Top Teams in the NCAA Duke it Out on Halloween Weekend

By Lauren Sampl, Swimming World intern

BOULDER, Colorado, October 31. HALLOWEEN weekend featured several large invitationals and intriguing matchups, providing plenty of early-season eye-candy. Texas, Indiana and Michigan gathered for a showdown in Bloomington, while the best of the southwest took part in the Southwest Collegiate Plunge and annual SMU Classic. NCAA B cuts continued to roll in, while swimmers were within reach of numerous A cuts as well. Here's a look at how the weekend played out.

Texas, the men's defending national champions, raced to victory in the Southwest Collegiate Plunge, held in Mansfield, Texas. They faced strong competition from interstate rivals Texas A&M, Southern Methodist, and Texas Christian, as well as the squad from Mizzou. Nick D'Innocenzo led the way for the Longhorns with three individual victories to his credit. D'Innocenzo posted wins in the 200 IM (1:52.12), 100 breast (55.65), and 200 breast (2:01.17). Jimmy Feigen was also a multiple event winner for Texas, as he took the 50 and 100 free sprint crowns in times of 20.22 and 45.10. Texas sealed their impressive win with victories in all four of the relays. Grant Nel of Texas A&M owned the diving well, winning both the 3 meter and 1 meter diving competitions for the Aggies. Blaz Korosec also had several strong swims for the Mustangs of SMU.

Meanwhile, the Women of Troy racked up wins in 15 of 16 events to take home the team title at the SMU Classic. USC won the meet with 420 points, besting SMU, Purdue, Louisville, and Rice. Three swimmers from USC posted wins in three events apiece. Katinka Hosszu blasted a time of 4:10.20 to win the 400 IM and move within three seconds of the A cut in the event. She also raced to victory in the 500 free (4:45.44) and 200 fly (1:56.39). Hosszu's times in the 400 IM and 200 fly are the fastest in the nation thus far, while her 500 free ranks second. Lyndsay DePaul also had a fantastic meet for the Trojans, winning the 100 fly in 52.82, just eight tenths off the A cut, in addition to her wins in the 200 breast (2:14.10) and 200 IM (1:58.85). Presley Bard was yet another triple event winner for USC. Her time of 53.69 in the 100 back tied the fastest time in Division I this season, while her 50 free (23.23) and 200 back (1:57.57) swims were also impressive. Freshman Kasey Carlson grabbed a victory in her specialty, the 100 breast, clocking a 1:02.24. She also won the 100 free in 50.37.

On Friday night, two SEC powerhouses faced off as Florida took on the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. The Georgia women came out on top 180-120, winning at home for the 72nd straight time since the 1995-96 season. On the men's side, the Gator men were victorious over Georgia, 170-130. Freshman Melanie Margalis won three events for the Lady Bulldogs, turning in impressive times of 1:01.73 in the 100 breast, 2:14.32 in the 200 breast, and 1:57.62 in the 200 IM, all NCAA B cuts. Wendy Trott picked up wins in the distance events, touching in 4:48.08 in the 500 free and 9:53.21 in the 1000. Sarah Bateman, Elizabeth Beisel, and Shara Stafford all had strong performances for the Florida women. On the men's side, freestyle ace Conor Dwyer won the 200 (1:37.77), 500 (4:25.46) and 1000 (9:00.48) frees to lead the Florida men. His times in the 500 and 1000 are the fastest in Division I this season.

In yet another exciting matchup, the Texas, Indiana, and Michigan women battled it out in Bloomington in a two-day double dual. The Lady Longhorns were victorious over both Indiana and Michigan, and the Wolverines picked up a six-point victory over the Hoosiers, 188-182. Laura Sogar had phenomenal swims for the Longhorns in the 100 breast (1:02.04) and 200 breast (2:09.78). Sogar's time in the 200 breast, although swam as exhibition, set a new pool record and was just six one-hundredths off the NCAA A cut. Adrienne Bicek won two events for Michigan, stopping the clock in 4:48.90 in the 500 free and 1:58.56 in the 200 fly. Allysa Vavra picked up crucial points for the hometown Hoosiers with key wins in the 400 IM (4:16.13) and 200 breast (2:18.09).

Check the College Channel for full coverage of this weekend.