NC State Breaks 2:45, Sets U.S. Open Record in 400 Free Relay Prelims

by Robert Gibbs 22

March 24th, 2018 News


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:

Place Swimmer Time
1 Caeleb Dressel 40.00
2 Vlad Morozov 40.76
3 Cesar Cielo 40.92
4 Michael Chadwick 40.95
5 Nathan Adrian 41.08
6 Ryan Held 41.09

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
Held 41.09 Ringgold 42.06 Held 41.45
Molacek 41.07 Conger 41.3 Ress 40.87
McGlaughlin 42.24 Haas 41.01 Molacek 41.71
Ress 40.35 Schooling 41.02 Stewart 41.66
Total 2:44.75 2:45.39 2:45.69

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.

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2 years ago

I’ve got to join the chorus STATE-ment with all the NC State fans. NC state (along with Florida and IU)has really been a huge part of making this particular NCAAs exciting and nail-biting even if they won’t get the title. Wish Cal came to the meet just as lit.

2 years ago

When will you upload the race video’s? I really want to watch heat 2 and 3 🙂

2 years ago

NC State with 2 American records this week. America’s Team.

Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

Dressel finna drop like 5 by himself lol