UE Swimming sets Three Records on final day of CSCAA Invitational Championships
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The University of Evansville swimming & diving program set three records on Saturday, and the Purple Aces posted three Top 20 finishes, to wrap up action at the 2023 CSCAA National Invitational Championships in Elkhart, Indiana. Saturday’s meet also concludes the 2022-23 season for the Purple Aces.
“It has been an incredible journey for this team!” said UE head coach Stuart Wilson. “We started out the season with the goal of elevating this program to another level, and we have done that.
“We had the goal to break as many school records as we could, and we did that – over 30 times this year. We had the goal to bring Evansville onto the national scene at the U.S. Open earlier this year, and we did that. We had goals to produce All-MVC and All-MAC performers, and we did that. We had goals to earn NCAA Team Academic All-America honors, and we accomplished that.
“I could go on and on and on of what this season means to this team and this program. But, the most important thing is that they learned two things: that working hard consistently pays off, and to trust the process and the training and good things will happen. We did that this year, and it has made them successful both in the pool and in the classroom, and it will help them in life as well.”
On Saturday, the Purple Aces established three new program records before 9 a.m. central time. Sophomore Patrik Vilbergsson (Kopavogur, Iceland) lowered his own school record in the men’s 200-Yard Backstroke to 1:47.14 to qualify for Saturday night’s consolation final. Vilbergsson would place sixth in the consolation final with a time of 1:48.04 to place 16th overall out of 61 competitors.
Sophomores Carlos Souto (A Coruna, Spain) and Sveva Brugnoli (Rome, Italy) also established program records in the 100-Yard IM event. Souto posted a time of 53.47 in the preliminary round to establish the men’s Division I program record. Brugnoli, meanwhile, posted a time of 58.12 to establish the women’s record and place 41st out of 86 swimmers in a hotly contested race. In fact, one second faster would have placed Brugnoli inside the top 20, the race was that close.
Vilbergsson was joined in Saturday’s finals by junior Alon Baer (Gesher HaZiv, Israel), who advanced to the consolation final of the 200-Yard Breaststroke. Baer finished second in the consolation final, edged by Tennessee’s Joseph Jordan by 0.09 seconds to placed 12th overall with a time of 1:58.10. Baer’s finals time actually was the 10th-fastest time in Saturday night’s two finals, as it was faster than two individuals in the main final.
UE also posted a Top 20 finish in the men’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay, as the quartet of senior Riccardo Di Domenico (Johannesburg, South Africa) and sophomores Daniel Santos Lopez (Madrid, Spain), Benjamin Hasanovic (Innsbruck, Austria) and Jakob Grundbacher (Thalwil, Switzerland) combined for a time of 3:00.24 to place 19th overall, just 1.13 seconds off of the UE school record. Di Domenico led off with a 100-Yard Free split time of 44.81, just 0.37 seconds off his own school record in the 100 Free in his final race as a Purple Ace.
Hasanovic and senior Max Dehen (Ramsey, Minn./Anoka) competed alongside Baer in Saturday morning’s prelim session of the 200 Breast, and posted times of 2:05.57 and 2:06.95 respectively. Sophomore Mari Müller (Zurich, Switzerland) represented UE in the women’s 200-Yard Breaststroke and posted a time of 2:20.64.
Junior Grant Kay (Ellicott City, Md./Hebron) placed 31st overall in the men’s 1,650-Yard Freestyle, as he posted a time of 16:26.31. Di Domenico and Grundbacher also posted times of 45.71 and 45.91 respectively in Saturday morning’s prelims for the men’s 100-Yard Freestyle. Junior Iryna Tsesiul (Minsk, Belarus) also posted a time of 56.22 in a women’s 100-Yard Backstroke time trial in her final race of the season.
As a team, Evansville posted 119.5 points on the men’s side to place 29th out of the 41 scoring teams. The UE women, meanwhile, scored nine points to place 55th out of the 58 scoring women’s teams. The CSCAA National Invitational Championships are college swimming’s equivalent to basketball’s NIT, and features the fastest swimmers and teams in the country who are not competing in the NCAA Championships.
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