See live results on NCAA.com
The morning session of the Day 2 prelims are in the books, and some very exciting races are set up for tonight.
200 Medley Relay
The top 5 teams in the medley relay held seed, with Auburn nabbing the top spot headed into finals in 1:24.60. The Tigers looked very fast on their starts, perhaps cutting a few too close for comfort given the DQ’s that have already occured during this meet for false starts, but should set up well for tonight if they can repeat that. Cal continued a strong showing by touching in second in 1:24.99. The Texas Longhorns, who held the lead after the first day of competition, touched in third, followed by Florida, Stanford, UNLV, and Arizona. The Michigan Wolverines and Texas A&M Aggies tied for 8th and will require a swim-off to see who grabs the top spot.
In finals, this will be a race between Cal and Auburn. In the prelims, Cal’s record-setting sprinter Nathan Adrian sat the race out, much like he did in yesterday’s 400 medley, but expect him to be slotted in for the finals. Gideon Louw was very fast, splitting 18.53, as the anchor for the Tigers, but if it comes down to a Louw versus Adrian race, I’ve gotta like a rested Adrian to pull it off. Louw, however, has proven to be an excellent relay swimmer, and should make it a very interesting finish.
For Texas, the effect of the illness may be setting in. Feigen was fast, but not as fast as expected after yesterday’s times. When we spoke with coaches about the illness, the big concern for the fleet sprinters was holding their endurance over such a high volume of races. Feigen is already on his sixth race in 24 hours, and that may be holding him back. Then again, he may have just been resting up for finals. Only time will tell.
Michigan’s Tyler Clary, after a somewhat disappointing result in yesterday’s 200 IM, came back with a strong time in the 400 version at 3:41.28. The Wolverine swimmer, who is the NCAA record holder in this event, was seeded first in both IM distances, but in the 200 added over a second and slid all the way back to fifth. Clary looked to be in great form for this longer race though, as he was as fast or faster in the second half of each stroke (besides the leadoff backstroke), which is very impressive. The second place competitor Clark Burkle also turned in an impressive 3:41.61, but seemed to get slower every 50 until the last one.
In third was Gal Nevo of Georgia Tech in 3:41.93, and he also seemed to be holding a little back in his race. The rest of the A-final was Arizona’s Jack Brown, Texas’ Bryan Collins, Michigan’s Andre Schultz, Georgia’s Billy Creager, and North Carolina’s Tyler Harris.
The famed Arizona Taper seems to be kicking in, as both of their A-finalists dropped big time (Burkle 4 seconds, Brown 1.5), which puts them in a position to move up in the meet standings. But Tyler Clary seemed to just be toying with the field in this prelim, and I expect to see a fantastic swim from him tonight.
The 100 fly will be a huge turning point of the meet tonight. The Cal Golden Bears are extremely strong in this event, and managed to grab the top 2 seeds headed into finals. Tom Shields touched first in 45.67, which wasn’t much of a surprise, but Mathia Gydesen dropping .99 seconds to finish in second at 45.90 was a nice pickup for California.
They will be chased by a very strong field, including Tyler Mcgill of Auburn, who finished third in exactly his seed time at 46.00. Tommy Wyher, the top seed, qualified fourth in 46.06, Texas’ Hill Taylor was fifth, Stanford’s Eugene Godsoe in sixth, and another Cal swimmer, Graeme Moore, in seventh. Georgia’s Mark Dylla and Cincinnati’s Josh Schneider, who won yesterday’s 50 free style, tied for 8th and will require a swim-off, which is the second on the day.
In the team race, Texas, Michigan, Auburn, and Cal each got a swimmer into the B-final. This race sets up to be a showdown between the top teams vying for the national title, and should make for a very heated competition. Any of the A-finalists have the potential to win the race, but I would look for Stanford’s Godsoe and Texas’ Taylor to move up the rankings in the finals.
In the A-final, there will be only 2 colors represented on the caps, which is blue and orange. Texas and Florida both grabbed 3 of the top 8 spots, leaving Arizona with one and Virginia with one.
Florida’s Conor Dwyer took the top spot in 1:33.43, with his teammates Brett and Shaune Fraser (yes, they’re brothers) coming in third and sixth, respectively. Shaune is the defending NCAA Champ in the event. The Longhorns contingent had the second place finisher Scott Jostes in 1:33.54, the fifth place finisher in Ricky Berens, and Dave Walters, who tied for seventh with Arizona’s Jean Basson.
Virginia’s Scot Robison qualified in fourth. All 8 finalists went under a 1:44, leaving a wide-open field in what has become really a glamor event in the past few years. This final has the potential to be the tightest race of the meet; even closer than the 50. Calling a winner is impossible, but I’ve gotta like the chances of the Gator boys with Dwyer and Fraser swimming right next to each other. But don’t sleep on a huge outside run from Walters of Texas. He was in the second heat after coming in with a seed time in the 1:37 range (which everyone knew wasn’t anywhere near his top speed), and dropped 4 seconds without anybody pushing him. If he can get into a race with someone, he can certainly make a big move to the medal stand.
How great is the 800 free relay final going to be between Texas and Florida? Cal, Florida, Arizona, and Stanford each had 1 swimmer in the B-final.
Just like the 100 fly, California had 3 A-finalists in the 100 breaststroke, and just barely missed a 4th. Damir Dugonjic, the NCAA record-holder qualified in third at 52.46, Martti Aljand qualified 5th, and Sean Mahoney finished 7th. Nolan Koon qualified 9th, just .07 out.
Arizona’s Marcus Titus qualified with the top overall time in 52.30 followed by Curtis Lovelace of Stanford in 52.43. George Klein of Auburn was 5th, Scott Spann of Texas was 6th, and Stanford got a second swimmer in with John Criste. This should be another incredible race in the finals, as is quickly becoming a theme of the men’s meet, much moreso than we saw in the women’s meet.
Auburn also had 2 in the B-final.
The 100 backstroke and 100 fly finals will have a lot of overlap, with 3 swimmers grabbing top 8 spots in both races. Eugene Godsoe, who is the favorite to win this one, qualified first in 45.82, followed by Arizona’s Jake Tapp in 46.13 and Cal’s Mathia Gydesen. Barnea and Godsoe, along with Texas’ Hill Taylor who qualified 7th, are all in the butterfly A-final as well.
Other swimmers in the top 8 are Guy Barnea (t-4th), also of Cal, Bryan O’connor of Arizona (t-4th), Omar Pinzon of Florida (6th) and Marco Loughran (8th) of Florida.
Godsoe looks too strong to be caught in this one. Expect him to take the win. Auburn had 3 in the B-final, Texas had 1, and Arizona had 1.
This should be one of the better days of racing the NCAA Championship meet has ever seen, and that’s no exaggeration. The tightness of the A-finals, and even many of the B-finals, sets up for some awesome finishes. The two races to really watch are the 200 free and 100 breaststroke, as they are wide-open and could have a major influence on the team outcomes.