Connor Jaeger, 500 Freestyle Champion at the 2013 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship. Here’s the 500 freestyle recap, as reported on day 1 by Braden Keith:
Michigan has a great middle-distance tradition; from 1993-2006, they won seven NCAA Championships in the 500 free (we’re counting the 2004 meet where it was a 400 SCM). It had been since Peter Vanderkaay’s days, though, that they’d brought home this title, so they were due for another one.
For the second straight year, Connor Jaeger came into the finals of this race in lane four, but this year, with Olympic fortitude on his side, he took the victory in 4:10.84. He received his award from none other than Mr. Vanderkaay himself.
He was sitting about a second ahead of Texas’ Michael McBroom for most of this race. In past years, that would have been terrifying, because McBroom has a great closing kick. This year, however, Jaeger was able to fight him off for the victory.
McBroom was able to make up about half-a-second on the last 50 yards, but finished 2nd in 4:11.39.
They both come back in the 1650, which for each is the better of the two distance races. That should be another heavyweight battle of the likes of the one we saw last year between Chad la Tourette and Martin Grodzki.
USC’s Cristian Quintero pushed the pace early, but that didn’t last very long. He finished 3rd in 4:13.52 as he seems to still be fine-tuning his pacing in this race.
Georgia’s Matias Koski was the highest-placing freshman in this race, toughing 4th in a lifetime best of 4:13.59. Matthew Barber from Arizona also went a lifetime best in 4:13.80. That cut nearly two seconds off of his previous fastest time from prelims.
Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss was 6th in 4:13.85, followed by Auburn’s Zane Grothe (4:14.44) and Florida’s Sebastien Rousseau (4:15.32).
This is a fast meet early. Everyone in that A-Final improved their prelims swim by more than a second except for Rousseau, who added .01.
Michigan’s Anders Nielsen won the B-Final in 4:16.82, but despite winning both the Championship and Consolation final, this wasn’t a great outcome for Michigan. That’s because their other B-Finalists slipped to 13th, 15th, and 16th, which meant only 6 points for them combined. The good news for the Wolverines is that Cal didn’t move up much either.