2018 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 21 – Saturday, March 24
- Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Champion: Texas (4x)
- Championship Central
- Live Results
Perhaps nowhere in swimming do seed times mean less than at the NCAA Championships. If a team tapers more for the conference championships, they may come in with some of the top seed times, but will they be able to pull off the double taper successfully? On the other hand, a team like Texas who doesn’t really rest at all prior to NCAAs may come in with times that don’t reflect their ability at all. For example, Townley Haas came into the 500 free seeded 11th despite winning the title in 2016 and finishing as the runner-up in 2017. He won his second title in the event this year. We also saw three of the 400 IM A-finalists come from a non-circle-seeded heat, meaning they were seeded outside the top-24.
Despite the discrepancy sometimes in seed times, it’s still rare for a top seeded swimmer to miss the championship final at NCAAs. No #1 or #2 seeds missed an A-final at all at the 2017 championships, with #3 seed Ian Finnerty the top seeded swimmer to miss out (17th in 100 breast). 2016 had two #1 seeds miss out, with Clark Smith of Texas placing 21st in the 500 free and Joe Patching of Auburn tying for 9th in the 200 IM. #2 seeds Anders Nielsen (11th in 200 free) and Finnerty (13th in 100 breast) also missed out. Additionally, Smith finished 12th in the 1650 free (timed final) after entering with the top time.
This season saw even more top seeded swimmers miss, with a total of five inside the top-2 missing the A-final. That stat largely comes from Auburn freshman Hugo Gonzalez, who had a breakout meet at the SEC Championships winning the 400 IM in 3:35.76 and finishing as the runner-up in the 200 IM (1:40.67) to Caeleb Dressel (who obviously didn’t swim the event at NCAAs, making Gonzalez the top seed coming in). However, he wasn’t able to remain in peak form for NCAAs, placing 15th (in prelims) in the 200 IM and 30th in the 400 IM after coming in with the top time. He also missed a second swim in the 200 back after coming in ranked 3rd.
Along with Gonzalez, there were three #2 seeds to miss, however all three did get into the consolation final. Fynn Minuth of South Carolina ended up 12th in the 500 free prelims, Mark Szaranek of Florida fell to 11th in a very fast 400 IM prelim, and Grand Canyon’s Mark Nikolaev missed out on the 100 back in 9th, despite being just three tenths slower than the top qualifier. The 3 & 4 seeds Gabriel Fantoni of Indiana and Javier Acevedo of Georgia also missed the A-final.
Take a look at the highest seed to miss the A-final in the other individual events, with their prelim placing in parentheses:
- 100 fly: Coleman Stewart seeded 4th (11th)
- 100 breast: Jacob Montague seeded 4th (12th)
- 200 fly: Joseph Schooling seeded 4th (26th)
- 50 free: Tate Jackson seeded 5th (18th)
- 100 free: Bowen Becker seeded 5th (11th)
- 200 breast: Mauro Castillo Luna seeded 5th (9th)
- 200 free: Cameron Craig seeded 6th (12th) [actually seeded 7th, but Justin Ress was a DFS due to injury]
- 1650 free: 4th seed Akaram Mahmoud was the top seed to miss the top-8 (9th)