Smith and Casas Both Scratch Events They Were Seeded to Win on Day 3

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 11

February 24th, 2021 College, News, SEC


With the first real choice of his SEC Championships schedule to make so far, Texas A&M’s star junior Shaine Casas has opted for the 100 fly over the 100 back and 400 IM on Thursday.

Casas is ranked 3rd in the country so far this season in the 100 fly with a best time of 44.98, behind only Texas senior Alvin Jiang and Georgia senior Camden Murphy, who will also swim the race on Thursday. Murphy’s season-best time is 44.89.

Also not far behind the two veterans is Georgia freshman Luca Urlando (45.10).

Casas is the fastest swimmer in the country in the 100 back this season by a whopping 1.25 seconds thanks to a mid-season 43.87. In that 100 back, the event that has him on the U.S. National Team, the top seed after his scratch is Georgia’s Javier Acevedo in 45.29.

The Texas A&M coaches have swapped Casas’ events between conference championships and national championships before. As a freshman, he swam the 100 and 200 back at SECs but the 100 and 200 fly at NCAAs.

The 100 back would’ve been a much safer bet to win for Casas on Thursday, and while beating the Georgia butterfliers would be a psychological win for the Aggies in what is still a very competitive team battle, Acevedo is now by-far the front-runner for the same Georgia team in the 100 back. The #2 seed, his teammate Ian Grum, has a season-best of 46.48 – 1.2 seconds behind Acevedo.

This move feels more about getting Casas a championship opportunity to swim both the fly and backstroke races this season, moreso than an obvious points decision.

The 400 IM was Casas’ other pre-scratch entry for day 3 of the meet. He’s the 2nd-fastest swimmer in the NCAA this season in that event, though with Florida’s Kieran Smith lurking, and having just tied his own NCAA Record in the 500 on Wednesday, that race was no given either.

Remember that the Aggies have used Casas on all 3 relays so far in the meet, so they’ll have to leave him off either the 400 medley or 400 free relay to end the meet.

Smith, meanwhile, opted for the 400 IM over the 200 free on day 3 even after a 1:29.48 leadoff split on the Gators’ 800 free relay on Tuesday. That’s the second-fastest swim in the history of that event.

Other Noteworthy Day 3 Scratches/Non Scratches:

  • Texas A&M sophomore Andres Puente Bustamante chose the 100 breaststroke, where he’s the post-scratch #6 seed, over the 400 IM, where he would have been the #4 seed. As the Aggies’ top 100 breaststroker, he still has the 400 medley relay later in the session – so the choice could’ve been as much about saving 600 yards of racing prior to that relay.
  • Missouri sophomore Ben Patton chose to chase the 100 breaststroke, where he’s the #2 seed, instead of the 100 fly, where he was the #6 seed pre-scratch: a rare choice to have to make at this level. Florida’s Dillon Hillis made the same choice.
  • Kentucky’s Mason Wilby, son of former Florida assistant Martyn Wilby, opted for the 200 free, where he’s the 19th seed, over the 100 fly, where pre-scratches he would’ve been the 10th seed. His best 200 free of 1:36.75 came mid-season at the Mizzou Invitational at this same pool.
  • Kieran Smith, as mentioned, and Luca Urlando both dropped the 200 free. That leaves Texas A&M’s Mark Theall as the top seed, trailed closely by Jake Magahey, who swam a 4:06 in the 500 free on Wednesday. Both Theall and Magahey are rangy freestylers, which could lead to a great battle in this event.
  • Georgia sophomore Ian Grum will do the double and swim the 100 back (#2 seed) and the 400 IM (#4 seed). The good news for Georgia is that they’re deep enough in his events where they don’t need to use him on the 400 medley relay.
  • Missouri junior Jack Dahlgren will swim the 200 free (#5 seed post-scratches) over the 100 back (#4 seed post-scratches). Dahlgren didn’t swim a day 2 individual event, which lines him up for a 200 fly/200 back double on Friday. In the relay swims, he’s raced well at this meet: his 1:33.37 was the top split for Missouri as their 800 free relay finished 4th.


Reminder: The entire diving portion of the meet was contested last week.

  1. Florida, 571
  2. Kentucky, 454
  3. Georgia, 424.5
  4. Tennessee, 392
  5. Texas A&M, 382
  6. Missouri, 379
  7. Auburn, 320
  8. Alabama, 308
  9. LSU, 249.5
  10. South Carolina, 155

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1 year ago

OK boy VOLS time to step up and compete like MAN VOLS…you aint wearing a beaver-tail hat!!! Those are official Davey Crocket Coonskin Caps! You can pass UGA if you want it!

JP input is too short
1 year ago

Why is anybody surprised Casas would scratch the 4IM? It’s a one-off training event for him, I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t train for that kind of race one bit.

Reply to  JP input is too short
1 year ago

will be fun to watch him “fly”

Mr Piano
Reply to  SwimFani
1 year ago

Takes out the fly in a 45.88 and tries to hold on

1 year ago

Nooo Shaine why? You just cancelled the match-up of the meet…
I really wanted to see Casas and Smith race the 400 IM.

1 year ago

After what he did on the relay last night, I’d watch out for Adam Chaney in the 100 back.

1 year ago

No 200 free for Kieran. Smh..

Reply to  Hswimmer
1 year ago

he already went 1:29.4, he’s most likely shifting to focus on the 200 at NCAA’s and doesn’t need to swim it another 2 times. Although all of us would surely like to see him swim it again. Kinda similar to what Dean did at NCAA’s in 2019

Reply to  Hswimmer
1 year ago

I know right… I bet he does 200 free at NCAA’s though, I would guess that Florida coaches think that Smith would be more valuable for the team battle in the 400 IM versus 200 free where they have Freeman.

Reply to  Hswimmer
1 year ago

Honestly that was pretty predictable. He did the same last year (while he actually had something to prove). he already has the qualifying time and still probably wants to swim the 400 IM. He will probably swim the 200 free at NCAA tho.

1 year ago

Well, I figured Casas would do 100 fly just because he definitely won’t be swimming it at NCAA’s, so I guess NCAA’s is either 400 IM or 100 back and I’m hoping it’ll be the 400 IM and then a leadoff on the 400 medley for a 100 back time.

Last edited 1 year ago by bobthebuilderrocks

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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, …

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