2017 Men’s NCAA Championships: Day 2 Relay Speculation


The 400 medleys could see a few major lineup shakeups among the top teams after a wild prelims session. Most notably, Cal could swap out as many as three of four legs after barely squeaking into tonight’s final after Alabama DQ’d.

The 200 free relays are a little more locked in, though a few things could still change.

Here’s a quick rundown of the teams that could shuffle lineups going into tonight, listed in order of prelims qualifying position:

400 Medley Relay

#2 Texas

The defending champs have the option to swap out prelim anchor Brett Ringgold for last year’s anchor Jack CongerConger has pretty regularly split 41-lows and Ringgold was 41.9 this morning, albeit with a safe exchange.

The rest of the relay returns from last year, and John Shebat all but sealed his backstroke spot with a 44.82 this morning that ranks him 9th all-time.

#5 Florida

Florida has a few options, most notably on backstroke. Jack Blyzinskyj swam this morning, splitting 46.01. Blyzinskyj was 45-second guy last year, but hadn’t been faster than 46.4 this season prior to this morning’s swim.

He’ll be in contention with Bayley Main, who swam the relay at SECs and put up a lifetime-best 46.57 at that meet.

Florida could conceivably also switch Caeleb Dressel back to breaststroke, as they did last year. But Chandler Bray is a better breaststroker than any alternative Florida had last year, and the Gators can’t rob us of potentially the first 39-second 100 free split, can they?

#8 Cal

Cal has the most options after swimming a very off lineup this morning. Ryan Murphy is a lock to go in on backstroke, and if he challenges his American record of 43.49 he’ll improve the team by at least a second and a half.

Matt Josa seems likely to sub in on fly for Justin Lynch. Lynch was 45.29 this morning, but Josa has already been 45.4 in an individual swim this year. Josa should also be fresh after DQing out of the 200 IM final.

And Andrew Seliskar is a candidate to replace Connor Hoppe on breaststroke. Seliskar swam that race at Pac-12s. Hoppe was 51.51 on his split this morning.

#10 Georgia

Georgia could look to drop Gunnar Bentz in for Chase Kalisz on breaststroke, but it’s hard to say if he’d improve Kalisz’s 52.05. Javier Acevedo could move from freestyle to either fly or back, but then Georgia has no one viable left to swim freestyle.

#12 NC State

NC State tried out a very different lineup this morning and paid for it, sinking to 12th after taking 8th last year. Their season-best time came at ACCs, with Andreas Vazaios on back, Justin Ress on fly and Soeren Dahl on free. This morning, Ress swam free, Hennessey Stuart back and Coleman Stewart back.

Sitting in the B final, it’s very unlikely the team will waste Ryan Held on this relay. They could save Dahl for the 200 free relay and keep their lineup the same, or revert back to their ACC lineup for tonight.

200 Free Relay

#1 Texas

Texas seems likely to use Joseph Schooling here after sitting him out of the 800 free relay. Schooling went 18.77 individually this morning and could make the Longhorns a good half-second faster.

The choice for who to swap out is a tough one. Tate Jackson led off in 19.22 this morning, then went 19.25 individually. John Shebat split 18.93 this morning with a fairly safe relay exchange. Smart money would say Texas will go with Jackson to keep Shebat rested for the 400 medley relay, but this one could legitimately go either way.

#3 NC State

NC State’s previous season-best came at ACCs with Joe Bonk on the relay. Scott Johnson swam this morning and split 19.23, faster than Bonk did at ACCs, and Johnson also beat Bonk in individual best times at ACCs. This relay probably stays the same unless NC State’s staff sees a big swim coming from Bonk.

#4 California

Cal has to sit Ryan Murphy out of one relay, and it’ll be this one or the 400 free relay. The 200 might be the one Cal can best weather without Murphy. Murphy is worth an 18-mid-to-low split, but the Golden Bears did have three 19.0s and an 18.9 this morning. Plus Pawel Sendyk can go 18 on the leadoff if he matches his individual swim from this morning.

#6 Indiana

Indiana swam Anze Tavcar at Big Tens instead of Josh Romany, but switched the two this morning. They clearly made the right call, as Romany split 19.24 and Tavcar had a horrendous 20.24 in the individual 50 to take dead last. This relay won’t be reverting back to Big Ten lineup tonight unless the coaching staff thinks Tavcar can pull a complete 180 tonight.

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3 years ago

Getting tough to final in relays at the NCAA meet – few teams can afford to put up less than their best in the am anymore. Its a shame NCSU didn’t put Vazaios in back (45.32 at ACC’s) and Held in fly (44.79 flat start at ACC’s, potentially 44.3 relay) – but agree they are unlikely to swap Held in tonight but will save him for the other relays to make finals.

Reply to  Wahooswimfan
3 years ago

They were always going to keep Held off of this one. Vazaios needed to be on backstroke, and the switch for Ress from fly to free and putting Stewart in for Dahl didn’t work out. Ress and Dahl split the same on free but Stewart was over 1.5 slower than Ress on fly.

Overall it would have been ideal to make it in with these guys since Dahl and Vazaios will be loaded up on races this weekend and recovery is key, unfortunately they needed those 2 seconds to get into the top heat.

3 years ago

NCS could probably move in Dahl (who could then sit out the 2 MR w/ Stuart on back and Vazaios on fly) or Vazaios (who would just sit out the 4 MR, or 2 MR) on the 2 free tonight to try to win it

Tea rex
3 years ago

With a cloning machine, Florida’s best relay would probably be Dressel, Dressel, Dressel, Dressel.

Reply to  Tea rex
3 years ago

I still wanna see what Murphy, Cordes, Schooling, Dressel could do. Based on their best times (43.49, 50.04, 44.06, 40.46) their aggregate is 2:58.05 if my math is correct. In my dream world they’d go 43.4, 49.5, 43.3, and 39.9 for a 2:56.9 which is faaaaaaast.

Reply to  Person
3 years ago

Hasn’t Cordes split 49? And hasn’t Schooling split 43 high for that matter?

Pancake swimmer
Reply to  jim
3 years ago

I know Schooling has split 43 before, I’m not sure about Cordes though…

Reply to  jim
3 years ago

Schooling was 43.3 at last year’s NCAAs, not sure if Cordes has gone a 49. But at his best he was 50.0 individually so in the ideal world that translates to a 49.5

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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