Blake Pieroni on 1:29: “I couldn’t be happier” (Video)

Reported by Jared Anderson.


  • NCAA record: NC State (Held, Vazaios, Ress, Dahl), 2017, 6:06.53
  • American record: Texas (Conger, Newkirk, Smith, Haas), 2017, 6:08.61
  • U.S. Open record: NC State (Held, Vazaios, Ress, Dahl), 2017, 6:06.53
  • 2017 NCAA Champion: NC State (Held, Vazaios, Ress, Dahl), 6:06.53

Running Top Teams:

  1. NC State – 6:05.31
  2. Indiana – 6:06.01
  3. Texas – 6:07.59
  4. Florida – 6:09.52
  5. Georgia – 6:12.75
  6. California – 6:13.38
  7. Louisville – 6:13.49
  8. Stanford – 6:14.75

Indiana’s Blake Pieroni led off against reigning American record-holder Townley Haasfinishing with the two fastest 200 frees in history along with the first-ever swim under 1:30 – relay start or flat start. Pieroni went 1:29.63 to crush the field, blowing almost a full second off of Haas’s old American record. Haas was 1:30.41 to just sneak under his old national record of 1:30.46 set last year.

But while those two staked their teams to big leads, it was NC State that had the guns left at the end, overtaking IU for the win in the final leg.

That was courtesy of a blazing 1:30.77 from Justin Ress on the anchor leg. Andeas Vazaios led off in 1:31.32, Ryan Held was 1:31.09 and Jacob Molacek 1:32.13 as NC State defended its event title from last year and broke their own NCAA and U.S. Open records with a 6:05.31.

Indiana was also under the old NCAA and U.S. Open records, going 6:06.01, getting a 1:31.9 from Mohamed Samy and a pair of 1:32.2s from Vini Lanza and Ian Finnerty.

Texas, meanwhile, broke the American record – the top two teams each had international swimmers – in 6:07.59. That came courtesy of Haas, Jeff Newkirk (1:32.58), Jonathan Roberts (1:32.36) and Austin Katz (1:32.24).

Florida elected not to use Caeleb Dressel, settling for fourth in 6:09.52 with a 1:31.98 leadoff from Jan Switkowski. Khader Baqlah was also 1:31.64 on his leg.

A few other notable splits from the event:

  • Cal’s Andrew Seliskar: 1:31.28 leadoff
  • Harvard’s Dean Farris: 1:30.55
  • Arizona State’s Cameron Craig: 1:32.76 leadoff
  • Auburn’s Zach Apple: 1:30.74
  • Michigan’s Felix Auboeck: 1:31.90

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Steve Nolan
2 years ago

This might take a second to load and it might be even funnier if you set the sliders to only 1:36-1:36, but:;96

2 years ago

What happened to Auburn? GREAT ANCHOR especially since he dove inso far behind. Sad day when AU does not score in the 800 Free Relay!!!!!

running start to touch backstroke flags
2 years ago

After day 1, it is clear this meet is bigger than the Olympics for real swimming fans. Americans and the many foreign nationals who swim in America are raised on SCY. We relate to it. It’s what we do. Then we beat the world with SCY roots, in LCM (medal count). Not to mention all the other international medalists who swim SCY at American unis. Stoked for the rest of this meet!




A meet which has never featured the greatest swimmer ever is the most important meet?

NCAAs is fantastic, but by definition it only ever features amateur swimmers age 18-22/23. Given many of the world’s best swimmers are pros (or, occasionally, high school age), an elite taper meet which excludes them will never be more competitive than an elite taper meet at which they can swim.

West Coast Swammer
Reply to  Togger
2 years ago

So I’m guessing you prefer the NBA Finals over March Madness? I’ve gotta agree with Running Start. This is the best meet on the planet, and I wish I were there. Seeing Swimming as a Team Sport makes it so much more exciting – for the swimmers and the specatators. Seems to me USA Swimming is trying to copy that with its new Pro Swim format. I’m sure a lot of other people think the same, as the meet sold out so ridculously quickly.


it might be the most fun meet to watch. Team competition adds a whole other dimension. And there’s probably no other meet in the world – even the Olympics – with so many top athletes focusing on it at the same time. Everyone’s got their own favorites to watch. But it’s just a different animal, not bigger or better, just different and awesome.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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