2019 Men’s NCAAs Day 1: Let’s Overreact to One Race

by Robert Gibbs 17

March 27th, 2019 College


  • Wednesday, March 27 – Saturday, March 30
  • Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, Austin, Texas
  • Prelims 10 AM / Finals 6 PM (Central Time)
  • Defending champion: Texas (4x) (2018 results)
  • Psych Sheet
  • Live results

Night one of the 2019 Men’s Division I NCAA Championships is over and done with, and just like we did last week, we’re going to do what sports fans often do best: overreact to a very small sample size. So, based on exactly one swim, let’s take a look at which teams look like they’re “on” this week and which may be “off.”


A few swimmers stood out Wednesday night in that they outperformed this year’s conference, or last year’s NCAA splits by a wide margin, or else were freshmen who met high expectations.

Of course, Dean Farris had a pretty decent swim, but that’ll already be covered in plenty of detail in other posts tonight. Although, if you don’t feel like clicking, we’ll just note that he was 1.4 seconds faster on a flat start this year than he was on a relay star last year (1:29.15 versus 1:30.55). Teammates Brennan Novak and Mahlon Reihman both shaved some time off of their splits from last year, which bodes well for Harvard’s performance as a whole this week.

Texas looked great, as you usually do when you put up the fastest time ever. Drew Kibler shaved a couple of tenths off his personal best on the lead-off, Austin Katz and Jeff Newkirk both split sub-1:32 for the first time. If you want to be a stickler, you could say that Townley Haas should’ve been faster, as his anchor leg was actually slower than his best flat start time, but you should probably give him a pass since it was still the fastest relay split in history.

Andrew Seliskar looked like he might join Farris, Haas, and Blake Pieroni in the 1:29 club, but he had to “settle” for a 1:30.14 that was over a second faster than his leadoff time from last year. Cal was six seconds faster than last year, and Trenton Julian is looking particularly dangerous with his 1:31.74 split.

Florida managed to drop a little over a second, and freshman Kieran Smith particularly stood out with a 1:31.64 split, the best of any first-year swimmer. While none of UVA’s splits were particularly eye-popping, as a whole they dropped almost four seconds off their time from ACC, boding well for the rest of the meet. With tonight’s 8th-place finish, the Cavaliers have already scored more points tonight than they did in the entire meet last year.

Finally, we’ll mention that Indiana’s returners all split pretty close to what they did last year, which indicates that while they may not have any new surprises for us, they shouldn’t slip at all either.


As we said last week: we are likely attributing way too much to tonight by generalizing a single performance to an entire meet’s outlook. Nonetheless, here are a few swimmers who arguably underperformed either based on last year’s swim or expectations we’ve built over this season.

While NC State had a couple of great swims, including Coleman Stewart‘s 1:30.61, both Andreas Vazaois and Justin Ress were about a second slower than last year. Neither one was lights-out at ACCs, although Vazaois swims at ACCs this year were faster than his time from ACCs last year.

Stanford is already hurting while down a couple of big names, and Abrahm DeVine was 1:34.13 tonight after leading off in 1:32.77 last year. We thought his slower at times at Pac-12s were just a result of him not being rested as much, but it’s possible there’s more going on.

One of the big questions for this week will be what teams from the SEC can do after a barnburner of a championship meet last month. Missouri took a bit step backward, going three seconds slower than seed, with Mikel Schreuders‘ 1:33.72 leadoff almost 2.5s slower than his season-best time.

Georgia finished 5th in this event last year, but after losing Gunnar Bentz and Jay Litherland to graduation, they came within 0.05s of finishing dead last this year, although returners Javier Acevedo‘s and Walker Higgins‘ swims tonight were pretty well in times with their splits from last year’s race.

Seed Time v Actual Time

Below, we’ve done the math on how 800 free relay teams performed based on their seed time. The teams are in order of their finish.

Team Seed Time Actual Time Difference
Texas 6:11.84 6:05.08 -6.76
NC State 6:16.48 6:06.63 -9.85
Cal 6:10.94 6:07.31 -3.63
Indiana 6:11.02 6:07.35 -3.67
Florida 6:10.50 6:09.14 -1.36
Louisville 6:11.84 6:11.36 -0.48
Harvard 6:15.38 6:11.73 -3.65
Virginia 6:16.00 6:12.28 -3.72
Arizona State 6:17.88 6:14.76 -3.12
Ohio State 6:13.44 6:14.99 1.55
Missouri 6:11.77 6:14.99 3.22
Arizona 6:17.36 6:15.07 -2.29
Texas A&M 6:16.63 6:15.59 -1.04
Michigan 6:13.16 6:15.63 2.47
Stanford 6:15.35 6:16.88 1.53
Georgia Tech 6:19.43 6:17.00 -2.43
Virginia Tech 6:16.08 6:18.18 2.10
Georgia 6:18.75 6:19.09 0.34
Florida State 6:18.35 6:19.14 0.79

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JP input is too short
3 years ago

Michigan not looking too great… I picked them third thinking they hadn’t shown everything at conference. Not making me look good.

3 years ago

Dean Farris is Swimmer of the meet. End of discussion

3 years ago

Not amazing at all considering you sand bag it all year long.

Coach M
3 years ago

I think we are all pretty upset in NC states performance here

3 years ago

comment image

Reply to  Kate
3 years ago

We need a 1D-style Dean fan tumblr and we need it NOW (a KPop-style stan Twitter would also work well)

Dean Farris
3 years ago

Keep in mind NC State swam alone…
Which could make up the difference.

Reply to  Dean Farris
3 years ago

Dean and Harvard were in the same heat….

Reply to  Really
3 years ago

Yes, they passed them by the end of the second leg and then they were all alone…

Reply to  Dean Farris
3 years ago

Whose fault was it that they were in heat 2?

JP input is too short
Reply to  Dean Farris
3 years ago

Perhaps they should have swam faster during the season.

3 years ago

Not sure all the Mass Ress put on is a good thing. A lot more mass to move, it’s not all power all the time

JP input is too short
Reply to  Crusty
3 years ago

His hand speed look positively glacial in the last 50.

3 years ago

Dean is overrated.


Reply to  Hmm...
3 years ago

Nothing to discuss, just incorrect

Reply to  Hmm...
3 years ago

Bold comment cotton, let’s see if it pays off for him.

Reply to  Hmm...
3 years ago

I don’t think there’s much to discuss, an American record is an American record.

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