Based on the “eyeball test” alone, it sure appeared Cal and Texas were the two teams swimming the biggest this morning relative to their seeds. And now we’ve got some numbers that back that up. We scored out the psych sheets when they came out a few weeks ago, and this morning, we scored out the results of day 1 prelims.
This should give us an indicator of which teams will likely sit on top of the standings after tonight, and comparing the two scores will show which teams have improved relative to their seeds and which teams have regressed from the conference rounds.
It’s little surprise that the numbers show Cal and Texas as the two runaway improving teams of this morning. California picked up 66 points from where it was seeded to jump into a very close second place to Florida. Meanwhile Texas improved even further, gaining 78 points this morning to jump into third. Those are very significant point swings, keyed especially by the guys on each team who jumped from zero seeded points into an A final swim, like Ryan Murphy in the 200 IM or John Murray in the 50 free.
Despite those big gains, Florida is still predicted to lead the meet after tonight, though the margin would be just 8 points based on this morning’s swimming.
One thing to keep in mind: these scores don’t include diving, which, as we saw in the women’s meet, can make a big impact. Texas might be the most helped by diving of the top teams, making their morning explosion even more dangerous.
Florida actually lost 6 points from seeds, but that number is pretty insignificant. It would only take a few swimmers or relays moving up to erase the margin entirely. On the other hand, Florida has several events with no place to move but down, as Gators occupy the top spot in three of the five races (200 IM, 50 free and 400 medley relay).
Without factoring in diving, Cal is slated to trail Florida by just 8 after tonight, which would make the battle for the team lead just about deadlocked with plenty of events still to come.
Defending champs Michigan picked up 11 points, but didn’t have the sprinting firepower to really make a move this morning. Tomorrow looks like a bigger day for the Wolverines, with their dominant 200 freestylers and the 800 free relay they should have a great chance of winning.
The biggest fallers were NC State. They lost a whopping 81 points from seeds, probably from a combination of that devastating 200 free relay DQ and a bit of struggle for some swimmers holding onto tapers from ACCs. Other teams with disqualified relays suffered points-wise as well, Auburn (-53) and Arizona (-33) particularly.
Beyond Cal and Texas, some of the other biggest risers were Georgia (+17), Minnesota (+16) and Michigan (+11).
We’ll find out tonight which teams can show up for the second session and improve their lots, as these point projections can swing by fairly significant margins based on swimmers moving up and down within their heats, divers adding in points, and most importantly, relays trading spots and avoiding those deadly false starts.
Here are the full numbers. The first column shows our scoring of prelims and the second column is their projected points from the psych sheets. The “+/-” indicates how many points that team gained or lost.
|Team||“Scored Prelims”||“Scored Psych”||+/-|