2019 M. NCAA Previews: Coleman Stewart Figuring Out his Pacing



  • NCAA Record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 43.49
  • American Record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 43.49
  • U.S. Open Record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 43.49
  • Meet Record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 43.49
  • 2018 Champion: Coleman Stewart, NC State, 44.58

The reigning 100 backstroke champion returns as NC State’s Coleman Stewart is the top seed heading into NCAAs. Stewart took down the ACC Record in this event at last month’s conference meet with his 44.36 leadoff leg of the 400 medley relay. He’s now the 4th fastest performer ever in this event. Teammate Andreas Vazaios, who took 3rd last season, is also looking to return to the championship final.

After some splitting swings at ACCs, Stewart quipped that he was ‘still learning how to swim’ the 100 back. If he goes 44.3 without knowing how to swim the race, and then figures out how to swim the race…that’s scary for everyone else.

NC State isn’t the only team who could get 2 men into the A final. Texas will field 2017 and 2018 NCAA runner-up John Shebat and last season’s 4th place finisher and 200 back champ, Austin Katz, who both have best times sub-45. Shebat is the 3rd fastest performer ever in this event. His 44.35 from 2017 is a hundredth faster than Stewart’s ACC Record.

The only other returning championship finalist in this event is Louisville’s Nick Albiero, who broke 45 for the first time at this season’s ACC meet. There are a handful of other men coming in after breaking 45 for the first time at midseason or their respective conference meets. That includes Alabama’s Zane Waddell, Indiana’s Gabriel Fantoni, and Arizona State’s Zachary Poti. Georgia’s Javier Acevedo, who had a foot injury in the lead up to SECs, has yet to break 45 this season, but has been sub-45 with his relay leadoff at 2018 NCAAs. Acevedo is a returning B finalist along with Waddell and Poti.

Ivy League champion Dean Farris is changing his lineup this season. Farris typically competes in the 200 freestyle on day 2, but has opted for this event instead. His 44.62 from the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet in early February makes him the 9th fastest performer in history. Between Farris, Shebat, Stewart, and Grand Canyon’s Mark Nikolaev, we’ll have 4 of the 10 fastest performers ever competing in this race. With his 44.61 at the 2018 Hawkeye Invitational, Nikolaev became the 8th fastest performer ever. Nikolaev scored in the B final of this event in 2018.


Place Swimmer Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Coleman Stewart (NC State) 44.36 44.36
2 John Shebat (Texas) 45.44 44.35
3 Mark Nikolaev (Grand Canyon) 44.61 44.61
4 Dean Farris (Harvard) 44.62 44.62
5 Nick Albiero (Louisville 44.88 44.88
6 Gabriel Fantoni (Indiana) 44.91 44.91
7 Andreas Vazaios (NC State) 45.85 44.81
8 Zane Waddell (Alabama) 44.77 44.77

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I’m suprised you don’t have Justin Ress in the mix at all. That’s someone I’ll be looking out for out of the first heat in prelims.


Hard to call him a sleeper… but I totally agree. He has the raw speed in both LCM and SCY… he just hasn’t shown that yet in SCY backstroke. I don’t see why he can’t outright win the event.

Jimbo mccringle

If he doesn’t make it, it’ll be because of underwaters


Ryan Harty has never really nailed NCAAs. whether it was because he was recovering from injury, or whatnot. This is his last chance, and he’s been looking good all year. Obviously I don’t expect him to win this event (but if he “hits”, he could definitely take the 200), but I think he will break 45 and make the final.

Zoom Zune

Not his last chance. He had one more year


Ah, good call. That redshirt year got me mixed up!


Katz no A final?


He’smore of a 200 guy and this event is stacked. He could pop a 44.7 though. Never know.


He came 4th last year didn’t he? I don’t think he’ll be top 3 but he could definitely make it in top 8

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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