Projecting Men’s NCAA Point Fluctuations From Prelims Scoring


With one session to go, the race for the men’s NCAA title is brutally close. In fact, scoring out prelims (and using psych sheet scoring for the 1650) yields the following scores for the top 3, not including diving:

  1. Indiana – 426
  2. Texas – 425
  3. Cal – 424.5

You can see a more full version of the scored prelims and psych sheets here. But now it’s time to look at the potential fluctuations – where a team could move up or down from its current spots and where teams are locked into their current point floors or ceilings.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on the top three teams, as it would take a small miracle at this point for NC State or Florida to run down the top 3.

Each team’s seeded points are listed, along with a projected trend if those points look more likely to go up or down tonight.

1650 free

Current seeded points:

  • Indiana – 0
  • Texas – 0
  • Cal – 20

Cal is seeded to score two swimmers here, with Nick Norman in the final heat to swim at the beginning of finals and Sean Grieshop in the final heat of the afternoon session.

Grieshop has already had a great meet compared to seed, dropping a second and a half to score in the 500 and dropping a few hundredths in the 400 IM. Norman’s 500 was right at his seed time.

Texas has freshman Chris Yeager sitting 19th, but he gained 3 seconds in his 500 free on day 2. Indiana has no milers.

200 back

Current seeded points:

  • Indiana – 4
  • Texas – 54 (-)
  • Cal – 18 (-)

All three should score here. Texas sits 1st, 3rd and 4th in the A final, so there isn’t much room to move up, and definite potential to move down.

Jonathan Roberts has added time in both of his finals swims so far. On the other hand, John Shebat and Austin Katz have both gotten better as the meet has gone on. Ryan Harty is 14th, which leaves him plenty of room to move up and not much to move down.

Same goes for Cal’s Bryce Mefford, who is 6th, but did gain time in last night’s 200 free A final after an amazing morning swim. Daniel Carr is right in the middle of his heat in 12th, and has been pretty good in finals so far.

Indiana’s Mohamed Samy added a touch this morning, but has been consistently dropping in finals all week.

This event will go a long ways toward determining a winner, with all three teams fighting over the same places in the B final. That heat currently features Carr in 12th, Samy in 13th, and Harty in 14th.

100 free

Current seeded points:

  • Indiana – 21 (-)
  • Texas – 26 (+)
  • Cal – 0

Texas’s A finalists have nowhere to go but up after taking 7th (Townley Haas) and 8th (Tate Jackson) this morning. Brett Ringgold is 14th and went faster leading off the relay, so he’s probably got a shot to move up as well.

Indiana’s Blake Pieroni probably isn’t going to move up, as he’s seeded second only to world-beater Caeleb Dressel. With NC State’s Ryan Held going faster on his relay leadoff, Pieroni could swim well and still move down to 3rd. Bruno Blaskovic is 13th after a big drop. He’s been marginally slower in all his finals swims so far, but by a matter of hundredths.

Cal has no scorers here.

200 breast

Current seeded points:

  • Indiana – 27
  • Texas – 0
  • Cal – 29 (-)

Indiana and Cal are fighting over the same points here. Ian Finnerty is first, and held that spot through finals in the 100 last night. His top challenger is Cal’s Andrew Seliskar, who has generally moved down a little place-wise in finals so far (though he actually dropped time in the 200 IM at night, he still slipped from the #1 spot).

Cal’s Connor Hoppe had the swim of his life this morning, but it remains to be seen if he can replicate it without being out in front of his heat. He’s 7th, though, so there isn’t much room to move down.

IU’s Levi Brock is 10th and was off his best this morning. He doesn’t have much room to move up, but certainly has that capability. He dropped significant time from prelims to finals in the 100.

Texas has no scorers here.

200 fly

Current seeded points:

  • Indiana – 15 (+)
  • Texas – 7
  • Cal – 38

Cal has just about nowhere to go but up here, sitting 5th, 6th and 8th. 5th-place Mike Thomas had a huge drop from prelims to finals in his 400 IM and was consistent in the 200 IM. This is the first finals swim for the freshman Trenton Julian, who might be hard-pressed to match his inspired morning swim. Zheng Quah had a bad finals 200 IM (gaining more than a second a half), but dropped a tenth in his 100 fly last night and can’t move down at all from 8th.

Indiana’s Vini Lanza has been terrific in finals and feels somewhat low-ranked in 4th.

Texas’s Sam Pomajevich can’t move up far from 10th, but has generally been very close to his prelims times in finals (adding 0.4 in the 500 and dropping 0.2 in the 200).

Platform Diving

Current seeded points:

  • Indiana – 14
  • Texas – 26
  • Cal – 0

This one will probably be the kicker for Cal, with no scorers. Indiana has freshman Andrew Capobianco in the championship final sitting 5th which means he’ll earn somewhere between 11 and 20 points – right now seeded at 14.

Texas has Jordan Windle in the national title hunt – he’s the top qualifier out of prelims, ten points up on defending champ David Dinsmore of Miami. Those two look like the class of the field, so while Windle can’t move up, he’s also probably scoring 17 or 20 points tonight.

In addition, Jacob Cornish is in the B final. He was pretty volatile in prelims, really nailing dives 1, 4 and 6, but flubbing his high-degree-of-difficulty 5th-rounder for mostly 3.5s. He could contend for as many as 9 points but right now should score ballpark 5. We’ll update after diving consols this afternoon.

Update: Cornish moved up to 11th in the consols, earning 6 points for Texas.

400 Free Relay

Current seeded points:

  • Indiana – 34 (-)
  • Texas – 32 (+)
  • Cal – 28

IU has the most to lose in this event, without a big lineup change in their back pocket. Ali Khalafalla swam an inspired anchor leg this morning (41.76), but it’s fair to wonder if that’s repeatable based on how he split it (19.3/22.4) and how inconsistent he’s been this week (19.7 leading off the 200 free relay Thursday morning, then 19.3 individually later in that session, then  19.4 leading off the relay at night). Mohamed Samy led off in 42.40 this morning. It’s possible Vini Lanza could be faster, but it’s a tough choice who he’d replace.

Texas used Jeff Newkirk for a 42.9 split this morning; replacing him with Joseph Schooling would probably cut at least a second and a half, maybe up to two seconds based on Schooling’s 41.0 split from last year.

Cal probably used their best lineup this morning but definitely didn’t swim to potential. Ryan Hoffer split 42.12 when he split 41.4 on the medley relay Thursday. Most of their relay should be fresh tonight, with Hoffer, Justin Lynch and Michael Jensen missing the 100 free B final narrowly.


In all, Texas probably seems best set up to improve their projected points, while Cal seems more prone to falling a bit from projections. Indiana has a little of both, depending on the event.

IU is seeded to finish one point ahead of Texas, but when you factor in an 11-point diving advantage for Texas, it looks like the Longhorns are the presumptive favorites for tonight’s national team title.

If this meet has taught us anything, though, it’s that there’s really no predicting anything. What we do know is that tonight’s meet may come down to a 2-point swing in a B final somewhere, which should keep us all on the edge of our seats through the final race tonight.

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Steve Nolan
3 years ago

I’m gonna have a heart attacks.

Yes. Plural.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
3 years ago

Hahahaha!!! ???

3 years ago

Hmmm… I want to see how Townley’s tactic: “I just go fast from the start and do not let anyone pass me,” will work with Dressel? 🙂

3 years ago

What is the swim scoring? Minus diving?

Joel Lin
Reply to  HulkSwim
3 years ago

Take away diving & Cal won the meet in the pool. But…diving looks to be the exilir for the Horns to take it tonite. Anything can happen, but the way it papers up it is Texas’ meet to lose now.

The 100 free absolutely killed the Bears. IU has a shot, but I think the Bears are on the outside looking in.

Reply to  Joel Lin
3 years ago

It’s Swimming…and DIVING! Can’t just not give credits to our phenomenal divers and exclude their hard work!

Reply to  Joel Lin
3 years ago

Cal spent 25% more swimming dollars than Tex and likely IND. I think they would need 460 or so total to make it worthwhile to ignore diving.

Reply to  Joel Lin
3 years ago

This comes up almost every year. Certain teams throw all of their money at swimming, some choose to throw some of their money at both swimming and diving. Cal has the most swimming points. But there isn’t a separate point competition for the swimming events alone. I don’t think it is the case this year but in the past Texas has left swimmers home to bring divers. It is the choice each team makes in order to win the title. And given that Grieshop swam well, Cal may still win the title. But it is the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

3 years ago

Texas’s fate is in their own hands. If they swim well, there’s not a whole lot Indiana can do. However, it’s not like it will take a miracle for Indiana to win. They have a real shot. They just need to swim lights out and Texas needs to leave 5-10 points on the table.

3 years ago

Crazy that Zane Grothe is killing it training distance at IU, but Indiana has no 500 or 1650 swimmers….

3 years ago

If cal had representation in the 100 and hoffer swam to form they could’ve won the meet

Reply to  Swimfan
3 years ago

Cal still isn’t out of it. Their task is tougher than Indiana or Texas but I wouldn’t give up on them yet.

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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