Minnesota Invitational: Kelly Pash Blasts 1:53 200 Fly; Stadden-Bacon, Whitley-McHugh Showdowns Set

Texas senior Kelly Pash -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Minnesota Invitational: Kelly Pash Blasts 1:53 200 Fly; Stadden-Bacon, Whitley-McHugh Showdowns Set

The first three days of the Minnesota Invitational have produced plenty of swims stacking up well in the national rankings, and that pattern continued Friday evening with Cal’s Destin Lasco recording the country’s best time in the men’s 100 backstroke and the Texas duo of Anna Elendt and Lydia Jacoby posting the second and third-best times, respectively, in the women’s 100 breaststroke.

The Saturday prelims session saw Texas’ Kelly Pash post the country’s second-best effort in the women’s 200 butterfly while setting up some veterans for showdowns in finals.

Women’s Results

The Texas women have qualified three A-finalists in the 200 fly at the NCAA Championships each of the last two years, and it would be no surprise if that happens again in 2023. Pash posted the top time in prelims in the event at 1:53.29, which moved her to second in the country behind Stanford’s Charlotte Hook, while Dakota Luther came in second in 1:53.75 and Emma Sticklen took third in 1:54.21, good for fourth and fifth nationally, respectively.

Cal’s Isabelle Stadden led the way in the 200 back ahead of 2021 NCAA champion and 2022 NCAA runnerup Phoebe Bacon, 1:51.77 to 1:52.04. Texas’ Olivia Bray, who was one of the Longhorns’ 200 fly A-finalists the past two seasons but skipped the event in Minneapolis, took third in 1:52.44.

Texas’ Grace Cooper topped the women’s 100 free in 48.65 while Texas’ Kyla Leibel and Cal’s Eloise Riley tied for second in 48.78. Fresh off a National Age Group record in the 100 breast Friday night, Texas’ Lydia Jacoby topped the 200 breast in 2:09.77 over Wisconsin teammates Elizabeth Moore (2:10.50) and Hazal Ozkan (2:11.44). Notably, Texas’ Anna Elendt was absent from the event.

Men’s Results

After a tie in the 100 breast Friday, fifth-year swimmers Reece Whitley (Cal) and Max McHugh (Minnesota) will face off again in the 200 breast. Whitley led the way in 1:54.53, with McHugh just three hundredths behind in 1:54.56. Texas’ Braden Vines was third in 1:54.77.

A Golden Bear also recorded the top time in the 200 fly as Dare Rose edged out Arizona’s Brooks Taner (1:43.20) and Texas teammates Cole Crane (1:43.28) and Sam Artmann (1:43.31). Cal’s Gabriel Jett, the U.S. National champion in the 200-meter fly, is looming after he qualified fifth in 1:43.91.

In a surprising result, Lasco finished outside of the top-eight in the 200 back, with his time of 1:43.86 leaving him in ninth place and two tenths out of the final. Lasco is the reigning NCAA champion in the event, but he will have an opportunity to post a swift time in the evening’s B-final. Meanwhile, Texas’ Chris O’Connor led the way in 1:41.68 ahead of Cal’s Ziyad Saleem (1:42.68) and Harvard’s Gunner Grant (1:42.74), and in the 100 free, Cal’s Jack Alexy finishes as the top seed in 42.62, just ahead of Texas teammates Peter Larson (42.64) and Danny Krueger (42.68) and Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger (42.72).

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