NC State scratches Held, Williams out of 200 free prelims, focusing on relays

The heat sheets for Friday’s preliminary session at the men’s NCAA Championships show only two individual scratches out of the circle-seeded heats, both coming from NC State.

The Wolfpack scratched a pair of top-20 swimmers out of the 200 free, perhaps saving those swimmers to focus more on relays. That includes 11th-seeded Ryan Held and 19th-seeded David Williams. NC State still has 9-seed Simonas Bilis entered in the event.

NC State, of course, is coming off of their back-breaking relay DQ from last night, where a false start took away the team’s first-ever NCAA relay title. They’ll need solid performances on both day 2 relays to climb back into the points hunt.

NC State also scratched 31st seed Soeren Dahl out of the 100 fly, but he was entered in the fly and the 200 free back-to-back, so scratching one was probably in the plans all along.

Also out of that 100 fly is Texas senior Kip Darmody, who was seeded 25th.

Princeton’s 200 medley relay is now off the heat sheets. They lost their chance at competing after one swimmer fell ill and another missed his day 1 event.

(Update: the heat sheets were reseeded this morning after the original heat sheets failed to scratch Princeton’s 400 IMer Corey Okubo. The updated heat sheets are linked below.)

Full day 2 prelims heat sheets here

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This is why NC State will never be one of the big boys, as much as they want to be. You don’t see any of the big time programs scratching people at the rate of NC State…

That shows a lack of understanding of the situation. The big time programs have more swimmers with them, and NCSU is doing what it needs to do to secure team points which is what the NCAAs are all about. Criticize them for 2 years of relay DQs but to criticize them for scratches is just silly.


It was just an observation on my part. I don’t think it is silly at all. I also have a complete understanding of the situation, thank you.

You stated that NCAAs is all about team points. So you scratch two swimmers that are realistically within scoring opportunities in the 200 Free? You don’t see USC scratching Malone, Michigan isn’t scratching Glanda, etc. I bet is you ask their coaches why their reasoning is they need every point possible.

As for the other school having more swimmers, that justifies NC State having them swim everything possible, to score more points! The argument doesn’t fit this discussion.


I have a feeling it isn’t about team points for NC State anymore now that they lost 40 on the relay. I imagine they want the best chance to win the relays they have left, and they have realistic shots in the 400 free and 800 free and they certainly don’t have a poor 200 medley though they aren’t winning that one.

So Held is 11th seed. If he holds serve, he gets 6 points. If saving him for the relays moves those relays a combined three spots up, it’s a wash. Move four spots and it was a good decision. So you ask yourself, what’s more realistic: four combined spots in the two relays or Held holding serve in the 200? Williams is on the outside looking in and hardly a sure thing for scoring in the 200. Scratching him makes perfect sense.


I can see the logic now from both perspectives. Not certain I’d do it and apparently everyone doesn’t, especially seeing how tight the seeds are for the 800 FR.

The Texas A&M men had a reputation for doing this during the first decade of the 2000’s, too. Similarly built program to NC State at the top end, though not as deep at the time.


Given where they’re ranked – 4th in the 800 with Auburn, Texas and Cal behind them, 3rd in the medley with Cal, Southern Cal, Bama, Auburn and Florida behind them, I’d actually say the latter would be more likely.

Took Bilis a school record to get 10th. Looks like a good call to scratch Held and Williams.


But they lost 6 places in the 200 MR (14 Points)… They can only move up three spots in the 800 FR (10 Points)… Sounds like it backfired if NCAAs are all about team points, as was stated earlier by someone.

Held wasn’t on the 200 Medley, Williams was. And he wouldn’t have made it back in the 200 given the times on the board. Yes, the Medley slipped, but the 800 moved up. You’re speaking as if Williams and Held were guaranteed scorers in the 200. Likely wouldn’t have been.

CT Swim Fan

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Seems to me they’ve made a few mistakes, but are doing just fine. They are becoming more than just a sprint program as evidenced by the events where they have qualified swimmers this year. If they had the quality depth of a Cal or Texas, they could afford to swim some different swimmers in the prelims of relays and just swim the kids that are also doing individual events in the relay finals. Seems like the decisions being made are well thought out.


NC State wins the award for fastest swimmers and palest swimmers 🙂


I don’t know, did you see the pictures of Conger?

CT Swim Fan

Hasn’t exactly been sun bathing weather in the east this winter.

John paxson

Why do they false start every session?? At some point you have to look at their coach

Really? You think for one minute the talk before finals was anything other than “whatever you do, don’t false start!?”


You absolutely cannot put that on the coach.


When they have jumped this many times, you have to consider how they are practicing their starts and what their risk/reward strategy is. Of course the coach is not out there on the blocks, and of course he tells the guys not to jump. But when it happens over and over . . . yes, it’s fair to look at how the TEAM is approaching its relay starts.


When you have the best relay by far (like yesterday in the 200 FR) then it would be prudent to dial back the starts just a bit.

Tom Thibodeau

Typical Paxson always blaming the coach.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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