2015 M. NCAA Picks: Kevin Cordes Seeded Fifth In The 200 Breaststroke; Has A Target On His Back



  • NCAA record: 1:48.66 — Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 3/30/2014
  • American record: 1:48.66 — Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 3/30/2014
  • U.S. Open record: 1:48.66 — Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 3/30/2014
  • 2014 NCAA Champion: Kevin Cordes (Arizona) — 1:48.66

Kevin Cordes has been the king of breaststroke in the NCAA for some time now spanning two NCAA titles and two PAC 12 titles in the 200 breaststroke. He’s downed records, owned the 100, and put up some of the fastest split times on both medley relays.

Cordes has the most experience and the most international experience to boot, but he has not performed up to par with his sophomore and junior years thus far this season.

He’s usually an obvious pick for the win in any of the breaststroke events, but truly hasn’t swam anything this season that indicates he’ll be fast at NCAAs. Granted, it’s his senior year, and there’s a big possibility he trained through PAC 12s where he was third in the 200 breaststroke, but regardless, the rest of the NCAA is catching up.

Going into the meet, the Arizona senior is ranked fifth in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:52.65 which he swam at the Texas Hall of Fame meet. This season, he may be the favorite based solely on past results, but there are a lot more swimmers that he’ll have to contend with if he wants to defend his title.

Will Licon from Texas has been had some outstanding performances this season and by the way he’s been swimming it would come as maybe only a mild shock if he dethroned Cordes in Iowa. Licon is ranked third in the nation in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:51.77 from the BIG 12 Championships. He’s dominated the individual medleys all season and has thrown down some wickedly fast breaststroke splits in the process. Licon has momentum this season and it looks as though there’s not much anyone can do to stop it. Cordes will need to be on his ‘A’ game to take down Licon.

Licon is seeded second behind top seed Nicolas Fink of Georgia. Fink knows all to well what it’s like to finish second, being in the same class as Cordes, and is finally going into the meet as the top ranked breaststroker in the NCAA. Fink was a 1:51.58 at the SEC Championships earlier this season. He’s the second fastest overall in the United States behind pro Cody Miller at the moment, but will have to hold off both Licon and Cordes if he wants a chance at winning.

That time was a personal best for Fink which means that he’s on the right track, although it’s worrisome because Cordes has been almost three full seconds faster. If Fink wants a chance at an NCAA title he’s going to need to drop a lot of time and get into the 1:50 range or even under 1:50. It’s not an easy task, especially with Licon and Cordes hungrily on his heels.

Josh Prenot is California’s best chance at a medal in the 200 breaststroke, but most likely will sit in about the fourth position. He’s going into the meet seeded fourth overall ahead of Cordes, but with a 1:52.61 it’s a big stretch to say he’ll finish in the top three. Steven Stumph of USC is ranked ahead of him with a 1:52.50 after a huge time drop to make that swim. Prenot is a fantastic individual medley swimmer and the 1:52.61 he swam at PAC 12s acts as his personal best time. He should be ahead of Stumph based primarily on the fact that he’s had more NCAA success and is by pure definition a racer.

Sixth seed Sam Tierney from Missouri could also finish ahead of Stumph. He was eighth last season in the 200 breaststroke and will have no problem making a championship final. He’s fast, and with the 1:52.67 seed time that he has, he’s not far off anything Stumph has thrown down. Tierney has consistency on his side

Anton McKee and Nils Wich-Glasen are two swimmers who you can’t count out as well. McKee was fourth last year as a freshman at NCAAs in the 200 breaststroke and can likely go top five again this year if all goes accordingly. He was a 1:52.31 last year at NCAAs, and goes in as the eighth seed this year with a 1:52.92. from SECs. He’s a bit of a wildcard. If he can drop some time, a top four or five finish is by no means out of reach. Glasen is seeded ahead of him with a 1:52.81.

Thomas Dahlia of Louisville is the 10th seed, but has plenty of experience in the breaststroke events. He’s an NCAA ‘B’ finalist from 2014, and if he has a really good prelim swim could potentially crack the top eight this year. He’s going in with a 1:53.51 seed which is just over half-a-second outside of the top eight range.


Swimmer School Seed Best Time
Kevin Cordes Arizona 5th – 1:52.65 1:48.66 AR
Will Licon Texas 2nd – 1:51.77 1:51.77
Nicolas Fink Georgia 1st – 1:51.58 1:51.58
Josh Prenot Cal 4th – 1:52.61 1:52.61
Anton McKee Alabama 8th – 1:52.92 1:51.59
Sam Tierney Missouri 6th – 1:52.67 1:52.67
Richard Funk Michigan 13th – 1:54.05 1:52.72
Steven Stumph USC 3rd – 1:52.50 152.5

Dark Horse: Chuck Katis (California) 16th seed  – 1:54.30 – Going into his senior year Chuck Katis has a ton of potential to score in breaststroke. He’s been fairly solid this year in the 100, going a 52.00 and taking the 6th seed in that event. He’s no doubt one of the top breaststrokers, and when the Cal taper hits he may be able to make some waves.

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Derek Mead

2nd fastest time of NCAAs this season, Anton Lobanov from NSU in DII. Crazy fast. I can’t see Cordes losing this, he’d have to add a lot of time from his best to lose.

lane 0

John Murray wins it in 1:39

The big question is did Texas select the right 3 events for John Murray? Obviously he’d win any event he’s entered in, but it’s a points game… are they maximizing their team points with his events?


wait hes actually swimming the 2 Br? Im guessing hes also in the 100 fr and 100 fly. What did he swim last year?

Maybe Reese has something crazy planned.

calswimfan – he’s in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly.

Most of the above comments are well-timed trolling of a group of Texas fans that have claimed Murray victories in just about every event we’ve previewed so far. Lol.


haha aw. i was just hoping to see a few crazy swims that comes out of nowhere. Id also be happier if he werent in the 50 free :p.


My prediction: Cordes wins it, but at least one other person goes under 1:50. I’m thinking Will Licon.

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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