2023 M. NCAA Previews: Florida Aims to Fend Off Tennessee, ASU in 200 Medley Relay


Last year’s 200 medley relay was the fastest in history, with both Florida (1:21.13) and Texas (1:21.36) finishing under the previous NCAA record from 2017. This year, the first race of the NCAA Championships is shaping up to be even quicker.

Talented freshmen Josh Liendo and Aleksas Savickas join the defending champion Gators, who clocked a 1:21.73 at last month’s SEC Championships — under their meet record from last year but still only the third-fastest time in the country this season. Their path to back-to-back titles in this event will have to go through a couple new kids on the block: top-seeded Tennessee (1:21.43) and No. 2 Arizona State (1:21.69).

The Top 3, On Paper

Sophomore sprint star Jordan Crooks and the Volunteers pulled off an epic upset over Florida at SECs, combining for a 1:21.43 to establish a new SEC Championships meet record, more than half a second ahead of Florida’s 1:22.06 from last year.

Crooks clocked the first sub-19 split ever on a 50 fly relay leg, going 18.90 to take Tennessee from half a second behind Florida to half a second ahead. Before that swim, the fastest 50 fly split in history was a full .46 seconds slower at 19.36, a tie between former Texas standout Joseph Schooling and current Florida senior Eric Friese. Crooks passed off to freshman Gui Caribe, the only new member from last year’s quartet, whose 18.43 anchor was more than half a second faster than Scott Scanlon’s split from NCAAs last year (18.98).

With Crooks and Caribe commanding the back half and sophomore Bjoern Kammann (21.07) and fifth year Michael Houlie on the front half, the Volunteers will attempt to bounce back from their performance at NCAAs last year, when they added time from SECs and placed just out of scoring range at 17th (1:23.68).

Splits Comparison, Top 3 Season-Best Times

Tennessee, SECs ASU, Pac-12s Florida, SECs
50 Back Bjoern Kammann, 21.07 Jack Dolan, 20.65 Adam Chaney, 20.26
50 Breast Michael Houlie, 23.03 Leon Marchand, 22.98 Aleksas Savickas, 23.36
50 Fly Jordan Crooks, 18.90 Max McCusker, 19.66 Eric Friese, 19.91
50 Free Gui Caribe, 18.43 Jonny Kulow, 18.40 Josh Liendo, 18.20
200 Medley Relay Total 1:21.43 1:21.69 1:21.73

ASU is fresh off tying the Pac-12 Championships meet record of 1:21.69 last month, when they cruised to a conference title with both Cal and Stanford getting disqualified. All three new members of the Sun Devils’ relay went faster than the team’s NCAA splits from last year, when they placed 6th in 1:22.25. Sophomore sensation Leon Marchand (22.98) was quicker than John Heaphy (23.31), Max McCusker (19.66) was faster than Cody Bybee (19.83), and Jonny Kulow (18.40) was quicker than Grant House (18.47). The lone holdover from the 2022 squad, senior Jack Dolan, was only .01 seconds slower than his leadoff from last year.

Although the Gators fell short of the SEC title last month, their performance was still promising. Florida junior Adam Chaney was only .05 seconds slower than last year’s NCAAs, when he was under Ryan Murphy’s NCAA record from 2016 but still only the third-fastest in the field behind Cal junior Bjorn Seeliger (20.08) and NC State senior Kacper Stokowski (20.16). On the anchor, Liendo (18.20) was already almost two-tenths quicker than Will Davis (18.38) was last year at NCAAs. The deciding factor might just be Friese’s fly leg, where he split 19.91 at SECs after posting the second-fastest time ever at NCAAs last year (19.36). Friese went 19.64 at last year’s SECs.

After Florida took almost a second off their time from SECs to NCAAs last year, a similar drop seems like it could be on the horizon again this year.

Other Podium Contenders

NC State and Cal figure to be right in the mix for another top-3 finish after tying for third place last year (1:21.69). Both squads feature well-rounded lineups led by the two fastest 50 backstrokers in history between Seeliger and Stokowski.

The Wolfpack also boast one of the fastest back halves in the field courtesy of senior Nyls Korstanje and sophomore David Curtiss, whose 18.76 anchor at ACCs last month equaled his split from NCAAs last year.

Cal is a bit tough to read in this race because of its DQ at Pac-12s; the Bears’ season-best time is a 1:22.84 from November’s Minnesota Invitational. Their back half is new this year, with junior Dare Rose (20.06 in November, 19.84 during Pac-12 relay DQ last month) and sophomore Jack Alexy (18.85 in November) replacing fifth years Trenton Julian (20.12) and Daniel Carr (18.78).

Splits Comparison, Other Podium Contenders

NC State, ACCs Cal, Minnesota Invitational Texas, Big 12s
50 Back Kacper Stokowski, 20.70 Bjorn Seeliger, 20.73 Carson Foster, 21.40
50 Breast Mason Hunter, 23.07 Liam Bell, 23.20 Will Chan, 22.89
50 Fly Nyls Korstanje, 19.72 Dare Rose, 20.06 Caspar Corbeau, 20.28
50 Free David Curtiss, 18.76 Jack Alexy, 18.85 Daniel Kreuger, 18.96
200 Medley Relay Total 1:22.25 1:22.84 1:23.53

Texas enters this showdown far down on the psych sheet ranked 14th this season with a 1:23.53 from its Big 12 Championships victory. The Longhorns face an uphill battle this year having to replace every member of their record-breaking quartet from last year except for Caspar Corbeau, who switched from breast to fly amid the reshuffling. Carson Foster (21.40), Will Chan (22.89), Corbeau (20.28), and Daniel Krueger (18.96) combined for a 1:23.53, a second slower than Texas was at Big 12s last year, but Chan’s sub-23 breast split was a bright spot.

Best of the Rest

Auburn is one of six teams sub-1:23 this season with a 1:22.98 from SECs, where the squad edged Georgia by just .03 seconds for third place. The Tigers’ quartet of Aidan Stoffle (21.11), Reid Mikuta (22.87), Nate Stoffle (20.21), and Kalle Makinen (18.79) just barely squeaked by the Bulldogs’ team of Bradley Dunham (21.23), Kristian Pitshugin (23.49), Wesley Ng (19.96), and Dillon Downing (18.33).

Less than a tenth of a second separates Virginia (1:23.03), Ohio State (1:23.03), and Michigan (1:23.07) from Auburn and Georgia on the psych sheet.

2022-23 Rankings, Men’s 200 Medley Relay

  1. Tennessee – 1:21.43
  2. Arizona State – 1:21.69
  3. Florida – 1:21.73
  4. NC State – 1:22.25
  5. California – 1:22.84
  6. Auburn – 1:22.98
  7. Georgia – 1:23.01
  8. Virginia – 1:23.03
  9. Ohio State – 1:23.03
  10. Michigan – 1:23.07

Stanford is seeded all the way back at 27th after placing eighth last year. The Cardinal’s season-best time of 1:24.47 comes from their dual meet against ASU in January because of their DQ at Pac-12s. Stanford has the potential to go much faster this week with senior Leon MacAlister (20.93) and junior Andrei Minakov (19.42) having gone a combined 1.2 seconds faster at NCAAs last year. New to the squad is freshman Zhier Fan (23.76 in January), but the anchor is a question mark. Freshman Luke Maurer (19.16) was subbed out at Pac-12s for fellow freshman Rafael Gu, but he didn’t register a time because of the DQ.

SwimSwam’s Picks

Rank School Season Best 2022 NCAA Finish (Time)
1 Florida 1:21.73 1st (1:21.13)
2 Arizona State 1:21.69 6th (1:22.25)
3 Cal 1:22.84 T-3rd (1:21.69)
4 Tennessee 1:21.43 17th (1:23.68)
5 NC State 1:22.25 T-3rd (1:21.69)
6 Texas 1:23.53 2nd (1:21.36)
7 Auburn 1:22.98 14th (1:23.25)
8 Stanford 1:24.47 8th (1:22.41)

Dark Horse: Virginia Tech — The Hokies haven’t been able to replicate last year’s times so far this season, but if everyone’s in top form this week, they have an outside shot of making the A-final. Their 1:24.21 from November’s Ohio State Invitational only ranks 22nd this season, and they added time at ACCs with a slightly different lineup. Forest Webb went 21.38 at ACCs, Carles Coll Marti went 22.98 at NCAAs last year, Youssef Ramadan went 19.87 at ACCS moving from free to fly this season, and Luis Dominguez split 19.05 on Virginia Tech’s 200 free relay at ACCs, so the speed is there in theory. Dominguez didn’t swim the 200 medley relay at the meet; Coll Marti anchored in 18.90 instead while Cobi Miro Lopez took over the breast leg with a 24.21 split.

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1 year ago

This prediction didn’t age well

1 year ago

Article aged Ok

brroccoli rob
1 year ago

feels like IU should have been mentioned. Their backstroker could be replaced with Burns and then they would be potentially a second faster. worth considering them for a top 8. especially with a sub 20 and sub 23 fly and breast split at big tens

1 year ago

The fastest 50 Breastroker at the meet isn’t even swimming in the 200 MR

Reply to  TH
1 year ago

He’s swimming fly for Texas

1 year ago

My dark horse pick is Alabama. They had to replace their back half this year, but Menke (20.6) and Maas (22.8) were excellent on the front half of their relay last year. I could definitely see them slipping into 7th or 8th with a 1:22.low

The Juice Is Loose
1 year ago

Will the Hokies use Lopez-Miro on the breaststroke leg again?

1 year ago

NCSU, top 2
Kacper 19.9, Nyls 19.4

Last edited 1 year ago by Breezeway
1 year ago

Tennessee will win w/ a 1:20.99

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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