The 2018 Men’s NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships pre-selection sheet was released this morning, and while there weren’t a ton of big surprises revealed, the lists do reveal a couple moves that we expected.
One of those movies that Florida senior Mark Szaranek will be competing in the 200 breast at NCAAs for the first time. For the first three years of his career, Szaranek swam the 200 fly for his Saturday individual event, but had never made finals, finishing 34th his freshman year and 22nd in each of the past two years.
However, Szaranek is an accomplished IMer, with his resume including a tied 1st place finish in the 200 IM and a 3rd place finish in the 400 IM last year, so you knew he had a decent breaststroke. Sure enough, Szarankek popped a 1:51.86 at SECs last month that ranks him 4th on the pre-selection list.
Given that swim and the fact that Will Licon has graduated, leaving the 200 breast wide open, it seemed like a logical move for Szaranek to make the switch. There’s no guarantee of victory, as it’s still a tough field that includes Ian Finnerty, Andrew Seliskar, Connor McHugh, and Mauro Castillo-Luna, but it’s tough to imagine Szaranek failing to score some points in the event, at worst.
Szaranek will still be swimming his traditional 200 IM and 400 IM, where he’s made either the top 16 in both events each of the three years he’s competed at NCAAs. That means he could very well be a three event A-finalist for Florida later this month, likely joining teammate Caeleb Dressel in that category.