On the final day of the 2012 American Short Course Championships in Austin, Texas, the big story was two more Longhorns gunning for their NCAA qualifying times in the 200 back.
Fortune has favored the Longhorns this meet, as they’ve added at least four to their roster of potential NCAA qualifiers already in this meet, but numbers five and six were not to be, as Patrick Murphy and Hayes Johnson both came up shy of the mark in the 200 backstroke. Both swimmers were attempting to qualify after coming back from tough mid-season injuries that cost them significant training time – Murphy to his foot, and Johnson’s requiring eye surgery.
The cut-off line looked as though it would fall around 1:43.3; Murphy’s best mark was a 1:43.7 to win the finals session, and Johnson’s best came in a preliminary 1:44.0. Murphy’s non-qualification (barring a successful exhibition swim on Sunday – which will likely come) is a points blow for the Longhorns. He was 14th in the 200 back at NCAA’s last season and likely would have placed in the 100 back this year as well.
In the final, another swimmer, TCU’s Cooper Robinson, was also trying to nudge up his position. The freshman who has already crushed the school record this season was unable to better his 1:43.41 from earlier this year (he took 2nd in this race in 1:44.11), and through everything but the Ohio State Last Chance meet is as on-the-bubble as one can be: ranking 23rd in the country.
In other qualifying action, Missouri’s Yaniv Shnaider shaved a few hundreths off of his 400 IM time in a time trial to nudge ahead of A&M’s Simon Frank, who was unable to improve his time. That puts Shnaider in very good position to qualify for NCAA’s. Missouri freshman Mack Darragh swam a best-time in the 200 fly in 1:45.33, but that won’t be enough to bump the freshman into NCAA qualifying.
As for the non-college swimmers in this race, the women’s 100 free was a battle of great young sprinters who could be future stars – The top 10 were all 53.0 or better (including six better than 52.0, and all were 17 or younger. Leading the pack was 17-year old Cat Galleti out of Florida, who has been having a fantastic meet. She took the title in 50.56, which is a tenth ahead of Alex Hubel in 50.66.
Brendan Hansen followed up his 100 breast earlier in the meet with another first-in-a-long-time in the 200 yard breaststroke. He took the win in 1:54.13 – which is a good, but not great, time. He’s had some trouble with his walls at this meet with so much time out of short course training, and he must be in full training.
The live results application had some glitches in finals, but Garrett Weber-Gale pulled a 42.86 in the 100 free in prelims.