Races to Watch on Friday: Bigtime Battle Between Casas and Waddell at SECs

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 3

February 21st, 2020 News


With ACC women’s, Big Ten women’s, and SEC men’s and women’s swimming & diving championships all going on simultaneously, plus a dozen mid-major conference championships, there are a number of highlight races to watch on Friday evening.

But, if you’re going to make time on a Friday evening to watch just one race, that race has to be the men’s 100 back at the SEC Championships.

There, Texas A&M sophomore Shaine Casas and Alabama senior Zane Waddell will face off in a heavyweight slugfest between two swimmers who are not only among the best in the country, but who swim the race almost identically.

Consider prelims. Racing in different heats, here were the two swimmers’ splits, by 25:

25y 50y 75y 100y
Casas 10.34 21.52 (11.18) 33.14 (11.62) 44.73 (11.59)
Waddell 10.42 21.57 (11.15) 33.22 (11.65) 44.74 (11.52)

In spite of not racing in the same heat, the two were never separated by more than 8-hundredths of a second via splitting. Casas touched in 44.73, tying the SEC Meet Record done by Alabama’s Connor Oslin in 2017, while Waddell touched in 44.74.

The two will be among the contenders for the NCAA title in March as well. To wit, here are the 6 fastest finals times (A or B final) from last year’s NCAA Championship finals:

  1. Dean Farris, Harvard, 43.66 – redshirt year
  2. Coleman Stewart, NC State, 43.98 – RETURNS (has been 44.82 this season)
  3. Mark Nikolaev, Grand Canyon, 44.33 – graduated
  4. John Shebat, Texas, 44.71 – graduated
  5. Kacper Stokowski, Florida, 44.90 – redshirt/transfer
  6. Gabriel Fantoni, Indiana, 44.96 – RETURNS (has been 46.53 this season)

So, while NC State’s Stewart has to be the favorite heading into NCAAs, Casas and Waddell (the 2019 World Champion in the 50 back) are contenders as well.

Friday evening racing starts at 5:30 PM Central time.

Other Races to Watch on Friday:

  • Women’s ACC Championships, 6:03 Eastern – The 2 best sophomore breaststrokers in the country, Virginia’s Alexis Wenger and NC State’s Sophie Hansson, will go head-to-head in the women’s 100 breaststroke final on Friday evening. Wenger set the ACC Meet Record in prelims with a 58.17, but Hansson remains the overall conference record-holder. UVA probably sealed the meet with their performance in the 100 fly and 200 free prelims, but this should still be a highlight head-to-head of the night.
  • Women’s Big Ten Championships, 6:30 Central – After dropping best times in the 50 free and 100 back, and dropping the best time ever in the 50 back, that has to mean a new best time for the Michigan sophomore in the 100 fly, right? We can only hope. MacNeil has already been a 49.26 this season, which is tied as the fastest time ever, so any time drop will mean a new record. Watch for her teammates Vanessa Krause and Olivia Carter in that A-final as well – the 100 fly to open the session is Michigan’s best opportunity to take a huge bite out of Ohio State’s 83-point lead coming into the day after the Buckeyes didn’t put any swimmers into the A or B final.
  • Mountain West Championships, 6:30 Central – San Diego State has always had a good breaststroking group, but for the second-straight year, the Aztecs have two better than a minute. In prelims, sophomore Samantha Geyer swam 59.56, while junior teammate Klara Thormalm swam 59.60. Nevada junior Donna Depolo is not far behind them. Thormalm was a 48 at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, but Sammy Geyer’s improvement curve has been unbelievable: her best time coming into her freshman year was 1:04.43, while last season she went 1:01.95.
  • Women’s Ivy League Championships. 6:04 Eastern – The women’s 200 medley relay came down to the touch between conference frontrunners Harvard and Princeton, with Harvard anchor Mei Lynn Colby holding off a furious comeback finish from Princeton anchor Nikki Venema. Harvard had a big advantage in the 200 medley on the backstroke leg, and that advantage should hold on the 400 medley – especially with it being Gianna Garcia’s 3rd swim of the session. Harvard’s Jaycee Yegher had a breakout 59.3 breaststroke swim on Friday morning. If she hits a 58 on the relay, that would almost lock this one away for the Crimson. On paper, this one should play out similarly – Harvard building a lead, with Vennema trying to claw Princeton back in at the end.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Texas has a lot of potential in the 1 back, too. Already got 4 guys (Katz, Harty, Jiang, and Staka) under 45.5 at the mid-season meet. We’ll see what happens at Big12.

Will 37
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

Impressive depth for Texas in so many events

Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

Staka could go 44, he could go 48, possibly both in the same day, that’s kinda how it goes with that guy.

Hope he does well though.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »