2018 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 21 – Saturday, March 24
- Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Prelims 10 AM / Finals 6 PM (Central Time)
- Defending champion: Texas (3x) (results)
- Psych Sheet
- Championship Central
- Event-by-Event Previews
- Team Power Rankings: Final Edition
- Live Stream
- Live Results
As with yesterday’s 400 medley relay, there are plenty of lineup options for the top programs in the 200 medley relay. We’ll run through a handful of the options below:
200 medley relay
- Cal has a bunch of options for the butterfly leg. Justin Lynch swam this morning and had the field’s second-best split at 19.81, which probably means he’ll stay there tonight. But Cal does have 3 of the top 8 100 flyers in the meet, with Lynch 6th in 45.13, Matthew Josa 7th (45.23) and Ryan Hoffer 8th (45.29).
- Daniel Carr was a solid 21.03 this morning on back, and he’s the best option there unless the team thinks Hoffer has something really fast up his sleeve.
- But Hoffer is also maybe the best freestyle option. Pawel Sendyk was fourth individually last night (18.94 flat start) and was 18.56 on the 200 free relay. But Hoffer was 18.97 individually and a blistering 18.36 on the 200 free relay.
- As usual, Florida’s big decision is where to use their sprint ace Caeleb Dressel. He was a record 17.30 swimming freestyle this morning, and could theoretically run down any team in the pool from a full second or more back – especially with #2 freestyler Ryan Held presumably not swimming for NC State.
- This morning, Florida used freshman Michael Taylor on back (21.6), Chandler Bray on breast (23.8) and Mark Szaranek on fly (20.4). Jan Switkowski split 19.9 in fly in a January dual meet, so he should take that spot, unless Florida saves him for the 400 free relay.
- In the 400 medley, Florida swapped out Taylor for Bayley Main in the final, but the two went the exact same time down to the hundredth: 46.41. Taylor was 46.23 individually this morning and Main 46.96, so the spot is probably Taylor’s.
- Dressel could theoretically swim breaststroke, but Florida probably takes a hit of at least a second and a half on free. So it’s not smart to put him on breast unless Florida thinks he can go 22.3 or better. With Dressel reportedly dealing with some groin pain after his breaststroke last night, it seems unlikely they’d throw him back in that stroke with up to four all-important 100 frees coming tomorrow.
- IU really only has one real choice. Gabriel Fantoni was part of the national title-winning 400 medley last night, but was only 21.4 this morning. Meanwhile Mohamed Samy beat Fantoni in the individual 100 back 45.62 to 45.95. Two reasons this switch won’t happen: Fantoni’s meet-best of 45.48 is still better than Samy, and Samy has the 200 free and 100 back tonight and will likely be gassed by the relay.
- Less backstroke controversy today, with John Shebat going 21.07 on the relay and 45.00 individually. Austin Katz was 45.21 individually, but has less short speed than Shebat.
- Flyer Joseph Schooling swam breaststroke for Texas today, putting up a serviceable 23.58. But the fly leg dropped off from his 2017 split of 19.45 (or his record 19.36 split from 2016) to just a 20.05 from Tate Jackson. Is Schooling a half-second faster than other breaststroke option Casey Melzer? If not, then Texas may make a switch.
#7 NC State
- The Wolfpack are a bit of a mystery here. They shuffled their lineup considerably for the 400 medley between prelims and finals, and could do the same tonight.
- Andreas Vazaios swam backstroke in a field-best 20.75, but Coleman Stewart has been the team’s best backstroker so far this year. This morning, Stewart swam fly, but NC State used the same strategy of Vazaois back/Stewart fly in prelims yesterday before Stewart took over back in the final.
- Stewart moving from the fly leg would probably require Ryan Held to take over the fly leg, though, which would prevent the team from using him on the 400 free relay tomorrow.
- Then there’s Jacob Molacek, who was 18.7 on free this morning. He was supposed to be the team’s best breaststroker, but was outperformed in the 400 medley by Daniel Graber, who was 52.0 in prelims. (Molacek was 52.3 in the final). Graber split 23.7 this morning.
- After scratching the 200 free, Justin Ress looked like a lock for this relay. But we’re told Ress is battling an injury, which makes him pretty doubtful for action tonight. That might make the breaststroke decision easier, with Molacek sticking to free and Graber swimming breast.