2014 M. NCAA Picks: 200 Fly – Anyone’s Game. Really.

The NCAA record in the 200 fly is 1:39.65. Cal’s then-senior Tom Shields set it at last year’s championship meet. There’s a good chance it will be broken this year. By whom, you ask? The remarkable thing is, almost any one of the top five or six could be the one who does it. That’s how narrow the range is among the 2014 crop of 200-flyers.

And it doesn’t stop there. The last few years we’ve seen a couple of 1:41s at the top of the psych sheet, followed by three or four 1:42s. Then a dozen or so 1:43s. Last year the first 1:44 was eighteenth seed. Now you have to go down to thirty-first (!) to find a 1:44. It’s not just that the ones at the top keep getting faster (although that’s true, too); those further down the line are squeezing the 1-to-16 spread, meaning that you’ve got very nearly zero room for error in prelims if you want a second swim.

 

Year

2014

2013

2012

2011

Top prelims time

 

1:41.3

1:42.0

1:41.6

Psych Sheet 1st

1:40.4

1:41.2

1:41.9

1:40.3

Prelims 8th qualifier

 

1:43.7

1:43.4

1:43.4

Psych Sheet 8th

1:42.5

1:43.2

1:43.7

1:43.3

Prelims 16th qualifier

 

1:44.2

1:44.6

1:44.4

Psych Sheet 16th

1:43.3

1:43.8

1:44.4

1:44.2

 

Dylan Bosch, sophomore, Michigan (1:40.37): Bosch is the only sub-1:41 so far this season. His 1:40.37 prelims swim at B1Gs set the meet and conference record; while he didn’t go faster in finals he repeated his 40-mid for the win. Bosch finished third last year as a freshman after having put up the top prelims time. If he does prelims right he’ll have as good a chance as he’ll ever get -swimming against all the right competitors- to get the win, and the record.

Sebastien Rousseau, senior, Florida (1:41.07): Rousseau comes to Austin a full second faster than last year. He avenged his 2013 SEC second-place finish (to Cieslak) by winning the 2014 conference title over both Kalisz and Cieslak in meet-record time. Rousseau was fourth at NCAAs last year and seventh in 2011. Every year he’s been a little faster; it is totally conceivable that he’s the one on the top step of the podium this year.

Christian McCurdy, sophomore, NC State (1:41.72): McCurdy’s seed time was earned at ACCs, where he broke the conference and meet record in finals. It was a big swim for him, nearly three seconds faster than he’d been a year ago. After a big drop like that the question is always “how much does he still have left in the tank?” We’ll see soon enough.

Chase Kalisz, sophomore, Georgia (1:41.74): Kalisz is about six seconds faster than he was a little over a year ago, when his personal best came from Winter Nationals. He has put a lot of work into the front half of his IM and it has paid off in spades. His seed time is from SECs, where he beat out Cieslak by .01 to finish second. He split the last three 50s almost identically and went from sixth at the 50 and 100, to second by the 150. A little more upfront speed and he might win this event and etch his name in the record books.

Marcin Cieslak, senior, Florida (1:41.75): Fourth as a freshman, third as a sophomore, and second at last year’s NCAAs… it would be a nice bit of symmetry if Cieslak took home top prize this year. He went a 1:40.6 in 2013 finals, and comes in with a faster seed time this year so it isn’t unreasonable to think we haven’t seen his best yet.

Kyle Whitaker, senior, Michigan (1:41.90): Whitaker finished eighth in this event last year, having been shut out of finals with a seventeenth-place finish in 2012. Whitaker was runner-up to Bosch at this year’s B1Gs, where he logged a personal best sub-1:42. We’re betting he has something left in his tank for these NCAAs.

Ben Colley, sophomore, UNC (1:42.19): The top qualifier in prelims of ACCs with a best time by 2.5 seconds, Colley has made huge strides in this event. He qualified just above the line with a 1:44.6 last year but added a couple of seconds in prelims and didn’t make it back. With that first-timer’s experience under his belt, look for a faster, more confident Colley to get a second swim.

Connor Knight, junior, Florida St (1:42.46): More than two seconds faster than he was last year, Knight finished just behind Colley at ACCs with his first NCAA “A” cut. He’ll need a strong prelims swim because there is a big group of equally-capable 200-flyers shooting for one of eight lanes in the A final.

Other names to keep an eye on: Will Hamilton, junior, Cal (1:43.13): Hamilton won this event in 2012 as a freshman, beating Tom Shields by .17. Last year, however, he had a disappointing 2013 NCAAs. Stephen Schmuhl, junior, Indiana (1:43.33): Schmuhl dropped 2.5 seconds to make the B final in 2012 but finished 22nd last year. He’s had a better season this year, though, so he could be a spoiler. Tripp Cooper (1:42.64) and Clay Youngquist (1:43.39): Both juniors, both Texas Longhorns, and both three seconds ahead of their pace from last year, Cooper and Youngquist have the potential to do big things in their home pool.

 

Top 8 Picks plus seed times:
1. Dylan Bosch, 1:40.37
2. Chase Kalisz, 1:41.74
3. Marcin Cieslak, 1:41.75
4. Sebastien Rousseau, 1:41.07
5. Kyle Whitaker, 1:41.90
6. Christian McCurdy, 1:41.72
7. Connor Knight, 1:42.46
8. Tripp Cooper, 1:42.64

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Kyle

With the way all these swimmers have been doing in the past couple of days, I really see it coming down to a battle between Cieslak and Kalisz, with Cieslak taking the title. He swam the same events in 2013 that he is swimming this year, and has so far improved all his second place finishes to first place ones. He’s got good things in store for us tomorrow.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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