2018 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 21 – Saturday, March 24
- Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Prelims 10 AM / Finals 6 PM (Central Time)
- Defending champion: Texas (3x) (results)
- Psych Sheet
- Championship Central
- Event-by-Event Previews
- Team Power Rankings: Final Edition
- Saturday prelims heat sheets
- Live Stream
- Live Results
Wow, we knew NC State had a great chance of breaking the 400 free relay U.S. Open Record at some point this week, and it was knew it was increasingly likely after the Wolfpack put three men into the 100 free A-final this morning, but still, we just weren’t expecting it in prelims. Assured of an easy route to the A-final, it would’ve been easy for NC State to cruise through prelims, but holding nothing back, the squad of Ryan Held, Jacob Molacek, Mark McGlaughlin, and Justin Ress scorched the pool for a time of 2:44.75, becoming the first team to ever break 2:45.
Swimming in lane four of the final heat of this morning’s preliminaries session, Held lead off in 41.09, becoming the 6th-fastest performer ever in that event, improving on his 41.26 time from the individual 100 free this morning, which makes the #3 seed heading into this evening’s final.
Here’s how Held now stacks up agains the all-time top performers:
Molacek swam 2nd, registering a 41.07, before handing off to McGlaughlin, who kept NC State well in the lead. Ress anchored in a blistering 40.35. While there’s no official list of fastest relay splits, Ress’s time appears to be one of fastest ever, just behind some lightning fast splits by Nathan Adrian and Vladimir Morozov, and of course, behind Caeleb Dressel’s 40.15 just a few minutes before in the previous heat. It is doubly noteworthy as Ress sat out yesterday’s session with a back injury.
The Texas Longhorns set the previous U.S. Open & NCAA Records in the finals of last year’s NCAA championships, where they became the first team to break the 2:46 mark. Meanwhile, NC State put that record on notice when they broke the American Record and swam the 2nd-fastest time ever at last month’s ACC championships.
Here’s at look at the splits from the three fastest relays ever:
|NC State 3/2018||Texas 3/2017||NC State 2/2018|
What stands out is that the Wolfpack set this morning’s mark without Coleman Stewart, who swam the 200 back earlier today, but split 41.66 last month. Sub in his mark for McGlaughin’s, and NC State could (in)conceivably toy with breaking the 2:44 mark tonight.
This is NC State’s 2nd U.S. Open and 2nd American Record of the meet. The Wolfpack opened up the competition Wednesday night with the fastest time ever in the 800 free relay, and finished 2nd in the 200 free relay Thursday with an American Record.
In terms of team race, NC State is probably down too many points to take the team title, but depriving Cal, Indiana, and Texas of a relay win this evening could affect the balance of power in what projects to be a very close points battle for those three teams.