2015 Men’s NCAA Championships Day 3: Murphy breaks American Record, Licon upsets Cordes

It’s down to the final session at men’s NCAAs, and though the team battle has spread out a bit at the top, there are still a number of exciting storylines ready to play out in Iowa City Saturday night.

That begins with the 1650 freestyle, where Northwestern’s Jordan Wilimovsky will look to win the Wildcats’ first national title since the era of Olympians Matt Grevers and Mike Alexandrov. Wilimovsky is the top seed, but he’ll be challenged by Georgia’s Matias Koski, who has been outstanding in evening swims so far this week, but has struggled in the morning and been stuck in the B final in both the 200 and 500 free. With no prelims to worry about in the mile, Koski should be primed to challenge Wilimovsky along with Florida’s Arthur Frayler, the top returner from the 2014 NCAAs.

The most high-profile record hunt of the night might be in the 200 backstroke, where Cal’s Ryan Murphy is going after the American record set by Olympian and international swimming icon Ryan Lochte. Murphy was a half-second off the record last year, and was the top qualifier this morning despite looking extremely relaxed.

Just a few of Murphy’s top challengers for the title are Stanford senior David Nolan, the 200 IM champ earlier this week, and former NCAA 200 back champ Drew Teduits of Wisconsin. Tennessee’s Sean Lehane is the 2-seed, and breakout NC State freshman Hennessy Stuart is sitting third.

All 8 A final qualifiers finished within two tenths of each other this morning in the 100 free, setting up what should be a wild final. 200 free champ Cristian Quintero looks to add to his win total, but Alabama’s Kristian Gkolomeev has been blasting big relay splits all week. The top seed is NC State’s Simonas Bilis, who was also the fastest swimmer on any 400 free relay in the morning session. And don’t sleep on Bruno Ortiz, who leads a huge day 3 for Michigan after tying Quintero for the 3-seed this morning.

Kevin Cordes looks to earn his 7th individual NCAA title tonight, taking on the 200 breaststroke. Texas’s Will Licon came up big this morning, becoming just the second man ever to break 1:50 – Cordes was the first. Georgia’s Nic Fink should have a shot at that barrier tonight, along with Cal’s breakout senior Chuck Katis.

Finally, the heavyweight showdown of the night is the 200 fly. Dylan Bosch is the defending champ, NCAA record-holder and the top seed after a big statement swim this morning. But Jack Conger is the American and U.S. Open record-holder and still seeking his first individual NCAA title, despite being on fire all week. Then there’s his Texas teammate, 100 fly champ Joseph Schooling who could put his name in the hunt for Swimmer of the Meet honors with a second win and a U.S. Open record in this race.

The night will conclude with platform diving followed by the 400 free relay. USC qualified first in that relay this morning, looking to add to their impressive 800 free relay title last night. But Cal was just .04 seconds behind, as both teams surpassed the winning time from 2014.

In addition, keep an eye on the team race for spots three through five. Michigan had a huge morning, and has the potential to run away with the 3rd spot tonight, but they enter the night only leading Florida by 5. USC also had a big morning, and a win in that 400 free relay would go a long way in helping them unseat Florida for fourth.

Behind them, Stanford and Georgia are dueling for sixth, but NC State could make it a three-way race after lining up a ton of points from this morning’s prelims.

Keep refreshing this page for event-by-event updates live from Iowa City, and follow along with every beat in the action on our new live Twitter account, @SwimSwamLive.

Catching up:

2015 Men’s NCAA Championships

1650 Freestyle – Timed Finals

  • NCAA – 14:24.08 – Martin Grodzki, Georgia – 2012
  • Championship – 14:24.08 – Martin Grodzki, Georgia – 2012
  • American – 14:23.52 – Connor Jaeger – 2014
  • US Open – 14:23.52 – Connor Jaeger – 2014
  • 2014 Champion – Connor Jaeger, Michigan – 14:29.27

The final heat started with a middle-of-the-pool showdown between top seeds Jordan Wilimovsky of Northwestern and Matias Koski of Georgia. But suddenly, a new challenger appeared, and from an outside lane. Michigan freshman PJ Ransford, swimming all the way out in lane 8, took over the lead and started to ditch the two top seeds through the second 500.

At about the 1000-mark, though, Wilimovsky and Koski started to reel in Ransford. Koski in particular started gaining as much as a half-second per 50, but Ransford had built a big enough lead to stay out front through the 1500. But with 100 yards to go, Koski took over the lead, and closed in a ridiculous 24.88, taking home the national title in 14:32.38. That moves Koski into the top 15 swimmers of all-time in the event.

Ransford held on for second, and still managed to make some history with his swim – just 18 years old, Ransford broke the 31-year-old National Age Group record set by Jeff Kostoff. The old mark was 14:38.22, and Ransford destroyed it, going 14:34.36.

Wilimovsky held on for third, going 14:36.64, though that didn’t match the 14:33 he put up at Big Tens.

Utah’s Bence Kiraly was the fastest time coming out of the afternoon heats, and that 14:41.86 held up as the 4th-best swim overall, a big boost for the Utes in team scoring. Fifth went to NC State’s freshman Anton Ipsen, who like Ransford, swam from an outside lane in the final heat. Ipsen was 14:43.16.

South Carolina freshman Akaram Mahmoud was the second-fastest out of the afternoon heats, and he wound up 6th in 14:46.50. Also from the early heats was 7th-place Dylan Bunch of Denver (14:47.53), and 8th went to Tennessee’s freshman Evan Pinion in 14:47.85.

That’s a young event overall, with 4 of the top 8 finishers being in their freshman season.

200 Backstroke – Finals

  • NCAA – 1:37.35 – Ryan Murphy, California – 2014
  • Championship – 1:37.35 – Ryan Murphy, California – 2014
  • American – 1:36.81 – Ryan Lochte – 2007
  • US Open – 1:36.81 – Ryan Lochte – 2007
  • 2014 Champion – Ryan Murphy, California – 1:37.35

After just missing the American record in the 100 back on day 2, Cal’s Ryan Murphy came through with his signature swim of the year, and likely the win that will seal him as Swimmer of the Meet. Murphy, still just a sophomore, blew out a field of the nation’s best, smashing the American record and becoming just the second man ever under 1:37.

Murphy went 1:36.77, breaking the 1:36.81 American record set by Olympic icon Ryan Lochte back in 2007. At the same time, that breaks Murphy’s own NCAA and meet records set last season.

Murphy’s splits were amazingly consistent. He went out in a crazy 22.91 to his feet at the flip turn, and went 24.4 and 24.5 through the middle of the race. Murphy went out aggressively, the only way to get under Lochte’s record, but still held on over the final 50 with a 24.9 split.

The rest of the field finished more than a body length behind. SEC champ Sean Lehane gave Tennessee its highest swimming finish of the meet with a 1:39.20, beating out a surging David Nolan for silver. Nolan was 1:39.59, capping off his collegiate career with a third-place finish. Nolan has been a steadying force for Stanford through all four of his college years, and will wrap up his career with 12 A final finishes in 12 individual events.

Brigham Young’s Jake Taylor continued to vault his team way up the standings, going 1:39.76 for fourth, and Wisconsin’s Drew teDuits finished 5th in 1:39.85 after pushing the pace early.

Murphy’s teammate Jacob Pebley was 1:39.87 in a big event for the Golden Bears, and Auburn’s Joe Patching was the only guy over 1:40, taking 8th in 1:40.16.

The B final was a showdown of Big Ten rivals, with Michigan freshman Tristan Sanders beating Penn State’s Nate Savoy 1:40.34 to 1:40.50. That makes the second event in a row where a Michigan freshman stepped up in a big way – the Wolverines are looking better and better in the race for 3rd at this point, with Texas and Cal still firmly entrenched in spots 1 and 2.

100 Freestyle – Finals

  • NCAA – 40.76 – Vlad Morozov, USC – 2013
  • Championship – 40.76 – Vlad Morozov – 2013
  • American – 41.08 – Nathan Adrian – 2009
  • US Open – 40.76 – Vlad Morozov – 2013
  • 2014 Champion – Joao De Lucca, Louisville – 41.70

Alabama’s Kristian Gkolomeev seemed a little off to start the meet, but has been steadily heating up since day 1. The Crimson Tide sophomore pushed the pace out of the gate in the 100, flipping at 19.60 and held off a thundering herd of sprinters to take home the individual title in 41.56.

One lane over, NC State’s Simonas Bilis made a late charge, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Gkolomeev. Still, the Wolfpack junior finished as national runner-up in 41.78, the only other guy under 42.

USC’s 200 free champ Cristian Quintero also charged late, but didn’t quite have the speed to knock off the top two. Quintero was 42.18 for third, and Michigan’s do-everything senior Bruno Ortiz was 42.26 for fourth. Ortiz has been a key versatile sprinter for the Wolverines the past four years, filling in as both a daunting sprint free presence and a blistering sprint breaststroker.

Missouri, one of just a handful of teams to put swimmers into the scoring heats of all the individual events today, got a 5th place finish out of Michael Chadwick in 42.29. Utah’s Nick Soedel was 42.36 for 6th.

It’s been an uncharacteristically quiet night for Texas, though tonight is little more than a victory lap for the Longhorns in terms of points. John Murray was the team’s first top 8 finisher of the evening, going 46.62 for seventh.

Meanwhile Cal’s Tyler Messerschmidt went out hard from lane 1, actually pushing Gkolomeev early, but faded badly near the end and took 8th in 42.73.

In the B final, former Bolles School Sharks teammates Caeleb Dressel and Santo Condorelli battled, just as they did in the 100 fly last night. Condorelli had the better closing speed, though, and took 9th in 42.20, while Dressel faded to 11th in 42.46. In between was Texas’s Matt Ellis, who went 42.44.

As of this event, Michigan has opened a 27-point lead in the race for 3rd, and USC has officially overtaken Florida. The Trojans sit 4th with 226 points and the Gators are at 217. Also in the team points battle, Stanford leads Georgia by just 4 for sixth place.

200 Breaststroke – Finals

  • NCAA – 1:48.66 – Kevin Cordes, Arizona – 2014
  • Championship – 1:48.66 – Kevin Cordes, Arizona – 2014
  • American – 1:48.66 – Kevin Cordes, Arizona – 2014
  • US Open – 1:48.66 – Kevin Cordes, Arizona – 2014
  • 2014 Champion – Kevin Cordes, Arizona – 1:48.66

Arizona’s Kevin Cordes opened up a solid lead over the first 50 yards of the 200 breast, and it looked like things might already be over, with Cordes likely the best closer in short course breastroking history.

But Texas’s Will Licon started moving into contention around the 100, and the dynamic of the race completely changed. Cordes, typically long, powerful and controlled through an entire 200, seemed like a different swimmer late in the race. In a phrase probably never written on SwimSwam before, Kevin Cordes appeared to shorten up.

Cordes typically opens his race with 4 strokes a length, and accelerates his tempo to 5 strokes or so over the final 75. But Cordes jumped to 5 strokes one length earlier than that, and was up to 6 strokes per length for the last 50. Licon, meanwhile, surged forward and timed his finish better than Cordes, nipping him for the NCAA title 1:49.48 to 1:49.53. Those two stand up as the 4th- and 5th-fastest times ever swum in the event.

Cal’s Chuck Katis was in the hunt until the end, and moves into the top 10 in history with a 1:50.54 that earned him bronze. Meanwhile Georgia’s Nic Fink dropped under 1:51 for the first time in his illustrious career, going 1:50.80. Incredibly, before this meet, Cordes was the only man ever under 1:51 – in just one race, we had three more men break that barrier.

Missouri senior Sam Tierney took 5th in 1:51.96, and behind him, Alabama’s Anton McKee went 1:52.91 for sixth.

Closing out the A final were South Carolina freshman Nils Wich-Glasen and Michigan senior Richard Funk. Wich-Glasen was 1:53.60 and Funk put up a 1:53.81, continuing the strong run of swimming for the Michigan men tonight.

Cal’s Josh Prenot took off through the middle of the consol final, and though the field tightened up on him coming home, the junior was able to hold them off, taking 9th overall in 1:52.97. Florida’s Eduardo Solaeche was 10th in 1:53.19, earning some much-needed points for the Gators.

Texas now leads Cal by just over 100. Michigan is up 36 on Florida and USC, who are tied for fourth place at 228. Georgia has now pulled ahead of Stanford for 7th, 183 to 172.

200 Butterfly – Finals

  • NCAA – 1:39.33 – Dylan Bosch, Michigan – 2014
  • Championship – 1:39.33 – Dylan Bosch, Michigan – 2014
  • American – 1:39.31 – Jack Conger – 2015
  • US Open – 1:39.31 – Jack Conger – 2015
  • 2014 Champion – Dylan Bosch, Michigan – 1:39.33

The last individual event of the meet might very well go down as the swim of the meet. The showdown between American record-holder Jack Conger, NCAA record-holder Dylan Bosch and 100 fly champ Joseph Schooling was high entertainment, coming right down to the final yards.

Conger led at the 50, but Bosch clearly had the higher tempo and took the lead over the next 50. Just to even things out. Schooling showed up in the 3rd 50, giving the race its third different leader at the 150-mark.

The last 25 was a whole race of its own. Bosch seemed to surge, then Schooling took back the lead, but suddenly Conger was screaming past both on the outside. At the wall, it came down to fingernails, with Schooling touching tout his older teammate 1:39.62 to 1:39.74. Neither could quite get under Conger’s American record or Bosch’s NCAA record, so both of those marks will stand for another season.

Bosch, meanwhile, felt the fatigue of his energetic start and fell off to a 1:40.12 for third. Still, those three were in a league of their own, and with all three returning, the race next year could see these three (and maybe incoming Cal freshman Andrew Seliskar?) turn in an even greater 200 fly battle.

NC State’s Christian McCurdy was 1:42.00 for fourth. The Wolfpack have really been swimming well, coming back strong after that devastating 200 free relay DQ on day 1. That DQ will probably cost them a top 6 overall finish, but they are just 6.5 points back of Stanford for 7th and closing fast.

Cal’s senior Adam Hinshaw finished 5th overall in 1:42.22. The Golden Bear has been an inspirational force for his squad, coming up with big swim after big swim, and this one ranks as his highest finish of the meet.

Sixth went to Georgia’s Tynan Stewart in 1:42.28, and Missouri’s Mack Darragh continued the strong day for the Tigers with a 1:42.92 for seventh.

The last A finalist, Texas’s 500 free champ Clark Smith, was DQ’d for a one-handed touch in the event. He came in as the fourth seed and would have been 5th overall. That’s a tough loss of points for the Longhorns, but with the enormous lead they have built up, it won’t really have much of an effect on the final result.

In the consolation heat, Florida State’s Connor Knight put together a gutsy swim, outlasting Cal’s Will Hamilton to pick up the heat win in 1:42.57. Hamilton was second (10th overall) in 1:42.69.

Heading into the platform diving event, Texas leads Cal 485 to 367. Michigan has pretty well wrapped up third place with 286 points. Florida narrowly leads USC 233 to 232 for fourth, but expect that to change in a hurry, as USC has one scoring diver and the top seed in the 400 free relay.

Georgia looks in good shape to beat Stanford for sixth, sitting at 198.5 to Stanford’s 172, and as we mentioned, NC State is creeping up with 165.5 points, and have the third-seeded 400 free relay. Rounding out the top 10 at this point are Alabama (164) and Auburn (144).

400 Freestyle Relay – Finals

  • NCAA – 2:46.03 – Auburn – 2009
  • Championship – 2:46.03 – Auburn – 2009
  • American – 2:47.02 – Texas – 2009
  • US Open – 2:46.03 – Auburn – 2009
  • 2014 Champion – Auburn – 2:48.33

A high-energy 400 free relay centered mostly on lanes 3 and 4, where NC State and USC did battle for all of the race’s 16 lengths.

Southern Cal led early, with senior Cristian Quintero splitting 42.39 on the leadoff leg. But NC State took over on the second split, with junior Simonas Bilis crushing a 41.11 to put his team in the lead.

USC charged back on a 41.64 from Ralf Tribuntsov, but NC State’s Soeren Dahl did just enough to stay in the lead, splitting 42.03, and the two teams were separated by just .16 with 100 yards to go.

The race came right down to the last few inches, with USC’s Dylan Carter ultimately going by NC State’s David Williams for the win. Carter was 41.31 and Williams 41.55.

Southern Cal was 2:47.06 for the win, and NC State finished eight hundredths back at 2:47.14. Also swimming on those relays: NC State’s leadoff man Ryan Held (42.45) and USC’s second leg Santo Condorelli (41.72).

Cal actually charged over the final leg and looked like they’d challenge for the win, but Ryan Murphy just ran out of pool. Still, the sophomore split an outlandish 41.14 on his leg, second in the field only to Bilis.

Cal also got splits of 42.83 (Tyler Messerschmidt on the leadoff), 41.94 (Seth Stubblefield) and 42.24 (Fabio Gimondi) to go 2:48.15.

Texas finished just behind in 2:49.10, icing their national title as a program. Joseph Schooling was 41.74, and Jack Conger split 42.17. Just a few tenths behind were the Cardinal of Stanford, who got their typical massive split from David Nolan (41.49) and went 2:49.39. Tom Kremer was also 42.23 for Stanford.

Also under 2:50 was Michigan, going 2:49.73 for sixth. Senior Bruno Ortiz, a longtime relay weapon for the Wolverines, ended his collegiate career with a 41.36 split to bring his squad into the top 6.

Defending champs Auburn dropped all the way to 7th, going 2:51.17. Their best split was from sophomore Kyle Darmody at 42.15. Closing out the A final were the Cardinals of Louisville, with an anchor leg of 42.58 listed on results as senior Rudey Edelen.

Ohio State led the consol final wire-to-wire, going a quick 2:49.93. Josh Fleagle was 41.68 on the closing leg.

Florida was 10th overall in 2:50.63. Caeleb Dressel split 42.57 leading off, and Dan Wallace contributed a big 42.21 on the anchor leg.

Alabama was 11th in 2:51.57, but featured a wicked 41.19 split from anchor Kristian Gkolomeev, who brought the Crimson Tide back from dead last.


Team Scores

With the final day mostly a formality at the top, Texas cruised to a team title and Cal to second place. Things got interesting from there, though. Michigan used a huge final day to bull their way to third place, just 87 back of Cal.

USC tracked down Florida over the final two events, taking the fourth-place trophy with 278. The Gators missed a team trophy, falling to 5th in 248.

A huge race for sixth ended with Stanford nipping Georgia by a single point. NC State finished 8th, 10 points out of 6th. That was buoyed by their big runner-up finish in that 400 free relay.

Closing out the top 10 were two SEC rivals. Auburn passed Alabama at the last minute, thanks to diving and the 400 free relay, where Alabama was stuck in the B final, while Auburn made the A. That helped the Tigers top the Crimson tide by just 6 points.

  1. Texas – 528
  2. California – 399
  3. Michigan – 312
  4. Southern Cal – 278
  5. Florida – 248
  6. Stanford – 209
  7. Georgia – 208
  8. NC State – 199
  9. Auburn – 182
  10. Alabama – 176

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5 years ago


Conger looks angry. Gonna SMASH tonight. Gonna be fun.

Also- SwimSwam Podcast. Make it happen.

Roll Tide!
Reply to  Hulk Swim
5 years ago

Yessssss on the podcast!!!!!!!!!!

5 years ago

Out to dinner with my wife again. Here comes another fun night.

Reply to  Greg Allan
5 years ago

You need to call in sick bro. Or go out with some other couples or big group of family/friends to distract your wife with.

Reply to  liquidassets4TheBears
5 years ago

Out with friends.Got it covered tonight.

5 years ago

I like your pix Hulk except I pick Cordes by a hair, and Bosch by a hair as well. Would love to be wrong about Cordes though, he might need a kick in the butt. I think we’ll know by the 100, if Cordes doesn’t take it out considerably faster than this morning than Licon’s probly got it. Whoever wants to beat Bosch better take it out hard too, he didn’t show any sign of slowing down and he’s faster than last year so far. My pick for Cal for the relay is both sentimental and objective; I think they can take it with guts and focus despite TX having more options than them, they may be a bit hungrier… Read more »

Reply to  liquidassets4TheBears
5 years ago

I just see too much piss and vinegar in Conger… he’s a man possessed.

Reply to  Hulk Swim
5 years ago

I agree. King Cong is angry and I don’t see him losing. Also, looking at Bosch’s previous finals swims, he’s added in both. I think it’ll be Conger, Schooling, and then Bosch.

Reply to  fkp78
5 years ago

That’s all I will call him if he wins tonight. What a fantastic nickname.

Reply to  Hulk Swim
5 years ago

lol true dat. Did you see the pic from Thursday with his mouth wide open, primal screaming? It was like one of the dentist scenes in Little Shop of Horrors. Some races require Fire, some require Ice, to me the 200’s are the hardest because they require both.

Reply to  liquidassets4TheBears
5 years ago

lol @fkp78, forget my Little Shop analogy, I think King Cong is the perfect handle for him!!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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