Tyler Messerschmidt is an NCAA All-American born to parents Eric and Allison Messerschmidt on September 11, 1992, in Phoenix, Ariz. He swam club for the Phoenix Swim Club and competed at the high school level at Desert Edge High School. He was a six-time state champion in Arizona, whose young career was highlighted by state records in the 100 and 200 yard freestyle, including the 100 freestyle record previously held by American freestyle legend Gary Hall, Jr.
Messerschmidt joined a very strong freshman class for the Cal Golden Bears, who were looking to defend their 2011 national title. He was immediately established as anchor for both medley relays, and led off the 200-yard freestyle relay at NCAAs in a very impressive 19.37. The 200 free relay and 400 medley won titles, and the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay (which he also led off) finished 2nd. Messerschmidt also had a big impact for Cal individually, as he placed 8th, 9th, and 12th in the 100 free (42.82), 50 free (19.45) and 200 free (1:35.05) respectively.
Struggling academically, Messerschmidt had to sit out of class during the spring semester of 2013. Nonetheless, he was able to lower his bests in the freestyle to 19.25-42.32-1:34.17 in the 50-200 freestyle races at the 2013 Speedo Champions Series Western Region meet.
Cleared to return to Cal for the 2013-14 season, Messerschmidt returned and proved to be a huge boost for the Golden Bears in their big battle with the Texas Longhorns for the 2014 NCAA title. First, he had a big meet at Pac-12’s. Individually, he placed 4th in the 100 free (42.86), 5th in the 50 free (19.48), and 10th in the 100 back (47.73). Messerschmidt also contributed to four Cal A relays, starting off with the 200 medley. He split a lightening-fast 18.77 anchor leg for the Golden Bears, but it was not enough to reel in Arizona’s Bradley Tandy, who was untouchable (18.52). He led off the first place 200 free relay with a time of 19.42, which was slightly better than his individual 50. He was 42.22 to anchor the 400 medley relay, again just a bit off of Tandy, who was 41.96. However, in the 400 free relay, his split of 41.90 was the fastest of any swimmer. Unfortunately for Cal, that relay was disqualified, even though they would have had a two-second-plus cushion in between them and would-be 2nd place Southern California.
Messerschmidt’s next big task was helping Cal to another NCAA title as a key sprint freestyler. The Golden Bears-Longhorns showdown started immediately, as Texas put down the top seed in the 200 free relay, the first swimming event of the meet, in prelims. Cal was the 2nd seed going into finals. Messerschmidt dropped two tenths from prelims to lead off in 19.23, and the Golden Bears would go on to grab their first relay victory of the meet. His 19.16 in prelims of the 50 free on the same day was a personal best, but it was just shy of pushing him into the A final. In the B final that night, he dropped down to 12th with a 19.33. The next day, Cal barely squeezed into the A final of the 200 medley relay, and an 8th place that night would not fare well in their tight duel with Texas, who had put up the fastest time that morning. Cal switched out butterflier Marcin Tarczynski and freestyler Shayne Fleming for Tony Cox and Messerschmidt, respectively. Cox and Messerschmidt each swam much faster than the original 3rd and 4th legs, and Messerschmidt’s 18.65 anchor helped Cal to another victory, coming back from 8th in prelims to take the maximum amount of points in one event. While he was unable to score in the 200 free (1:35.07), Messerschmidt did put up a solid time of 42.50 in the 100 free prelims. While this was a strong time for him, he sat only in 13th. That night, Cal took the lead from Texas after trailing after day two, and Messerschmidt felt the momentum shift. He dropped over two tenths in finals and pushed ahead the entire B final to move up to 9th and further solidify Cal’s new lead. Messerschmidt then led off Cal’s 400 free relay in a 42.64, not as fast as any of his individual 100 free swims, but it helped Cal to finish 2nd behind only Auburn in the event. After that race, Cal had overcome the Longhorns and won the NCAA title.
In his senior season Messerschmidt qualified for the NCAA Championships again, this time during each year of his NCAA eligibility. Messerschmidt first took on the 200-yard free relay, where he was placed as the leadoff leg, setting up Cal as one of the leading splits in the field. Cal’s third leg, Fabio Gimondi, couldn’t hold off Texas’ Jack Conger and Texas took the lead all the way until the end, leaving Cal the silver. He followed up that performance by swimming the individual 50-yard free — he finished 6th, going 19.19. He returned for day two, this time starting off with the 200-yard medley relay where he was the anchor leg. Cal led the entire way after Ryan Murphy’s back stroke leg, and Messerschmidt finished it off helping Cal win gold. On day three Messerschmidt swam the 100-yard free in an extremely evenly split hit, but in the final he didn’t have his best swim and added nearly a half-second from his preliminary time, leading him to an 8th place finish for another All-America honor. He led off the 400-yard free relay, going nearly an identical time, giving Cal the boost they needed to medal, this time finishing with a bronze.
At the 2010 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Messerschmidt finished 11th in the 100 back (57.80) and 9th in the 100 free (50.79). He led off the 400 meter freestyle relay in 50.25, and the Americans would go on to win the title.
Messerschmidt followed up his NCAA debut with strong long course swims at the 2012 Olympic Trials, competing in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle as well as the 100 meter backstroke. His best finish was in the 50 free (22.79) where he placed 22nd. He was 32nd in the 100 free (50.37) and 33rd in the 100 back (56.50).
2014 U.S. Nationals
After taking 2013 off from any national competition, Messerschmidt returned at the 2014 US Nationals. Competing in his signature 50 and 100 free, he came away with new best times in each. He went 22.54 in the 50 to tie with Texas’ John Murray for 17th place. In the swim-off, he went 22.70 to Murray’s 22.35, missing out on the first alternate spot. He swam slightly off in prelims of the 100 free, posting a 50.41 which was only good enough for 49th place. Despite this, he time trailed the event for a new best of 49.95, his first time breaking 50 seconds, and posting a time that would have placed 33rd.