2014 M. NCAA Picks: 400 IM – Florida and Michigan Both Hoping For Momentum Swing

The 400 IM will kick off Day Two with a lot of excitement this year. For one thing, we are expecting to see Tyler Clary’s 2009 NCAA and American record of 3:35.98 to fall, and maybe even in prelims. For another, this event could be a game-changer for Michigan or Florida. Based on psych sheet calculations both teams will be fairly even up to that point and both are expected to do well in the 400 IM. Anything out of the ordinary, either positive or negative, could change the momentum for the rest of the meet.

Yes, we’ve mentioned it ad nauseam but it’s true: these guys are fast this year. And it’s nowhere more obvious than in this grueling event. What’s so amazing is that not only have a large number of IMers gotten significantly faster since last year, but nearly everyone is bunched together now. So if they’re all basically going between 3:43-mid and 3:45-mid, then a slow start here or a great middle 100 there, a blazing fly or a less-than-stellar finish, gives any one of these guys a second swim or sends him home.

That’s exciting.

Year

2014

2013

2012

2011

Top prelims time  

3:40.1

3:43.3

3:42.4

Psych Sheet 1st

3:36.9

3:39.2

3:39.4

3:37.8

Prelims 8th qualifier  

3:42.4

3:45.3

3:44.8

Psych Sheet 8th

3:42.9

3:42.6

3:45.8

3:44.8

Prelims 16th qualifier  

3:45.7

3:48.3

3:46.6

Psych Sheet 16th

3:44.3

3:45.1

3:47.1

3:46.3

 

There are only three freshmen in the top 30, and none in the top 16. Five of the 8 fastest seeds contested last year’s A final; nine of 16 were in either the A or the B. That makes a lot of veterans back to defend their 2013 All-American status.

Chase Kalisz, sophomore, Georgia (3:36.89): Kalisz is the defending NCAA champion and current top seed. He comes in three full seconds faster than where he was last year at this time, having won 2014 SECs with a new meet record of 3:36.89 versus his 2013 pace of 3:39.82. All his splits are just a bit faster and it seems quite likely that either he will break Clary’s 3:35.9 or he will push someone else to do it.

Kyle Whitaker, senior, Michigan (3:38.51): Whitaker could be that someone else. He comes to Austin two seconds faster than last year, having gone 3:38 in both prelims and finals of B1Gs in February for his first foray into the sub-3:40 world. At NCAAs last year Whitaker had a disappointing prelims swim and ended up winning the consolation. Michigan will need him to be on his game in the morning this year.

Dan Wallace, junior, Florida (3:38.96): Wallace is another one who is three seconds ahead of where he was a year ago. He finished third at last year’s NCAAs in 3:39.87 for his first dip under the 3:40 barrier. This year at SECs he took another second off that personal best with a great race against Kalisz in finals. Wallace outsplit him on fly and free but lost the middle 100 to come up with second-place. Still, it was a very well-executed race and put him third coming into NCAAs.

Dylan Bosch, sophomore, Michigan (3:39.07): Bosch, too, is three seconds faster, if you can believe it. Never having broken 3:40 before finals of B1Gs this year, he came up with a 3:39 in a tough head-to-head with Whitaker, dropping 2.5 and getting a new personal best. Bosch led for 300 yards until Whitaker popped a 51.0 free and secured the win. Nevertheless Bosch has become a big weapon for the Wolverines. If they can get both Whitaker and Bosch in the A final it could make a difference in the outcome of Day Two.

Sebastien Rousseau, senior, Florida (3:41.26): Rousseau is a very versatile talent who could just as easily have been entered in the 200 free, but this is where the Gators need him to score. Rousseau dropped 11 seconds from prelims to finals to win this event at the Ohio State Invitational, where he set the meet record and picked up his “A” cut. Rousseau had an unfortunate DQ (back-to-breast transition) in this event at last year’s NCAAs so we really haven’t seen all he can do with it. Florida will be counting on him and Wallace to load up the A final this year.

Michael Meyer, sophomore, Arizona (3:41.73): Meyer showed up seeded 27th at 2013 NCAAs when he was a freshman; he dropped four in prelims to make the A final and ended up in sixth place. Continuing to improve over the last year, he dropped another half-second at the UT Invite in December to guarantee his trip to NCAAs this year and comes back with the sixth fastest seed time.

Josh Prenot, sophomore, California (3:42.20): A little off where he was last year at this time, Prenot is still one of the best out there in this event. He is two-for-two winning it at Pac12s; he set the conference record as a freshman. His best time is 3:40-mid, which came from his fourth-place finish at NCAAs last year. We think he can pull off a strong enough morning swim to get -at the very least- an outside lane in the A final.

David Ingraham, junior, Virginia (3:42.94): Eighteenth at NCAAs last year, Ingraham heads to Austin this time around with the eighth fastest seed time. It’s his best by just over a second, and it comes from prelims at ACCs where he dropped over 5 seconds and wound up with the conference’s top time for the season. A big morning swim this year would be great for the Cavaliers.

Two 2013 finalists, Connor Signorin, senior, Florida (3:43.34) and Stephen Schmuhl, junior, Indiana (3:43.55) were 12th and 5th, respectively, at last year’s NCAAs. Each comes to Austin about a second off their 2013 pace. They both have the ability to make the A final, but it’s a crowded field and they’ll need to be at the top of their games from the onset.

Another one who has been a point-scorer in the past is Adam Hinshaw, junior, Cal (3:44.00). Hinshaw has been runner-up to Prenot at Pac12s in each of the last two years and finished tenth at NCAAs in 2013 and fifth in 2012. Hinshaw has a great closing leg; if he can take it out he could make another A final.

 

Cal, Michigan, Florida and Georgia have been the biggest gainers in this event over the last several years and the 2014 edition looks to continue along the same path. We are really looking forward to watching some fast swimming this year. And hopefully a new meet record as well.

 

Top 8 Picks plus seed times:
1 Chase Kalisz, sophomore, Georgia A 3:36.89
2 Kyle Whitaker, senior, Michigan A 3:38.51
3 Dan Wallace, junior, Florida A 3:38.96
4 Dylan Bosch, sophomore, Michigan A 3:39.07
5 Sebastien Rousseau, senior, Florida A 3:41.26
6 Joshua Prenot, sophomore, California A 3:42.20
7 Stephen Schmuhl, junior, Indiana B 3:43.55
8 Adam Hinshaw, junior, California B 3:44.00

 

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takealook

With Cal hitting their taper spot on, I’m predicting a second place finish from Prenot with a 3:38, second only to Kalisz and not by much. Beyond that perhaps Bosch or Whitaker 3rd. Wallace and Rousseau need to be much faster than yesterday, also predicting Hinshaw 6th if he has hit his taper.

yeah…. 3:38 isn’t going to be close to Kaliz. It might be good enough for second though, but 3:38-3:40 is going to be crowded!

Speaking of guys hitting taper in that event – Will Lincon dropped 3s (4s off HS) off his 200IM PR yesterday, Simple math puts him at 3:40 and in the final. But that is why they swim the meet, so we shall see.

Derek Wallace

Don’t write off the Florida boys!

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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