2018 Men’s NCAA Championships: Day 1 Relay Finals Live Recap


The wait is over! After months of speculation and a week of impassioned prediction and discussion, the 2018 Men’s NCAA Championships are upon us, with a slew of records in jeopardy and a team showdown setting up to be the closest points battle since at least 2014.

Tonight’s timed finals session is little more than an appetite-whetting, with only 3 heats of the 800 free relay. Still, this relay has historically been very explosive ever since the NCAA moved it to its own session on Wednesday night – last year, we saw what at the time were the #2 and #3 fastest 200 free swims in history (courtesy of Indiana’s Blake Pieroni and USC’s Dylan Carter) leading off this relay as well as the fastest 200 free split in history (Texas’ Townley Haas).

For reference, the current American record in a flat-start 200 free is 1:30.46, and the fastest relay split in history is a 1:30.42, both held by Haas.

And over two seasons with the 800 free relay moved to day 1, we’ve seen 7 of the 8 fastest 800 free relays in history, including NC State’s U.S. Open and NCAA record-setting team from last year as well as last year’s runners-up Texas, which set the American record.

Stay tuned to this page for live, heat-by-heat recaps of tonight’s relay action, and check out @SwimSwamLive on Twitter for even more up-to-the-second coverage.


  • NCAA record: NC State (Held, Vazaios, Ress, Dahl), 2017, 6:06.53
  • American record: Texas (Conger, Newkirk, Smith, Haas), 2017, 6:08.61
  • U.S. Open record: NC State (Held, Vazaios, Ress, Dahl), 2017, 6:06.53
  • 2017 NCAA Champion: NC State (Held, Vazaios, Ress, Dahl), 6:06.53

Running Top Teams:

  1. NC State – 6:05.31
  2. Indiana – 6:06.01
  3. Texas – 6:07.59
  4. Florida – 6:09.52
  5. Georgia – 6:12.75
  6. California – 6:13.38
  7. Louisville – 6:13.49
  8. Stanford – 6:14.75

Indiana’s Blake Pieroni led off against reigning American record-holder Townley Haasfinishing with the two fastest 200 frees in history along with the first-ever swim under 1:30 – relay start or flat start. Pieroni went 1:29.63 to crush the field, blowing almost a full second off of Haas’s old American record. Haas was 1:30.41 to just sneak under his old national record of 1:30.46 set last year.

But while those two staked their teams to big leads, it was NC State that had the guns left at the end, overtaking IU for the win in the final leg.

That was courtesy of a blazing 1:30.77 from Justin Ress on the anchor leg. Andeas Vazaios led off in 1:31.32, Ryan Held was 1:31.09 and Jacob Molacek 1:32.13 as NC State defended its event title from last year and broke their own NCAA and U.S. Open records with a 6:05.31.

Indiana was also under the old NCAA and U.S. Open records, going 6:06.01, getting a 1:31.9 from Mohamed Samy and a pair of 1:32.2s from Vini Lanza and Ian Finnerty.

Texas, meanwhile, broke the American record – the top two teams each had international swimmers – in 6:07.59. That came courtesy of Haas, Jeff Newkirk (1:32.58), Jonathan Roberts (1:32.36) and Austin Katz (1:32.24).

Florida elected not to use Caeleb Dressel, settling for fourth in 6:09.52 with a 1:31.98 leadoff from Jan Switkowski. Khader Baqlah was also 1:31.64 on his leg.

A few other notable splits from the event:

  • Cal’s Andrew Seliskar: 1:31.28 leadoff
  • Harvard’s Dean Farris: 1:30.55
  • Arizona State’s Cameron Craig: 1:32.76 leadoff
  • Auburn’s Zach Apple: 1:30.74
  • Michigan’s Felix Auboeck: 1:31.90

In This Story

Leave a Reply

123 Comment threads
147 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
115 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Anyone who DOESN’T thing that dressel should swim it, speak up now so I can tell you why you’re wrong


He might literally set the pool on fire with his speed, causing Dean Farris to get 3rd degree burns. We can’t have that happening.

Ex quaker

Dean Farris is fireproof.

Fun fact: he’s also waterproof.


One Dean to rule them all
One Dean to find them
One Dean to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them!


And in the Farris bind them*

fixed it for you


may the Dean be with you…


And with your Farris

The Dressler

Pieroni 1:29 first man under 1:30
Dean first man under 1:00

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 …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!