Day 1 of the 2013 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana will kick off with 6 event titles up for grabs:
- 200 free relay
- 500 free
- 200 IM
- 50 free
- 1-meter diving
- 400 medley relay
This could be a wild first day, with three individual events that all of the top 5 teams excel in. Auburn and Michigan are projected to have big first days, but Cal needs to make a statement early. In 2010 and 2012, they had great NCAA Championship meets. In 2011, they didn’t drop as much, but still won the title. Will their pattern of alternating success continue? All that’s left now is to find out.
Men’s 200 Free Relay – Prelims
Michigan is already answering questions about what kind of shape they’re in coming in to this NCAA Championship meet. They took the top seed in the 200 free relay in 1:16.80, which is faster than they were at Big Ten’s and one spot better than they were seeded. If Michigan can hold on to that top seed in finals, and the rest of the races on day one go this well, then Michigan could seal up this NCAA title on the first day (though Cal, Florida, and Stanford fans won’t like hearing that).
The splits included an 18.99 from Zach Turk and an 18.79 from Miguel Ortiz. The Michigan seniors are stepping up big.
USC will be pushing them, though, with a 2nd-seeded 1:16.84 that includes an 18.22 split from Vlad Morozov. That’s right on top of the fastest relay splits we’ve ever seen, which currently sit at 18.1’s from Matt Targett and Cesar Cielo in the suited era. As one of our Twitter followers said, “I don’t think a 19.11 (John Murray’s 3rd-leg for Texas) has ever looked that slow.”
The Texas men, though, will be ecstatic with that split from the freshman John Murray, and as expected, moved way up in this relay for the 3rd seed in 1:17.01. Dax Hill was their best split in 18.76.
Stanford was 4th in 1:17.03 (Andrew Saeta anchored in 18.94) and Auburn was 5th in 1:17.06. Note that Auburn didn’t use Kyle Owens in this prelim, so if they make that change it will have an impact on the final standings. The Tigers had a 19.14 leadoff from Marcelo Chierighini, and all of their swimmers but one were 19-lows.
Cal, the team expected to give Michigan the biggest team challenge and the defending champions in this race, are 7th after prelims in 1:17.45. They won’t be concerned though too much yet: remember that last year, they were 8th coming out of prelims before winning the event. Florida just made it in as 8th, in a 1:17.83.
Big splits from the B-Final included a 19.16 leadoff from Minnesota’s Derek Toomey, who looks like he’s held his taper from a great Big Tens meet. The Gophers were 16th.
Georgia dropped a little time from SEC’s, but missed the top 18.
Florida State, who was a contender for top-5 in this relay, was DQ’ed for an early departure.
Men’s 500 Free – Prelims
Early returns at this meet are that it won’t fall into the same slow-swim funk that the women saw early in their meet. Michigan’s Connor Jaeger backed off on his last 50 yards, but still took the top seed in 4:12.81: a time that would have won last year’s meet. Jaeger was the top seed after prelims in 2012 as well, before slipping to 5th. He’ll be relying on some banked Olympic experience to avoid that this year.
Michael McBroom is 2nd in 4:13.61; he put a little more speed into his last 100 yards or so to ensure he made the A-Final, but he’s historically a bit more of a closer anyway. Georgia’s Matias Koski is the 3rd seed in 4:14.44: a bit off of his winning time from SEC’s, but still a very good prelims result.
Michael Weiss in 4:14.94 was just a hair off of his Big Ten time as well, and Florida’s Sebastien Rousseau proved a wise decision to swim this 500 free after not doing it at SEC’s: He’s the 5th seed coming out of prelims in 4:15.31.
Arizona’s Matthew Barber (4:15.70), USC’s Cristian Quintero (4:15.87), and Auburn’s Zane Grothe (4:16.17) snuck into the A-Final in a very tight spread.
There weren’t a whole lot of swimmers from either of the two expected favorites (Cal and Michigan) in that A-Final, but the B-Final will tell a much different story. Michigan has four in that B-Final (for five scorers total), and Cal has two. Michigan’s Anders Nielsen and Hassan Abdel-Khalik just missed giving the Wolverines a second swimmer in the top 8, by about a tenth.
There were some big names that missed this final. Notre Dame’s Frank Dyer was 17th, Georgia Olympian Andrew Gemmell was 18th, and the defending champion in the event Martin Grodzki was 19th in 4:18.24. Texas’ Clay Youngquist also added from his seed time to finish 20th.
Not everything went perfectly for Michigan or Cal this morning; Cal’s Will Hamilton and Michigan’s Michael Wynalda were 22nd and 23rd, respectively, where both teams would’ve loved another scorer.
Men’s 200 IM – Prelims
Florida’s Marcin Cieslak was 2nd in this 200 IM last year; he wasn’t seeded all that highly coming in, but ended up crushing his seed time in the 200 IM with a 1:42.52. His primary is the butterfly races; though he cruised on the first 50 here, that energy allowed him to put up a very fast backstroke leg and split 47.57 going-out in this race.
That will be key for him, as Cal’s Marcin Tarczynski goes out very fast as well. In fact, Tarczynski’s 47.45 was the only better first 100 yards in the field, though the defending champ was only seeded 7th coming out of prelims.
Texas’ Austin Surhoff is 2nd after the morning in 1:42.63; that’s a lifetime-best that clears his time that won the NCAA title in this race in 2011 as just a freshman. Speaking of freshmen, Cal’s Josh Prenot was 3rd in 1:42.95.
Prenot is one of the three best breaststrokers in this top 8, and just behind him there was aA tie for 4th between the other two who would battle for that honor: Indiana’s Cody Miller and Stanford’s David Nolan. Both were 1:43.27, which is a fair distance slower than their seed times. Miller split 29.48 on the breaststroke here (he was about a second better on that split at Big Ten’s) and Nolan split 29.03 on his. That breaststroke is really a stroke that Nolan has improved in the last year.
The last three spots will be guys desperate to move up for the sake of their teams; Michigan’s two A-finalists were freshman Dylan Bosch in 1:43.28 and Kyle Whitaker in 1:43.55. Tarczynski, as we mentioned, is in between them and will have to repeat from an outside lane if he wants to.
Florida’s Dan Wallace is the top seed in the B-Final in 1:43.69. Chase Kalisz (1:44.02) is also in the B-Final. Florida State’s Pavel Sankovich, the ACC Champion, was 16th in prelims.
UMBC’s Mohamed Hussein just missed the B-Final with a 1:44.44. Other upsets include Eric Ress from Indiana (1:44.58), Alex Lendrum from USC (1:44.64), and Nic Fink from Georgia (1:44.75) who all added time to sit outside of the top 16. This race was notably faster to that evening qualifying mark than it was last year; 8-tenths to be precise. A time that would’ve been 16th in prelims last year would’ve been but 26th this year.
Men’s 50 Free – Prelims
Vlad Morozov put in a casual-looking 18.91 50 freestyle to take the top seed headed into finals. That’s not even as fast as he was at Pac-12’s, but he knows at this point that he’s the best in the pool, and he doesn’t even need to push anything to get through prelims safely.
Auburn’s Marcelo Chierighini was 2nd in 19.04, and Minnesota’s Derek Toomey reaffirmed his status as a top-3 contender with a 19.10 coming out of prelims.
Times didn’t slow down much after that top 3 either. Florida’s Brad deBorde was 4th in 19.17, making a top four of all juniors. Michigan’s Miguel Ortiz was 5th in 19.31 as the only A-Finalist for the Wolverines. They would’ve really liked to get a second in, but the confidence will come from how well the elder Ortiz is swimming at this meet: his last as a collegian. He was very good at Big Tens, but maybe just a half-step behind his teammates. That full taper is really hitting for him here.
Cal meanwhile got two into the top 8. Shayne Fleming was 6th in 19.41 and Seth Stubblefield returns to the A-Final with a 19.47 (and a great reaction time of .64 on his start to boot).
In between them is Auburn’s James Disney-May in 19.43. The Tigers sprinters are looking better; two in the A-Final of this 50 is more than they had in the A-Final at SEC’s.
Utah’s Nick Soedel was 9th in the morning, and will lead a very tight B-Final that ranged from his school-record 19.48 to a 19.63 for 16th. Ultimately, even with so many guys so close to that A-Final, the outcome of who did make it wasn’t that surprising. Michigan will have two in the B-Final, and Cal will have 1.
The final spot for this evening was settled by swim-off, as Cal’s Anthony Cox and Louisville’s Joao de Lucca were each 19.63’s the first time around. Either swimmer would have been a big, unexpected boost to his team’s scoring, but du Lucca took it in 19.51, with Cox in 19.79.
Also in that B-Final is Arizona’s Mitchell Friedemann, who was a 19.51 – much better than seed.
Note also that Texas’ Dax Hill didn’t swim this 50 free, which means that he’ll be on all 5 of Texas’ relays. That became very important in the medley, where he showed that he’s the one guy on the Longhorns’ roster that has the breaststroke to make them top-3 contenders.
Men’s 400 Medley Relay – Prelims
Cal made huge gains in this 400 medley relay by taking the top seed out of prelims in 4:05.30. That included a 44.04 split from Tom Shields on the butterfly leg and a 42.5 anchor from Fabio Gimondi. They used freshman Jacob Pebley to lead off (46.45), but may consider using Tony Cox in the evening given how good he looked this morning.
Michigan, meanwhile, was very fast as well in 3:05.63. Miguel Ortiz had another good morning swim, re-breaking his own School Record with a 46.01 on the backstroke. The only leg where Michigan gave up ground to Cal was Shields’ butterfly. Sean Fletcher was a 45.80, a great split against all other swimmers, but even that one leg was enough of a deficit to give Cal the top seed. That shows just how valuable Shields is, though the top-seeded Wolverines still have the most balanced relay.
USC also rode a star, with a 3:06.05 for the 3rd seed. Through 300 yards, they were solid though not spectacular. Morozov, however, anchored in a 40.45 split (18.98-20.47): one of the fastest we’ve ever seen.
Auburn did end up making the switch on their 400 medley relay to put freshman Arthur Mendes on the butterfly and Marcelo Chierighini on the freestyle. It worked out fairly well, with Mendes splitting 46.77 on the fly leg, but they’ll want better from him tonight. Kyle Owens was a 46.11 on their backstroke.
Arizona will be very satisfied with their 3:07.67 for the 5th seed. That’s because they didn’t use Kevin Cordes or Giles Smith on their middle two legs. Those changes (even though Mickelson was awesome at 51.72 – fastest breaststroke of the morning) should account for about a two second improvement if all goes to plan tonight.
Texas was the 6th seed in 3:07.78. They used sophomore Kip Darmody to lead off (46.32) instead of the guy who’s held that leg forever Cole Cragin. Cragin didn’t qualify for the meet individually, but was still eligible for relay swims.
The real story for Texas, though, was Dax Hill on the breaststroke leg. He was a phenomenal high school breaststroker, but coach Eddie Reese all but gave up on it in college. Now as a senior, without the Longhorns having a true breaststroker of this level, he’s reverted back, and the result was a 51.86. That made him one of only three guys better than 52 seconds on their breaststroke split. Hill is on fire at this meet.
Florida was the 7th seed in 3:08.16, and Penn State came in 8th in the morning in 3:08.31.
UNLV took the honors of the top mid-major finishers, getting a 3:09.08 for 9th and at the head of the B-Final. Cody Roberts was a 45.64 on their butterfly leg. Indiana, with no Eric Ress still, just made it into the B-Final in 3:10.59.
This race had the first really huge shakeup of the standings, as Stanford’s relay DQ’ed when senior Aaron Wayne left early on the freestyle leg. That opens the battle for 3rd-place as a team way up. The Cardinal, had the start been legal, probably would’ve been in the B-Final.