With the Christmas break over and teams beginning to filter back to whence they came, it’s time to take a look at what the second semester may have in store for the division.
Using a little guesswork, a little historical research and a lot of math, this is the compiled list of what we might be looking at come the fourth day of NCAAs.
Men’s Top 25
In his sophomore year, Ian Gaynor has two top 8 times after midseason. He has the third fastest 50 freestyle time and the 7th fastest 100 freestyle time.
- Birmingham Southern College
If it happens, it’s quite a jump, and it might happen. BSC junior Duncan Bonney is ranked as the second fastest 100 breaststroker in the division post midseason, and the ninth fastest 200 breaststroker. With a tenth fastest time in the 200 IM, he may be putting himself and his team in a place to attract some attention.
- Calvin (42 – 21st)
Sophomore Eli Holstege has Calvin’s top ranking with a 10th in the 100 breast after midseason. He is joined in the top 16 by teammate and junior Caleb Meindertsma. Also keep an eye out for Johnson Cochran to qualify for the NCAA team after taking the third place spot at the met in the 100 breast last year.
- Coast Guard (34 – 24th)
Christian Brindamour. Need I say more? Brindamour is a sprinter, and that’s about it. He’s currently tied for 7th in the 50 (a three way tie, actually) after midseason, but expect him to move up when the Big Meet rolls around. Between the 50 and 100 he scored all of Coast Guard’s points last year, and with graduation removing some competition, he might also be able to move up in the 100 backstroke (which he did not final in last year). It’s a one man show, but when you’re just that good…well…
- USMMA (43 – 20th)
The United States Merchant Marine Academy’s Kevin Lindgren is a senior this year, and while he was eighth in the 100 back last year, he was also first in the 200 back, and will be looking to repeat that. Currently he’s ranked outside the top 16 after midseason, but look for him come NCAAs.
- Whitman (39 – 23rd)
Karl Mering will be a senior this year, and should be competing to put Whitman on the board once again. He’s currently ranked eighth in both his 100 and sixth in the 200 butterfly events, but with his victory in the 100 and third place in the 200 last year, it’s probably safe to say he’ll be moving up this year.
- Amherst (125 – 11th)
The NESCAC makes predictions tough. Amherst lost about half its points to graduation last year and has no one making a top 30 list without a midseason meet. (Which, to be honest, isn’t really a surprise. You need a special pony for that trick.) But they also have a history of showing up at the conference meet and making at least some qualification for NCAAs. So, maybe as a dark horse…? Diver Mark Idleman will be in his senior year and may move up from consols this year in 1 meter and into scoring position on 3 meter.
- NYU (17 – 31st)
Freshmen abound on the possible NYU roster for this year. The top seed for the 100 freestyle is senior Jeremiah Crowley (also ranked second in the 50 free and 100 fly), but he’s got some back up from freshmen Timothy Kou who has two top 8 times (100 and 200 breaststroke) after midseason, and Austin Palmer. Palmer is top 8 in the mile and has the potential to break into top 8 in his 400 IM or top 16 in the 500 free.
- Redlands (53 – 18th)
As a general rule, senior Jeff Depew knows how to finish a race. He was barely edged out in the 200 butterfly last year, and while he’s only ranked4th after midseason, you’ll have to keep an eye on him for that dirty back half at NCAAs. Also look for Depew in the 200 IM (which he won last year) and the 400 IM as he goes head to head with his rival from Mary Washington.
- St Olaf (104 – 14th)
Everyone on St Olaf’s team will come ready to play. Their top qualifier is Billy Brebrick who has the second fastest 200 fly time in the division after midseason and the 6th fastest in the 100 fly. He will be joined by senior teammate Tanner Roe and sophomore Nicholas Wilkerson, both of whom have top 16 prospects. Roe in the 400 IM and 200 fly, Wilkerson in the 200 breaststroke.
- Mary Washington (57 – 17th)
Hugh Anderson doesn’t appear on a top 30 list before midseason…but two days ago he dropped a sub 1:50 200 butterfly to slip into the top 8 in the division. Now that we’re more or less assured he’ll be at the Big Meet, expect him to do something dramatic in the 400 IM as well – after all, this is senior year, folks! (And he owns the NCAA record in that event, too.)
- Stevens (20 – 29th)
Stevens will be looking to get back into the action with a collection of talented young men. The junior Ravi Sun is currently their top contributor with two top 8 times after midseason (including the second fastest time in the 200 backstroke) and the ninth fastest 200 IM so far this year. Also looking to earn some points will be Joshua Lefeber, another junior with top sixteen prospects in both the 200 breast and 200 IM. Junior Tomasz Wolinski is just outside top 16 right now, but might make a run at the 100 freestyle come NCAA time.
- CMS (164 – 7th)
Most of Claremont McKenna Mudd Scripps’ points from last year were from relays. Unless they get that back into gear (which as of midseason, they’re not appearing top 16 on any relay) they’re due for a slip in standings. Returning this year for CMS are diver James Stevick, sophomore Matt Williams (the kid who made the A cuts when everyone was whining that they weren’t possible), Alex Poltash and Conrad Shaab. Williams will have the backstroke events. Poltash is a sprint freestyler and Shaab takes care of the mile and 400 IM.
- Keene (149 – 9th)
The Owls’ strongest contender for NCAAs this year is probably distance athlete Shahar Resman. Perhaps that’s not too surprising considering who Keene’s coach is. Resman has the third ranked time in the 500 freestyle and the mile after midseason, a top 8 200 free time and is just outside the 400 IM top 16. He’ll have to do a little picking, but it’s a fairly safe bet he’ll end up swimming free. Also with top 16 prospects are Ryan Boraski (14 rank in 100 free) and possible Greg Young or Nathan Shepard (both ranked 19th in the 50 and 100 breast, respectively).
- Gettysburg (97 – 16)
Gettysburg is all about the seniors this year. The three athletes who appear on the top 30 list also all appear on top 16 lists. Seniors Jason Potter, Ashton Leyens and Mike Harmon have got this qualification business down to a science. Potter is the most sprint heavy with the top rank in the 50 freestyle and the third fastest 100 after midseason. Leyens has a top 16 time in the 200 free and is right on the cusp with his 100. Harmon’s 200 backstroke is top 8 after midseason. The 200 and 400 freestyle relays could also send some big points to the Bullets.
- TCNJ (203 – 6th)
The College of New Jersey has some tough dogs left over from last year, but they did lose some top quality senior leadership (and points!) to graduation. Coming in as a freshman this year for the Lions is Logan Barnes who has a shot at making a top 16 appearance in the 400 IM. On the distance end, Ryan Gajdzisz is top 16 in both the 200 and 500 freestyles with some wiggle room to move up in the mile as well. Sprint power will be provided by Brett Pederson with one top 16 time (100 free) and two just on the cusp (50 free and 200 free). TCNJ rocked the relays last year, and it looks like they could still make an impact in them this year. (Although winning one is probably a little less likely at this point.)
- Williams (153 – 8th)
Even without an official speedy meet to get some cut times (since the NESCAC schools tend to do most of their qualification at conference meets), there are a number of Eph men who may do some damage at NCAAs this year. Christian Gronbeck was 9th in the mile at NCAAs last year, but may look to move up this year. The Ephs haven’t competed in the mile yet so there’s no direct comparison, but he owns the top time in the 1000 freestyle, more than ten seconds ahead of the top ranked miler. If nothing else, that could be a fun race. Also in good spot for qualifying for NCAAs is Ben Lin, a sophomore with top 16 times in both backstroke events. The Eph men currently have one top 16 relay time in the 200 medley relay.
- Chicago (146 – 10th)
The Maroons stepped their game up last year and may do the same this year. No one who scored points at last year’s NCAAs has graduated, which leaves them with a roster full of athletes w ho know the drill. They currently sit atop the standings in the 200 medley relay by .01 seconds (and .02 ahead of third). Clearly that boat can rock one way or another, but it’s another instance of a November meet time holding up ground the December invites. Thomas Meek is Chicago’s top possibility right now. He’s a junior with a top 8 ranking in the 50 free and the possibility of cracking into top 16 in the 100 free. Also with the top 16 possibility is sophomore Kevin Ku (15th in 200 fly) and freshmen Alex Lin (18th 200 back). Chicago also has the backing of two senior divers this year in Tony Restaino and Matt Staab.
- DePauw (100 – 15th)
DePauw has four top 8 relay prospects, one top 16 and only lost a single point to graduation last year. Senior Casey Hooker will lead the field, though in which events might be the question. Hooker has the third fastest time after midseason in the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly, and is top 16 in both the 100 free and 500 free. Joining Hooker in top 8 position is Blake Lehmann, a junior with a top 8 time in the 100 fly and top 15 times in the 50 free and 100 back. The duo of freshmen with NCAA prospects are Davis Mitchell and Sam McManus who are both right outside top 16 position.
- Wash U. (111.5 – 13th)
Wash U lost nothing to graduation in terms of points from last year and they have no freshmen this year. That means it’s just the same old crew, tearing it up. With four out of five relays in the top 16, they should be making up some points. Their 200 medley relay is the best so far with a top 3 ranking after midseason. Some of the most important athletes on the team will be Reed Dalton, a junior with the top ranking in the 100 butterfly and just outside the top 8 in the 200 butterfly. Also keep an eye on sophomore Justin Morrell who has the second fastest 100 free after midseason and the potential to be top 16 in both the 100 back and 200 freestyle. Let’s also not forget about sophomore Michael Lageski who broke the meet record at NCAAs last year.
- Johns Hopkins (245 – 4th)
JHU has one of the top ranked distance swimmers in the division in sophomore Andrew Greenhalgh. After midseason, Greenhalgh holds the top time in the 500 freestyle and the second fastest in the mile. Also a sophomore, Evan Holder is another Jay worth keeping an eye on. He’s the second fastest ranked 200 freestyler and 200 IM post midseason, and looks like he’ll be trying the 100 breast or 400 IM as opposed to the 500-200IM double he pulled last year. Senior Dylan Davis will provide the backstroke action with the fourth fastest time in the 100 and a top 16 rank in the 200. The Jays’ strongest relay should be the 800 freestyle, but they may also have something to say in the 400 medley relay.
- MIT (236 – 5th)
The Engineers have a few strong freshmen who might break into top 16 in their events, but the real power is going to be with the upperclassmen like Austin Fathman. Fathman is ranked top 8 in both the 100 and 50 freestyles. Teammates Alexander Lednev and Bo Mattix are ranked second and third, respectively in the 100 backstroke (with Lednev also ranked fifth in the 200 back, 200 and 400 IMs). Also, they have a butterfly stud in Luke Schueler who has the top ranked time in the division after midseason in the 200 butterfly. MIT should be looking to pick up a lot of points from relays too, especially the 400 medley and 200 freestyle.
- Emory (246.5 – 3rd)
The Eagle men have a strong crew of athletes this year, headed up by junior Andrew Wilson. Wilson is currently ranked as the fastest athlete in Division III in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and the 200 IM. He is joined by a huge host of freshmen, including Cooper Tollen (top 8 potential in both 100 and 200 breaststrokes). The other pair to keep eyes on are Hayden Baker (senior) and Christian Baker (sophomore). Hayden has top 8 rankings in both butterfly events, where Christian is top 8 in the 200 free, 500 free and the mile. Emory’s men’s relays have lots of potential and right now they have the highest ranked 400 medley relay and the second fastest 200 medley relay. Depending on how well they show up, Emory’s studs might also give Denison a run for second…
- Denison (472 – 2nd)
Big Red has a young team this year as we look towards Nationals. Out of the eighteen guys they have in the top 30 who could conceivably make the NCAA team, six of them are freshmen. The most versatile (if you can call a distance swimmer that) is Stuart Hohm with top 8 times in the 200 and 500 freestyles and a top 16 time in the mile. Also keep eyes on sophomore Jack Lindell who has three times in the top 4 after midseason (200 back, 200 IM, 400 IM). Finally, the medley relays could be eventful as Big Red’s NCAA record holder Damon Rosenburg is back for his senior year. Currently ranked 5th in the 100 breaststroke, expect him to do something big at the meet this year to cap off his collegiate career. Also – divers. Big Red has become synonymous over the past few years with integrating its swimming and diving lineups. Connor Dignan will return for his senior year and – barring any further injuries – should easily claim both titles at the NCAA meet this coming year.
- Kenyon (480 – 1st)
After midseason, the Lords already have twenty-four men in the top 30 with B cuts. What’s most impressive isn’t even the sheer number of athletes who could conceivably represent the team at NCAAs but rather the depth of each individual athlete. Take, for example, senior Harrison Curley. Curley is ranked as the fastest athlete after midseason in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, third fastest in the 400 IM, fifth in the 1650 and 12th in the 500 freestyle. True, he can’t possibly compete in all of those individually, but it sure gives the Lords a good edge, having the ability to pick and choose events. Arthur Conover, a sophomore, is the top seed in the mile (already 10 seconds faster than he was at NCAAs last year), with a top 8 ranked 400 IM. Senior Austin Caldwell has the sprint side of things covered with the top ranked time in the 200 freestyle and top 8 times in the 50 and 100 freestyles. The roster possibilities are full of upperclassmen, so we’ll see if age and experience wins out in the choice for the NCAA roster.
On the men’s side in particular, there are a lot of athletes who don’t come to NCAAs with a team, but as individuals. Some of those who may have escaped notice but are among the top in the division right now are:
- Jesse Novak (Rowan); 4th 50 freestyle, 11th 100 freestyle
- Jack Belford (Wabash); 8th 50 freestyle, 14th 400 IM
- Artur Schneider (Franklin); 13th 100 freestyle
- Dan Simon (Behrend); 5th 100 backstroke
- Wes Walton (Whitworth); 9th 200 backstroke
- Daniel Burke (Nazareth); 15th 200 backstroke
- Dylan Shearer (Kalamazoo); 12th 100 breaststroke
- Orion Martin (Rose-Hulman); 3rd 100 butterfly; 12th 200 butterfly