KNOXVILLE—The Carson-Newman swim team capped off day three of the Tennessee Invitational by piling on more season and personal best times, positioning the squad to move up the national ranks and springing multiple Eagles to qualify for the NCAA National Championships in March.
The women entered the weekend ranked 12th in the nation while the men were tabbed 17th, it is quite possible their performance this weekend will elevate their national positioning going forward.
"Overall, the Tennessee Invitational was exactly what I was looking for," Carson-Newman coach Jordan Taylor said. "To surround ourselves with amazing teams and athletes and to see our athletes rise to the challenge and get great swims from our team was great. We are in a great place and there were a lot of highlights over the three days. Our top-five all-time record board got smashed. The team and the coaching staff loved the opportunity to be at this meet."
For the men, sophomore Andrei Ungur (Romania) secured a season-best time in the 200-yard backstroke at 1:47.17 which will almost assuredly earn him a spot at Nationals.
Junior Chad Andoljsek (Slovenia) secured a lifetime best in the 100-yard freestyle at 44.96 which was the second-fastest time in school history. Fellow junior Nikola Tadic (Croatia) finished at 45 seconds flat, also a lifetime best and good enough for third-fastest ever.
Sophomore Joey Clemmer (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) posted a lifetime best in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:03.06, the fifth-best all-time.
The men's 400-yard freestyle relay team of Matt George, Tadic, Andoljsek and Ungur set a new school record with a time of 2:57.51, fast enough to qualify for Nationals.
"Relays were great, but the men's relay was awesome, the atmosphere for the last race of the night was incredible and the guys rose to the challenge," Taylor said. "They broke the school record by 1.5 seconds and were in the race the whole time with some of the best Division I schools in the country, they beat the Tennessee and Georgie B teams. Great way to end the meet and that time would have been sixth last year at nationals."
For the women, freshman Summer Osborne saw a lifetime best in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:07.27, the fifth-fastest time in C-N history.
Freshman Manon Compagner finished the 100-yard freestyle in 51.65, the third-lowest time ever, and a mark that could earn her an invite to Nationals.
Senior Mary Northcutt (Huntsville, Ala.) completed the 100-yard freestyle in 51.86, a lifetime best and a good omen for her chances at Nationals.
Freshman Linda Ungerboeck (Vienna, Austria) finished the 1650-yard freestyle in 17.28, a lifetime best and the number two time in C-N history. Freshman Rachel Peden (Boiling Springs, S.C.) had a time of 17.47 in the event, fourth-best in program history. Freshman Carley Logan (Greenfield, IN) was right behind them at 17.58, the fifth-best time ever for an Eagle.
"The meet highlighted the things we are doing well and also showed us what we need to improve moving forward," Taylor said. "There were so many positives to take away from the meet and with all the lifetime best, season bests and school records I feel the team is confident and excited moving forward to the next half of the season. I am very interested to see the national rankings when they get updated next week both for individuals and for teams."
Several Eagles swimmers will swim at the 50-yard pool tomorrow at the University of Tennessee for a chance to qualify for 2020 Olympic trials.
This was the last event of the fall season for the team. The Eagles next take part in an official event on Jan. 4, 2020 in a dual-meet against Lynn University in Florida.