2015 MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- NCAA record: 50.04 — Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 3/28/2014
- American record: 50.04 — Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 3/28/2014
- U.S. Open record: 50.04 — Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 3/28/2014
- 2014 NCAA Champion: Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 50.04
Kevin Cordes is the defending NCAA Champion in this event, the NCAA record holder, a member of the USA National team, and is only seeded eighth this season heading into the 2015 NCAA Championships in Iowa City.
Cordes hasn’t been close to his American and NCAA record time of 50.04 this season, sporting a time of 52.04 heading into the meet. All season, Cordes has been around a 52-flat. He won his third straight 100 breaststroke PAC 12 title earlier this month en route to a 52.18. That time was slower than his previous PAC 12 title winning times from 2013 and 2014 where he was under 52 seconds.
Truth be told, Cordes hasn’t had a fantastic season, but regardless of that, there’s no doubting that he is the fastest breaststroker in this field. He’s in his senior year and heading to the 2015 World Championships this summer, so he could have been putting in some heavy work heading into NCAAs and throw down some very fast times in Iowa.
There’s really no telling how Cordes will swim. His performance in Iowa on day one in the 400 medley relay will be the tell-all as to what kind of condition Cordes is in. If he’s good to go, this event is almost a lock for him.
There are several swimmers who will try and take advantage of the situation if Cordes isn’t on his ‘A’ game this upcoming weekend including the likes of Nicolas Fink. He’s the top seed with a time of 51.51, leading a very closely packed list of swimmers. Fink was second last year to Cordes and fifth in 2013.
Fink was close to his personal best time of 51.25 at the SEC Championships, recording his season-best time of 51.51, which doubles as the fastest time this season in the NCAA. The repeat SEC Champion was faster last season at SECs, swimming an SEC record time of 51.25. He was slower than that at the 2014 NCAAS, meaning that a slower time at SECs this year isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. Fink is a very solid bet for second place.
Other than Fink there are a few other swimmers who could make a move into the top three. Peter Stevens of Tennessee is ranked fourth in the NCAA going into the meet but has undeniable speed. Earlier this year he swam the fastest ever 50 breaststroke split, and sits at a 51.88 personal best in the 100. Stevens is a freshman so the kind of times he can go in short course yards rested are still a bit of a mystery. Based solely on the fact that he has raw speed, we’re saying he can move up a spot or two.
Sam Tierney, Bruno Ortiz, Michael Duderstadt, and Chuck Katis are all in a similar range and will all most likely grab a spot in the 100 breast final. Tierney is having a pretty standout season and is the second fastest swimmer behind Fink heading into NCAAs. There’s plenty of experience behind the four of them. Three of the four, excluding Duderstadt, are ‘A’ finalists from last year’s NCAA Championships with the highest placing coming from Katis who was fourth.
Preter Kropp of Duke is ranked seventh ahead of Cordes and behind Katis. He’s been a 52.02 this season, although it’s looking like it will take a sub 52 to make an ‘A’ final this year, or at least be competitive in it. Kropp will have a tough time making the finals with both Richard Funk (9th seed) and Thomas Dahlia (10th seed) hot on his heels.
TOP 8 PREDICTIONS
|Kevin Cordes||Arizona||8th – 52.04||50.04|
|Nicolas Fink||Georgia||1st – 51.51||51.25|
|Peter Stevens||Tennessee||4th – 51.88||51.88|
|Richard Funk||Michigan||9th – 52.19||51.75|
|Chuck Katis||California||6th -52.00||52.00|
|Bruno Ortiz||Michigan||3rd – 51.77||51.77|
|Sam Tierney||Missouri||2nd – 51.64||51.64|
|Michael Duderstadt||Auburn||5th – 51.93||51.93|
Dark horse: Anton McKee (Alabama) – 19th seed – 52.67. McKee had plenty of success in the 200 breaststroke at last year’s NCAAs finishing fourth overall. He made the ‘B’ final in the 100. All of that was when he was a freshman, and now he has plenty more experience of how to handle himself during the college season. He’s definitely in the range to make a ‘B’ final and raise the stakes from his 2014 performance.