Grand Canyon’s Mark Nikolaev Makes Program History with NCAA ‘A” Cut

2017 Northwestern TYR Invitational

  • Friday-Sunday, November 17-19th
  • Evanston, IL
  • Short course yards
  • Day 1 Results (live results can be found on MeetMobile)

Grand Canyon University, who are entering their first year as a full-fledged NCAA Division I member eligible for NCAA Championship competition, has their first-ever Division I NCAA qualifier.

Finishing the session on Saturday at the 2017 Northwestern TYR Invitational, Grand Canyon won the men’s 400 medley relay by more than 10 seconds – touching in 3:07.48. That broke the Pool Record of 3:10.32 by almost 3 seconds (set by Grand Canyon at this meet in 2015), and narrowly missed a relay qualification for NCAAs by .02 seconds.

400 Medley Relay Splits:

While that relay entry was missed, leadoff Mark Nikolaev made school history when he swam an NCAA “A” time of 44.99 on the leadoff in the 100 backstroke. With that swim, barring injury or ineligibility, he has become the first swimmer in program history to guarantee himself a spot at the NCAA Championships. It’s also a school record.

The previous season-best time in the NCAA in the 100 back coming into the weekend was a 45.97 by USC freshman Robert Glinta, and nobody was faster than that at either the Art Adamson Invitational or Purdue Invitational on Friday evening. Nikolaev’s previous best time was a 47.49 from the team’s dual meet against Air Force.

Grand Canyon, who competes in the WAC, has built itself to Division I relevance in a hurry thanks in large part to international recruiting. Their current men’s roster has 11 non-American swimmers out of 19 listed, including all 4 members of the winning 400 medley relay on Friday. Those 11 swimmers represent 8 different countries: Russia, Lithuania, Israel, Egypt, Brazil, Poland, Sweden, and Ukraine. The other 8 come from 5 states: California, Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and one swimmer, junior Owen Cameron, from the team’s home state of Arizona.

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2 years ago

Wow that is fast

2 years ago

I’m prerty sure his previous best was 45 low from last year.

2 years ago

Mid Major teams have proved this for a while lol this isn’t some woke news. Look at the 2016 100 breast final, or Chris Swanson winning a national title

Reply to  Uberfan
2 years ago

Or Emily Escobedo

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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