2017 MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 22 – Saturday, March 25
- IUPUI Natatorium – Indianapolis, IN
- Prelims 10AM/Finals 6PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Texas (results)
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live stream: Wednesday/Thursday Prelims & Finals, Friday/Saturday Prelims / Friday/Saturday finals on ESPN3
- Event Previews
- Live Results
- Thursday Morning Heat Sheet
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
The defending champs have the option to swap out prelim anchor Brett Ringgold for last year’s anchor Jack Conger. Conger 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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.