2019 M. NCAA Finals Preview: Farris, Stewart, Shebat, and the Race for 43 in the 100 Back


The 2019 Men’s NCAA Championships continue tonight in Austin, Texas. Swimmers will compete individually in the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, and 100 back. We’ll also see 3-meter diving finals and the 200 medley relay. We’ll have multiple defending champions competing tonight, including Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine (400 IM), Texas’ Townley Haas (200 free), Indiana’s Ian Finnerty (100 breast), and NC State’s Coleman Stewart (100 back).

Read on for a preview of a few of the exciting races to watch in tonight’s finals. For a full recap of this morning’s prelims, click here.


The 100 back could be one of the closest races of the meet, and based on this morning’s performances, we may be seeing the 2nd man to ever break 44 seconds in the event. As it stands, the only man who has ever done so is World Record holder and Olympic champion Ryan Murphy, who first accomplished the feat in 2016. We haven’t seen a sub-44 since his senior season in 2017.

That could all change tonight. Defending champion Coleman Stewart of NC State was just hundredths away from the barrier touching in 44.06 as he became the 2nd fastest man ever. The only thing that may potentially hold him back is the fact that this will be his 4th race of the day and 2nd race of the night. Stewart will also be competing in finals of the 100 fly. However, he’s been handling the double well at his championship meets and that didn’t seem to bog him down when he won the title in this event last year.

Another man to look out for is Harvard’s Dean Farris. After smashing the 200 free American Record with a 1:29.15 relay leadoff, Farris has opted to swim this event individually instead. His 44.14 in prelims makes him the 4th fastest man ever. We could see him win his first NCAA title tonight. Texas’ John Shebat, the 5th fastest man ever, looks good at this meet after becoming the 6th man to break 1:40 in the 200 IM. Shebat was the runner-up in this race for the last 2 seasons, and will be hungry to finally land on top of the podium. We’ve also got the #6 all-time competing: Grand Canyon’s Mark Nikolaev.


In the summer of 2018, Cal’s Andrew Seliskar had a breakthrough as he won the 200 free at U.S. Nationals over Texas’ Townley Haas, the NCAA Champion. Though he had typically swum the 400 IM on day 2 of his NCAA lineup, Seliskar made a change this season and will look to join the short list of men who have broken 1:30. He’s the top seed for tonight’s final, but his best time comes from his 1:30.14 relay leadoff on Wednesday night. He’s currently the 4th fastest man ever.

Haas, the 3-time reigning NCAA champ and 2nd fastest ever in this event, will look to secure the 4-peat and retake the American Record after Farris broke it on Wednesday night. He’s the only man in this field that has broken 1:30 so far, as he won the event last season in 1:29.50. Seliskar and Haas aren’t the only men who could break the barrier tonight, though, as Indiana’s Zach Apple is the 5th fastest in history with his 1:30.34 from the 800 free relay.


Indiana’s Ian Finnerty became the first man ever to break 50 seconds in the 100 breast as he won the 2018 NCAA title in 49.69. Finnerty has been setting his sights on a 48 this season, but we could see another swimmer join him under 50. Minnesota freshman Max McHugh is the top seed for finals tonight. He became the 4th fastest performer ever with his 50.30 in prelims. Finnerty, McHugh, and USC’s Carsten Vissering, the Pac-12 champion, were all under 50 in their 100 breast splits on the 400 medley relay last night.

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1 year ago

I think carr takes the backstroke as long as they remember to remove his wedge.

Mr Piano
Reply to  50free
1 year ago

Carr’s a great swimmer, but he’s not going to beat Farris (hallowed be his name) or Stewart. He might be able to take down Shebat though. Maybe he will win his senior year (because Dean will swim this of course in 2020).

Reply to  Mr Piano
1 year ago

Carr will not take out Shebat in the 100 back. Farris, Stewart, and Shebat will all be 43. Carr will be lucky to go under 45 again.

1 year ago

Ian, Max and Carsten will all be under 50 and Reece will be under 51

Reply to  Miles
1 year ago

I will venmo you 10$ if this happens

Reply to  Miles
1 year ago

I see Max and Ian in a huge battle for the win. Both should be under 50. Farris or Stewart for the backstroke win.

1 year ago

If coleman stewart didn’t have the 100 fly before the back, I think he easily breaks ryan murphy’s record

Reply to  Mikeymike
1 year ago

He’d have a good shot, but no way would it be easy.

Reply to  Mikeymike
1 year ago

I say Stewart goes 43 along with top 3 in 100 fly. He seems to enjoy the tempo and pressure of multiple races.

Reply to  HDG4175
1 year ago

I’d like to see Coleman’s backstroke without the 100 fly in front

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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