Juniors Claim All Eight ‘A’ Final Spots In 200 Free At Men’s NCAA Championships


The preliminary results of the 200 freestyle had a peculiar look to them on Friday morning at the Men’s NCAA Championships, as the top eight spots were claimed by swimmers from the same class.

Tonight’s ‘A’ final will be solely made up of juniors, as Texas’ Luke Hobson paced the field in 1:29.75 in what was a blistering morning where six swimmers were sub-1:31.

Last year, two swimmers broke 1:31 in the morning and only two more were under 1:32. The ‘A’ final cut-off in 2023 was 1:32.28.

Hobson was joined by Jack Alexy (1:30.38), Jordan Crooks (1:30.41), Charlie Hawke (1:30.81), Chris Guiliano (1:30.86) and Rafael Miroslaw (1:30.99) under 1:31, and the field is rounded out by Gabriel Jett (1:31.28) and Murilo Sartori (1:31.42).

Let’s not forget that Leon Marchand, another junior, isn’t even in this event but broke the U.S. Open and NCAA Record in the 200 free on Wednesday in the 800 free relay.

The question that arises is….has this ever happened before? If so, when?

Well, at least post-COVID, going through the 2021, 2022 and 2023 Division I NCAA Championship meets for both men and women, it has not. It also didn’t happen at last week’s Women’s NCAA Championships.

Since 2021, the other notable “class-dominated” events at NCAA Championship meets have been:

  • The 100 breast at the 2023 Men’s NCAAs was comprised of either seniors or fifth-year swimmers, which is a separate class that we won’t lump in with seniors. Only two of those eight ‘A’ finalists returned this season, which is why the event was so wide open coming in.
  • In 2022, the men’s 100 breast was only upperclassmen, so juniors, seniors, or fifth-years.
  • At Women’s NCAAs last week, the 100 free ‘A’ final was only upperclassmen: two juniors, two seniors, and fourth fifth-years.
  • In 2021, the women’s 500 free had six seniors in the top eight.

The men’s 200 free having all eight swimmers in the championship heat being juniors could’ve been forecasted pre-meet, as third-year swimmers held seven of the top eight spots on the psych sheets. The swimmers who moved into the top eight as outside seeds were Miroslaw (15th) and Sartori (20th), while ASU’s Patrick Sammon was seeded 7th as a junior and ended up on the outside looking in, placing 12th.

Overall, juniors make up 12 of the 16 swimmers earning a second swim in the event, as half of the consolation final will be third-years. Sammon will be joined by Macguire McDuffKaique Alves and Robin Hanson.

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2 months ago

Is Marchand, Crooks, Hobson, Alexy, Guiliano, Hayes, etc the most stacked NCAA class in history. And that’s not including Matt Sates who left early

2 months ago

Love that fist bump between Giuliano and Alexy. Feels like the start of a new sprint dynasty

IU Swammer
2 months ago

I’m excited for the post-championship analysis comparing what it took to be top 8 and top 16 for both the men and women. Seems like it has been way faster across the board, which is interesting given that the cut lines for making the meet were a little slower.

2 months ago

And the NCAA record holder in this event is also a junior

Spieker Pool Lap Swimmer
2 months ago

Which means next year will be even more awesome

Reply to  Spieker Pool Lap Swimmer
2 months ago

Noooo doubt.

K Brew Addict
2 months ago

Caption should include Jordan Crooks, relevant to the story!

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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