INVITATION TO MINNESOTA 2022
Day one of the highly anticipated Minnesota Invite kicks off tonight with the timed finals of the men’s and women’s 200m medley and 800 freestyle relay. Teams participating in this invite include hosts Minnesota, Cal, Texas, Wisconsin, Harvard, UNLV, Arizona and Pitt.
Arguably the biggest storyline of the game is the battle between Cal and Texas, the top two men’s teams. The two teams are expected to split the relays tonight, with Cal the favorite to win the 200 medley relay and Texas the favorite in the 800 freestyle relay, the event in which they hold the NCAA record. The Texas men have adapted several times this season, including the SMU Classic and the UVA vs. Texas double meet, while Cal will be adapted for the first time since the NCAA last year.
On the women’s side, we’ll see the “fit and rested” debut of Texas, who were the 2022 NCAA finalists. They just handed Virginia their first double loss in three years and are ranked No. 1 in the CSCAA polls. , and are looking to build on their momentum during invites. Cal will participate in his first invitation under the new head coach David Durdenwho took over the women’s program in addition to his men’s head coaching duties after the former Cal coach was placed on administrative leave following allegations of abuse.
Cal vs. Texas in the women’s 800 freestyle relay should be close. Although Cal beat Texas by three seconds last season, they are without a key stint Isabelle Ivey this time. Meanwhile, Texas is also losing Evie Pfiefer and they haven’t yet found anyone who can replicate their time. The 200 medley relay should also be a close battle between the two teams.
Another team making its mid-season debut under a new coach is Pitt, who is in his first season under Cal’s former assistant. Chase Krietler.
WOMEN’S 200 MEDLEY RELAY – FINAL
- NCAA Cup ‘A’ – 1:36.24
- NCAA Cup ‘B’ – 1:37.02
- Texas “A”-1 Relay: 34.46 (A)
- Relay Cal ‘A’ — 1:35.62 (A)
- Texas “B” Relay – 1:36.66
The Texas ‘A’ relay of Olivia Bray (23.79), Anna Elendt (26.49), Emma Sticklen (22.70), and Grace Cooper (21.48) won that relay with a time of 1:34.46, which is the third-fastest time in the nation behind UVA at 1:34.33 and NC State at 1:34.77. That mark was nearly as fast as the Longhorns’ season-best time of 1:34.04 from last year, which is also a Big 12 conference record. There were quite a few roster changes on the Texas stints over last year, with Bray swimming back instead of flying like she did at the NCAAs, Sticklen swimming flying instead of back and Cooper being added as an anchor.
In second place was Cal’s Isabelle Stadt (23.65), Jade Nezer (26.85), Mckenna Stone (23.32), and Emilie Porter (9:80 p.m.). Their combined time of 1:35.62 is ranked No. 6 in the nation. A notable roster decision was to put Lea Polonski and Mia Kragh, Cal’s breaststroke and outfielder at the NCAA last year on the “B” relay. Polonsky and Kragh shared 27.06 and 23.27 respectively on their own stint.
Stadden set a personal best with his backstroke start, beating his old mark of 23.80 from the 2021 Minnesota Invitational.
Finishing third was the Texas ‘B’ relay of Meghan DiMartile (24.79), Lydia Jacoby (26.69), No Kelly (23.22), and Bridget Semenuk (21.96).
Other notable splits of this relay included Phoebe Baconthe first backstroke of 24.15 for Wisconsin and Dakota Luther‘s 23.82 fly split on the Texas ‘C’ relay.
RELAY 200 MEDLEY MEN – FINAL
- NCAA Cup ‘A’ – 1:23.76
- NCAA Cup ‘B’ – 1:24.42
- Relay Cal ‘A’ — 1:22.84
- Texas “A” Relay – 1:24.16
- Arizona Relay ‘A – 1:24.94
Cal’s men were dominant in this relay, clocking the second-fastest time in the nation, just 0.02 seconds behind Florida’s 1:22.82 from Georgia Invite.
Bjorn Seeliger started things off with a 20.73 quick lead (the fastest 50 return time in the country), and Liam Bell (23.20), Give roses (20.06), and Jack Alexis followed (18.85).
In the absence of their multi-time relay threat Caspar Ravenfrom texas Carson Foster (9:38 p.m.), Will Chan (23.39), Cole Crane (20.58), and Danny Kruger (18.81) finished second at 1:24.16, which is slower than the 1:23.83 they ran in a double-matched meet against Virginia in early November (that being said, Raven was on their Texas stint against UVA).
Finishing in a surprise third, Arizona Billy Oates (21.73), Ryan Foote (23.72), Seth Miller (20.52), and Marin Ercegovic (18.97). They combined for a time of 1:29.94, which is only a few tenths shy of their Pac-12 2021-22 season best of 1:24.10. Additionally, the Wildcats were just over a second off their team best of 1:23.23 set in 2013.
The fastest passage to the breaststroke was of course achieved by Max McHugh, who went 22.78 on Minnesota’s fourth-place relay. As it stands, its division is the second under-23 division in the country this season, the first being Mikuta Raidis 22.88.
Gabriel Jet threw an intriguing 21.28 back split on the Cal ‘B’ relay, taking much of his personal best 21.99 from the Cal-Stanford triple distance encounter. He has experimented with the backstroke more this season, having established PBs in the 50/100/200 yard lengths of the shot. Swimming on the ‘B’ relay was also Reece Whitleywhich was slightly below his best and shared 24.01 on the chest.
On the Texas ‘C’ relay, former Colorado club swimmer Peter Paulus shared 20.54 on the fly leg, but was disqualified for an early start. Destiny Lasco swam on the fly on the Cal’ relay, sharing 20.65.
WOMEN’S 800 FREE RELAY – FINAL
- NCAA Cup ‘A’ – 7:00.86
- NCAA Cup ‘B’ – 7:05.88
- Texas “A” Relay – 6:59.67
- Relay Cal ‘A’ — 7:02.04
- Wisconsin “A” Relay – 7:05.05
Remember when I said the 800 freestyle relay would be a tight race between Texas and California? Well, I was very wrong, because Texas blew up Cal tonight. The quartet of Kyla Leibel (1:44.75), No Kelly (1:43.45), Erica Sullivan (1:45.47), and Emma Sticklen (1:46.00) combined for a time of 6:59.67 to become the second team under 7:00 this season, behind Stanford’s 6:56.45.
Erica Sullivan is a new addition to this relay from Texas, and her split tonight could indicate she is the potential replacement for graduate Evie Pfiefer, who was on the 800 freestyle relay at the NCAA last year and shared 1:44 ,29.
Although Wisconsin was slightly ahead for the first part of the run, Cal firmly took control of the second 300-yard mark. The time of 7:02.04 established by Polonsky (1:45.81), Ayla Spitz (1:44.99), Isabelle Stadt (1:46.10), and Mia Motekaitis (1:45.14) is the third fastest in the country.
Polonsky’s first time was just 0.06 seconds off his personal best 1:45.75 from last December.
from Wisconsin Abby Carlson (1:46.17), Bacon (1:45.33), Abby Wanezek (1:47.80), and Blair Stoneburg (1:45.75) finished third in 7:05.05.
On the Texas ‘B’ relay, Olivia Bray started in 1:45.10, a massive drop from his best time of 1:46.37 set in 2017. His time should allow him to be on the “A” relay at conference and NCAA time.
MEN’S 800 FREE RELAY – FINAL
- NCAA Cup ‘A’ – 6:16.02
- NCAA Cup ‘B’ – 6:20.41
- Texas “A” Relay – 6:08.79
- Relay Cal ‘A’ – 6:10.35
- Minnesota “A” Relay – 6:16.25.
Like the women, the Texas men had full control over the 800 freestyle relay, as Luke Hobson (1:32.73), Peter Larson (1:32.78), Coby Carrozza (1:32.53), and Carson Foster (1:30.75) hit a 6:08.79, topping ASU’s 6:08.97 to become the No. 1 time in the nation. Foster was noticeably faster than he was at the NCAAs last year, when he pitched in a 1:31.05 to help Texas break the NCAA, US Open and U.S. record. United States.
Cal came in second Patrick Callan (1:33.64), Gabriel Jet (1:32.72), Robin Hansson (1:33.20), and Destiny Lasco (1:30.70). Lasco was a second faster than the 1:31.70 he shared at the NCAA last year. Cal’s combined time of 6:10.35 puts them under the “A” cup and makes them the No. 3 team this year.
Minnesota had a great showcase for third place, as Chris Morris (1:34.22), Bar Soloveychik (1:32.79), Kaiser Neverman (1:33.64), and Alberto Hernandez Garcia (1:35.60) displays a 6:16.25. The team broke their old team record of 6:20.61, which was set in 2009. Additionally, they are just 0.23 seconds away from NCAA qualifying. The Golden Gophers notably failed to qualify any stints for the NCAA last year after their infamous NCAA ‘A’ stint cut 200 medley was disqualified at Big Tens.
Notably, Alec Enyeart shared 1:33.92 on the Texas ‘B’ relay, significantly faster than his best flat start time of 1:36.93.
Scores after day one:
- California — 278
- Pit — 120
- California — 264
- Pit — 120
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