Produced by Coleman Hodges.
Reported by Jared Anderson.
400 FREE RELAY – FINALS
- NCAA Record: 2:46.03, Auburn, 2009
- American Record: 2:47.02, Texas, 2009
- U.S. Open Record: 2:46.03, Auburn, 2009
Pool Record: 2:47.36, NC State, 2016 (prelims)
- 2015 Champion: 2:47.06, USC
- NC State – 2:46.81
- Texas – 2:46.85
- Florida – 2:47.16
It’s been a long time coming, but NC State won its first NCAA relay title ever in the 400 free relay tonight, going 2:46.81 to touch out Texas by just .04. NC State had shots at the 200 free relay title for the past three years, taking DQs in 2014 and 2015 and finishing second by two tenths this year. But it finally came together this season in the 400 free relay, with the Wolfpack going out fast and outlasting the Longhorns for the win.
Ryan Held was 41.82 on the leadoff leg, and Simonas Bilis popped a 40.80 to give NC State a killer front half. Andreas Schiellerup (42.10) and Soeren Dahl (42.09) closed off the relay, surviving a tough Texas charge.
The Longhorns were 2:46.85, getting a 41.61 from Brett Ringgold and a 41.15 anchor from Jack Conger. Joseph Schooling was 41.97 and John Murray 42.12 for the ‘Horns, who capped off their second-consecutive NCAA team title by finishing within the top 3 in all 5 relay events.
Florida was third in 2:47.16, riding a big-time 40.86 leadoff split from Caeleb Dressel to the bronze. That time ranks as the 3rd-best swm of all-time, just behind the old Vlad Morozov NCAA record Dressel broke earlier tonight.
Fourth went to Indiana, with Blake Pieroni‘s 41.48 anchor leg powering a 2:49.10 for the Hoosiers. Also sub-2:50 were Georgia (2:49.84 on a run of straight 42s) and Alabama (2:49.96 with Kristian Gkolomeev going 41.52 on the end).
Cal’s relay, 3rd coming out of prelims, was DQ’d in the event, a loss of at least 22 points for the Golden Bears, though they were already locked into 2nd place as a team prior to this event.
There was little drama by the final day, with Texas all but running away with the 2016 NCAA title. They topped Cal by nearly 200 points in an insanely dominant showing.
The late DQ made things awfully close between Cal and Florida for second, but the Golden Bears still held on for the runner-up prize, topping Florida by 17.
NC State had a great run as a team, rising all the way to 4th place and finishing just 20 back of the Gators. In the end, it was Georgia outlasting Alabama for the final slot inside the top 5. The Bulldogs earned 14.5 more points than the Crimson Tide.