2014 Division II National Swimming Championships- Men’s Meet

NCAA Division II Championships- Men’s Meet

For the past 9 straight years no one in Division II Men’s swimming has been able to touch the Drury Panthers at the National Level.  This year they attempt to go for the Decade mark and put their names down as just another in the history books.  Many teams would like to see the Panthers upset and Royals of Queens (NC) and the Warriors of Wayne State might be the ones that can take down the dynasty.

Who’s Who in 2014

We take a look at every individual event, (Relays are too tightly contested to mark a favorite), a breakdown the field and who the favorite might be, which won’t necessarily always be the top seed.

  • 1000 Freestyle: Victor Polyakov (West Chester)
    • A young field dominants the first event on the program list as the reigning national champion in Incarnate Word’s Mark Rubin has graduated, (also Incarnate Word now competes at the Division I level).  Polyakov has the fastest time this season by almost 3 seconds, but look to last year’s runner-up in Alex Menke of Queens to try and steal the spotlight.  Joining him in that quest will be Sylwester Skoneczny of Lindenwood who sits at second seed at the moment.
  • 200 IM: Piotr Jachowicz (Wayne State)
    • Last year’s defending champion and national record holder returns in this event to defend his crown.  He will have his work cut out for him as Freshman Queens standout Matthew Josa is sitting in the second seed as well as Gianni Ferrero of Grand Valley will look to dethrone Jachowicz.
  • 50 Free: Matheus Assis (Saint Leo)
    • The only swimmer in Division II to break the 20-second barrier this season, Assis will look to take top honors in a field where the top 8 from the championship last year are blended in further down the list.  Daniel Rzadkowski of Drury and Kent Olsen-Stavrakas of Colorado Mesa sit in second and third respectively and only .01 seconds separates them from each other.  The battle may truly be for second in this race.
  • 400 IM: Marko Blazevski (Wingate)
    • Runner-up last year to Jachowicz in this event (whom appears to not have entered the event this year) Blazevski looks to repeat his performance from last year which would put him ahead of all other seed times this year.  Only two swimmer ahead of him Felix Eigel of Lindenwood and NSU’s Marco Aldabe.  The way we see it you have a 2/3 chance of picking right if you choose Mar(c/k)o.
  • 100 Butterfly: Matthew Josa (Queens)
    • The clear favorite in this event as his seed time puts him almost a full second ahead of the nearest competitor in Ashland’s Phillip Sikatzki. Look for Josa to set his sights on the National Record which he is only a little more than a half a second away from (his time being 46.3 and the record be 45.60).
  • 200 Free: Gianni Ferrero (Grand Valley)
    • This one is probably more up for grabs than any previous event in the meet so far with the top 24 only sperated by a little over 2 seconds.  Dark horse for this event is going to be Wayne State’s Kristian Larsen who snuck into third place last year in this event.  Experience may be the name of the game for the 200 Free.
  • 500 Free: Victor Polyakov (West Chester)
    • Clear favorite by over 5 seconds, look for Polyakov to possible take his second event of the championship while also shooting to lower his national record that he set back in November of 2013.  The battle should truly be for second in this one as well between 7 swimmers sitting at either 4:25 or 4:26, notable names include Ferrero, Skoneczny, and UCSD’s Paul Li.
  • 100 Backstroke: Oscar Pereiro (Bridgeport)
    • Taking a look at the history of the swims that have been accomplished this year, we are giving the nod to defending national champion Pereiro to take this event as his time is from December as compared to Ferrero and Philipp Sikatzki of Ashland who only swam their times in the second week of Feburary.  (Note: Matthew Josa is also entered in this event, but swimmers are only allowed to 4 individual and 7 total events, we believe this will be the event he scratches.)
  • 100 Breastroke: Piotr Jachowicz (Wayne State)
    • Jachowicz place 4th behind 3 seniors in last year’s championships and he will look to take top honors as he enters this year’s meet with the top seed.  Nik Eriksson from Queens and Nicholas Korth from UCSD will look to take him down.
  • 200 Butterfly: Marko Blazevski (Wingate)
    • As only one of three (Drury’s Stanislav Kuzman and Wayne State’s Calvin Reder were the other two) returning members of the “A” final from last year, Blazevski was the highest of the three finishing 4th.  Look to him to take advantage of the opening left for him. Watch for Florida Southern’s Raul Garrastazu and Tiffin’s Kyle Doss to challenge as well.
  • 1650 Freestyle: Victor Polyakov (West Chester)
    • Taking our pick to sweep the distance events is Polyakov who has had almost 4 full months since putting down his qualifying time to improve upon it.  Don’t rule out Queen’s Alex Menke, who won the event last year in a time that is faster than any seed time put up this year.
  • 100 Freestyle: Matthew Josa (Queens)
    • If he stays in this event, he gets our nod for favorite as well.  Coach Jeff Dugdale may have other things on his mind though when it comes to how he divvies out Josa’s swims.  Keep a close eye on Assis and Drury’s Samuel Olsen whether or not Josa swims this event or not.
  • 200 Backstroke: Matthew Josa (Queens)
    • This is an event we can be 100% positive that Josa will indeed compete in.  After breaking the Division II national record earlier this year he will look to lower his own standard with a 1.5 second cushion to work with.  Second place will be tightly contested between many competitors but our favorites are Cal Baptist’s Nolan Brown and Florida Southern’s Thomas Nguyen.
  • 200 Breaststroke: Nicholas Korth (UCSD)
    • Korth will look to avenge himself after getting out touched for the title by now graduated (and Division I member) Eetu Karvonen of Grand Canyon.  With almost a 2 second cushion at last year’s championships and an almost full second gap in this years seed times, Korth gets the nod as our favorite here.  Be on the look-out for always dangerous Jachowicz as well as Queens Eriksson

Standings (Top-10 Prediction)

Could this be the year that Drury gets dethroned?  Looking at the individual events and relays combined and taking into account the point from diving here is our predictions for how this meet is going to play out, but just like a chess match, you can make all the right moves and still find yourself in checkmate:

  1. Drury
  2. Queens
  3. Wayne State
  4. Florida Southern
  5. Grand Valley
  6. UCSD
  7. Tampa
  8. West Chester
  9. Lindenwood
  10. Bridgeport

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About Michael Sanders

Michael started swimming at the ripe age of 6 with a small neighborhood team.  When he turned 8, a three sport athlete at the time, he started year-round swimming.  Eventually he let go of the other sports and focused his career on swimming.  Growing over the next few years he qualified for his …

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