2017 M. NCAA Picks: 200 BK Will Be Murphy’s Individual NCAA Swan Song



Cal’s Ryan Murphy will chase his own NCAA and American Record in the 200 back after dominating the field with a 1:35.73 last season. Now a 2-time Olympic backstroke champion, Murphy will be swimming in his last ever NCAA Meet, and this could be the last time we see him focus on yards. If successful in defending his backstroke titles, Murphy will have 4-peated in both.

Behind him, the field tightens up, and it should be a good battle for the runner-up spot. Russian Olympian Grigory Tarasevich (Louisville) and South African Olympian Christopher Reid (Alabama) are among the stars in the field. Tarasevich goes into the meet as the 2nd seed with a personal best 1:39.05 from the ACC Championships.

U.S. Olympic Trials finalists Hennessey Stuart (NC State) and Robert Owen (Virginia Tech) are also among the big names in this race, as is Trials semifinalist Justin Ress (NC State). Aside from Murphy, Stuart is the only swimmer in the field to have broken 1:39 before. Last season, he placed 3rd in a personal best 1:38.54.

Returning All-Americans Patrick Mulcare (USC) and Connor Oslin (Alabama) will battle for a second consecutive All-American finish. Mulcare and Arizona State’s Richard Bohus broke 1:40 at this season’s Pac-12 Championships. Texas’ John Shebat, Missouri’s Carter Griffin, and Georgia’s Jay Litherland will look to move up into the top 8 after scoring in last season’s B final. Shebat and teammate Jonathan Roberts could give Texas 2 men in the final, as they’ve each been 1:39 already this season.

Denver’s Anton Loncar and Auburn’s Joe Patching could make big moves in this race. Patching nearly broke 1:40 last season, clocking a 1:40.16 to win at the SEC Championships. Loncar has been making steady drops in this event, and enters with a personal best 1:40.33 from this season’s Texas Invite.


Place Swimmer Team Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Ryan Murphy Cal 1:38.07 1:35.73
2 Hennessey Stuart NC State 1:39.47 1:38.56
3 Grigory Tarasevich Louisville 1:39.05 1:39.05
4 Christopher Reid Alabama 1:39.64 1:39.64
5 Jonathan Roberts Texas 1:39.87 1:39.87
6 Connor Oslin Alabama 1:40.35 1:39.85
7 John Shebat Texas 1:39.74 1:39.74
8 Patrick Mulcare USC 1:39.37 1:39.37

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Dark Horse: Dean Farris with a 1:37+


No chance


1:39 possibility


IMHO Dean Farris swimming the 200 Back instead of the 100 Free is the most intriguing entry of the meet.

Attila the Runt

Dean Farris is becoming the Steve Holt of these boards. (For Arrested Development fans.)




Traveling at the speed of light?


The NCAA is so fast… it’ll take 1:39 to make the A final again, the 200 IM could take a 1:41, there are now multiple guys who have been sub 45 in the 100 back, and splitting 19.0 is enough to “throw away” a relay. 100 fly is also really fast this year with Schooling, Dressel, Conger, Josa, and Sansoucie all at 44 or better (did I forget someone?)



X Glide

Matt McHugh. And Vini Lanza’s on his way.

Attila the Runt

Too bad Dean Farris isn’t swimming either of those events, because I’d love to see the wild predictions.




Murphy could probably win with a time from practice during heavy training and the field is strong. Wild


Right. He’s King without any usurpers in sight. One of the reasons the Olympics was so much more fun to watch. There was more competition with the closer field.

Attila the Runt

Hopefully Lilly King will watch his post-race interview where he does NOT say he didn’t have anyone to race.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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