2016 MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 23 – Saturday, March 26
- McAuley Aquatic Center – Atlanta, GA
- Prelims 10AM/Finals 6PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Texas (results)
- Championship Central
- Live stream: Wednesday/Thursday prelins & finals, Friday/Saturday prelims / Friday/Saturday finals on ESPN3
- Live results
Just two and a half days into the 2016 men’s NCAA Championships, the meet has already been a banner one for mid-major schools, with 5 mid-major scoring swims lined up for Friday night after 6 on Thursday.
Note: for the purposes of this article, “mid-major” refers to swimmers from outside of the Big 5 conferences – the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.
Those 11 mid-major scoring swims have already passed up the 9 total mid-major scoring swims we saw in the entirety of last year’s meet.
The 100 breaststroke is without doubt the high mark for mid-major swimmers. 7 of the top 8 from a year ago graduated, and it’s been swimmers from non-traditional powers who have risen to fill the void with 3 mid-major athletes inside tonight’s A final.
- 4th – Andrea Bolognesi, George Washington (A10)
- 6th – Michael Barnosky, Air Force (WAC)
- 8th – Devon Nowicki, Oakland (Horizon League)
Bolognesi will be George Washington’s first NCAA swimming scorer of all-time. The junior transferred in from the International University of Monaco and is originally from Italy. The Atlantic-10 champ, he’s dropped from a 53.46 to a 52.06 already this postseason, and could legitimately challenge for an NCAA title tonight.
Air Force’s Michael Barnosky is the 6th seed heading into tonight, completing an explosive senior season that has seen him drop from a 53.06 to a 51.98. Meanwhile Oakland’s Devon Nowicki went a 53.59 out of high school to a 52.35 as a freshman, winning the Horizon League and jumping into the top 8 nationally. Air Force hasn’t scored NCAA points since 2006; Oakland hasn’t done so since 2009.
Adding to that mid-major friendly breaststroke heat is the fact that the top qualifier – Missouri’s Fabian Schwingenschlogl – spent the first two years of his career with Western Kentucky and would likely be in line for a mid-major NCAA title had the WKU program not been disbanded last year. Schwingenschlogl was 6th for WKU last year and was the only non-senior inside the top 10. This year, he’s only been about three tenths faster than what he went while swimming for WKU.
- 7th – Philipp Sikatzki, Cleveland State (Horizon League)
- 4th – Jake Taylor, Brigham Young (MPSF)
Cleveland State is set to score for just the second time in program history thanks to junior Philipp Sikatzki. The German national is 7th in the 100 fly after cutting almost a full second (46.64 to 45.65) from his best time of last season.
And Brigham Young’s Jake Taylor is set to reprise his All-America role from last year, qualifying 4th in the 100 back. Taylor was 4th in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes last year, singlehandedly pushing BYU into the top 25 teams in points.
2016 has been a historic year for mid-major scorers already, with 6 different scoring swims taking place Thursday. 3 of those swims come from the Ivy League, which is a bit of a unique conference that has traditionally had a little more NCAA success than most mid-majors, but the numbers still don’t lie: while recruiting rankings seem to show that the nation’s top talent is pooling in the same handful of programs year after year, the sport is still offering yearly opportunities for athletes to make the highest level of the NCAA while swimming for non-traditional powers.
Here are the rest of the mid-major scorers so far:
200 Free Relay:
- 13th – Princeton (Ivy League)
- 16th – Harvard (Ivy League)
- 11th – Chris Swanson, Penn (Ivy League)
- 9th – Jake Taylor, BYU (MPSF)
- 9th – Dillon Virva, UNLV (WAC)
- 14th – Payton Sorenson, BYU (MPSF)