The Most & Least Likely Records to Fall at the 2022 Men’s NCAA Championships

2022 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2022 Men’s NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships are upon us. Though we love close and dramatic races, team titles, upsets, and dynasties, it’s impossible to downplay the significance of the clock.

The recent 2022 Women’s NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships was an exceptional showing of talent and team spirit. NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Records were broken in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly (American Record only), 200 breaststroke, 200 IM, and 100 backstroke. In fact, two women swam under the former records in the 100 backstroke. Additionally, the University of Virginia broke the NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Records in the 400 freestyle relay, tied the records in the 400 medley relay, and broke the meet record in the 200 medley relay.

Will we see as many records fall at the men’s meet? Probably not, but some are vulnerable.

Most Vulnerable

These are records that have either recently been broken or feature the current record holder, or another performer that ranks within the top-3 all time in the event. In some cases, a simple lifetime best or program record for relays will amount to a new record.

500 Freestyle, 4:06.32, Kieran Smith, Florida (2020/2021)

Florida’s Kieran Smith and Georgia’s Jake Magahey had some awesome duals in the 500 at the 2021 SEC Championships and NCAA Championships. Georgia’s Matt Sates is the top seed going into this year’s meet, and he could swim down into a 4:06 or 4:07, though we wouldn’t expect anyone other than Smith, Magahey, or Sates to do so. Magahey is the defending NCAA Champion while Smith is the NCAA Record holder, and Sates the wild card. Perhaps all three will swim faster than Smith’s current mark. Regardless of the times, this should be one of the most exciting races to watch at NCAAs.

400 IM, 3:33.42, Chase Kalisz, Georgia (2017)

Chase Kalisz‘s 3:33.42 from the 2017 NCAA Championships was a massive swim. In fact, until Arizona State freshman Leon Marchand came along this season, no other man had ever been under 3:35. Now, Marchand is the 2nd-fastest performer all-time with a 3:34.45, just over a second off of Kalisz’s mark. If Marchand doesn’t break the record this year, his chances of taking this event to new extremes over the next three years will make for exciting viewing and analysis for swim fans.

1650 Freestyle, 14:12.08, Bobby Finke, Florida (2020)

We don’t need to rehash what Florida’s Bobby Finke did last summer in Tokyo. Needless to say, it would be a huge upset if anyone beat him in the mile this weekend. The question is, can Finke beat his own record time? His season best is a 14:27 from the Georgia Tech Invite in November, but he missed SECs so we aren’t fully sure of what he’s capable of doing this year. Given that he’s been 14:12 on three separate occasions, now’s the time to go 14:11 or faster. There is a chance, however, that Finke won’t be fully on his game given that he had to take a step back in February due to health protocols relating to Covid. Assuming he’s fully recovered and in shape, 14:11 is doable. If not, well, he’s still probably a lock to win the race. For now, since he is the fastest all-time by a significant margin in this event, we’ll keep this record in the vulnerable category.

200 Backstroke, 1:35.73, Ryan Murphy, Cal-Berkeley (2016)

Cal’s Destin Lasco became the fastest freshman of all-time in the 200 backstroke at the 2021 NCAA Championships, posting a 1:35.99, also making him the 3rd-fastest performer of all time. Texas A&M’s Shane Casas only missed Murphy’s mark by 0.02 at the 2021 NCAA Championships, but now that Casas has opted to pursue a professional career and is no longer swimming in the NCAA, Lasco has the strongest chance of breaking this record. Lasco’s season best in 2022 is a 1:38.81, so he still has a lot of time to drop to 1.) get back to his lifetime best, and 2.) take down Murphy’s record. However, if anyone is going to do it this season, Lasco would be the guy.

800 Freestyle Relay, 6:05.08, Texas (2019)

Three of the five relay records look pretty safe, though if one is particularly vulnerable it has to be the 800 freestyle relay. If Drew Kibler, Carson Foster, and two of three from Coby Carrozza, Luke Hobson, or Peter Larson all swim their best 200 freestyles, this record is probably going down into the 6:04s. Larson is having a breakthrough season, so perhaps he’ll be the key to Texas lowering their own record.

200 Medley Relay, 1:21.54, Texas (2017)

The team of Anthony Grimm, Caspar Corbeau, Alvin Jiang, and Daniel Krueger from the University of Texas has already been 1:23.00 this season… in a dual meet (Texas’ actual season best is a 2:22.24 from the Big 12 Championships with Cameron Auchinachie on freestyle instead of Krueger). Texas isn’t the only team that will make a run at this record though: enter Louisville. If anyone is going to upset Texas and lower the NCAA and U.S. Open records it will probably be Louisville, who are also the defending NCAA Champions in this race. Louisville also has a new weapon in the 200 medley relay: Dalton Lowe, who posted a 19.50 butterfly split at ACCs in February. Perhaps multiple teams will swim faster than the current NCAA Record. Either way, this one is probably on the chopping block.

In Danger, But Not ‘Sure Things’

These are events that feature individuals or relay teams that have come close to the records in their events, but have not hit them yet. Other things considered are the event schedules of the swimmers with the best chances of breaking certain records.

200 Butterfly, 1:37.35, Jack Conger, Texas (2017)

Louisville’s Nicolas Albiero always swims well at ACCs, though he’s sometimes a little sharper in the conference-level competition than at NCAAs. Having won the NCAA title in the 200 fly last year though, he can focus on going after Jack Conger‘s 2017 record this season, and getting the record is almost certainly an assured victory in the event. Albiero became the 2nd-fastest performer all-time in the 200 fly at ACCs this year, passing Joe Schooling by 0.04 with a sizzling 1:37.92. Conger’s record is still 0.57 faster than Albiero’s new best time, so it’s a little bit of a long shot, but it’s in Albiero’s sights.

100 Breaststroke, 49.69, Ian Finnerty, Indiana (2018)

Only one man has been sub-50 in the 100 breaststroke from a flat start: Indiana’s Ian Finnerty. Others have come close, including reigning NCAA Champion Max McHugh of Minnesota, who boasts a lifetime best of 50.18 from the 2021 NCAA Championships, but McHugh will need to take off another 0.50 to break Finnerty’s 2018 mark. McHugh has been 50.58 this year, so it’s possible he drops another second from his season best and become the 2nd man ever under 50 seconds, and maybe even the fastest of all time, though Finnerty’s 49.69 is a stretch.

200 Freestyle, 1:29.15, Dean Farris, Harvard (2019)

Florida’ Kieran Smith is probably the only man we can see make a legitimate run at this record this year. Dean Farris won’t be swimming the race individually, though he originally broke the record leading off the 800 freestyle relay, which he is expected to do again. However, his season best is a 1:32.67, so he’ll have to take a lot off of that to get back near his best. Other swimmers who could crack this record, or at least go 1:29-something, include Arizona State’s Grant House, Georgia’s Matt Sates, and Texas’ Drew Kibler.

100 Backstroke, 43.49, Ryan Murphy, Cal-Berkeley (2016)

Sure, Dean Farris, blasted a 43.66 at the 2019 NCAA Championships to scare the record and win the 2019 title, but now that both Shane Casas and Coleman Stewart have moved on from the NCAA, Farris is the only current swimmer with a sub-44 personal best. While it wouldn’t be surprising to see 1 or multiple men under 44 this week, such as perhaps Farris, Tokyo Olympian Hunter Armstrong, Brendan Burns, Kacper Stokowski, Adam Chaney, Luca Urlando, or Destin Lasco, Murphy’s 43.49 from 2016 is probably safe for another year.

200 IM, 1:38.13, Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018)

Most likely, Dressel’s record is safe, but Arizona State freshman Leon Marchand has taken the NCAA by storm this season and is now the fastest freshman all-time in the 200 IM and only freshman to ever crack 1:40 with a 1:39.65 from the Pac-12 Championships, also making him the 8th-fastest performer all-time. It’s not completely out of the question for Marchand to break this record, but it would be a surprise. Perhaps Texas’ Carson Foster will also join Marchand under 1:40 at NCAAs, but Dressel’s mark is too far off for him. Cal’s duo of Hugo Gonzalez and Destin Lasco could also post sub-1:40 performances–Gonzalez was a 1:39.99 and Lasco a 1:40.01 at NCAAs in 2021–but even getting near 1:39.00 seems a herculean feat for those two. One thing’s for sure–the Pac-12 is deep with IM talent.

400 Medley Relay, 2:59.22, Texas (2017)

Breaking 3:00 in the 400 medley relay is insane, just like this record. But, Texas is not the only team to have put four men together on a relay and see them slip under 3:00. At the 2019 NCAA Championships, Indiana posted a blazing 2:59.70 to dominate the field. Last year, both Texas and Cal went 3:00’s in the 400 medley relay, turning in times of 3:00.23 and 3:00.73, respectively. This season, Indiana leads the way with a 3:00.95, with Ohio State, Stanford, and NC State all sitting on 3:01s. This record is still a little far off for any team this season, but it’s much more likely to fall than our final two relays.

The Nigh-Untouchable Records

These are the records that have stood the test of time, or at least, were established by the titans of the sport–Olympic gold medalists and World Record holders set many of these marks. Furthermore, no other swimmer yet this season has come close to touching these times.

50 Freestyle, 17.63, Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018)

University of Tennessee freshman Jordan Crooks has given every indication that he is poised to have an incredible NCAA career, and is the man to beat so far this season in the 50 freestyle. However, Crooks’ best time of 18.53 is still nearly a full second off of Dressel’s insane record from 2018. Maybe Crooks will be the guy to break this record–Crooks is, as a freshman, faster than Dressel was as a freshman (though it’s worth noting Crooks took a gap year)–but it’s not happening this season. Crooks is now the 5th-fastest performer all-time, meanwhile LSU Olympic gold medalist Brooks Curry is also having a spectacular season, posting a 18.67 at SECs, the 2nd-fastest in the NCAA this season and good enough for 11th all-time.

Neither man is touching Dressel’s record though. Not this season, anyways.

100 Freestyle, 39.90, Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018)

LSU’s Brooks Curry clipped Dressel’s Meet Record at the 2022 SEC Championships with a 40.99 to become the 8th-fastest man all-time and establish the top time in the NCAA this season. Curry should be the heavy favorite to win this event at NCAAs, but only an elite few men have ever been under 40.90, meanwhile only two men, Dressel and USC’s Vladimir Morozov, are the only two men under 40.80. Could Curry dip under 40.90 or even 40.80? Sure, why not. But no one is touching 40.00 or below anytime soon. Jordan Crooks, meanwhile, put up a very fast 41.44 relay lead off at SECs, another signal that he is going to have a stellar NCAA career. Maybe he’ll be the 2nd-man-ever under 40 in the 100 yard freestyle before his NCAA eligibility is over–just not this season.

100 Butterfly, 42.80, Caeleb Dressel, Florida (2018)

It would not be a surprise to see one or more men under 44 seconds in this race at NCAAs, but there is simply no way any of those men will get near Dressel’s 42.80. Stanford’s Andrei Minakov put up a 43.90 at Pac-12s to become the 4th-fastest man all-time, while Virginia Tech’s Youssef Ramadan blasted a 44.08 at ACCs making him the 5th-fastest man all-time. Georgia’s Luca Urlando has been 44.41 this season (SECs), while Nicolas Albiero was a 44.32 at NCAAs in 2021. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Ramadan, Urlando, or Albiero join Minakov with a 43-high, but no one is touching Dressel’s 42.80.

200 Breaststroke, 1:47.91, Will Licon, Texas (2017)

Will Licon‘s 200 breaststroke record from the 2017 NCAA Championships is simply out of this world. Cal’s Reece Whitley, the 2nd-fastest man in history, has been as fast at 1:48.53, but that time is from November of 2020. Reigning NCAA Champion Max McHugh from Minnesota has a lifetime best of 1:49.02 and has been 1:49.45 this season, while Penn’s Matt Fallon has been 1:49.71 and Whitley 1:49.96. While those times are undoubtedly fast, Licon’s record is on another planet.

400 Freestyle Relay, 2:44.31, NC State (2018)

In order for NC State to set this record, every man on the relay had to average 41 seconds for their 100 freestyle split. What’s more, Ryan Held led off the relay in a 41.05 and Justin Ress followed that with a 40.62. Jacob Molacek also posted a blazing 41.02 and Coleman Stewart brought it home in 41.62. Having one swimmer split a 40-point and two more nearly split 40-point, one of whom is the lead-off swimmer, is a rare combination of talent that other teams in the NCAA could be chasing to replicate for years to come. Texas came within a second of the record in 2019, posting a 2:45.12 for the 2nd-fastest performance all-time, but the top time in the NCAA this season is a 2:45.94 by Cal–very fast, but still quite a ways off of NC State’s 2018 performance.

200 Freestyle Relay, 1:14.08, Auburn (2009)

This record is perhaps even more untouchable than Dressel’s 17.63, there’s a reason this record has been on the books since 2009. Let’s take a look.

Auburn 200 Freestyle Relay 2009 – 1:14.08

  • Jakob Andkjaer, 18.89
  • Gideon Louw, 18.33
  • Kohlton Norys, 18.67
  • Matt Targett, 18.19

2022 Men’s NCAA DI 50 Freestyle Rankings

  • Jordan Crooks (TEN), 18.53
  • Brooks Curry (LSU), 18.67
  • Bjorn Seeliger (CAL), 18.73
  • David Curtiss (NCSU), 18.74
  • Total Time: 1:14.66

Perhaps this comparison is a little unfair because the times used for the top-4 men in the NCAA this season listed above represent flat start times whereas everyone except Andkjaer on the Auburn relay had the benefit of a relay start. And there’s the issue of the full-body polyurethane suits that swimmers had in 2008 and 2009. Regardless–this record isn’t going anywhere this year or probably for at least a few more years to come.

It is worth nothing that the University of Virginia holds the American Record in the men’s 200 freestyle relay with a very impressive 1:14.47, set in February at the 2022 ACC Championships by Matt Brownstead (18.87), Matt King (18.49), Connor Boyle (18.63), and August Lamb (18.48). This is the 6th-fastest performance all-time, and since none of the four men who contributed to this relay are seniors, they’ll have the entire 2022-2023 season to continue chasing 1:14.08. At present, UVA would need to chop off another 0.39 to tie Auburn’s 2009 record, and 0.40 or more to improve upon it.

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PFA
6 months ago

Just to come back here after the meet,
•500 free record did not go down fastest time was 4:06.68 by Matthew Sates likely to go down next year though.
•4 IM record was shattered by Hugo Gonzalez in 3:32.88, excited to see how he does LC this year.
•Mile time was a 14:22 a big nope unfortunately finke wasn’t in the right shape to attack his record just good enough to win. Can’t wait to see how he does this summer though.
•200 back while I believe this record could have gone down after destin lasco being called up for relay duties this entire week meant a less likely chance for it going down and it… Read more »

fairisfair
6 months ago

I think, though it isn’t an official event but does have a record, is that Ryan Murphy’s 20.2 50 back lead-off is in more danger than anything. Chaney at 20.3, Armstrong at 20.4, and Grimm at 20.5…I guess we’ll see shortly.

SwimCoachSean
6 months ago

It is looking like I may have been wrong about uva finishing top 5 at ncaa’s, but why not double down, they will break the 200 fr relay record!

Last edited 6 months ago by SwimCoachSean
R&R
6 months ago

No love for Hobson?

R&R
Reply to  R&R
6 months ago

Feeling even better about this after his 1:30.84 split tonight!

swimmer
6 months ago

yall forgot about foster in the 400 im

Dressel_42.8
Reply to  swimmer
6 months ago

Nah

Justin Pollard
6 months ago

100 breast seems more untouchable than the 200 breast, but I wouldn’t say either is untouchable. In the 200 there are a handful of men within 1-2 seconds. If they push each other during that race, there’s a shot at a record.

PFA
6 months ago

I swear if Dean re-breaks that 2 free record leading off the relay again I’m gonna lose it. Also little correction Brooks Curry never broke Dressel’s meet record because he led off UF’s 2018 relay in 40.87

CanSwim13
Reply to  PFA
6 months ago

I don’t know if relay lead offs count for individual event meet records … but I could be wrong ?

iLikePsych
Reply to  CanSwim13
6 months ago

They do.
https://swimmeetresults.tech/NCAA-Division-I-Men-2021/210324F010.htm
Meet: M 1:29.15 3/27/2019 Dean Farris, Harvard

oxyswim
6 months ago

The Auburn 200 free relay record isn’t close to as untouchable as Caeleb’s 17.63. We won’t see it this year, but it’ll go down within the next few years.

CavaDore
Reply to  oxyswim
6 months ago

I agree. If every UVA swimmer dropped exactly .10 then they would break it, or if only 2 swimmers drop .20 they would break it, so I think it’s more in the realm of “In Danger…” That much of an improvement does not seem unlikely. UVA‘s women, for example, dropped more than .20 seconds each in the 4 x 100 Free Relay to break that NCAA/American Record. Also, the UVA men have exceeded expectations at NCs, especially relays, the past couple years.

MY MOM!
Reply to  oxyswim
6 months ago

ACCs was 4-relay heats. There will be a lot more waves this week with 8-relay heats.

sticky rice
Reply to  oxyswim
6 months ago

Yeah I think 17.63 needs its own tier

Swammer
Reply to  oxyswim
6 months ago

I think its more vulnerable than a number of records on this list, the 400 free relay and the 100 fly in particular. UVA is loaded and could easily take a stab at Auburn’s record in the next 2 years. The other 2 records, on the other hand, have no serious challengers. 42.8 is basically a freestyle time, and there’s no one with the tools to challenge it right now. As for the relay, I think NC State’s record is the most untouchable record on the men’s side, on par with the Stanford women’s 4×200. Averaging anywhere near 41.0 isn’t doable for any NCAA teams right now

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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