2018 M. NCAA Previews: Farris in the Hunt vs. Texas 200 Backstrokers

2018 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

200 BACKSTROKE

  • NCAA record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 1:35.73
  • American record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 1:35.73
  • U.S. Open record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 1:35.73
  • 2017 NCAA Champion: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 1:36.75

John Shebat (photo: Tim Binning)

There are several men in contention for the 200 back title this year. Four of them are Longhorns, with the Texas men heading into the meet with the potential to make up half of the championship final. Texas will field Austin Katz, Ryan Harty, Jonathan Roberts, and John Shebat. Both Shebat and Roberts are returning finalists. Harty is back after a redshirt season, while Katz will be competing in his first NCAAs as a freshman. Katz is the fastest man in the country this season. He, Harty, and Roberts have all been sub-1:40 already. The only question here is Shebat. At 100%, Shebat would be the favorite, but his fastest this season is a 1:41.52. Since he was out with an injury, we can’t be totally sure if he’s fully recovered until we see what he can do at the meet.

Though the Texas men have a great shot at landing someone on top of the podium, Harvard’s Dean Farris could be an obstacle to that. Farris, the Ivy League Champion, broke 1:39 for the first time this season. He’s the only man aside from Katz to do so this year. Another major challenge for the Horns is USC’s Patrick Mulcare, who has a best time in the 1:37-range. Mulcare was absent from Pac-12s, but was fast enough prior to that to earn 4th seed for the meet, just behind Auburn’s Hugo Gonzalez. Like Katz, Gonzalez will be competing in his first NCAAs as a freshman. He was a 1:39.05 at midseason. At SECs, he dropped significant time in his events except for in the 200 back, so his best swim may be yet to come in this event.

We already have 10 men who have been below 1:40 this season, and a few more have lifetime bests faster than that. It could be a tough battle for the last few spots in the final. Alabama’s Christopher Reid, Indiana’s Mohamed Samy, Denver’s Anton Loncar, and NC State’s Coleman Stewart should all be in the mix. Of those men, Loncar is the only returning finalist. Georgia’s Javier Acevedo and Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine have been just a tenth shy of breaking 1:40 this year.

We have quite a few talented freshmen who could step up and grab a top 8 spot. Florida’s Michael Taylor put up a lifetime best 1:40.28 at his last chance meet. Cal’s Daniel Carr and Bryce Mefford have made big drops this season and both enter with times in the 1:40-range. USC’s Robert Glinta, an Olympic backstroke finalist, enters with a 1:40.50. This is his first season of yards swimming, so it’s hard to know what to expect, but it’s safe to say he’s a contender. Indiana’s Gabriel Fantoni is also in his first season of yards and enters in the 1:40-range.

The darkhorse pick in this race is NC State’s Hennessey Stuart, who has a lifetime best of 1:38.56 from the 2016 NCAA meet. Last season, Stuart broke 1:40 at ACCs, but then finished 21st in prelims at NCAAs. This season, he’s the 15th seed in 1:40.32. If he can get back down to his 1:38, he has a shot at finishing in the top 5.

TOP 8 PICKS:

Place Swimmer Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Austin Katz (Texas) 1:38.49 1:38.49
2 Dean Farris (Harvard) 1:38.99 1:38.99
3 Patrick Mulcare (USC) 1:39.18 1:37.80
4 Jonathan Roberts (Texas) 1:39.76 1:39.05
5 Hugo Gonzalez (Auburn) 1:39.05 1:39.05
6 Ryan Harty (Texas) 1:39.23 1:39.17
7 Coleman Stewart (NC State) 1:39.56 1:39.56
8 Christopher Reid (Alabama) 1:39.42 1:39.42

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Here we go!!!!

3…2…1…!

swimmertx

our boy DEANNNN FARRISSSSSSS

ooo

His 200 back time will be good enough to finish second in the 200 free.

Steve Nolan

2nd? But to whomst?!

Oh that’s right…himself.

Yabo

Shebat doesn’t A-final????

It’s definitely a somewhat bold call. On the other hand, we’ve seen that Texas swimmers aren’t immune to struggling at NCAAs if they’ve had a disjointed season training-wise (See: Joseph Schooling, 2017). That particularly shows up in the 200s – Schooling was great in short distances last year, but the 200 was a real struggle. If Shebat had a similar season training-wise (we don’t know for sure, only that he missed a number of meets and his 200 is quite a bit behind what it was last year at this time), we could see him swim solid in the 100 but miss the A final here.

HappyLeifEriksonDay

That’s a bit of an unfair assessment considering that Schooling was sick the day that he swam the 2 fly. A healthy Shebat even with disjointed training should be more than capable of at least finaling.

dude

yes. He indeed was sick. from that crushing loss to Dressel the previous day.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently a coach at Loggerhead Aquatics …

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