California sophomore Zheng Wen Quah has entered the 200 IM at NCAAs instead of the 100 backstroke, which he swam last year.
Quah swam the 100 back at NCAAs last year, finishing 21st and out of scoring range by about a half second. However, he was a very late addition to the Cal roster, gaining his eligibility and qualifying for NCAAs in one fell swoop at a last chance meet. He swam the 200 fly (where he got his invite time) along with the 100 fly and 100 back in part because those were the only events in which he had NCAA B cuts and NCAA Championships eligibility.
This year, Cal swam Quah in those three races plus the 200 IM at the mid-season Georgia Invite, perhaps testing the waters for a new NCAA event lineup. Quah’s season-best of 46.22 in the 100 back ranks 37th nationally, while his 1:44.13 in the 200 IM sits 34th. With a few multi-event types taken out of the mix, Quah is ranked 32nd in the 200 IM on the pre-cut psych sheets, and that should pretty much mirror his seed when the sheets are cut. (The top 28 should survive the cut-line and the next three swimmers are already invited in other events).
The move to 200 IM will save Quah from having to swim a 100 fly/100 back double on Friday, though it won’t change point predictions much with Quah not seeded to score in either the 100 back or 200 IM. Quah only has three short course yard 200 IMs on his record, though, having gone 1:49.8 in January and 1:44.1 and 1:44.5 at the Georgia Invite in December. That suggests he may have more time to drop there in a bid to score points for the Golden Bears.
Cal should be in a relatively tight point battle for the NCAA title. Three-time defending champs Texas are still in the mix, and NC State leads the scored pre-cut psych sheets. Quah should be a scorer in the 100 fly and 200 fly, plus relays.