2019 Men’s NCAA Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


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If you’re still shaking from last night’s incredible 800 free relay fireworks, you’re not alone.

Luckily, there’s no tremble in our coverage. The meet picks up steam this morning with prelims of two relay and three individual events, followed by 1-meter dive prelims.

Fresh off the fastest relay-start 200 free in history, Townley Haas will look to defend his NCAA title in the 500 free, battling top-seeded Felix Auboeck for position this morning. The two should swim in the same prelims heat.

In the 200 IM, NC State’s Andreas Vazaois is the top returner from last year, but he’s up against Cal’s Andrew Seliskar – one of the most productive swimmers in the NCAA the past four seasons, but still without an individual NCAA title to his name.

Meanwhile a flood of sprinters are jockeying for the spotlight in the 50 free, with Caeleb Dressel graduated after four consecutive titles. Alabama’s Robert Howard is the top seed, followed by Texas’s Tate Jacksonwho had a stellar mid-season rest meet, but didn’t compete much at Big 12s.

We’ll also see heats of the 200 free relay and 400 medley relay.

Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event recaps of all the action from Austin. And follow @SwimSwamLive on Twitter for even more up-to-the-second highlights.

200 FREE RELAY – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: Auburn (Andkjaer, Louw, Norys, Targett), 2009 – 1:14.08
  • American Record: Stanford (Coville, Staab, Allen, Wayne), 2011 – 1:15.26
  • U.S. Open Record: Auburn (Andkjaer, Louw, Norys, Targett), 2009 – 1:14.08
  • Meet Record: Auburn (Andkjaer, Louw, Norys, Targett), 2009 – 1:14.08
  • 2018 Champion: Florida (Dressel, Switkowski, Martinez-Sarpe, Szaranek) – 1:14.39

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Cal – 1:14.72
  2. NC State – 1:15.03
  3. Texas – 1:15.53
  4. Indiana – 1:15.60
  5. Alabama – 1:15.64
  6. Florida State – 1:15.73
  7. Harvard – 1:16.43
  8. Ohio State – 1:16.48

Cal hit for a big swim this morning, beating Texas head-to-head in the very first heat of the 200 free relay.

Cal used its best lineup, including Andrew Seliskar on the anchor leg. That probably means Seliskar won’t swim either tonight’s 400 medley or tomorrow’s 200 medley relay. Cal was 1:14.72, led by an 18.89 leadoff from Pawel Sendyk and an 18.53 anchor from Seliskar. Ryan Hoffer was 18.60 and Michael Jensen 18.70.

Texas was second in that heat, saving at least one leg for tonight’s final. Tate Jackson was 18.67 on his leg – a promising sign when there’s been some concern about his health leading up to the meet. Jake Sannem was a solid 18.70 on his split. We hadn’t projected him to be on this relay, but he may have swum his way onto the team with that performance. Freshman Daniel Krueger was only 19.02, but had a very safe relay exchange of 0.42. Freshman Drew Kibler should lead off again after going 19.14, so it’ll probably be two of Sannem, Krueger or John Shebat joining Kibler and Jackson tonight.

NC State won the final heat and slid in between Cal and Texas at 1:15.03. Justin Ress was 18.3 for the Wolfpack, with Jacob Molacek 18.6 and Giovanni Izzo 18.7. Izzo could be replaced by Coleman Stewart tonight, but an 18.7 might be enough to keep him on that team tonight and free up NC State to use Stewart on the other three relays.

Indiana is fourth. Zach Apple led off in 18.94, a solid swim for the Auburn transfer. Bruno Blaskovich was 18.7 on his split as IU went 1:15.60.

Alabama made the final in 1:15.64. They had the field’s best split at 18.28 from Zane Waddell on the anchor leg. Florida State is 6th, getting an 18.5 from anchor Kanoa Kaleoaloha.

Harvard made the final thanks to another huge Dean Farris split. The junior was 18.42.

Ohio State rounds out the A final in 1:16.48. Ben Sugar was 18.81 on the anchor leg.

Other key swims further back: Minnesota’s 50 free contender Bowe Becker was only 19.04 on his leadoff leg, not a great sign for his individual 50 to come later. Tennessee’s Kyle Decoursey was only 19.2 on his leg – he’s another of the top 50 free competitors. Robert Howard was 18.99 for Alabama. Those three are some of the top 50 seeds into this meet.

Grand Canyon DQ’d its relay in a blow to the standout mid-major program. Star backstroker Mark Nikolaev was 18.5 on his split, but false started with a -0.14 relay exchange.

500 Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: Clark Smith, Texas (2017) – 4:08.42
  • American Record: Zane Grothe, Unattached (2017) – 4:07.25
  • U.S. Open Record: Zane Grothe, Unattached (2017) – 4:07.25
  • Meet Record: Clark Smith, Texas (2017) – 4:08.42
  • 2018 Champion: Townley Haas, Texas – 4:08.60

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Townley Haas (Texas) – 4:11.01
  2. Sean Grieshop (Cal) – 4:11.11
  3. Brooks Fail (Arizona) – 4:11.51
  4. Walker Higgins (Georgia) – 4:12.57
  5. Mark Theall (Texas A&M) – 4:12.70
  6. Fynn Minuth (South Carolina) – 4:12.74
  7. Ricardo Vargas (Michigan) – 4:13.15
  8. Brennan Novak (Harvard) – 4:13.72

It was an exciting final circle-seeded heat in the men’s 500 free, with Texas’s Townley Haas and Cal’s Sean Grieshop battling back and forth. Haas led early, Grieshop passed him through the middle, but Haas surged back to take the heat win in 4:11.01. Grieshop was 4:11.11. That’s a drop of almost two seconds from Grieshop from his last year’s swim.

They’re the top two seeds into tonight. Arizona’s Brooks Fail paced the first heat easily, going 4:11.51 – he’s the third qualifier.

Georgia’s Walker Higgins was the other heat winner, and his 4:12.57 lands him fourth. Meanwhile Texas A&M’s Mark Theall blasted a huge swim out of an early heat to wind up 5th as the top five qualifiers come from four different prelims heats.

South Carolina’s Fynn Minuth is sixth – he was great as a sophomore but missed the A final last year. Meanwhile Michigan’s Ricardo Vargas made a repeat A final (he was 8th last year) and Harvard continues to swim well, with Brennan Novak making the A final in 4:13.73.

Cal got stung with a 9th-place finish from Trenton Julian, but all-in-all, it was a good event for the Golden Bears, who have one A finalist and one B finalist, compared to just one A finalist for Texas and no scorers for Indiana.

Last year’s NCAA runner-up, Felix Auboeck of Michigan, faded hard to 4:18 and took just 35th. Also missing scoring from last year’s A finalists was Texas’s Sam Pomajevich, who was 4:17 and 33rd. He was 6th last year.

There was incredible turnover from last year’s A final: three of the six graduated, one was absent with injury (Grant Shoults) and two more missed scoring entirely, leaving Haas and Vargas as the only two repeat A finalists.

200 IM – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018) – 1:38.13
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018) – 1:38.13
  • U.S. Open Record: Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018) – 1:38.13
  • Meet Record: David Nolan, Stanford (2015) – 1:39.38
  • 2018 Champion: Jan Switkowski, Florida – 1:39.54

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Andrew Seliskar (Cal) – 1:39.90
  2. Vini Lanza (Indiana) – 1:40.23
  3. Andreas Vazaios (NC State) – 1:40.62
  4. John Shebat (Texas) – 1:40.83
  5. Abrahm Devine (Stanford) – 1:41.44
  6. Caio Pumpitis (Georgia Tech) – 1:41.77
  7. Ian Finnerty (Indiana) – 1:41.80
  8. Kieran Smith (Florida) – 1:42.26

Cal’s Andrew Seliskar became just the 5th man in history to break 1:40 in the 200 IM this morning, going 1:39.90 to win the final heat. The pool record went down twice in prelims, with Indiana’s Vini Lanza setting it to 1:40.23 one heat earlier.

Seliskar did it with a huge breaststroke split of 28.5. Lanza’s strength was a 24.4 backstroke, best of the A finalists, along with a 21.37 fly splilt, also best among the 8 A finalists.

Last year’s runner-up Andreas Vazaios was 1:40.62 for third, giving NC State an A finalist. And Texas adds one of their own with John Shebat fourth in 1:40.83. That should set up a fun A final tonight between the top five teams – Cal, NC State, Texas and Florida each have one A finalist (freshman Kieran Smith snuck into 8th for the Gators), while Indiana has two A finalists.

IU’s other is Ian Finnerty, who had the field’s best breaststroke split at 28.48. He’s 7th.

Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine made a repeat A final trip in 5th at 1:41.44. Georgia’ Tech’s Caio Pumpitis joins Seliskar and Finnerty as elite breaststrokers in the A final – he was 6th in 1:41.77.

In the team battle, IU leads with 2 A finalists. Cal goes 1A/2B. Texas will have 1A/1B. And NC State and Florida each have 1A.

50 FREESTYLE – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018) – 17.63
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018) – 17.63
  • U.S. Open Record: Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018) – 17.63
  • Meet Record: Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018) – 17.63
  • 2018 Champion: Caeleb Dressel, Florida – 17.63

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Ryan Hoffer (Cal) – 18.58
  2. Pawel Sendyk (Cal) – 18.66
  3. Robert Howard (Alabama) – 18.84
  4. Bowe Becker (Minnesota) – 18.88
  5. Dean Farris (Harvard) – 18.92
  6. Tate Jackson (Texas) / Zach Apple (Indiana) – 18.95
  7. Justin Ress (NC State) – 19.05

It’s been a huge morning for Cal, and that continued with two of the top 10 all-time performers in the 50 free. Sophomore Ryan Hoffer broke through for his first lifetime-best in this event since 2016, going 18.58 to win the final circle-seeded heat.

His teammate Pawel Sendyk won an earlier heat in 18.66. Both broke the Texas pool record, and both sit inside the top 10 performers all-time. Hoffer is 5th all-time and Sendyk tied for 8th with former Cal standout Nathan Adrian.

Alabama senior Robert Howard was 18.84 for third, followed by Minnesota’s Bowe Becker (18.88).

We didn’t quite see the entire A heat under 19 this morning. Harvard’s Dean Farris got there with an 18.92 for 5th, and Texas’s Tate Jackson was 18.95 to tie with Indiana’s Zach AppleOnly 8th-place Justin Ress of NC State was 19.05 to round out the heat.

Jackson was .16 off his mid-season invite time, which was the top incoming seed. After he scratched some of his events at Big 12s, there’s been some concern about his health this week, and he’s a key piece of Texas’s team title hopes.

All five returning A finalists (Becker, Sendyk, Apple, Hoffer, Howard) made the A final again. Ress and Farris moved up from the B final last year and Jackson making the A final is a plus after he took 18th last year in this race.

In terms of team points, Cal leads this event with 2A/1B finalist. Texas has 1A/1B. (Drew Kibler was 9th with a big drop of almost three tenths of a second). Indiana has 1A. NC State has 1A/1B. (Freshman Nyls Korstanje was 10th with a nice drop of almost two tenths).

By our quick math, that leaves the top four teams with the following up/downs for individual events this session: (We’ll have a more full up/down report coming after the session).

  1. Cal 4A / 4B
  2. Texas 3A / 2B
  3. Indiana 3A / 0B
  4. NC State 2A / 2B

400 MEDLEY RELAY – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: Texas (2018) – 2:59.22
  • American Record: Cal (2017) – 3:01.51
  • U.S. Open Record: Texas (2018) – 2:59.22
  • Meet Record: Texas (2018) – 2:59.22
  • 2018 Champion: Indiana – 3:01.07

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Indiana – 3:01.26
  2. Louisville – 3:03.01
  3. Texas – 3:03.80
  4. NC State – 3:03.81
  5. USC – 3:04.16
  6. Missouri – 3:04.37
  7. Cal – 3:04.48
  8. Florida – 3:04.78

Indiana came out in the 400 medley relay to make a statement after a morning that was a bit sparse in individual scorers. The Hoosiers top lineup went 3:01.26, nearly as fast as they went in finals to win this event last year. Ian Finnerty was the powerhouse, splitting 50.32 on breaststroke. He could be in the hunt for the fastest 100 breast split of all-time tonight: it currently stands at 49.5 from Kevin Cordes.

IU also got a 44.9 fly leg from Vini Lanza and a quick 40.84 anchor from Zach AppleThe fastest 100 free split ever is a 40.14 from Caeleb Dressel. Gabriel Fantoni led off in 45.13 for the Hoosiers – that’s four tenths faster than he went in finals last year on this relay.

Louisville had a huge swim this morning, pushing IU in the final heat and taking the second spot overall. Zach Harting was a field-best 44.28 on butterfly and Andrej Barna 41.7 on free. Evgenii Somov swam breast and Nicolas Albiero back in what was probably Louisville’s best lineup.

Beyond that, it was a bit of a strategic event for the top teams, with most swimming alternate lineups and making the A final. In fact, last year, it took about seven tenths faster to make the A final than it did this year. The bottom four teams in this year’s A final wouldn’t have made last year’s A final in this race.

Texas took third in prelims, swimming perhaps three of the four legs different from what they will tonight. Charlie Scheinfeld is probably the only one who will return after going 51.3 on breast this morning. Austin Katz was 44.9 this morning, but you have to wonder if John Shebat (44.5 last year) could be faster. Drew Kibler swam fly and went 45.6, but Shebat could be 44 there, or Texas could try Tate JacksonMeanwhile Jake Sannem had a gutsy free leg of 41.8 to win his heat – he could be swapped out tonight for Jackson, Kibler or Daniel Krueger. Texas was 3:03.80 this morning.

NC State went 3:03.81. Coleman Stewart led off in 44.32, the third-fastest 100 back in history. They’ll have more lineup options tonight, including sliding Jacob Molacek (41.6 this morning on free) to breaststroke and perhaps including Justin Resswho didn’t swim this relay this morning.

USC had a nice swim, going 3:04.16 for fifth. Carsten Vissering was 50.39 on breaststroke. Missouri will also make the A final with a 3:04.37 – Mikel Schreuders closed hard with a 41.39 anchor leg.

Cal swam potentially four different legs from tonight’s relay and nearly got burned by it. They were 3:04.48, 7th place and just four tenths out of missing the A final. Michael Jensen was 41.6 on the anchor leg, which is a good sign for Cal moving forward. He could be swapped out tonight, though. Bryce Mefford, Carson Sand and Zheng Quah swam this morning, but we’d expect to see Daniel Carr on back tonight, with perhaps Reece Whitley or Andrew Seliskar on breast, Seliskar or Ryan Hoffer on fly and perhaps Hoffer or Pawel Sendyk on free.

Florida snuck into the A final in 8th. Maxime Rooney was a quick 44.32 on fly as the Gators went 3:04.78.

Alabama just missed the A final, going 3:04.85. Robert Howard was 41.40 on the anchor leg.


Stay tuned to SwimSwam.com for diving updates as the 1-meter diving competition takes place this afternoon. Expect Texas to add three more individual scorers there, and likely two from IU as well.

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Tea rex
3 years ago

Cal absolutely crushing it tonight.
200 FR – 1st in A final
500 fr – 2nd in A final, 1st in B final
200 IM – 1st in A final, 1st and 3rd in B final
50 fr – 1st and 2nd in A final, 1st in B final

3 years ago

Sorry but if Texas beats Cal because of diving, can we, as logical 2019 humans, please just make them two separate meets already. I mean jeez louise..it’s a joke at this point…

Reply to  swimma
3 years ago

and frankly an insult to the sport of swimming

S Meyer
3 years ago

Why do you say “Fresh off the fastest relay-start 200 free in history, Townley Haas will look to defend his NCAA title in the 500 free, battling top-seeded Felix Auboeck for position this morning. The two should swim in the same prelims heat.” It wasn’t Towny Haas with the fastest relay start – it was Dean Farris with an American Record.

Bay City Tex
3 years ago

Horns 2 in the A final of one-meter. No B finalist.
Indiana 1 in the A final. No B finalist.
Cal diver just missed out. Safely in consolation final until a last round 42 point dive. Finished 18th.

Reply to  Bay City Tex
3 years ago

I for one am glad to see CAL field a competitive diver! No they are NOT just a swim team!

3 years ago

anyone with updates on the diving?

Reply to  coachmanny09
3 years ago

link to live results https://secure.meetcontrol.com/divemeets/system/livestats.php?event=stats-5857-7180-1-Started
it looks like Texas will have only two divers in finals, most likely in A vs Cal one diver either in A or B – last round under way

Reply to  coachmanny09
3 years ago

t looks like Cal will not have a diver in finals after all, he messed up on his last dive

Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

Indiana Capobianco messed up good on his first one.. and Mory on his last 3rd and 4th after starting well. IU lost a lot here

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Even James Connor is having a substandard performance. Rough day for IU divers

Reply to  coachmanny09
3 years ago

final diving preliminaries results; Texas was counting on having three swimmers in the finals

1 392.35 Zhipeng Zeng (TENN)
2 382.25 James Connor (IND)
3 356.35 Briadam Herrera (MIAF)
4 349.75 Sam Thornton (TAM)
5 340.85 Grayson Campbell (TEX)
6 332.60 Jordan Windle (TEX)
7 331.20 Hector Garcia Boissier (PSU)
8 320.90 Nathaniel Hernandez (DUKE)
9 318.50 Juan Hernandez (LSU)
10 318.05 Bradley Buchter (NAVY)
11 317.55 Evan Moretti (DUKE)
12 316.70 Matthew Wade (TENN)
13 315.70 Joshua Davidson (FSU)
14 314.25 Sebastian Masterton (UK)
15 310.15 Gregory Duncan (PUR)
16 309.35 Kyle Goodwin (MO)

Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

Well at least they got two divers in the top 8. Scores start over tonight!

3 years ago

Does anyone know what is going on with Michigan? Are they sick? Is the flu going around? Did someone pull a fire alarm in their hotel? They had a terribly rough morning. The women, coached by the same staff, had a good meet last week.

Reply to  BaldingEagle
3 years ago

Actually not the same staff. Mike oversees both programs but I think they are split otherwise.

Reply to  Superfan
3 years ago

Correct. Rick Bishop for women and Josh White for men. Completely separate.

tea rex
3 years ago

Harvard with Dean Farris… 2 seventh-place finishes.
Harvard without Dean Farris… DFL by almost 4 seconds.

Lil Nas X
3 years ago


About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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