The Georgia Tech last chance meet, also known as the 2014 Yellow Jacket Championship Qualifier, continued to stir the men’s NCAA Championship qualifying pot on Saturday, with several more invite-worthy swims going in the books during finals.
In the finals of the men’s 200 back, Ohio State’s Steven Zimmerman swam a 1:41.66 to all-but-guarantee his spot at NCAA’s. He was 31st in the country with his time from the Big Ten Championships, but in finals he moved up to about 21st, and it doesn’t seem like there’s enough guys who will be time trialing this race around the country on Sunday to bump out that time.
The fastest swimmer from prelims, Patrick Myers of UNC, improved his time by another .07 seconds. We mentioned after prelims that he needed to be a little faster to really feel comfortable, and a little faster he was, improving by one spot in the national rankings, and then losing a spot to Stanford’s David Nolan and another to Zimmerman, to sit 27th in the country (with an expected 28/29 cut line).
He dodged a big bullet when the Pac-12 men’s 200 back was pretty slow, though there’s still a few last chance opportunities that he could be bumped out. For now, though, he’s in good shape. We’ll keep our readers updated to whether or not that situation changes with any time trials or last chance swims.
Indiana’s Tanner Kurz was a 53.56 in the 100 breaststroke, which was a three-tenths improvement upon his season best but still leaves him out of an NCAA individual bid. Florida State’s Jared Pike took 2nd in that race in 53.63, and Penn State freshman Andy Schuehler took 3rd in 53.68.
Purdue’s Danny Tucker, who over the summer was a U.S. Open Champion, is now in serious danger of not qualifying for the NCAA Championships as a junior in any individual events. He was a 43.69 in the 100 free, which was shy of his best time for the season.
And finally, joining the group of swimmers who dropped big time, but still might come up short, is Ohio State senior Alex Miller. He knocked two seconds off of his previous season best in the 500 free to swim a 4:18.64, but that will move him into just a tie for 33rd place. The cutoff to get an invite in this men’s 500 free looks like it could fall as much as a full second faster than last year. Miller’s time would have been in if this were 2013.
Note: in the 200 fly, where Georgia Tech’s Nico van Duijn swam an automatic qualifying time in prelims, he scratched the final with his spot secure.