For SwimSwam.com, Doug Boyd (swimfever.com), makes his 2013 Men’s NCAA Swimming and Diving predictions (video above).
Here are Braden Keith’s top five predictions:
1. Michigan Wolverines (Seeded Points: 510) – The Wolverine relays need to show up; they’re not fighting just Cal, they’re fighting some stiff challenges from the teams that will finish in the 4-8 range as a team. Dylan Bosch needs to score somewhere high; maybe not even as high as his crazy-good seeds. Just somewhere high. The Wolverines are on the high-end of a few ranges that see only a few tenths to slide many spots in either direction. The pressure is on them: they have a lot further to go down than they do to go up.
2. Cal Golden Bears (Seeded Points: 290) – For Cal to make up the ground and take the points, they need the guys who didn’t score at NCAA’s last year to do damage: Josh Prenot needs to score in three events, for example. They need to pick Michigan off in key events, like the 200 breaststroke where Josh Prenot and Trevor Hoyt are seeded just behind Michigan’s Richard Funk. Even that might not be enough. A lot of the difference between “seeded points” and “needed points” for Cal will have to be in the relays, and without Tyler Messerschmidt they’re down four vital swims out of the 20 they need to shift and shimy around to make the relays work.
3. Stanford Cardinal (Seeded Points: 183) – Stanford is the only team of these top five who will have any diving points coming at NCAA’s. That’s because they have qualified more divers (4) than any other team in the country for the meet except Indiana (who also has 4).
Now, nobody is pretending that four qualifiers will turn into 12 scores. Kristian Ipsen should be good for 50 points himself (remember that last year, when he was 10th on the platform, he dove conservatively to avoid injury prior to the Olympic Trials). If the other three guys combined can muster up another 20 combined the Cardinal will be happy. Beyond that, Stanford didn’t look nearly as rested at Pac-12′s as they have in the past. Aaron Wayne missed the A-Final at that meet in the 50 free, and he should be in the top 8 at NCAA’s. This Stanford roster continues to be one that has more depth than you realize until you start counting scorers. Their relays average seeds between 7th and 8th – that will be a key for the upward mobility of Stanford.
4. Texas Longhorns (Seeded Points: 151) – The Longhorns have two divers qualified for this meet: Will Chandler, who red-shirted last season, and Cory Bowesrsox, a freshman who was 7th on the 1-meter at the USA Diving National Championships in 2011. That will help in a year where the Longhorns’ swimming teams aren’t quite as they good for the last 5 years (where they never placed lower than 2nd). Dax Hill needs to have good relay swims for this team, and some of these sprinters like Charlie Moore and Tripp Cooper need to do something to get some points and become supporting stars for Hill. It looks like Clay Youngquist is back on freshman form, so he could be north of 40 individual points.
5. Florida Gators (Seeded Points: 299) – This Florida team, thanks to the return of Sebastien Rousseau and the addition of one of the country’s best freshmen Pavel Werner, doesn’t have a whole lot of holes left in its lineup. We won’t see a lot of points from them in the 100 back. The pressure is on deBorde to sneak a few out of the 100 (he’ll be great in the 50). But they make up for that in races like the 400 IM or the 200 fly, where 3+ A-finalists are easily a possibility. This is also a much more experienced team than last year. The Gators and Texas for 4-5 could flip-flop either way.