2016 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 23- Saturday, March 26
- Georgia Institute of Technology- Atlanta, GA.
- Psych Sheet
- Live Results
- Live Video
- Championship Central
- NCAA record: 4:08.60- Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan, 3/23/2006
- American record: 4:08.54- Peter Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine, 2/09/2008
- U.S. Open Record: 4:08.54- Peter Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine, 2/09/2008
- 2015 NCAA Champion: Clark Smith (Texas)- 4:09.72
Texas junior Clark Smith will return to the 500 freestyle as the defending NCAA champion. Smith, who won the event in 4:09.72, is the heavy favorite to win the 500 again this year. He’s already been faster than that this season, posting a 4:08.82 at Texas Invite. That swim put him within tenths of Peter Vanderkaay‘s NCAA Record of 4:08.60 and American Record of 4:08.54. Smith will get a shot at those records again on Thursday night.
Smith will be up against Reed Malone, who placed 3rd in last year’s NCAA meet. Malone enters the meet with a 4:11.80, faster than his 4:11.9 from 2015 NCAAs. His lifetime best is a 4:11.30, and that gives him a great shot at another top 3 finish.
Behind Malone, Townley Haas, Akaram Mahmoud, and Anders Nielsen have the 3rd through 5th seeds headed into the meet. All 3 of these men are entered with 4:12s. Haas, a freshman at Texas, posted a 4:12.63 at Big 12s for a lifetime best and 3rd seed. Nielsen, who was 4th in this event last year, enters with a season best 4:12.83 from Big Tens. Mahmoud’s 4:12.78 entry time is from prelims of SECs. The battle between these 3 could get very interesting.
The Florida Gators have a pair of swimmers who also make a case as top 5 threats. Pawel Werner enters the meet as the 6th seed with a 4:13.31. Werner won SECs with that time, working a killer back half to get to the wall first. Look out for him through the last 200. His teammate, Mitch D’Arrigo, is entered as 8th seed with a 4:13.92. D’Arrigo was 6th in this event last season, but his best time of 4:10.77 makes him a serious contender. If he can match that, he may be in the top 3.
Georgia’s Matias Koski has the potential to be a factor in the finals of this race. Koski’s best time is a 4:11.83 from last season’s NCAAs, where he placed 9th. In order to be a big player in this even’t, he’ll have to swim fast in prelims. Last season, he didn’t make the top 8 in the 500 at SECs, but swam a time in consols that would’ve placed him 2nd overall in the final. His 4:11.83 in consols at NCAAs would’ve landed him 3rd overall in the final. If Koski steps it up in prelims, and makes it into the top 8, he should have a good shot at a top 5 finish.
Stanford sophomore Liam Egan also has a chance to final in this event. Egan comes into this meet as the 7th seed. Egan finished 2nd at Pac-12s this season behind Malone, clocking a lifetime best 4:13.67. If he can hold that time in NCAA prelims or improve on it, he may reach All-American status in this event.
Top 8 Predictions:
|Place||Swimmer||Seed Time||Best Time|
Darkhorse: NC State’s Anton Ipsen enters the meet as 10th seed with a 4:14.53. He was 10th last season in a personal best 4:13.58 to score for the Wolfpack in this event. He’ll be looking to move up into the top 8 this time around.