2024 Men’s Division I NCAA Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


Deep breaths everyone–it’s the first night of the 2024 Men’s Division I NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. How lucky are we that we get another week of fast swimming after all the action at the women’s meet last week?

It’s a simple session tonight with only two events: timed finals of the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relay.

Order of Events:

  • 200 medley relay (top seed: Arizona State, 1:20.55)
  • 45 minute break
  • 800 freestyle relay (top seed: Arizona State, 6:06.14)

After a season of swimming fast essentially every time they dove in, the Sun Devils are top seeds in both relays tonight. They took down the NCAA and U.S. Open records at PAC-12s with a blistering 1:20.55. And the most thrilling (terrifying?) part of that performances was that Leon Marchand was about five-tenths off his fastest 50 breaststroke split. As newly-minter NCAA record holders with even more room to improve, Arizona State are the clear favorites heading into the meet.

But there are challengers: NC State took down the American record in the event at ACCs, only to be outdone by Florida’s quartet minutes later. There are questions about both relay lineups, particularly how the Gators will choose to deploy Josh Liendo tonight. And then there are the Golden Bears, who will be at full power for the first time this postseason after sending the likes of (to name a few) Jack Alexy and Destin Lasco to the Westmont Pro Swim.

Also lingering in the air–will we see a sub-20 backstroke lead-off this year after being so close the last two seasons?

There are similar questions swirling around the 800 freestyle relay. Texas’ blistering 6:03.42 looks safe, but will Marchand, Luke Hobson, Chris Guiliano, or another swimmer break Dean Farris‘ 200 freestyle record leading off? Texas, the defending champions, are in an early heat, and clean water could play to their advantage.

Arizona State is the top seed in the 800 freestyle relay as well, but Florida and Georgia are also seeded in the 6:06 range at 2nd and 3rd, suggesting another tight race.

200 Medley Relay — Timed Final

  • NCAA Record: 1:20.55 — Arizona State (J. Dolan, L. Marchand, I. Kharun, J. Kulow), 2024
  • Meet Record: 1:20.67 — NC State (K. Stokowski, M. Hunter, N. Korstanje, D. Curtiss), 2023
  • American Record: 1:21.66 — Florida (A. Chaney, J. Smith, S. Buff, M. McDuff), 2024
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:20.55 — Arizona State (J. Dolan, L. Marchand, I. Kharun, J. Kulow), 2024
  • 2023 Champion: 1:20.67 — NC State (K. Stokowski, M. Hunter, N. Korstanje, D. Curtiss), 2023

Top 8:

  1. Florida (A. Chaney, J. Smith, J. Liendo, M. McDuff) — 1:20.15 *NCAA, Meet, U.S. Open Record*
  2. Arizona State (J. Dolan, L. Marchand, I. Kharun, J. Kulow) — 1:20.55
  3. NC State (A. Hayes, S. Hoover, L. Miller, Q. McCarty) — 1:20.98 *American Record*
  4. Cal — 1:21.01
  5. Tennessee — 1:21.91
  6. Indiana — 1:22.10
  7. Stanford — 1:22.43
  8. Auburn — 1:22.57

What a race to kick off these championships; we’re only through one event and we’ve already seen our first NCAA record. Coming into this race, Arizona State were the heavy favorites. But the first half of the race showed that Florida, NC State, and Cal were not content to let that be the story.

Last year’s 200 fly champion Aiden Hayes dropped the fastest 50 backstroke in history to get the Wolfpack started, clocking a 20.07 to surpass Bjorn Seeliger‘s 20.08 from 2022. That put the Wolfpack firmly in control of the last timed final ahead of Flordia who got a 20.29 lead-off from Adam Chaney and Cal’s 20.39 from Seeliger.

The Golden Bears had the lead at the halfway mark, courtesy of another fastest split in history, this leg from fifth-year Liam BellBell split 22.25, out-pacing Marchand’s split from 2023 by two-hundredths. Marchand, who was in the water at the time, split 22.59 to pull the Sun Devils from 4th to 3rd.

The Gators got a 22.255 split from Julian Smith to keep them running in 2nd place. Then, Josh Liendo–who they left off this relay at SECs–had a sensational exchange and breakout that propelled the Gators into the lead for the rest of the race. Liendo turned in an 18.97 fly split, which makes him just the second man to split sub-19. His split is now the second fastest all-time.

As we’ve gotten used to seeing, it was Macguire McDuff on the anchor for the Gators. He split 18.34, holding off Jonny Kulow‘s blazing 17.94 and McCarty’s 18.16, to take the win. The Gators swam 1:20.15, taking four-tenths off the NCAA and U.S. Open Records that ASU set at PAC-12s.

Florida – 2024 NCAAs Arizona State – 2024 PAC-12s
Backstroke Adam Chaney — 20.29 Jack Dolan — 20.30
Breaststroke Julian Smith — 20.55 Leon Marchand — 22.71
Butterfly Josh Liendo — 18.97 Ilya Kharun — 19.30
Freestyle Macguire McDuff — 18.34 Jonny Kulow — 18.24
Total 1:20.15 1:20.55

ASU repeated their 1:20.55 from PAC-12s here, which gave them second-place. Ilya Kharun and Dare Rose touched at the same time after the fly legs, but Kulow’s split helped the Sun Devils separate themselves. Kulow is now the third-fastest swimmer in a 50 freestyle rolling split, behind Caeleb Dressel and Vlad Morozov.

Touching 3rd, NC State’s Hayes, Sam Hoover (23.40), Luke Miller (19.35, and Quintin McCarty (18.16) reclaimed the American Record. They briefly held it after their swim at ACCs but then Florida took over after they swam about 20 minutes later at SECs. It’s back with the Wolfpack now, who after replacing all four legs of their 2023 NCAA title winning relay still took 3rd in a record setting time.

800 Freestyle Relay — Timed Final

  • NCAA Record: 6:03.42 — Texas (L. Hobson, C. Carrozza, P. Larson, C. Foster), 2024
  • Meet Record: 6:03.42 — Texas (L. Hobson, C. Carrozza, P. Larson, C. Foster), 2024
  • American Record: 6:03.42 — Texas (L. Hobson, C. Carrozza, P. Larson, C. Foster), 2024
  • U.S. Open Record: 6:03.42 — Texas (L. Hobson, C. Carrozza, P. Larson, C. Foster), 2024
  • 2023 Champion: 6:03.42 — Texas (L. Hobson, C. Carrozza, P. Larson, C. Foster), 2024

Top 8: 

  1. Cal (G. Jett, D. Lasco, J. Alexy, R. Hanson) — 6:02.26 *NCAA, Meet, U.S. Open Record*
  2. Arizona State (L. Marchand, H. Kos, P. Sammon, J. Hill) — 6:04.95
  3. Texas (L. Hobson, C. Carrozza, N. Germonprez, C. Taylor) — 6:05.33
  4. Florida — 6:08.00
  5. Georgia — 6:08.13
  6. Indiana — 6:08.26
  7. Louisville — 6:08.32
  8. Stanford — 6:08.77

Texas set the standard from the second timed final. Leading off for the Longhorns, Luke Hobson took down Dean Farris‘ records in the 200 freestyle with a 1:29.13, shaving two-hundredths off Farris’ mark. He led the Longhorns’ charge as he, Coby Carrozza (1:31.32), Nate Germonprez (1:32.05), and Camden Taylor (1:32.83) took advantage of the open water and put together a 6:05.33. That made them the leaders in the clubhouse with one final remaining.

Then, it was Marchand’s turn. Last year, he anchored the Sun Devils’ relay 1:28.43, the fastest 200 free split all-time. He led off this year, clearly eyeing the NCAA 200 free record. Just one heat removed from Hobson’s swim, Marchand put his incredible underwaters on display and threw down a 1:28.97, becoming the first swimmer to break the 1:29 mark in the 200 freestyle. He takes over the NCAA and U.S. Open records, and Hobson retains the American record.

Marchand’s stunning lead-off gave Arizona State a sizable lead heading into the second leg of the relay. But Destin Lasco made it look like nothing. Over the next 200 yards, Lasco ate into that lead for Cal, running down their second swimmer Hubert Kos with a 1:29.60 split to hand the Golden Bears the lead at the halfway point.

They never looked back, as Jack Alexy split 1:30.50 and Robin Hanson anchored in 1:31.84. The quartet earned Cal’s first win in this relay since 1986 in record-setting fashion as they take down the NCAA, meet, and U.S. Open records that Texas set just one year ago. Texas will keep the American record as Hanson represents Sweden.

Cal — 2024 NCAAs Texas — 2023 NCAAs
Gabriel Jett — 1:30.32 Luke Hobson – 1:29.63
Destin Lasco — 1:29.60 Coby Carrozza – 1:30.50
Jack Alexy — 1:30.50 Peter Larson – 1:33.14
Robin Hanson — 1:31.84 Carson Foster – 1:30.15
6:02.26 6:03.42

Arizona State held onto second as Kos (1:32.29), Patrick Sammon (1:31.91), and Julian Hill (1:31.78) put together a 6:04.95 to improve on ASU’s time from PAC-12s. That’s ASU’s second silver of the session.

Texas’ time from the second heat held up for third place. After that, it was incredibly tight as 4th through 9th were separated by less than a second. Florida earned 4th in 6:08.00, just .13 seconds ahead of their SEC rivals Georgia.

As both Florida and Cal earned 1st and 4th place finishes, they are the co-leaders at the top of the standings heading into Day 2 with 70 points. ASU is in 3rd place, just 2 points behind with 68 points.

Scores Thru Day 1

  1. Florida/Cal — 70
  2. Arizona State — 68
  3. Indiana — 52
  4. NC State/Texas — 50
  5. Stanford — 46
  6. Georgia — 34
  7. Auburn — 30
  8. Virginia Tech/Tennesee — 28
  9. Louisville — 24
  10. Michigan — 18
  11. Missouri/Alabama — 12
  12. Florida State — 10
  13. Ohio State — 6
  14. Texas A&M/SMU — 4
  15. UNC/Arizona — 2

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21 days ago

Wait, so has March and replaced Farris as our Lord and Savior, or is Hobson the US swimming god and March and the god for the rest of the world? Side note: I’ll never get over my disappointment that Farris never made it to the Olympics!

Reply to  Danjohnrob
21 days ago

I can’t get over my surprise he didn’t race the 200 free at trials

21 days ago

ASU’s relay team at their best splits would have been 1:19.75

Cal Fan
21 days ago

Not sure who’ll read this by this time but I just noticed and wanted to point out that Destin Lasco’s 2nd 100 of the 200 was negative split: 23.12 for the 3rd 50, 22.95 for the 4th 50. Insane.

Reply to  Cal Fan
21 days ago

he didn’t do a somersault at the end of the 4th 50 like he did on all the others. He still slowed velocity.

22 days ago

I can only imagine how much Kos’ second 100 hurt. That must’ve been the worst a 24.7 has ever felt

22 days ago

So are they just not going to upload any of the races to YouTube this year? :/

22 days ago

If y’all didn’t pick Cal to win 800 free relay wyd? Lock of the meet for me

22 days ago

I believe mcdonald would’ve been the better option on the relay. Everytime he touches the pool he improves greatly, wouldn’t he suprise if he went a 31.5 for second fastest split in the relay. However, there is no doubt it wouldn’t have made the difference they needed

Last edited 22 days ago by Twitch4l
Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
22 days ago

Is it weird I kinda want Gretchen Walsh to show up tomorrow?

Reply to  Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
21 days ago

To do what?

Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
Reply to  Jeah
21 days ago


About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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