Florida Edges Cal In Epic NCAA Finale By .01 As U.S. Open Record Falls In 400 Free Relay


It was the most fitting way to end the Men’s NCAA Championships.

In the last heat of an epic four days of racing that saw records falling left and right, Florida edged out Cal by one one-hundredth of a second to break the all-time record in the 400 freestyle relay, the Gators’ third relay mark in as many nights.

Florida finished in a time of 2:44.07, followed by Cal at 2:44.08, as they both got under the five-year-old NCAA and U.S. Open Record of 2:44.18 set by NC State in 2018.

Josh Liendo put the Gators out into the early lead in a time of 40.66, following up on his individual 100 free victory with another impressive performance, and he was joined by Adam Chaney (41.10), Julian Smith (41.26) and Macguire McDuff (41.05) as Florida picked up its first national title in the relay since 1983.

McGuire McDuff (photo: Jack Spitser)

Cal’s runner-up squad featured Bjorn Seeliger (41.50), Jack Alexy (40.51), Matthew Jensen (41.12) and Destin Lasco (40.95), as the Bears cemented their second straight team title with the second-place finish. Alexy, who was the runner-up to Liendo earlier in the night in the individual 100 free, had the fastest split in the field.

The previous record set by NC State in 2018 featured a loaded lineup consisting of Ryan HeldJustin RessJacob Molacek and Coleman Stewart.

Split Comparison

NC State, 2018 Florida, 2023 Cal, 2023
Ryan Held – 41.05 Josh Liendo – 40.66 Bjorn Seeliger – 41.50
Justin Ress – 40.62 Adam Chaney – 41.10 Jack Alexy – 40.51
Jacob Molacek – 41.02 Julian Smith – 41.26 Matthew Jensen – 41.12
Coleman Stewart – 41.62 Macguire McDuff – 41.05 Destin Lasco – 40.95
2:44.31 2:44.07 2:44.08

Taking third was Arizona State, which had Leon Marchand scorch a 40.55 split on the second leg to put them right in the mix with Florida and Cal for the majority of the race.

The Sun Devils clocked a time of 2:45.12 and ultimately walks away with second place in the overall standings.

The Gators finish the meet with three relay victories, all in record-setting fashion. Florida won the 200 free relay on Thursday in a time of 1:13.35, shattering a 14-year-old super-suited relay record, and followed up by claiming the 400 medley relay record on Friday.


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Swimswam follower
2 months ago

That’s a picture of the 200 free relay.
Still cool though

2 months ago

Macguire McDuff was clutch on relay anchor all week. And their relays might get even better next year. Savickas swaps in for Hillis, and Scotty Buff for Friese. Most of all I’m looking forward to Buff-McDuff relays lol

2 months ago

it’s crazy that NC State did this prelims/finals relays. Too be clear, I’m not for/against the timed finals, but I wonder Ress/Molacek/Stewart/Held could go with timed finals

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Andrew
2 months ago

Kudos to the old NCState group.
Prelims and finals are rough.
Timed finals is the way to go. Still very exciting

Dressel was absolutely gassed at the end of 2018’s NCAA’s and he still went under 40 seconds. Same thing with Marchand, still won by 2 seconds and went under 147.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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