Tennessee Invitational: Gretchen Walsh Lowers American Record in 50 Free with 20.79; Jordan Crooks Shines

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Tennessee Invitational: Gretchen Walsh Lowers American Record in 50 Free with 20.79

Virginia’s Gretchen Walsh lowered her American record and tied the U.S. Open and NCAA records in the women’s 50 freestyle Wednesday night on the opening day of the Tennessee Invitational.

Walsh clocked in at 20.79 seconds. That lowers her American record of 20.83 set last February. She also ties the NCAA/U.S. Open record set in this very same pool by Maggie MacNeil last March.

Walsh led a quick first day in Knoxville, after which Virginia’s women lead with 350 points to Tennessee’s 288. The Volunteer men have a 346-269 edge on UVA.

Event-by-event results:

Women’s 200 free relay

Virginia set a meet record in 1:25.24, an NCAA A cut. Jasmine Nocentini, Alex Walsh, Aimee Canny and Gretchen Walsh went 1:25.24 to beat Tennessee by nearly two seconds. The Vols (1:27.22 with Mona McSharry, Amber Myers, Jasmine Rumley and Camille Spink) tallied an NCAA A cut, as did third-place Alabama. The Tide went 1:28.02 with Cadence Vincent, Kailyn Winter, Jada Scott and Diana Petkova.

Men’s 200 free relay

Tennessee set the top time in the nation with Jordan Crooks off the front in 18.46. With Gui Caribe, Nikoli Blackman and Micah Chambers, the Vols went 1:16.03, an NCAA A cut.

Alabama was second with Virginia third.

Women’s 500 freestyle

Aimee Canny turned it around quickly to deliver an NCAA A cut in the 500 free in a time of 4:36.26. It’s faster than the time used to win the NCAA title last season (Kensey McMahon of Alabama in 4:36.62.)

Second was teammate Cavan Gormsen in 4:38.80. Mackenzie Brandt of Alabama took third in 4:42.55.

UT’s Brooklyn Douthwright was a surprising eighth in 4:49.44, though she was swimming the 500 and 200 IM back to back.

Men’s 500 freestyle

Charlie Hawke of Alabama took down the meet record that had held since 2019 by going 4:12.91. It’s an NCAA B cut, 1.17 seconds off the auto standard. It improves his college-best time of 4:16.08, set in 2022, and thrashes the school record set in 2022 by Victor Johansson of 4:14.34.

Hawke took down the record set by Georgia’s Walker Higgins at 4:13.05 in 2019.

Joey Tepper of Tennessee was second in 4:15.70. Teammate Jake Narvid was third.

Women’s 200 IM

Alex Walsh dropped an A cut of 1:52.59 to get the victory. Teammate Ella Nelson was second in 1:53.95, a high B cut. Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller followed in 1:55.37. Four swimmers were in the 1:57s, including Douthwright and Sara Stolter from the B final.

Men’s 200 IM

Virginia’s Sebastien Sergile set the meet record with a winning time of 1:43.42, outdueling teammate Noah Nichols in the final. Nichols was second in 1:43.73, and third-place Kaique Alves of Alabama and Tennessee’s Landon Driggers in fourth also broke 1:44 (as did Tim Connery to win the B final).

Sergile took the record that Tennessee’s Sam McHugh set in 2017 at 1:43.66. It’s a B cut for Sergile.

Women’s 50 freestyle

Behind Gretchen Walsh in the 50 free was Tennessee’s Mona McSharry in 22.01. Cadence Vincent of Alabama was second in 22.10. Both are high B cuts. Arkansas’s Bella Cothern was fourth in 22.22.

Men’s 50 free

Jordan Crooks was even faster in his second swim of the night, going 18.40 to set the meet record and book an NCAA A cut. Teammate Gui Caribe was second, tied with Matt Brownstead in 19.27. Tim Korstanje of Alabama was fourth in 19.63.

B final winner Micah Chambers bested him, though, in 19.51.

Women’s 400 medley relay

Virginia made it two-for-two in the meet record department, going 3:26.15. That’s faster than their in-season time at this meet in 2021, which featured Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass.

This foursome comprised Gretchen Walsh (leading off in 30.05), Jasmine Nocentini, Alex Walsh and Aimee Canny. Their time is an A cut.

So is the mark of Tennessee at 3:31.22, with Josephine Fuller, Mona McSharry, Katie Mack and Brooklyn Douthwright. Virginia’s B squad was third – notably, Maxine Parker was .12 faster off the end than Canny on the A relay. Alabama’s A squad was fourth.

Men’s 400 medley relay

Tennessee landed .56 seconds shy of the A cut in the 400 medley, going 3:05.52 to narrowly edge Virginia by .08 seconds. Harrison Lierz, Flynn Crisci, Jordan Crooks and Gui Caribe led the Vols to victory. Crooks split 45.07 seconds on fly, Caribe 41.87 off the end.

Virginia was second in 3:05.60 (Will Cole, Noah Nichols, Tim Connery, Matt Brownstead). Third went to Alabama in 3:07.12, with Charlie Hawke blistering home in 41.28.

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