- Big Question #1: is Michigan the Greatest Program Ever?
- Big Question #2: Who was the swimmer of the meet at the Men’s NCAA Championships?
There are few hotter subjects at any given point of time in college swimming than the impact of international athletes. Some teams swear them off ; some teams live-and-die by them; some teams will pick up a few when brought around, but don’t necessarily make any special effort to do so. Sometimes the opinions voiced publicly on the subject is driven by the fans and alumni, and sometimes it’s driven by the coaches. In the modern day of college swimming, every top program is impacted by international athletes.
While the appropriateness of international athletes in the NCAA is left up to each in their individual opinions, and something we’d dig into in a separate editorial, this report is intended simply to provide information. Or, as some might refer to it, ammunition for those who have strong opinions on the subject. The big question is: just how much of an impact do internationals have on the NCAA level?
Note: The official NCAA Championship results didn’t indicate international athletes or not, as they sometimes do, but we’ve done our best and run it in front of several sets of eyes to make sure we’ve gotten them all.
In total, 770 out of 2,015 individual swimming points at the 2013 Men’s NCAA Championship meet were scored by international swimmers, or roughly 38.2%.
That includes some of the meet’s top names, like Vlad Morozov, Marcelo Chierighini, Christian Quintero, Matias Koski, and Michigan’s Ortiz Brothers.
For the purposes of this analysis, if an athlete is choosing to represent another country internationally, then we’ve counted them as internationals. That means that many swimmers with dual citizenship, or who have grown up in the U.S., like Alabama’s BJ Hornikel (Germany) or Georgia’s Matias Koski (Finland) and Tom Kremer (Israel) are counted as “internationals.” Your perspective on this depends on whether your argument is based on a sense of National pride, a statement about whose tax dollars fund the universities, or an issue of American coaches training other countries’ Olympians. The latter of those arguments falls closest to within our scope, so that’s what we’ve chosen to focus on.
In total, exactly half (20 out of 40) of the scoring teams at the men’s NCAA Championships had individual points from an international swimmer, which is to speak nothing of relay contributors (we haven’t found the time to count those yet, but expect it to be similarly huge).
The top international scorers were none other than the University of Michigan, the eventual National Champions, with 155 individual points from internationals. That includes the aforementioned Ortiz Brothers (Japan, Brazil, Spain, etc.), Anders Nielsen (Denmark), Hassaan Abdel-Khalik (Canada), Dylan Bosch (South Africa), and Richard Funk (Canada).
USC and Florida were the only other programs with more than 100 points from internationals.
Interestingly enough, Cal, if all individual international points were removed, would have won this year’s NCAA Championship; they would be hard-pressed to complain, though, as my instinct is that a similar measure probably would’ve cost them a title in previous years. Outside of the Golden Bears, nobody else was close enough to Michigan for those international points to matter, at least if we’re looking at only individual scoring.
The only team among the top 15 without any international scorers individually was the University of Texas (no big surprise there). It wasn’t for lack of trying though: big-time Israeli breaststroker Imri Ganiel joined the team and trained with them this past season, but won’t compete until next year.
Here’s our full rankings for ‘most individual points scored by international swimmers.’ Sometime over the next few weeks, we’ll look at the impact on the women’s meet, perhaps a rundown of relay scorers, and finally which countries contributed the most points to NCAA’s (though, with multiple citizens like the Ortiz’s, that could get a bit dicey).The top 10 “international” swimmers in the men’s NCAA, based on individual scoring:
|Rank in Int’l||Rank Overall||TOTAL POINTS|
Also, check out the table below for the top 10 individual scoring athletes from the international contingent at the meet.
|Dylan Bosch||South Africa||Michigan||41|
|Joao de Lucca||Brazil||Louisville||40|