Kevin Cordes wasn’t saving anything for finals in this 200 breaststroke. His 1:49.79 in prelims broke the NCAA, U.S. Open, American, and NCAA Records, all of which belonged to him from Winter Nationals late in 2012, by a full second. His old record was 1:50.73, and nobody was within three seconds of him this morning.
He was swimming so long in this race, that it almost didn’t look like he was going after the record. That was just an illusion of his efficiency, though, as he was taking most lengths at about 4 strokes per 25. Here’s the comparative splits between this swim and the one he did in early December.
Cordes and Breeja Larson, the women’s record holder, both swim their breaststrokes in a similar style: huge pullouts, and very long strokes. Whereas Larson was upset in the NCAA final, though, it doesn’t look like anybody is even within range of touching Cordes here at the men’s meet.
Neil Versfeld from Georgia was the old NCAA Championship Record holder with a 1:51.40 from 2009. The second seed going into tonight’s final is his teammate Carl Mickelson in a 1:53.10. The Wildcats will look for a second breaststroke 1-2 in finals.
Indiana’s Cody Miller is the second-fastest in history with a 1:51.03 from this year’s Big Tens, so he may be the one with the speed to get down to Cordes if Cordes lets up in finals; third goes to another former Arizona Wildcat Clark Burckle with a 1:51.20 from the same meet as Cordes’ previous record.