocked in at 3:16.45, slashing a second and a half out of a pool mark set by SMU in the spring. Transom and Friedrich were on all four winning relays, while Williams-Scudamore and Nelson were on three each.

Transom, the USC transfer, had the most impressive individual meet. She won the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free, all in B cuts, and she added a B cut in the 100 fly as the runner-up to SMU’s Valentina Becerra.

San Diego State, though, prevailed on its depth. The Aztecs won just three events, none of them relays, but it was enough.

Kristina Murphy won the 400 IM by six seconds, in an NCAA B cut of 4:13.56. She added third in the 200 IM and third in the 100 breast and third in the 200 breast. Alex Roberts went 1:55.26 to win the 200 back and orchestrated a 1-2-3 finish in the 100 back with her winning time of 52.90. Wilma Johansson added a 1:59.13 to best the field in the 200 fly. Johansson was also third in the 200 free, and Meredith Smithbaker was second in the 100 free and fourth in the 50.

The 200 breast was arguably the race of the day, featuring five NCAA B cuts. Tara Vovk won it, in 2:10.24, 1.6 seconds up on the field. It paired well with her pool record in the 100 breast, a 58.89 that downed a record shared by Michigan’s Letitia Sim and USC’s Kaitlyn Dobler at 59.09. Vovk also won the 200 IM in 1:57.22.

Second in the 200 breast was SDSU’s Christiana Williams, a spot ahead of Murphy. Zorry Mason, who had been second to Vovk in the 100 breast and 200 IM, finished fourth, followed by her Miami teammate Giulia Carvalho, who was second in the 50 free and third in the 100 fly in consecutive events on Thursday. Miami was the only block on Hawaii’s relay dominance, with Mason, Vovk, Carvalho and Jacey Hinton teaming to edge them by .22 seconds to win the 200 medley.

Like on the men’s side, distance brought Wyoming its wins. Maisyn Klimczak won the 500 free in 4:47.13 and the mile in 16:24.24, both B cuts. (Miami’s Aino Otava was second in the former and third in the 400 IM.)

SMU got three podium finishes from diver Nicole Stambo, who won 3-meter and finished runner-up in the other two competitions. TCU’s Anna Kwong won 1-meter and was the 3-meter runner-up; fellow Horned Frogs David Ekdahl and Max Burman won the springboards on the men’s side, TCU sending only its divers.

Of note at the SMU Invitational, Ukrainian international Oleksii Khnykin, who trains at Drury, swam unattached. The D2 All-American, who represented his country at the European Championships this summer, went 19.81 in the 50 free, 43.68 in the 100 free, 1:38.00 in the 200 free and 47.10 in the 100 fly.

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