Friday night of the men’s NCAA Championships begins at 7 PM in Austin, Texas. The hometown hero Longhorns will look to protect a 1-point lead in what looks to be a second consecutive nailbiter of a finals session points-wise. Cal is running second in what’s been an entertaining 4-team race with Florida and defending champs Michigan still easily within striking distance.
Individually, Chase Kalisz will look to defend his 400 IM title, and based off of everything he’s showed so far this meet, we’ve got a sneaking suspicion he might pull out something unbelievable tonight. Tim Phillips and Giles Smith look ready for another 100 fly showdown after Phillips snuck out a touchout in prelims. Joao de Lucca looks to defend his 200 free title against top seed Michael Wynalda of Michigan, and Kevin Cordes will try to further lower his own 100 breaststroke American record. Cal freshman Ryan Murphy leads the 100 back after a giant relay split last night, and Michigan’s U.S. Open record-holding 800 free relay will close the night in search of the Wolverines’ first title of 2014.
Keep refreshing this page as we’ll be covering each event as it happens.
Prelims recap here
Scoring analysis here (spoiler alert: it’s going to be close)
MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
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- Check out our final power rankings and top 26 predictions here
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200 Medley Relay
The team battle is starting to heat up in Austin! California and Texas battled for the loudest cheering section leading up to the beginning of finals, and in the first event, the Golden Bears and Longhorns dueled for the national championship in the 200 medley relay.
The two teams were separated by just .02 after the backstroke leg, where Kip Darmody put up the field’s fastest split at 20.88 for Texas and Ryan Murphy went 20.90 for Cal. Golden Bear breaststroker Chuck Katis went 23.2 to overtake Texas sprinter John Murray (who was a respectable 23.4 in an off-stroke for him). Tony Cox kept Cal in the lead with a quick 19.9 fly split, while Texas freshman Jack Conger was just 20.0, failing to beat his 19.9 from prelims. Tyler Messerschmidt closed things for Cal in 18.6 to give the Bears an NCAA title and the team points lead by 5. Cal went 1:22.83, while Texas was 1:23.30, getting an 18.9 on the anchor leg from Caleb Weir.
That time for Cal established a new American record, breaking the mark of 1:23.02 set by the pro team from SwimMAC last December.
Auburn cut a second to bust its way up to third place. Marcelo Chierighini swam butterfly in a big 20.1, and freshman anchor Kyle Darmody had the fastest free split of the field at 18.3 as the Tigers went 1:23.87.
Florida State topped in-state rivals Florida for fourth a ways behind that top 3. Pavel Sankovich was 20.99 on backstroke for the 1:24.57 Seminoles, while Florida made a late charge on Brad deBorde‘s 18.4 freestyle split to go 1:24.82.
Georgia (1:24.87) followed closely for sixth and Alabama (1:25.07) wound up seventh. For the second time in as many days, Arizona DQ’d a highly-ranked medley relay on a false start. This time it appeared to be butterfly Giles Smith who went early, knocking the second-place finishers out of the running.
The B final went to the Missouri Tigers, who went 1:24.94, a drop of over a second off of prelims. That came from Mizzou switching up its order and getting a 21.3 backstroke leg from senior Logan Mosley, who was the butterflyer this morning.
Michigan added just under half a second and dropped from 9th to 10th.
It sure seemed like something was in the air leading up to this 400 IM. Chase Kalisz had shown all the signs of a breakout swim coming, and yet his final time still was a surprise. The Georgia sophomore went 3:34.50 (!) to not just break the hallowed NCAA/American/U.S. Open record held by a super-suited Tyler Clary back in 2009, but absolutely smash it. Kalisz’s time was almost a full 1.5 seconds faster than Clary’s, and was a drop of 3.5 seconds from what Kalisz went in winning this event last year.
The splits for Kalisz are ridiculous all around, but it’s worth pointing out his 59.41 breaststroke leg that really sealed the deal and put the field permanently in his rearview mirror. Kalisz also came home in 50.93 on freestyle.
Florida’s Dan Wallace led briefly after the butterfly, and he held on for second place. The only swimmer to go out in under 50 seconds, Wallace went 3:38.17. Florida was perhaps disappointed to place three men in the B final and only one in the A. But the Gator consol finalists did their jobs at night, sweeping the heat to go 9-10-11 overall. That was led by Sebastien Rousseau, who went 3:40.77. He was followed by Matt Elliott and Connor Signorin, who touched out Cal’s Adam Hinshaw for 11th place. The Gator men seem to be heating up as the meet goes on, much like the women did after a shaky start last week at women’s NCAAs.
Cal’s Josh Prenot made a late charge on Wallace but couldn’t quite get by him, going 3:38.58 for third place. Prenot was the last swimmer under 3:40 tonight and also rolled with a great breaststroke leg.
Indiana junior Steve Schmuhl took fourth at 3:40.64, leading a big pack into the finish. Texas freshman Will Licon hacked another two seconds off his best time in taking fifth (3:40.84) and Michigan grabbed the next two spots with Kyle Whitaker (3:41.33) and Dylan Bosch (3:41.65).
Georgia’s Tynan Stewart rounded out the championship heat at 3:42.98.
After that event, Florida has barged back into the title hunt, sitting second, just two points behind Cal. Texas is 12 back and Michigan seems on the verge of falling out of things, though the 200 free could help vault them back towards the top 3.
Second in this event last year, Marcin Cieslak came up big for the Florida Gators in 2014, winning the 100 fly in 44.87. That’s the second-straight event where the Gators have looked great, a good sign for their title hopes, which have been overshadowed so far by Cal and Texas.
Florida State senior Pavel Sankovich had one of the best swims of what’s been an outstanding senior season for him, going 45.00 to take second place and keep the top two spots within the Sunshine State. Both Sankovich and Cieslak had to back-half their races some, as they sat 4th and 5th at the 50 turn.
The entire top 4 was made up of seniors, as Ohio State’s Tim Phillips dropped almost a tenth from his top seed to take third in 45.10 and Arizona’s Giles Smith followed at 45.43.
Despite Florida’s win, Texas got the biggest points boost out of this event, going 5-6-7 in the championship final. Tripp Cooper went 45.46 to head that group. Freshman Jack Conger, seemingly a fan-favorite pick to win among our comments section, wound up 6th at 45.61, just a bit off his prelims swim. Fellow freshman Will Glass rounded out that crew at 45.98.
Georgia senior Doug Reynolds went 46.31 to take home 8th place.
Arizona sophomore Andrew Porter took home the B final, going 45.50 and working the underwaters to top Cal’s Marcin Tarczynski.
In the team race, Texas now leads with 236.5. Florida is lurking at 224 and seems to be getting hot, while Cal is at 221.5.
With defending champ Joao de Lucca well-known for his borderline-reckless first-half splits, it was a bit of a surprise to see a different name leading the field at the 100 mark. USC’s Dimitri Colupaev went out in 43.74 and put de Lucca in a position he’s not terribly used to – swimming from behind. Still, the Louisville senior proved he can do that equally well, coming back to take home his second NCAA championship in 1:31.96.
That’s actually a bit off what de Lucca went in winning this event last year, and its also didn’t match his mid-season time of 1:31.65, but it’s still one of the fastest swims in NCAA history. While Colupaev died hard and fell back to 8th place in this meat-grinder of a field, USC still took second place with junior and 500 free champ Cristian Quintero. Quintero went 1:32.28 with one of the better closing 100s of the field.
Michigan’s Michael Wynalda went 1:32.58 to take third just behind Quintero. Those were the three widely expected to vie for the title, so it wasn’t too surprising to see the cream rise to the top in the 200 free’s biggest moment of the year.
Georgia’s Mathias Koski actually dropped a half-second from this morning, even though he wasn’t able to match his amazing closing 50 from prelims. Koski still came home in 23.6, the best final 50 of the field, to cap off a 1:32.66.
Notre Dame senior Frank Dyer went 1:33.43, holding off a late charge from hometown hero Clay Youngquist. Youngquist went 1:33.66 for a rowdy Texas fan-base that has showed up in full-force to support the home team.
Florida’s Mitch D’Arrigo (1:33.97) and Colupaev (1:34.73) took the final two spots in the championship heat.
Stanford sophomore Tom Kremer won the B final, going 1:33.32. That’s only three tenths slower than he went in taking 3rd overall last year, which shows just how fast this meet is in 2014. Cal’s Will Hamilton was also quick at 1:33.75 for 10th.
The overall points remained fairly stable through that race, with Texas still leading, Florida 13.5 back and Cal sitting third by just 16 points.
Kevin Cordes broke his American record in prelims, but he was clearly still saving something for finals. The Arizona junior went 50.04 to chop another half-second off that mark and place himself right on the edge of the first 49-second breaststroke swim in history.
Most of that drop came in the front half for Cordes, who went out in 23.5 after going 23.9 this morning. He also closed in 26.4, easily the best of the field in both early speed and closing burst.
Georgia’s Nic Fink shot up to the 2nd spot, going 51.48. That’s still a few tenths off his best time coming in, but was enough to grab runner-up honors. Fink was also out in under 24, going 23.99 on his first 50.
Richard Funk had to win a swim-off just to get into this heat, but he put together a great race in his third crack at the event today. The Michigan junior went 51.96 to take third, the last guy under 52. He was 51.7 in the swim-off, but then again swim-offs and time trials can often be faster because of the lack of waves to fight.
California’s Chuck Katis dropped another tenth and got oh-so-close to 51 seconds, taking fourth in 52.02. He had to win a touchout of Missouri’s Sam Tierney to get that spot, as Tierney was 52.07 for fifth place.
Indiana senior Cody Miller wasn’t able to get back under 52 in his last 100 breast of his college career, settling for sixth in 52.09. His Big Ten rival Bruno Ortiz went 52.12 for seventh and Western Kentucky’s German freshman Fabian Schwingenschlogl closed out the heat in 52.25.
Louisville had a great push in the B final, with Tom Dahlia going 52.08 to grab 9th and Kameron Chastain taking 11th in 52.51. Florida’s Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez got in between them at 52.35 for 10th.
With Texas lacking a point-scorer in this event, the team scores have become frighteningly close – the Longhorns lead with 249.5, but Cal is just a single point back at 248.5. In addition, Florida sits at 244 after scoring two men in that race, and Michigan’s two A-finalists brought them to 195, a roughly 50-point margin that is significant, though not insurmountable.
It was 8th seed Shane Ryan who led the 100 back most of the way, taking “outside smoke” all the way to the homestretch. But Cal freshman Ryan Murphy proved why he’s got so many swimming fans excited, closing like he was being pulled to the wall by a giant magnet and nipping Ryan in a touchout for his first NCAA title. Murphy went 44.63, closing in 22.9 after going out in a 21.7. Ryan took home second place at 44.78 – he was out in 21.5 for Penn State.
Texas junior Kip Darmody went 45.03, getting Texas back rolling after an event off. Defending champ David Nolan took fourth in 45.21 in what’s been a frustrating week for the Stanford Cardinal. Nolan slipped on his start in the 200 medley this morning, and without a good split from their star, Stanford missed a shot to score. Now with Nolan failing to defend either of his NCAA titles, Stanford needs a big momentum boost.
West Virginia’s Bryce Bohman put his team on the scoreboard for the first time with a 5th-place finish, going 45.30. The second seed, USC’s Luca Spinazzola, dropped to sixth at 45.55 after his huge prelims swim, and Cal’s Tony Cox took home seventh in 45.79. Swimming the second half of a tough double, Florida State senior Pavel Sankovich fell to 8th in 46.44 after taking second in the 100 fly a few races earlier.
The B final went to Indiana’s James Wells in 45.90, just topping Big Ten foe Nate Savoy of Penn State. Cal’s Jacob Pebley moved up a spot to take 11th, leapfrogging Texas’s Aaron Gustafson. Not often would a two-point swing like that affect a meet much, but the way this one’s been, every single swim is significant.
On the team points board, Cal has now officially overtaken Texas, sitting first with 286.5. Texas is at 270.5. The Longhorns only got one diver into finals, but Michael Hixon is seeded first. So if his seed holds up, Texas will lead by 4 going into the final relay of the night.
Florida has dropped back a ways to 245, and Michigan (195) will need a huge final relay to jump back into things heading into tomorrow.
Longhorn freshman Michael Hixon absolutely crushed his final dive to break away from the field and win the 3-meter diving title, his second win of the championships. Hixon scored 457.20 to top Arizona State’s Riley McCormick by 45.
Behind McCormick was Tennessee’s Maurice Robles, who scored 406.65, the last diver over 400.
Defending champ Kristian Ipsen took fourth for Stanford with 394.90. Miami’s Zach Nees posted a 386.00 to just top his former Indiana teammate Darian Schmidt. Virginia’s JB Kolod and Purdue’s Layne Rogers closed out the championship final. Earlier in the day, Missouri sophomore Clark Thomas won the B final with a score of 418.60.
800 Free Relay
Michigan smashed the U.S. Open record in this event at the Big Ten Championships, but in a race this long, extending tapers can change things in a hurry. As it turned out, it was USC who won the NCAA title in the event, going 6:123.09 to outlast the Wolverines and a tough Florida team.
Cristian Quintero led off for the Trojans, going 1:32.84, a great time considering it was his second all-out 200 in the same session and his third of the day. With USC leading, anchor Dimitri Colupaev accelerated away late, splitting 1:32.68 to seal the win. Joining them were freshmen Reed Malone (1:34.32) and Dylan Carter (1:33.25).
Florida battled it out with Michigan in the early going, charging out at the end to go 6:14.74 for second place. Dan Wallace anchored in 1:33.13, but Sebastien Rousseau and Marcin Cieslak each put up 1:33s of their own for the Gators.
It was a disappointing day for David Nolan, but the Stanford star did come up big on the team’s 800 free relay, splitting 1:32.89 to help the Cardinal win the first heat. Their time of 6:15.67 got them 3rd place overall. Tom Kremer was 1:33.80 for the Cardinal on the end.
Michigan took fourth behind Stanford’s early heat time. The Wolverines dropped to 6.5 seconds off their U.S. Open record time to go 6:16.37. Michael Wynalda (1:33.22) and Justin Glanda (1:33.82) put up the top splits.
Texas ended up fifth. Clay Youngquist was 1:33.54 anchoring and Kip Darmody went 1:33.4 for the fastest Longhorn split. Freshman Jack Conger was just 1:34.75 leading off, a strong time but not as good as his Big 12 effort. Texas finished in 6:16.72.
Cal followed just behind in 6:17.26. Will Hamilton went 1:33.91 for the Bears, who now sit second in team points to Texas. Auburn took 7th with a consistent relay of all 1:34s, and NC State made a big splash in taking 8th. The Wolfpack went out hard, with Jonathan Boffa leading off in 1:34.39 and Simonas Bilis going 1:32.34 for the fastest split of the field swimming second. But a 1:37.1 anchor leg doomed the Pack to drop back a ways from their early running.
Georgia was 9th from the early heat, with Mathias Koski going 1:33.1 from a flat start and Chase Kalisz adding a 1:33.80. Louisville came in behind them thanks to Joao de Lucca‘s 1:33.03.
We’ll have more scoring analysis later on, but with one day to go, things are still extremely tight at the top. Texas leads with 318.5 points, with Cal hovering at 312.5. Florida is back a bit at 279, but should have one of their better days lined up tomorrow with the 200s of each non-free stroke. Michigan sits fourth at 225 and are actually closer to 5th-place Georgia (200 points) than they are to the top 3.