Top 8 Swimmers Who Could Have Won The 100 IM At NCAAs

With the recent addition of the 100 yard IM to the NCAA program (approved for inclusion at conference championship meets) it begs the question of who would have dominated this event if it had been introduced years prior.

There are plenty of current stars in the NCAA system at the moment as well as plenty athletes who have long retired from the college system, who could have dominated this event. Below is our top eight rankings of who we think could have been the best 100 IMers in the NCAA.


Vlad Morozov has speed whichever way you look at it. He’s the third fastest 50 freestyler of all time, the fastest 100 freestyler of all time, and on top of that has a top ranked breaststroke. With a 52.01 100 breaststroke, a converted 45.03 100 back, and a 48.45 personal best in the 100 fly, Morozov doesn’t really have a weak link. Some of the guys on this list could beat him on the fly leg, but his last three legs are so strong, not many people could catch him after he hits that first wall.


David Nolan is the American record holder in the 200 IM with a 1:39.38. That performance at the 2015 NCAA Championships was extremely strong. His 100s are also extremely strong. Nolan’s backstroke is where he has the real potential to kill his opponents, sporting a personal best of 44.78. He swims a solid 100 free and 100 fly as well. His 100 breast is his weakest stroke sitting at a 55.28.

Although his breaststroke flat-start time isn’t close to Morozov’s, Nolan has been outstanding as a breaststroke swimmer on relays. He’s split 52s and 51s. If he’s on his ‘A’ game, he can compete with Morozov on the breaststroke.

When put up against Morozov, Nolan would probably be ahead at the halfway point, although not by enough just based on their respective best times. Morozov’s breaststroke is stronger as is his freestyle, which would likely give him the win in this situation.

Nolan still has the second best breaststroke out of the field, which as you’ll see, becomes the difference maker between the top tier projected medal winners.


Who can forget Ryan Lochte, the three time world champion in the 100m IM, and one of the top collegiate swimmers of all time? Lochte wrecked his competitors while swimming for the Florida Gators, swimming to a grand total of seven individual NCAA titles, three of which came in his senior year.

In that year, Lochte demonstrated that he was the man to beat in all individual medley swims, breaking the 200 IM American record and breaking Tom Dolan’s longstanding 400 IM NCAA record.

By the end of his collegiate career, Lochte held some very solid personal bests. His 100 free was a 42.44, his 100 back a 44.60, and his 100 fly was a 46.02.

In a 100 IM, Lochte’s backstroke and fly talents would have leveled him out against Morozov’s crazy freestyle split would likely be. The breaststroke is what would really stand in Lochte’s way. Lochte hadn’t truly developed his breaststroke at this time. He became a much better breaststroke after his knee-injury in 2010, however that doesn’t apply to his collegiate career.

Because of his breaststroke at the time, Morozov would have beaten him, and it would have been very tight with Nolan, but we’re going to give Nolan the victory here.


Tom Shields would have had the go-ahead in this race right away due to his 100m fly excellence. He was one of the best short course yard swimmers in a long time, and managed his races extremely well. Although he’s known for his fly, his backstroke was also extremely fast. Shields swam a 46.01 at the 2013 NCAAs in prelims, dropping that to a 45.21 in finals.

Shields could be the fastest man to the 50 yard mark out of this entire group, however his back-half wouldn’t allow him to come up with a win. Shields breaststroke is weak, and that would have held him back big-time against guys like Morozov and Nolan. His freestyle was solid with his 100 sitting at a 43.56, but it wouldn’t have been enough to compete for a medal.


Austin Staab competed for Stanford starting in the 2007-2008 season. During his collegiate career, he won four NCAA titles including the 100 fly twice, the 200 IM, and the 200 freestyle relay.

Staab’s fly and freestyle splits would put him in contention for the top eight in the newly adopted 100 IM. He was a 44-low 100 fly and a 42-low 100 freestyle. Staab even swam a very sturdy breaststroke with a personal best time of 56.82 in the 100 from 2007. Now, considering that Staab did his fastest swims in 2009, for the sake of argument we’ll say that he could have gone a little faster than that in the 100 breast, especially since he swam that time prior to his collegiate career.

Unlike almost every swimmer on this list, Staab would have lost ground in the backstroke. He could have been second to Shields after the fly, and then fallen way behind a few of the guys on the back. His breaststroke would have helped him pick it up a tad and his freestyle would have kept up in contention.


Michigan Wolverine Muguel Ortiz had such great versatility that he deservingly fits right into the middle of the pack here. He was a 42.72 100 free with a 19.31 50 free. His 100 fly was a 45.69, significantly faster than many of the swimmers in this field.

His backstroke was a 45.48 which would put him around the middle of the pack. Again, his weakness was the breaststroke leg like many of the other swimmers here.


Matt Grevers had a very successful collegiate career with Northwestern University. One of his biggest feats came in his sophomore year when he dethroned Ryan Lochte in the 100 backstroke in order to claim the school’s first NCAA title in swimming since 1958.

Grevers had a very solid freestyle and backstroke at the time of his collegiate career. His backstroke was a 45.61 at the 2007 NCAA Championships. Although not as fast as a lot of the guys on this list, he could definitely keep it close on the backstroke leg of the 100 IM. Grevers went on to finish second in the 100 back at the 2008 Olympic Games, just over a year after the completion of his collegiate career, so there’s no denying he had speed in him.

As for the freestyle, Grevers was a 42.33 in the 100, a very solid time that’s competitive with almost every single swimmer in this field. Mix that in with a 46.89 100 fly and Grevers fits into the back-half of this list. Like many others, his breaststroke was his weakness.


Roland Schoeman competed for Arizona over a decade ago, but was an extremely fast swimmer at the time. He was representing his home country of South Africa at international meets while simply put, kicking-butt in the NCAA. Schoeman, who is all-speed, is known now as a sprint freestyler, but in short course meters, ranks:

  • 2nd-fastest 50 free of all-time
  • 3rd-fastest 50 breast all-time (2nd fastest swimmer)
  • 2nd-fastest 50 fly of all-time

Think he can pull off a good enough 25 backstroke to land in this top 8? We sure do.

Schoemann was a wicked fast sprint freestyler, was fairly versatile in all his strokes, and deservingly grabs the eighth spot on this list.

Others we strongly considered (though I’m sure we missed some contenders):

Ryan Murphy, Tony Cox, Albert Subirats, Ian Crocker, Neil Walker, Bruno Ortiz.

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8 years ago

Caeleb Dressel. He could be dirrrrrty in this event. As could Seliskar.
George Bovell! World-class 200 IMer and 50 freestyler.
2007-vintage Subirats would be great too – especially if they allowed a ‘single’ underwater kick back then.

A few people mention Ryk Neethling. What an amazing swimmer – he was NCAA champion in the 500 and 1650… then world-record holder in the 100 IM… and anchored South Africa’s out-of-nowhere 4 x 100 Free Olympic gold.

Dan Kutler
8 years ago

No Bill Barrett? Pablo?

8 years ago

Any idea if 100 IM will added for 13 and over for club meets?

Bear Down
8 years ago

Ryk Neethling held the world record for 3 years in the event. I think that would earn him some pretty good credit.

Derek Mead
8 years ago

I realize 50/100 race splits are all we have to go off, but how fast someone’s 100 of a stroke is doesn’t mean they would have a good 100 IM.

Switching strokes is all out fast turns and quick acceleration, drop dead top end speed. Have to agree Morozov is the favorite.

Surprised no one mentioned Conger. Bruno Ortiz (great turns), Cielo, Manadou (though he never did NCAA) would be there too.

Reply to  Derek Mead
8 years ago

I would like to think Manaudou could put up an untouchable time. Best short course sprint backstroker in the world, 23.0 50 fly long course, 27 50 breast, best sprint freestyler in the world and that start wouldn’t be fair for scy.

Reply to  Sprintswammer1992
8 years ago

But…he’s not the best in the world in short course meters. That’s the kicker there. Vlad has been faster in SCM.

Lest we forget, Manaudou first came into the world’s consciousness not as a 50m guru, but as a guy who flamed out hard at the end of his 100 fly and cost France a medley medal.

8 years ago

Tandy doesn’t have the endurance to be a champ. Subirats should be 2nd or maybe first both his fly and back are faster than shields best and he’s capable of a 19.08 fifty free

8 years ago

Brad Tandy could be in this, 18.8 50 free 52.7 100 breast and 20.2 50 fly split back in JUCO he’s a 19 split for sure, If Rolan can manage a 25 back Brad could. As long as Brad could stay underwater he could compete.

8 years ago

There used to be a floswimming video from the UT Invite (2007 maybe?) that was a 100IM race that included Neil Walker, Alex Hetland, Aaron Peirsol, Adam Ritter, Ian Crocker, David Cromwell, and Brendan Hansen. Maybe the greatest collection of 100IMers in one race on USA soil?

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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