Reported by Jared Anderson.
2017 MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 22 – Saturday, March 25
- IUPUI Natatorium – Indianapolis, IN
- Prelims 10AM/Finals 6PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Texas (results)
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live stream: Wednesday/Thursday Prelims & Finals, Friday/Saturday Prelims / Friday/Saturday finals on ESPN3
- Event Previews
- Live Results
If there was any doubt that NC State has evolved beyond just a talented sprint school, tonight eviscerated it. That’s because the Wolfpack themselves eviscerated the fastest time ever done in the 800 free relay to take an early team lead at NCAAs.
NC State’s team of Ryan Held, Andreas Vazaios, Justin Ress and Soeren Dahl combined to go 6:06.53, crushing the previous U.S. Open and NCAA record by a second and a half. That old record was set last year by the Texas Longhorns, who finished second in this race, but did break their own American record.
Held, the team’s sprint superstar, had a massive 1:31.37 leadoff leg. That would have ranked #4 all-time prior to tonight, though two other swimmers pushed into the top 3 (read more about that here) and bumped Held’s time back to #6.
Vazaios was 1:32.23, Ress 1:32.26 and Dahl 1:30.67 on the anchor leg fighting to hold off a charging field of elite swimmers including American record-holder Townley Haas of Texas and Olympic star Ryan Murphy of Cal. Dahl’s time stands up as the third-fastest relay split in history and makes him the second-fastest relay performer all-time. Haas owns the top two splits at 1:30.42 (from this year) and 1:30.52 (from last year).
Dahl represents Denmark internationally and Vazaios Greece, which means their record isn’t eligible for American record status. But it does break both the NCAA and U.S. Open records, tracking the top collegiate swim and the fastest swim done on American soil.
Here’s a look at NC State’s splits compared to Texas’s from last year’s record-setting relay:
|NC STATE 2017||TEXAS 2016|
|Ryan Held||1:31.37||1:31.89||Jack Conger|
|Andreas Vazaios||1:32.23||1:30.52||Townley Haas|
|Justin Ress||1:32.26||1:33.28||Clark Smith|
|Soeren Dahl||1:30.67||1:32.34||Joseph Schooling|