The Ohio State men’s team hosted a ‘Last Chance’ qualifier over the weekend at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. Although no NCAA D1 A cuts were achieved, several men did improve upon their conference championship performances while also dipping beneath last year’s invite times, possibly setting themselves up for a chance to compete in Atlanta.
Buckeye Braden Seal clocked a 500y freestyle time of 4:17.73, which may be borderline on the NCAA D1 Championships invite line. The NCAA “A” cut sits at 4:13.60, so the sophomore was well off that mark, but just over last year’s invite time of 4:17.15. Seal’s time now sits as the 32nd best in the NCAA, while last year 30 male swimmers in total were invited to swim the 500 freestyle event.
A possibly entry-changing swim came in the form of Virginia Tech senior Lucas Bureau. Bureau swam the 200 freestyle, touching in 1:34.46, about .6 of a second off of his incoming best of 1:35.10 that garnered him a 6th place finish at the ACC Championships. Splitting 45.78/48.68 yesterday, Bureau now owns the 26th-fastest time in the NCAA and should be safe considering 31 men were invited in the event last year.
Junior Andrew Appleby scored a new Ohio State program record in the men’s 200 IM, touching in 1:44.44 to drop about half a second off his personal best. The 1:44.44 dips beneath last year’s invite time of 1:44.58 and sits as the 32nd-fastest time in the NCAA, tied with Indiana’s Blake Pieroni. Last year 30 male swimmers were invited in the 200m IM race, so Appleby will be on the bubble.
In the men’s 400 IM event, Virginia junior Austin Quinn nabbed a season best of 3:45.66, just off the 2015 invite time of 3:44.58. Quinn hacked about half a second off his 3:46.31 clocking that gave him a 10th place finish at the ACC Championships in Greensboro. The Cavalier is now positioned as 33rd in the NCAA. But if last year’s 29 invited swimmers are a predictor of this year, Quinn may find himself just off the roster in the event this time around.
Three swimmers improved upon their conference championship times in the 200 butterfly in the form of Virginia’s Zach Fong, Notre Dame’s Matt Grauslys and Virginia Tech’s Norbert Szabo. In Greensboro at the ACC Championships, Fong earned 4th overall in his time of 1:44.39 while Grauslys touched in 1:44.84 for 4th. Szabo placed 9th (1st in the B Final) in a time of 1:44.32.
Flash forward to yesterday and Fong nabbed a new time of 1:43.43, knocking .8 of a second off of that previous mark. Grauslys also improved, hacking just under a second off of his previous time, now holding 1:43.84 to his name. Szabo got even more feisty, dropping almost a second and a half from his time earlier this month.
With their performances yesterday, Fong is now ranked 26th in the NCAA, while Szabo is now 30th and Grauslys moved up to 32nd. 30 swimmers were invited to the NCAA Championships last year in this event, so Fong looks to be safe, Szabo on the bubble, while freshman Grauslys may need to wait until next year.
Official NCAA selections will be announced on Wednesday, March 9th.