Minnesota Invitational: Kelly Pash Tops National Rankings in 200 Fly; Three No. 2-Ranked Swims

Kelly Pash -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Minnesota Invitational: Kelly Pash Tops National Rankings in 200 Fly; Three No. 2-Ranked Swims

The Texas Longhorns and California Golden Bears put the finishing touches on a weekend of strong midseason efforts at the Minnesota Invitational Saturday evening, and the Cal men and both Texas teams once again look set to finish among the top teams in the country at the end of the season.

During the final session of the meet, Texas senior Kelly Pash recorded the quickest time in the nation in the women’s 200 butterfly while Longhorns Erica Sullivan and Alec Enyeart each posted the No. 2 time in the country in the 1650 freestyle and defending 200 backstroke NCAA champion Destin Lasco swam the second-best mark this season in the B-final of the event.

Women’s Results

Pash took over the top time in the country in the 200 fly with a time of 1:51.96. Pash trailed teammate Dakota Luther for the entire race, but she pulled almost even on the third lap before moving ahead. Pash surpassed the previous top mark of 1:52.48 held by Stanford’s Charlotte Hook, and she swam faster than her 2022 NCAA Championships time of 1:52.01 that earned her fifth place. Luther finished second in 1:52.58, moving up to third nationally, and Cal’s Rachel Klinker finished third in 1:54.44.

In a matchup of the top two swimmers in the event from last year’s NCAA Championships, Sullivan pulled away from Wisconsin’s Paige McKenna for a dominant win in the 1650 free. Sullivan finished in 15:58.97, just off Georgia’s Abby McCulloh’s national-leading time of 15:57.08. McKenna took second in 16:08.43 for the sixth-best time nationally, while McKenna’s teammate Alivia Lindorfer touched in 16:11.56 for third.

In the 200 back, Isabelle Stadden scored a win over a tough field as she touched in 1:50.21. The Cal junior moved up to No. 3 nationally behind Stanford’s Claire Curzan and Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller. Texas’ Olivia Bray finished second in 1:50.71, and Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon took third in 1:51.22 as those two swimmers ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the country.

After topping the 17-18 National Age Group record in the 100 breaststroke, Lydia Jacoby dominated the 200-yard race. The Texas freshman finished in 2:07.14 for the ninth-best time in the country while Wisconsin teammates Hazal Ozkan (2:10.50) and Elizabeth Moore (2:10.80) finished second and third, respectively. Texas swimmers also topped the 100 free with Grace Cooper winning in 48.51 over teammate Kyla Leibel (46.68), and Arizona’s Maddy Burt took third (48.81).

The Longhorns posted an impressive time of 3:12.06 in the 400 free relay. Pash led off in 47.35, good for third-best in the country behind Torri Huske and Gretchen Walsh, and she was followed by Leibel (47.87), Cooper (48.44) and Bridget Semenuk (48.40) on the way to a time that trails only Stanford and Virginia in the national rankings. Cal and Arizona ended up tying for second in 3:14.98 as the Bears’ team of Stadden, Emma DavidsonElla Mazurek and Eloise Riley finished in a dead heat with Arizona’s Burt, Julia HeimsteadLexi Duchsherer and Alyssa Schwengel.

Men’s Results

After breaking 44 in the 100 back Friday night, Lasco found himself relegated to the B-final in the 200 back, but that didn’t stop the Cal junior from uncorking a time of 1:39.09, which trails only Texas’ Carson Foster in the national rankings. As for the individual event, Texas’ Chris O’Connor took the win in 1:40.65 while Wisconsin’s Jake Newmark held off charging Cal Bear Colby Mefford, 1:41.59 to 1:41.69.

Texas freshman Alec Enyeart looks prepared to make a significant impact on the Longhorns’ pursuit of a national title. He won the event in 14:43.39, behind only Victor Johansson of Alabama (14:39.63) so far this year. Minnesota’s Chris Nagy took second in 14:52.62, and his teammate Bar Soloveychik grabbed third (14:53.49).

Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger topped the 100 free in 41.68, which ranks third in the country behind the Tennessee duo of Jordan Crooks (41.17) and Gui Caribe (41.44). Texas swimmers Danny Krueger (42.23) and Peter Larson (42.54) placed second and third, respectively. Cal also got the win in the 200 breast as Reece Whitley opened up a big lead and held on to beat Minnesota’s Max McHugh with a time of 1:52.16, which ranks fifth in the country. McHugh took second in 1:52.77, with Texas’ Braden Vines third in 1:53.96.

To round out the individual events for the week, Cal’s Dare Rose posted a time of 1:41.01 to dominate the 200 fly. He ranks third nationally behind the Arizona State duo of Leon Marchand (1:39.57) and Alexander Colson (1:40.78). Texas’ Cole Crane was second in 1:42.25, and Minnesota’s Kaiser Neverman took third in 1:42.96. In a surprising result, Cal’s Gabriel Jett faded to seventh in 1:44.77.

Cal split its top swimmers for the 400 free relay, and the Bears’ “A” and “B” teams went 1-2 ahead of Texas. Alexy (42.50), Robin Hanson (42.37), Matthew Jensen (42.02) and Lasco (41.74) posted the top time overall at 2:48.63 to rank fourth in the country, while Seeliger, Liam BellDylan Hawk and Rose finished second in 2:49.00. Seeliger led off in 42.00 while Rose anchored in 41.81. Third went to Texas’ team of Larson, Lule HobsonKobe Ndebele and Krueger, with Krueger anchoring in 41.28, and Texas’ time of 2:49.32 moved the Longhorns into a tie for fifth nationally.

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