The first night of the 2013 NCAA Championships will give out the meet’s first official points (no more psych sheet points, no more seeded points, no more prelims points, these are actual and bona fied points). We’ll see finals in the 200 free relay, the 500 free, the 200 IM, the 50 free, 1-meter diving, and the 400 medley relay.
Vlad Morozov from USC lit up the morning session putting up some of the fastest relay splits we’ve ever seen. In his individual 50, he wasn’t quite as impressive yet, but that hasn’t stopped any sort of buzz about a potential sub-40 relay split in the 100, or a sub-18 relay split in the 50. Morozov will come out for three rounds of action, and if he hits them, this could go down as one of the all-time most impressive single days in swimming history.
Then there’s the story of the team battle. Michigan will almost certainly lead after the first day of the meet, but the Cal men get better as the meet goes on. Anything less than a 30-point advantage for the Wolverines will start to bring some nerves into play.
Men’s 200 Free Relay – Final
Let’s get to the elephant in the room. USC’s Vlad Morozov had the fastest-ever relay split in this race, marking a 17.86 on the Trojans’ third leg. It’s hard to see anything topping that as the swim of this meet, and it was only event one. That is a great start for USC. Read all about that swim here.
But here’s the thing. Auburn, the home to the two guys who had been the fastest ever still won this relay. By eight-tenths of a second. That included three guys, and very nearly four, going under 18 seconds. Marcelo Chierighini (18.99), James Disney-May (18.87), TJ Leon (19.06), and Kyle Owens (18.56) combined for one of the more impressive 200 free relays we’ve seen in textile. They won in 1:15.48, in part thanks to Owens’ addition coming off of prelims where he wasn’t on their foursome. He didn’t have a great 200 IM in prelims, but that split was the second-best of the entire field.
USC, who was in a dead-heat with Auburn at the last exchange, was 2nd in 1:16.22, and Michigan was 3rd in 1:16.49. The Wolverines got an impressive 18.95 split from Zach Turk and an even better 18.79 from Miguel Ortiz on the anchor. That’s a pair of seniors stepping up big.
Texas, even without Jimmy Feigen, ended this relay exactly where they were last year: in 4th place. The time was a 1:16.60, actually a hair better than they were last season. The Longhorns only graduate one leg from that relay, Dax Hill who split 18.86, and when they bring in Jack Conger next season they could continue ascending. Really impressive was an 18.95 from John Murray, just a freshman, on their 3rd leg. He could be the next great sprinter for this team, and was the only freshman under 19 seconds.
Cal moved up a couple of spots from prelims by dropping half-a-second to go 1:16.79. That included a 1:18.90 anchor from Seth Stubblefield. No Tom Shields in finals either, so that’s our answer: he’ll swim the other four relays at this meet.
Stanford was 6th in 1:16.99 (Aaron Wayne and Andrew Saeta both split 19.0’s – more seniors stepping up) and Arizona was 7th in 1:17.97.
Ohio State won the B-Final in 1:17.69, getting a 19.18 anchor from Tim Phillips. Jason Schnur led off in 19.76: a time he probably would’ve liked to have gotten down a few tenths.
Louisville was 10th in 1:17.94. Derek Toomey swam a 19.28 to get Minnesota off to a great start on their 200 free relay, and though they led after 150 yards they slid all the way to 15th. He’s just a junior, luckily, and the Gophers have some good sprinters coming in next year that might help this relay finish.
Men’s 500 Free – Final
Michigan has a great middle-distance tradition; from 1993-2006, they won seven NCAA Championships in the 500 free (we’re counting the 2004 meet where it was a 400 SCM). It had been since Peter Vanderkaay’s days, though, that they’d brought home this title, so they were due for another one.
For the second straight year, Connor Jaeger came into the finals of this race in lane four, but this year, with Olympic fortitude on his side, he took the victory in 4:10.84. He received his award from none other than Mr. Vanderkaay himself.
He was sitting about a second ahead of Texas’ Michael McBroom for most of this race. In past years, that would have been terrifying, because McBroom has a great closing kick. This year, however, Jaeger was able to fight him off for the victory.
McBroom was able to make up about half-a-second on the last 50 yards, but finished 2nd in 4:11.39.
They both come back in the 1650, which for each is the better of the two distance races. That should be another heavyweight battle of the likes of the one we saw last year between Chad la Tourette and Martin Grodzki.
USC’s Cristian Quintero pushed the pace early, but that didn’t last very long. He finished 3rd in 4:13.52 as he seems to still be fine-tuning his pacing in this race.
Georgia’s Matias Koski was the highest-placing freshman in this race, toughing 4th in a lifetime best of 4:13.59. Matthew Barber from Arizona also went a lifetime best in 4:13.80. That cut nearly two seconds off of his previous fastest time from prelims.
Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss was 6th in 4:13.85, followed by Auburn’s Zane Grothe (4:14.44) and Florida’s Sebastien Rousseau (4:15.32).
This is a fast meet early. Everyone in that A-Final improved their prelims swim by more than a second except for Rousseau, who added .01.
Michigan’s Anders Nielsen won the B-Final in 4:16.82, but despite winning both the Championship and Consolation final, this wasn’t a great outcome for Michigan. That’s because their other B-Finalists slipped to 13th, 15th, and 16th, which meant only 6 points for them combined. The good news for the Wolverines is that Cal didn’t move up much either.
Men’s 200 IM – Final
David Nolan, one of the greatest high school swimmers ever, didn’t win an NCAA title as a freshman. He was 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd in his three individual events, with that 3rd coming into this 200 IM.
Some called that “disappointing” based on some alternative definition of the word that I’ve never experienced. Nolan silenced all of those dissenters in one fell swoop on Thursday, winning the 200 IM in 1:41.21. That’s significant both because it’s a title, and also because it’s a lifetime best. This is the first time he’s cleared the 1:41.39 he swam as a high school senior to demolish the National High School Record in this race.
Let’s talk about the swim, though. Nolan was out in 47.38: a mile faster than prelims, but still leaving himself a lot of ground to make up on Florida’s Marcin Cieslak (46.71 opening 100 yards). Nolan’s breaststroke has improved significantly this season (for a time, it looked like he might be their medley relay breaststroker), but his 29.43 was quite a bit slower than he was this morning.
He still trailed Cieslak at that point, which is a tough card to have to play with against a swimmer as good as Cieslak is. Nolan found a little extra burst of energy, though, and finished his race in 24.40 – six-tenths better than his Gator adversary.
Cieslak took 2nd in 1:41.45. Indiana’s Cody Miller was 3rd in 1:41.99, owed to a 28.33 breaststroke split. The end result was a bit slower than he had been at Big Tens, but among the elite IM’s ever, that’s probably the fastest breaststroke leg we’ve seen. Miller would’ve had to go a bit faster on the opening leg, and nobody really pushed the first 100 fast enough to hang with Nolan and Cieslak.
Texas’ Austin Surhoff, the 2010 champ in this race, was a second lifetime best of the day with a 1:42.45 for 4th-place. Josh Prenot of Cal was 5th in 1:42.62, just beating Michigan’s Dylan Bosch (1:43.17) for honor of top freshman. Kyle Whitaker from Michigan – the guy who held the high school record before Nolan – was 7th in 1:43.26, and Cal’s Marcin Tarczynski, the 2012 champ, was a 1:43.28 for 8th.
Stanford’s Tom Kremer (1:43.15) held-back a huge Chase Kalisz breaststroke leg to win the B-Final in 1:43.15. Kalisz was 10th overall in 1:43.26, and Florida’s Dan Wallace was 11th in 1:43.31.
That outcome wasn’t great for either Michigan or Cal, though it was a little better for the Wolverines with the Golden Bears losing a small handful of points as compared to where they sat after prelims.
Men’s 50 Free – Final
The record was on notice in this 50 free flat start. There was little question at this point that USC’s Vlad Morozov would win the race, but whether or not he’d break Cielo’s legendary record of 18.47 was on everyone’s mind.
Morozov’s feet hit on the turn in 8.99. If you want to talk 25 splits (and we certainly do), that’s actually right where he needed to be. Cielo’s fastest swim ever had him turning in 8.88.
Vlad came home in 9.64, but that just wasn’t quite enough, as he finished in 18.63. That makes him the 3rd-fastest 50 yard freestyler in history, and it was the 4th-fastest 50 yard freestyle in history (behind Cielo and Targett, just jumping ahead of an 18.66 from Nathan Adrian).
Vlad’s start was phenomenal on this swim; he may have come in a bit short on his turn, which probably cost him the record; with margins this small, even the tiniest of errors will do that.
Auburn’s Marcelo Chierighini took 2nd in 18.99. Probably not as fast as he had hoped for (he was 18.8 at SEC’s), but Auburn will surely take the points. Minnesota’s Derek Toomey was 3rd in 19.18. The Gophers have had a lot of great sprinters in the last few years, but you’ll be surprised to learn that Toomey was their first A-Finalist in this race since 1992.
Michigan’s Miguel Ortiz added a little bit from his prelims swim, but so did everyone else outside of the top two. The result was a 19.39 and a few points picked up from the morning for Michigan.
Florida’s Brad deBorde was 4th in 19.40, followed by Cal’s Seth Stubblefield in 19.40. That’s a better time than Stubblefield was in finals last year, even though it resulted in a lower position (he was 5th last year in 19.57).
Auburn’s James Disney-May and Cal’s Shayne Fleming tied for 7th in 19.58.
Indiana’s Daniel Kanorr is performing big for the Hoosiers. All season, we’ve been saying that Indiana needs a freestyler, Indiana needs a freestyler. So far this week, their freestyler has been their biggest out-performer. He won the B-Final in 19.42, followed by Michigan’s Bruno Ortiz in 19.56. That was another spot where Michigan moved up from prelims; another Wolverine, Zach Turk, was 11th in 19.66.
Utah’s Nick Soedel was 12th in 19.71; along with diver Josiah Purss on the 1-meter (16th), this is the first time that the Utah Utes have had multiple NCAA All-Americans since 1975. And this is only day 1.
Men’s 1-Meter Diving – Final
This 1-meter became a battle between Stanford’s Kristian Ipsen and Duke’s Nick McCrory pretty early in this final. It didn’t take long from that point, though, for the sophomore Ipsen to make this all about him. On his most difficult dive of the round, Ipsen put up 91-points on his closing dive (8.5’s and 9.0’s) to absolutely dominate the final in 473.75 – breaking the NCAA Championship Record set three years ago by David Boudia at 468.65.
McCrory took 2nd in 436.60, and Missouri’s David Bonuchi was 3rd in 407.45. Texas freshman Cory Bowersox was 8th in this final, making him the first Longhorn to finish in the A-Final as a freshman on the event since Drew Livingston. Livingston went on to win two NCAA Championships on the board.
Indiana’s Darian Schmidt took 6th in 387.90. In the B-Final, Indiana got five more points from Emad Abdelatif, and Auburn picked up four from John Santeiu.
Men’s 400 Medley Relay – Final
This race saw some of the most unbelievable splits we’ve ever gotten in the 400 medley relay. Kevin Cordes swam the all-time fastest breaststroke split of 49.56. Tom Shields swam the all-time fastest butterfly split of 43.48. And ho-hum, Vlad Morozov was just a 40.60 for the 4th-place Trojans.
We’ve focused on the splits in another post (here), but this recap we’ll keep the discussion about the broader race.
Eric Hansen, the head coach at Arizona, has mastered the prelims-finals relay swap as well as anyone in the country in the last two years, and he pulled it off again here. He swapped his middle-two legs from the prelims session, with great success.
Arizona’s Mitchell Friedemann had the fastest backstroke leg of the field, leading the Wildcats off in 45.51. By the time Cordes finished his breaststroke, the Wildcats had the lead by two body-lengths. They then passed off to a 44.86 from Giles Smith. Even with Shields’ amazing split, Cal couldn’t get any closer than two seconds back, as Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or anchored in 42.16 for a total Wildcat win of 3:02.09.
That time was seven-tenths away from the all-time fastest medley relay, which is incredible given how fast Auburn was in 2009 in the rubber suits. The Wildcats could possibly take a run at that record next year; they only graduate Shapira Bar-Or, and bring in a great sprinter Bradley Tandy to take his spot.
Cal was 2nd in 3:04.46. They had three solid splits and one leader, which left them short of the Wildcats who had one solid split, one great split (Smith), and two leaders (Friedemann and Cordes). This loss ended a three-year winning streak for the Golden Bears in the event.
Michigan took 3rd in 3:04.73. Miguel Ortiz split a 45.85 leading off, making him the first Wolverine ever under 46 seconds in the 100 backstroke. Richard Funk had a very fast breaststroke split of 51.51, the second-fastest behind only Cordes, and Sean Fletcher’s 45.15 on the butterfly leg was really good too. There was no bad swim for Michigan, and in fact they were all very good swims, but up against what Cal and Arizona got from specific swimmers, it takes a really incredible leg to keep pace.
The Wolverines were three-tenths back of Cal in 3rd place with a 3:04.73. Though that’s not the victory that they were seeded to get coming into the meet, this isn’t all-bad for Michigan. Coming out of prelims, it looked like Cal had a shot at winning this race and picking up the bonus points that go along with a victory. In that sense, this race could’ve come out much worse for the Wolverines.
USC took 4th in 3:04.98, including that impressive anchor from Morozov. Freshman Maclin Davis had a strong 45.72 on the fly leg. Auburn was 5th (3:05.65) thanks to a strong 41.27 anchor of their own from Marcelo Chierighini.
Texas took 6th in 3:08.18. Dax Hill was a solid 52.61 on the breaststroke leg, though that paled compared to the 51.8 he was in the morning. Florida was 7th in 3:08.40, and Penn State finished 8th in 3:08.42.
Indiana, again choosing not to use Eric Ress on this relay (we’ve only seen one swim from him at this meet – a prelims 200 IM) made a swap from their morning group as well. Out went freshman breaststroker Tanner Kurz, Cody Miller slid from fly to breast, and National Teamer Stephen Schmuhl hopped on the butterfly leg.
That change was the difference between the Hoosiers barely sneaking into the B-Final 16th this morning and winning it this evening in 3:08.40.
North Carolina State took 10th in 3:08.52, including a 45.76 from junior butterflier Barrett Miesfeld, and Georgia was 11th in 3:08.98.
(Interesting to look at – the four fastest legs of this relay, Friedemann Cordes, Shields, and Morozov, would have combined for a 2:59.15 relay. That has to be the fastest we’ve ever seen for that particular stat.)
Team Standings – After Day 1
More analysis will come in a bit, but for now, here’s the top 10 teams after the meet’s first day.
1. Michigan 153
2. California 123.5
3. Auburn 112.5
4. Southern Cali 100
5. Texas 99
6. Florida 97
7. Arizona 81
7. Stanford 81
9. Indiana 68
10. Georgia 34