41.34 to Earn a 100 Free A-Final Swim (Day 4 Prelims Time Comparison)


We’re nearing the end of one of the most intense meets on the planet, but times keep improving, at least in some events.

This morning, it took a scathing 41.34 to make the A-final of the 100 free. Last year, that time would’ve placed 5th prelims. Not only that, but this morning’s session saw two men go under 41: Cal’s Jack Alexy (40.88) and Tennessee Jordan Crooks (40.92). That appears to be the first time we’ve seen two sub-41s in prelims.

Here’s an event-by-event look at how the times it took this morning to make the A- or B-finals compared to those times from the last three NCAA Championships.

2019 2021 2022 2023
200 Back (8th) 1:39.37 1:40.20 1:39.49 1:39.54
200 Back (16th) 1:40.86 1:41.08 1:40.37 1:40.75
100 Free (8th) 41.76 41.83 41.52 41.34
100 Free (16th) 42.18 42.47 41.92 41.95
200 Breast (8th) 1:52.75 1:52.30 1:51.32 1:51.44
200 Breast (16th) 1:53.81 1:53.32 1:52.57 1:52.26
200 Fly (8th) 1:40.94 1:41.33 1:40.63 1:41.39
200 Fly (16th) 1:41.77 1:42.51 1:41.76 1:42.24

While the top end of the 200 back was as strong as ever, including a 1:36 from defending champion Destin Lasco, the 8th and 16th places were a little slower than last year’s times.

The 200 breast was a big of a wash, as a slightly slower time made it into the A-final versus last year, but the last time to get into the B-final was a few tenths faster. ASU sophomore Leon Marchand led the field with a 1:49.64, and he should take a run at his own US Open record of 1:47.67 tonight.

Just as in the 200 back and 100 free, a Cal bear put up the fastest time of the morning in the 200 fly, where Gabriel Jett led the field with a 1:39.71. This field was notably slower than in previous years, where we were getting accustomed to seeing multiple sub-1:40s in prelims. The 8th place time this morning was a 1:41.39, nearly eight-tenths slower than last year (albeit today’s 8th place time was a tie), and the 16th place time was about half a second slower than last year.

Overall, it was slightly easier to make the respective finals than it was last year, but with plenty of lightning-fast swims at the top, tonight’s finals session should be as exciting as ever.

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About Robert Gibbs