We’re in the thick of this season.
The Sun Devil swimmers and divers had their first invitational meets of the 2018-19 campaign this past week. These invitationals are often benchmarks for swimmers, or progress reports: a way to see how or if the past months of training have worked.
It became evident that these past months have been productive for both sides, with divers notching top finishes at the prestigious and competitive Texas Hall of Fame Diving Invitational, and swimmers competing against Olympians and NCAA national champions alike at the annual IU Invitational.
Divers can (and will) make the difference in close dual meets, and ASU’s cornucopia of divers will make for more exciting finishes as this season continues. At the invite, sophomore Ashley McCool took fifth in the 3M springboard and sixth in the 1M springboard. On the men’s side, junior standout Youssef Selim placed seventh in the 1M springboard as he scored a season-best score of 355.55. Not far behind was graduate student David Hoffer, who claimed eighth place in the event. Selim also qualified for NCAA Diving Zones in platform diving, where he placed seventh on the men’s side.
The men placed fifth and the women placed sixth in this incredibly competitive meet, as ASU finished fourth overall. Schools competing included University of Texas, LSU, Purdue, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M and the University of Miami FL.
The swimmers opted for a slightly longer travel time as they reached Bloomington, Indiana.
The three-day meet saw countless personal bests for ASU swimmers, so it would reasonably take a long article to go through all of the finishes. Instead, some high points for the team:
On the women’s side saw a top finish in the 800 freestyle relay, where sophomores Emma Nordin, Erica Laning, junior Kendall Dawson, and senior Marlies Ross claimed third place. Imaginably, the Devils fared well in the flash start version of the relay, the 200 freestyle. In this eight-length event, Emma Nordin took sixth place in the finals in 4:44.53, a .35-second drop from her time in prelims. Erica Laning touched the wall soon after, as she finished eighth. The Nordin-Laning duo continued dominance in the 500 freestyle: this time Laning finished in front of Nordin as the two placed fourth and sixth, respectively. With their times, both made NCAA B cuts. Joining the two with cut times were Kendall Dawson and sophomore Caitlyn Wilson.
Senior Fanny Teijonsalo joined the ASU record books in her signature event, the 100 butterfly, where she now ranks sixth overall in school history. Junior Chloe Isleta took notice when she swam the ninth fastest time in ASU history in her signature, the 100 backstroke. Isleta finished sixth in that event, then followed with a seventh place finish in the 200 backstroke.
At the same time, the women swimmers weren’t the only Devils who had fun in Bloomington. The men swam podium finishes in more than 20 events over the course of the three days. In relays, the 200 freestyle relay of sophomores Evan Carlson, Carter Swift, junior Zach Poti, and freshman Ethan Luc took third place. The 400 medley relay also took a third place finish, swam by Zach Poti, senior Danny Comforti, freshman Khalil Fonder, and Evan Carlson. In what may be the Devil men’s strongest relay, sophomore Grant House, freshmen Liam Bresette and Cody Bybee, and junior Ben Olszewski finished third. There seemed to be a memo about ASU relays and third place. But in a meet where a national champion such as Hoosier senior Zach Apple, conference champions Hoosier junior Mohamed Samy, and NC State Wolfpack senior Justin Ress are competing, a top-10 finish for a relay should be impressive.
It is difficult to only pick a select few of swims to mention from this week. But out of so many, three men had exceptionally good swims over the course of the week. In his capital stroke, Zach Poti finished first in the 100 backstroke, followed by a second-place finish in the 200 backstroke. Poti’s 100 backstroke finish was one of two gold medals for Sun Devils this week, the other awarded to Danny Comforti for his 1:55.29 swim in the 200 breaststroke. Comforti is ASU’s top breaststroker, as he takes the breastroke leg on the Sun Devil medley relays. Comforti also reached the podium in the 200 individual medley (1:44.91, fifth place) and 100 breaststroke (53.70, seventh place). Finally, stalwart Ohioan Grant House cracked the ASU all-time top ten in the 200 freestyle, his best event. His 1:33.34 swim was a personal best, a .13-second drop from the time he swam at the NCAA National Championships last spring. The time placed him tenth in the ASU record books for the event, and second in the A-final at the IU Invitational.
The Sun Devil men’s and women’s squads both placed fourth overall in the IU Invitational. The finishes for both swimming and diving this week will provide excellent motivation over the course of upcoming winter training.
ASU swimmers and divers (and the reporters who cover them!) will have a break before the next meet, when the ASU women will take on Washington State in Tempe, on Saturday, January 12th.