2019 M. NCAA Champs: Stewart’s 44.32, Nikolaev’s 44.49 Highlight Morning’s Relay Splits

by Robert Gibbs 2

March 28th, 2019 College, News


NC State junior Coleman Stewart just keeps getting faster. Last month, he swam three sub-45 100 backs in the same day at the ACC Championships, and this morning, he knocked another 0.04s off his best time, leading off NC State’s 400 medley relay in a 44.32. That swim moves him to #3 all-time, behind only Ryan Murphy and Nick Thoman, and it also ties one of Murphy’s swims as the 7th-fastest performance ever.

Notably, that moves him ahead of John Shebat, whose best time came from his 2nd-place finish at NCAAs in 2017, but whom Stewart beat by 0.01s in last year’s NCAA final. Stewart and Shebat are favorites to square off once again for the 100 back title tomorrow.

But that wasn’t the only top notch performance of the morning. In the very first heat, Grand Canyon’s Mark Nikolaev blasted a 44.49 that ties him with Matt Grevers for #5 in the all-time rankings. That’s a 0.12s improvement for him, whose previous best came from last fall’s Hawkeye Invite. It’s also a promising sign for his chances in the individual event. Last year, he came into NCAAs with a season-best time of 44.71, but couldn’t crack 45 in any of his three swims in March, ending up with 10th-place finish individually.

Top Ten Swimmers All-Time

Place Swimmer Time
1 Ryan Murphy 43.49
2 Nick Thoman 44.07
3 Coleman Stewart 44.32
4 John Shebat 44.35
T-5 Matt Grevers 44.49
T-5 Mark Nikolaev 44.49
7 Connor Oslin 44.56
8 Ryan Lochte 44.60
9 Dean Farris 44.62
10 Taylor Dale 44.64

At ACCs, Stewart said that he was still learning how to swim the event, and we made note of the various way he’d split his 100 back. Today, he took it out faster than ever for him, 21.27, and then he brought it home in 23.05. That’s a strategy similar to the one he employed when he went 44.44 at the 100 back finals at ACCs, whereas he was a bit slower on the front half when he went 44.36 leading off the medley relay last month. Bottom line is, he can swim the 100 back really fast no matter which way he goes.

Comparative Splits:

  •  2018 ACC Finals – 21.60/22.94 = 44.54
  • 2019 ACC Prelims – 21.69/22.75 – 44.44
  • 2019 ACC Finals – 21.31/23.13 = 44.44
  • 2019 ACC 4MR Leadoff – 21.77/22.59 = 44.36
  • 2019 NCAA 4MR Leadoff (P) – 21.27/23.05 = 44.32

Other Notable Splits From This Morning

  • Indiana’s Ian Finnerty and USC’s Carsten Vissering split 50.32 and 50.39, virtually the same time, especially when you take into account Vissering’s reaction time was 0.06s slower than Finnerty’s. Not that it matters all that much — those are still among the quickest splits you’ll see.
  • In a similarly close fashion, Zach Harting of Louisville and Maxime Rooney of Florida split 44.28 and 44.32 on the fly leg, the fastest two times in the field. Harting’s reaction time was about a tenth of a second faster than Rooney’s, but they were still both the swiftest in the field by a fairly wide margin. Camden Murphy (44.73) and Vini Lanza (44.97) were the only two other men to split under 45. It’s worth noting that Lanza’s split was the exact same time as he split in last year’s prelims.
  • Indiana also got the fastest split in the field on the freestyle leg, as Zach Apple threw down the only sub-41 split of the morning with a 40.84. Bowen Becker had the 2nd-fastest split with a 41.19.

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Swim Addict

Max Mchugh was 50.67 on the Minnesota relay

The Ready Room

Harting looking gooooood for that 2fly

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