Wisconsin Gets First NCAA Relay Points Since 2017 (Day 1 Swims You Might’ve Missed)


It was an electric first night of the 2023 Men’s Division I NCAA Championships, with NCAA records going down in both the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay. Behind the records there were still exciting races happening, so let’s take a look at some of the swims that you may have missed.

1st Wisconsin Relay To Score Since 2017

Last year, Wisconsin didn’t swim the 200 medley relay at NCAAs. They’d only qualified two relays for the meet: the 800 freestyle and 400 medley and placed 24th in both. Flash forward to this year, where they placed 15th in the 200 medley relay, scoring their first NCAA relay points since 2017.

Their seed time was a ‘B’ cut time of 1:23.92, and they were eligible for the relay because they earned an ‘A’ cut in the 200 free relay. The squad of Wes Jekel, Will Myhre, Constantin Benschand Ben Wiegand improved on their time from Big Tens by .83 seconds, posting 1:23.09 for 4 points and a new school record.

The first three legs of the relay were markedly faster than they were at conferences, while Wiegand was right on his 18.80 split with an 18.84.

Wisconsin Split Comparison, 2023 Big Tens vs. NCAAs

2023 NCAAs 2023 Big Tens
Wes Jekel 21.11 21.22
Will Myhre 22.98 23.23
Constantin Bensch 20.16 20.67
Ben Wiegand 18.84 18.80
Total 1:23.09 1:23.92

The person on the relay who dropped the most time was Bensch, who took .51 seconds off his fly split.

Van Mathias Splits 22.53 50 Breast

The scoreboard was wrong and Indiana’s heat two winning time of 1:21.52 wasn’t an NCAA record, but it was a program record and it was good enough for 5th place overall. That’s a massive improvement from last year, when the Hoosiers finished 15th. It was a new look from last year too, as only fly leg Tomer Frankel carried over from the 2022 relay. Brendan Burns, Van Mathias, and Gavin Wright joined Frankel on the relay.

They chopped 1.79 seconds off their time from last year, and a lot of that drop is thanks to Mathias, who blazed a 22.53 50 breaststroke split. Not only is that 1.38 seconds faster than their breaststroke split last year, it’s also makes the fifth-year the fourth fastest performer all-time.

Men’s 50 Breast Splits: Top 5 Performers Of All Time

  1. Leon Marchand, Arizona State — 22.27 (2023)
  2. Max McHugh, Minnesota/Derek Maas, Alabama – 22.39 (2023/2023)
  3. (tie)
  4. Van Mathias, Indiana — 22.53 (2023)
  5. Brian Benzing, Towson – 22.54 (2023)

Shorthanded, UVA Sets Program Record

One of the main stories about the Virginia men this week was that they were going to be without some key names at this meet. Nevertheless, they hit the ground running with a school record in the first event of the meet, the 200 medley relay.

The quartet of Matt Brownstead (20.76), Noah Nichols (23.00), Max Edwards (20.25), and August Lamb (18.50) swam 1:22.51, breaking the record set last season by .46 seconds. Brownstead, Nichols, and Lamb were a part of last year’s record-setting squad and all of them were faster than last year’s splits. Brownstead improved from 20.93, Nichols dropped .23 seconds, and Lamb was well under his 18.87 split.

Jack Dahlgren Splits 1:30.45 200 Free

At SECs, fifth-year Jack Dahlgren led off Missouri’s 800 free relay with a 1:31.17, which was a big lifetime best and a school record. Tonight he went second and blasted 1:30.45, a good sign for his individual race later in the meet. Dahlgren’s split was the fourth-fastest in the field behind only Leon Marchand (1:28.42), Destin Lasco (1:29.53), and Carson Foster (1:30.15).

He led off this relay at NCAAs last year as well, so it’s not quite comparing apples to apples, but it’s still clear that Dahlgren has made big improvements in this event over the last year. In 2022, he led off in 1:32.66, making it a 2.21 second drop for him between this year and last.

Chris Guiliano Pulls Off The Double

While all eyes were on Marchand who off the fastest 50 breaststroke split of all-time (22.27) then turned around and dropped the fastest 200 free split all-time (1:28.42), Notre Dame’s Chris Guiliano also pulled off a strong double. The sophomore anchored the Fighting Irish’s 200 medley relay in 18.28, stopping the clock at 1:23.35 to earn 17th. Then, he led off the 800 free relay in 1:32.08. That’s a lifetime best for him, undercutting the 1:32.43 he swam at 2023 ACCs.

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tea rex
2 months ago

Then Van Mathias busted out a 1:31.62 – fastest split for the Hoosiers, even with guys like Miroslaw and Frankel who are more 200 freestylers.

Reply to  tea rex
2 months ago

So if you ever want to drop >1.5 seconds off your best 200 free split, simply quit swimming IM and fly and switch to sprint free and breaststroke

2 months ago

Auburn swam also good relays.

Bucky Badger
2 months ago

Wasn’t Hobson’s split faster than Dahlgren as well??

Dr Deluxe
2 months ago

Way to go Wisconsin! Fantastic improvement and to think they got to swim this because of the A cut in the 200 free.
Good things happening for the Badgers , this weekend and the future!!!
Congrats team , YURI and staff!

The Dirty Bubble
2 months ago

I think it’s safe to say that Jack Dahlgren (a.k.a the slim reaper, a.k.a biodiesel) is, in fact, the Real Deal

Paula Dean Farris
2 months ago

Bad dudes do bad things

2 months ago

Van Mathias randomly becoming a 3 event scoring threat (seemingly out of nowhere) has to be one of the storylines of the year

He’s a big reason IU is in the thick of the race for 2-6

2 months ago

Love this series, keep it up SS!

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Wethorn
2 months ago

Agree, one of my favorites.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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