2018 Men’s NCAA Championships: Day 2 Relay Speculation


Tonight is the most relay-heavy lineup of the NCAA Championships, with two relays in just five total swimming events. After this morning’s prelims, here’s a look at some of the relay lineup choices the top teams will face:

400 Medley Relay

#2 NC State

The Wolfpack went without stars Justin Ress and Ryan Held this morning and still sit second. It seems most likely the team will keep both off this relay to be able to attack national titles in the other three, but there are possibilities for the team to use one or both tonight.

  • Held could perhaps improve on Jacob Molacek‘s free split (41.24) or Coleman Stewart‘s fly split (44.38), but probably not by much.
  • Ress could perhaps be faster on free as well, but again, the difference isn’t massive.
  • Stewart went 44.3 on fly this morning, but is also the team’s best backstroker at 44.5. Moving him to back is a half-second improvement, though the team would probably need Held on fly to not lose time on that leg.
  • NC State used Molacek on breaststroke much of the year, but got a 52.0 from Daniel Graber this morning. That’s much faster than the 53.0 Graber swam individually at ACCs, so the question is whether he can be expected to repeat that split or if he’ll come back to earth.

#3 California

Cal may have used its best lineup this morning, but still has some solid options at all four spots.

  • Daniel Carr was 45.43 on back: solidly middle-of-the-pack. Freshman Ryan Hoffer has been 45.5 as a high schooler, but hasn’t swum much back this year and is probably more valuable elsewhere.
  • Connor Hoppe had the field’s best breaststroke split at 50.45, so he probably keeps his spot unless the team feels Andrew Seliskar has 49-second potential.
  • Zheng Quah swam fly this morning, going 45.06. Justin Lynch is probably a better option after going 45.1 individually at Pac-12s.
  • Lynch swam free this morning in 41.8, but Cal has plenty of options to spell him there, including Hoffer (41.2 individually as a high schooler) and Michael Jensen (41.6 last year).

#4 USC

  • Robert Glinta was an excellent 45.00 on back this morning, but Ralf Tribuntsov has also been fast (44.7 last year).
  • The Trojans used Dylan Carter on fly and Santo Condorelli on free, though those two could theoretically swap. Condorelli has been faster at both so far this year, so it depends on the dropoff to Carter in either stroke.

#8 Florida

  • The big question is where the Gators use Caeleb DresselIf he can just match his flat-start 100 breast time, he’ll be the fastest in the field by almost half a second, and three full seconds faster than Florida’s breaststroker this morning (53.01).
  • He could also swim fly and be perhaps a second faster than Jan Switkowski (44.3 this morning).
  • But there’s also a dropoff from Dressel to the next-best on freestyle. His 40.27 this morning is probably a second and a half or more faster than what Maxime Rooney or Khader Baqlah could go.
  • Florida should also probably swap out freshman backstroker Michael Taylor for Bayley Main, who has been a tenth faster this year and whose 46.0 season-best is four-tenths better than Taylor’s split this morning.

#9 Texas

  • Though a B final swim doesn’t matter for national title contention, tonight’s lineup could matter for Texas in its decision-making on tomorrow’s 200 medley relay.
  • Injury-plagued backstroker John Shebat was just 45.60 this morning, and fill-in breaststroker Sam Stewart was 52.6. Texas may want to see what freshman Austin Katz could do on backstroke and what relay-only swimmer Casey Melzer has in the tank on breaststroke.
  • Brett Ringgold swam free this morning (41.5), but Texas could also go with Townley Haaswho was 41.0 last year. Individual 41.2 Tate Jackson could also be in the mix, but his 50 free gained two tenths this morning and he was slower than Ringgold.

200 Free Relay

#2 NC State

  • The Wolfpack used Cobe Garcia this morning, but will likely swap out his 19.2 split for someone else. Jacob Molacek was the choice at ACCs, but they may need him on the remaining two relays (200 medley and 400 free) after using him on the 800 free relay and 400 medley relay. Giovanni Izzo (19.3 individually) is probably the next-best choice.

#3 Florida

  • Florida probably used its best lineup this morning, though they’ll hope for better than a 19.62 leadoff from Enzo Martinez-Scarpe. If last year is any indication, they’ll probably swap Caeleb Dressel to the leadoff spot, where he should go in the ballpark of 18.1.

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6 years ago

Can Molacek not swim all 5 relays?

6 years ago

You really think the coaches will put him on after a 20.0 flat start time?? Not happening.

6 years ago

I think Cal might add Josa to the fly leg and Hoff to the Free. Josa has been 44.89 from a flat start at D2s a couple years ago. They have some crazy depth in this one. I think they could have had another group of 4 guys A final along with this one.

6 years ago

My memory from previous NCAAs isn’t great. Is this an unusually versatile sprint pack this year, or is every NCAAs like this?
Surely the Dressel factor adds a wee bit of drama by itself.

Coach Mike
6 years ago

Obviously easy for me to say this sitting at my computer, but I’m going Seliskar in breast for Cal. After seeing the 51.1 at Pac-12s and what he’s done so far at this meet, he seems red hot. Staff will get to see how he looks again in the 2IM finals before deciding.

Reply to  Coach Mike
6 years ago

As we say in the asylum IT IS A NO-BRAINER. Good call Coach Mike!

Silent Observer
6 years ago

I’m not too worried with either of NC State’s relays…

If history is any indication, they are 100% team-first mentality, when it comes to swimming. (not to say other teams aren’t, just noting that seems to be a giant part of their culture & training at that school) So I have confidence that even if they don’t switch up the 400 MR lineup, they can still drop some time. They will be right between Cal and Indiana as well. The high energy tonight’s swims will bring is palpable.

If only we could all be there to witness the hype!!!

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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