The Sun Devil swimmers have not been ones to shy away from competition this season: facing Stanford, Cal and USC in dual meets; Indiana University and NC State at an invitational meet.
So, when ASU sophomore Grant House was slated to go toe-to-toe with the fastest 200 IM swimmer in the country, Cal senior Andrew Seliskar–who also has the second fastest 200 freestyle time in the NCAA this year. House stepped up to the competition, naturally.
House finished fourth in the 200 individual medley Thursday, just six-tenths of a second behind Stanford senior Abrahm DeVine, and two seconds behind Seliskar.
Friday saw a similar story: in the 200 freestyle, House’s signature event, the Sun Devil finished second, 1.4 seconds after Seliskar touched the wall.
Both swims were lifetime bests for House, and other swimmers followed suit.
In the 100 backstroke Friday, junior Zach Poti claimed the title in 44.93 seconds, seven-tenths of a second ahead of Cal sophomore Daniel Carr. The Pac-12 championship-caliber swim wiped a school record, the sixth-fastest time posted in the country and punched a ticket to the NCAA A-finals in the event.
For what it’s worth, Poti led the entire race.
103° Fever off the plane on Tuesday? Not even that can stop Zach Poti— Sun Devil Swim/Dive (@ASUSwimDive) March 9, 2019
Watch Zach's record-setting swim from tonight: pic.twitter.com/E4Krplhqli
The other events Thursday and Friday didn’t outshine House’s and Poti’s performance, but there were many of them.
In the 500 freestyle, junior Ben Olszewski was ASU’s top finisher in 15th. Freshman Jack Little followed in 20th, but Arizona sophomores Brooks Fail and Isaac Stump finished 4th and 13th, with junior Brendan Meyer in 16th.
ASU finished sixth in the 200 freestyle relay, the final ‘A’ relay to touch the wall. Sophomores Carter Swift, Evan Carlson, graduate student Gage Kohner and freshman Ethan Luc all swam sub-19.8 splits, in an event where second through sixth was decided by a hair under eight-tenths of a second.
Friday’s 400 medley relay looked familiar. The Sun Devils finished fifth this time, ahead of Utah’s ‘A’ relay, but behind Cal, USC, Arizona and Stanford. Zach Poti swam the fastest backstroke split in the event, and senior Danny Comforti’s breaststroke leg followed, putting the Devils in third. However, freshman Khalil Fonder faced a tough slate of butterflyers in senior Alex Valente of USC, junior Noah Reid of Arizona and senior Brad Zdroik of Stanford, and ASU dropped to fifth place. Grant House’s 42.18-second freestyle anchor gained ground on Stanford, but the relay came up short.
The Sun Devils have slipped to fourth place in the meet scores after Friday’s finals. With one more day to go, they’ll have a 51-point gap to break through to pass Arizona. The 1650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and 400 freestyle relay will all be opportunities for either side to secure the coveted Territorial Cup point.