NCAA Record: Dylan Bosch 1:39.33
American Record: Jack Conger 1:39.31
US Open Record: Jack Conger 1:39.31
2014 NCAA Champion: Dylan Bosch 1:39.33
The 200 butterfly is Jack Conger’s world, and everyone else is living in it. The Texas star enters as the favorite after breaking the American record in a time trial at the Big 12 Championships. Because it was a time trial, however, the swim did not count for an NCAA record.
Don’t count Dylan Bosch out from the title hunt, either. Michigan’s junior butterflier was the NCAA Champion a season ago with a 1:39.33, and was 1:40.75 at the Big Ten championships, where he won without much of a challenge. Bosch is seeded third, but If both he and Conger are on their game come Saturday, it could be a very close race.
There’s another pair of Longhorns in the top four. Freshman Joseph Schooling and sophomore Clark Smith are seeded second and fourth with 1:40.59 and 1:41.42 respectively. There are high expectations for the much talked about Texas butterfly group, but the Longhorns look well equipped to handle those expectations with a trio of swimmers in the top five. Plus, John Martens sits at 18th, a very good position to move up.
Worth noting, there are no Florida Gators, A finalists Sebastian Rousseau and Marcin Cieslak both graduated, in the top eight on the psych sheet, but there is one Florida State Seminole, Connor Knight. Knight is seeded fifth heading into the meet with a 1:41.66. He finished ninth a season ago in 1:42.25.
Georgia’s Chase Kalisz is never someone to count out in any event. Kalisz did not final in the event a season ago as a sophomore, but is the six seed this year. He won the SEC championship too with a 1:41.70, setting him up well to make a medal run.
Aside from Bosch, Christian McCurdy of NC State is the only returning A finalist in the top eight. McCurdy took fourth a season ago with a 1:42.18, but is seeded with a 1:42.00, which is telling for how fast the event has gotten this season. McCurdy and Knight battled in the event at the ACC Championships, however Knight won. McCurdy has his work cut out for him.
Newcomer Sam McHugh of Tennessee rounds out the top eight in the event. McHugh sits just .01 seconds behind McCurdy, and finished second to Kalisz at the SEC championships. Prior to Tennessee, McHugh’s top time was 1:43.23. If he continues dropping time like he did at the SEC championships, he will be a swimmer to watch.
Returning A finalist Steve Schmuhl of Indiana is seeded 27th with a 1:44.26. Fellow A finalist Michael Meyer of Arizona is seeded 36th with a 1:44.74.
Top Eight Picks with seed times:
Jack Conger 1:39.31
Joe Schooling 1:40.59
Dylan Bosch 1:40.75
Clark Smith 1:41.42
Chase Kalisz 1:41.70
Connor Knight 1:41.66
Christian McCurdy 1:42.00
Sam McHugh 1:42.01
Dark Horse: Frank Greef, LSU, 1:43.15. Greef is seeded 20th but took 10th in the event last year with a 1:43.46, which again shows just how fast the event has gotten since the meet a season ago. Greef was a 1:43.14 in prelims last season. To make the A final will likely take below a 1:42 to make the finals, so Greef will need a big time drop, but don’t rule the Tiger out.