2019 M. NCAA Previews: It’s Hard to Bet Against Lanza in 100 Fly


100 Butterfly:

  • NCAA Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2018, 42.80
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2018, 42.80
  • U.S. Open Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2018, 42.80
  • Meet Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2018, 42.80
  • 2018 Champion: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2018, 42.80

The class of 2018 graduated the two fastest 100 yard butterflyers of all time: Caeleb Dressel and Joseph Schooling. Schooling won this event in 2015 and 2016, while Dressel won in 2017 and 2018. At each of the previous three NCAA Championships–2016, 2017, and 2018–the NCAA and U.S. Open records were lowered in this race, with the American Record also being lowered the past two.

Borrowing a convergent statistic from the 100 freestyle preview, “there are nine returning swimmers who have lifetime bests at-or-faster than the [45.29] it took to make the A-final last year” in the men’s 100 butterfly.

Add to that Towson’s Jack Saunderson, who swam a 51.48 in long course over the summer (which converts to 44.7 with the Swimulator Real-Time Converter).

Indiana’s Vini Lanza, last year’s third-place finisher, has the fastest lifetime best in the field by just over three-tenths. Lanza had a huge 2018 and has played an integral role in Indiana’s ascent through the NCAA standings the past three seasons. At the 2018 B1G Championships, Lanza won a record seven gold medals, taking individual titles in the 100 fly, 200 fly, and 200 IM. At the 2018 NCAA Championships, Lanza placed third in the 100 fly in 44.50, shaving 0.29 from his PR set one month prior. Having also placed third in the 200 fly at last year’s NCAA Championships, Lanza is one of the most experienced racers in the field and has proven that he can step up and swim fast in the morning and again at night.

In August at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, Lanza placed third in the 100 LCM butterfly with a time of 51.44. Lanza is also the number-1 seed in the 200 fly (1:39.28) and the number-2 seed in the 200 IM (1:41.05). Furthermore, Lanza’s 200 fly comes as a marked improvement from his 2018 season former lifetime best, which stood at 1:39.75.

The top seed going into this year’s competition, Michigan’s Miles Smachlo, denied Lanza a repeat victory in the 100 fly at the 2019 B1G Championships, touching the wall in 44.82. Prior the B1G Championships, Smachlo’s best time was a 46.05. Smachlo also produced a significant 50 fly split in Michigan’s champion 200 medley relay, where he blasted a 19.92. Smachlo is also entered in the 200 fly, seeded 20th with a 1:41.84, and will presumably race on Michigan’s 200/400 freestyle relays and 200/400 medley relays.

Coleman Stewart, NC State, 100 back winner – 2018 Men’s NCAA DI Championships (courtesy of Tim Binning)

Coleman Stewart surprised at the 2018 NCAA Championships with a blistering 44.84 to win the ‘B’ final with a time that would have been fast enough for 5th overall, had he been just a little quicker in the prelims. Stewart came back later in the session to win the 100 backstroke out of lane 1 in 44.58. Overall, Stewart dropped 0.27 from the 2018 ACC Championships to the 2018 NCAA Championships. This season, Stewart has been 45.11 in the 100 fly and 44.36 in the 100 back. Though the former is not a best time, if he is able to bring his fly down to within 3/10ths of his current backstroke time, like he did at NCAAs last year, then he should have no problem getting into the ‘A’ final, and possibly evening winning the race.

Florida Gator Maxime Rooney was a freestyler lasts year, but this season at SECs surprised the country with a dramatic, and successful, shift to the butterfly races. He has also taken a page from former teammate Dressel’s playbook and been working on swimming the 100 fly with a no-breather final 25. If he can equal or improve upon his SEC performance he should be a lock for the ‘A’ final. At SECs, Rooney improved his time by over 1.5 seconds, dropping from a 46.61 to a 45.06. Dropping that much time twice in the same race in a single season would be a miracle at this level, so instead of predicting another insane time drop, it’s probably just safe to bet on Rooney backing up his performance from February with another that is just as good or slightly better.

Auburn’s Liam McCloskey also had a massive time drop at the 2019 SEC Championships where he finished just five one-hundredths behind Rooney, taking silver. If McCloskey, who is seeded 6th, can replicate or improve upon his performance from SECs, he could find himself in the ‘A’ final as well.

SEC bronze medalist in the 100 fly Camden Murphy is another to watch out for. Murphy is a former titan of age group swimming, known swapping the 100 fly NAG Record with Michael Andrew on multiple occasions. Now in his sophomore year at the University of Georgia, Murphy has shaved 0.49 from his 2018 best time, which stood as his lifetime best until the 2018 Georgia Fall Invite. Murphy and Rooney also raced the 200 fly at SECs, and Murphy came out on top, 1:40.62 to Rooney’s 1:40.87. Murphy is ranked 4th in the 200 fly while Rooney is ranked 7th. Having both speed and endurance, Murphy is a formidable contender.

Cal’s Zheng Quah and Texas’s Tate Jackson are also looking dangerous this season, for similar yet different reasons. Quah was within hundredths of his 2017 lifetime best at the Pac-12 Championships, swimming to victory in 45.13. He is currently ranked 2nd in the 200 fly as well, with a blistering 1:39.29 from Pac-12s. Quah’s best time in the 200 fly is faster still at 1:38.83, making him the 3rd-fastest performer all-time. Jackson, meanwhile, is the number one seed in the 100 freestyle with a 41.06, making him the 6th-fastest performer in history. Jackson is only ranked 26th in the 100 fly this season, but his freestyle times could signify that he’s due another astounding swim, this one in his third event. Quah, who is ranked 7th going into the meet, finished in 12th last year, despite placing 5th in 2017 when he recorded his personal best of 45.06.

Florida State senior Kanoa Kaleoaloha up-ended both Stewart and Albiero in the 100 fly at ACCs, touching in 44.93 to Stewarts’s 45.09 and Albiero’s 45.37. NC State’s Noah Hensley was also in the mix, and touched just ahead of Albiero for 3rd in 45.33. Kaleoaloha also won the 100 free at ACCs, and contributed a very fast 19.96 50 fly split on Florida State’s 200 medley relay. While he dropped time in some events at NCAAs last season, in the 100 fly he added 8-tenths and missed scoring altogether.

Cal sophomore Ryan Hoffer returns to the NCAA Championships with a season-best time of 45.60, ranked 19th. Last year in his NCAA debut, Hoffer swam two best times in a day, first going 45.29 in prelims, and then 44.93 in finals, good for 6th. If Hoffer’s back-end speed is prime, he should be 45-low or 44-high without much problem.

And finally, let’s circle back around to Jack Saunderson of Towson University. At last summer’s USA Swimming National Championships, Saunderson blasted a 51.48 in the prelims of the 100 fly, which he followed up with a 51.88 in finals. With that performance, Saunderson punched his ticket to the 2019 World University Games in Naples, Italy, in July. At last year’s NCAA Championships, Saunderson finished 13th in 45.51. Furthermore, Saunderson finished 10th in the 200 fly in 1:40.87, which he bested in February at the 2019 CAA Championships with a 1:40.63. Though the 200 fly might be a better event for Saunderson in short course, he might just pop a 44-anything and find himself in the ‘A’ final this year.

Another potential party crasher is Gabriel Fantoni of Indiana. Like Stewart and Albiero, Fantoni will take on the 100 fly/100 back double Friday. The 100 fly comes first, though backstroke is his better event. Still, Fantoni enters the competition seeded 24th with a 45.75 from the B1G Championships, where he also went 44.91 in the 100 backstroke. If he can manage to bring his 100 fly sub-45, he will almost certainly swim in the ‘A’ final, but that would require a major time drop.

Place Swimmer Team Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Vini Lanza Indiana 44.90 44.50
2 Coleman Stewart NC State 45.09 44.84
3 Maxime Rooney Florida 45.06 45.06
4 Miles Smachlo Michigan 44.82 44.82
5 Jack Saunderson Towson 46.05 45.51
6 Camden Murphy Georgia 45.26 45.26
7 Zheng Quah Cal 45.13 45.06
8 Kanoa Kaleoaloha Florida State 44.93 44.93


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2 years ago

Don’t sleep on Coleman Stewart for the dub.

The Wolf of Raleigh
Reply to  Uberfan
2 years ago

He will get the win.

Heard it here first!


Reply to  Uberfan
2 years ago

A lot of these swimmers looked rested for their conference meet. Coleman had full beard I believe for his conference meet. I imagine he has a little more to go on his rest (may not have been rested much if at all for ACC’s).

Reply to  jim
2 years ago

I wish we could do some kind of “beard taper tracking.” I think a lot of teams use the “beard” as sort of a red herring – “I’ve got a full beard, must not be shaved.” I’ve seen swimmers at conference meets whose entire bodies were shaved, except for a beard, so it’s clear that at least some programs are trying to play some weird and probably ineffective mind games with their competitors.

But, I’d be really curious to see if we could isolate time drops from people with beards at their conference meets versus people without them.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

You can technically using a regression and make having a beard or not a dummy variable and run it to test if it is statistically significant or not times they swam in season to nccaa

2 years ago

Strange to have Fantoni cited but not Blaskovic which is quite closer to actually being an A Finalist

Reply to  Rafael
2 years ago

True. Lanza, Blaskovic, and Fantoni all incredible flyers for IU.

2 years ago

My money is on Saunderson the man is a beast

Reply to  SwimFan450
2 years ago

He had a great summer, and he’s always dropped time at NCAA’s. you love to see these mid major guys doing well.

Reply to  SwimFan450
2 years ago

He had a great summer, and he seems to go best times at every NCAA’s. Love to see mid major guys going fast

2 years ago

Saunderson- 43.9 book it

Reply to  JackLover69
2 years ago

Whoever downvoted, you’re not very nice

2 years ago

I think you may be a bit high on Saunderson. Obviously 51.44 is no joke but LCM 100 fly is a very different race than SCY 100 fly

Reply to  Anakin
2 years ago

Jack has the high ground boyo better watch yourself

Reply to  asdhdsfjhdf
2 years ago

Memes aside, if Saunderson wins this race I will literally eat my shorts

Reply to  Anakin
2 years ago

Video or it didn’t happen.

Reply to  Anakin
2 years ago

You cant say memes aside and then reply with a meme anakin. you are truly lost

2 years ago

Prince Saunderson will once again grace SwimSwam with his dominant juices. Can’t wait for King Dean and Prince Saunderson to run for presidency in 2024.

Coach M
2 years ago

enough with the small name guys rooney isnt swimming the 200 free at this meet LOOK OUT all im saying

Reply to  SackJaunderson
2 years ago


2 years ago

Stewart’s underwaters are too dirty.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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