2020 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships
- Wednesday, March 25 – Saturday, March 28, 2020
- IU Natatorium, Indianapolis, IN
- Defending champs: Cal (1x) – results
- Championship Central
- Live Stream
- Psych Sheets
- Live results
Texas sophomore Drew Kibler has made one change to his event lineup for his 2nd NCAAs, dropping the 50 free, in which he finished tied for 9th last year, and opting for the 500 free instead.
This change seemed imminent, as Kibler doesn’t even have a ‘B’ cut in the 50 free this season and sits at #6 on the psych sheet with his 4:11.19 500 free time from the Minnesota Invite. Additionally, Texas doesn’t appear to have another slam dunk scorer in the 500, although four Longhorns are ranked between 15th and 24th.
The real reason this is notable is for its relay implications. Kibler is the quintessential “rangy freestyler,” and last year not only did he swim the 50 free individually, he had the 2nd-fastest split on the Longhorns’ 200 free relay at NCAAs with an 18.62 leg. With Tate Jackson done with eligibility and Jake Sannem absent all season, the Longhorns already needed to replace two legs from last year’s 3rd-place relay, and now they might need to replace one more.
There seems to be basically three ways this breaks down at this point.
First, it’s possible Kibler doesn’t swim the 200 free relay at all. In this scenario, Eddie Reese decides that Daniel Krueger (19.19) and Maxime Rooney (19.24), plus some combination of Alvin Jiang (19.46), Chris Staka (19.56), Matthew Willenbring (19.67) and Caspar Corbeau (18.9 split in high school), is more than enough firepower to turn in a top-notch relay.
Second, Kibler could swim either prelims or finals of the relay. The argument for swimming prelims is that there should be a solid chunk of time between the relay and his heat of the 500, and he could help make sure Texas makes the relay’s A-final. Of course, he could also forgo the relay prelims, but end up swimming the finals of the relay, then basically cruise the 500 free final and settle for 8th-place points, assuming he made the A-final in the morning. Kibler swam on Texas’ A relay at both the Minnesota Invite and the Big 12 Championships. The choice would likely come down to math, and whether or not the time differential between Kibler and whoever would replace him on the relay would figure to be worth more points to Texas than Kibler taking 8th in the 500 and whatever his ceiling in that event would be if he was fresh.
The third option, and probably the least likely, is that Kibler simply goes for it and ends up swimming both iterations of the relay and the 500. Given the Longhorns’ aforementioned sprint depth right now, this doesn’t seem likely at all, and would likely leave Kibler in a world of pain.
Kibler is also entered in the 200 free, where he finished 3rd last year, and the 100 free, where he finished 16th.