2021 NCAA MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Wednesday, March 24 – Saturday, March 27, 2021
- Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center / Greensboro, NC (Eastern Time Zone)
- Prelims 10 AM/ Finals 6 PM (U.S. Eastern Time)
- Short course yards (SCY) format
- Defending champion: Cal (1x) – 2019 results
- Streaming: ESPN3
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
Tonight we will be treated to the first NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships race since racing wrapped up at the 2019 edition of the meet on March 30, 2019. Night 1 of the meet will only feature one event in the form of the 800 freestyle relay timed final.
This one race will tell us a lot about expectations for the rest of the meet. For Texas, the top seed by a wide margin, a win is a must. For Cal, a runner-up finish would give them some boost of confidence as this is arguably the Golden Bears’ weakest relay on paper. Pay attention to the splits and the time margin here. If Trenton Julian can go 1:31 low, if Destin Lasco can mirror his Pac-12 1:33-low leadoff leg, if Daniel Carr can get under 1:34, if Zach Yeadon can get under 1:33 again, those are all good signs for the Bears.
We don’t know yet exactly who Texas is going to use on this relay. They have enough of a gap, on paper, over the rest of the country to not be at their best and still win, but the signs Texas will be something south of the 6:07.34 they swam at the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational.
Drew Kibler was just a 1:32 on the leadoff leg at Big 12s, but was 1:30.57 mid-season. Texas will need all 4 legs right around 1:32.0 or better to get real ‘momentum’ from this race.
The Texas men will head into the event as the defending champions, top seed, and SwimSwam’s top pick to win the event. As detailed in our official prediction, Texas has been entered with a 6:07.34 seed time which Drew Kibler, Coby Carrozza, Jake Sannem, and Carson Foster posted at the Texas Hall of Fame Invite in December 2020.
Back in 2019, the Texas contingent of Drew Kibler, Austin Katz, Jeff Newkirk, and Townley Haas won the NCAA title while they set a new NCAA record of 6:05.08.
Texas will be joined in the fastest heat of tonight’s final by Cal, Florida, and Texas A&M, who were the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pick, respectively on our top 8 picks earlier this week.
SwimSwam’s 2021 Men’s 800 Free Relay Top 8 Picks:
Provided by Spencer Penland
- Texas A&M
- NC State
Darkhorse: Ohio State and Virginia are viable picks for surprise breakthroughs in this event, though both have a leg that probably keeps them from getting into the top 8. Ultimately this feels like a rather predictable race that will finish pretty close to seed order.
The second fastest heat tonight will feature our 5th through 8th place picks in the event as NC State, Georgia, Stanford, and Michigan go head to head in heat 5 of 6.
As for the first four heats in tonight’s 800 freestyle final, we will see the following matchups:
- Heat 1: UNC / Florida State / Wisconsin
- Heat 2: Notre Dame / U.S. Navy / Georgia Tech / Tennessee
- Heat 3: USC / Louisville / Missouri / Virginia
- Heat 4: Indiana / Virginia Tech / Ohio State / Arizona
Racing tonight will get underway in Greenboro at 6 PM EST. Check back in later to follow along with the official SwimSwam live recap of tonight’s session.