2016 NCAAs Men’s Preview
It’s that time of the year again! The big meet starts this Wednesday and we’ve put together a preview of who to watch out for at this years NCAAs. A big thank you goes to guest writer Matt Zhiss for helping us get this content out to the masses!
And without further ado, D3swimming.com presents its 2016 NCAA preview/breakdown for the Men. Stay tuned for our women’s predictions!
NCAA Record: 4:20.60 2015 NCAAs Andrew Greenhalgh, Johns Hopkins
2015 Champion: 4:20.60 Andrew Greenhalgh, Johns Hopkins
Last year, Greenhalgh destroyed Allen Weik’s NCAA record of 4:21.79. Runner-up Arthur Conover of Kenyon also swam under the record, 4:20.95. This year, Greenhalgh returns as the top time with a 4:23.00. 3rd place from last year, Christian Baker of Emory, follows in closely with a seed of 4:23.95. Runner-up Conover is seeded back #9 at 4:30.13 but has had a consistent season and dropped big time at NCAAs last year so definitely do not count him out. 4th and 5th from last year were graduating seniors, which leaves 4th-16th to the remaining range of 4:28s-4:31s.
Last year a 4:32.08 was needed to qualify for consolations, and a 4:28.11 for top 8. With such a wide range of talent hovering around 4:30 or close to it, and many likely to have great swims in Greensboro, look for some fast prelims times as these guys get to race next to and push one another.
- Greenhalgh 4:19.XX (NCAA Record)
- Conover 4:20.2
- Baker 4:22.6
NCAA Record: 1:46.23 2015 NCAAs Andrew Wilson, Emory
2015 Champion: 1:46.23 Andrew Wilson, Emory
Three seniors have graduated from the top 8, and with the addition of national champion Wilson’s redshirting year, four spots have opened up in the A-Final. Top seed is Evan Holder of Johns Hopkins with a 1:46.82, followed by #2 Jackson Lindell of Denison (1:47.93), and #3 Mitchell Cooper of Emory (1:48.65). Virtually all swimmers dropped a second or more from their seed times last year which should make for a tight show in prelims. A 1:48.25 was needed in 2015 to qualify for finals, though this year may be a bit lighter with a 1:49 perhaps making it in.
Holder and #5 Trevor Manz of Kenyon are the only returners who have been 1:46 and look to be the favorites this year. Behind them is likely to be Lindell, then Mitchell Cooper of Emory who has been making massive IM drops throughout his college career, but Lindell swam the 200 IM last year and has shown experience and consistency when it counts.
- Holder 1:46.4
- Manz 1:46.8
- Lindell 1:47.5
NCAA Record: 19.38 2012 NCAAs Zach Turk, Kenyon
2015 Champion: 19.89 Jesse Novak, Rowan
Reigning champion Jesse Novak of Rowan returns seeded #3 with a 19.93, with #1 Thomas Thetford already below Novak’s winning time last year with a 19.70. Emory’s #2 Oliver Smith lays right between them with a 19.92 to complete the trio of men already under 19. Smith, interestingly enough, was 12th last year with a 20.37 prelim swim to a flatter 20.49 in finals, but as a sophomore now and the confidence of swimming sub-20 this year, will be one to keep eyes on. University of Chicago’s #4 Thomas Meek sits with a 20.09, hoping to cap off a very consistent collegiate career having been to NCAA quite often and continually dropping time.
Four seniors graduate from the championship final, a 20.21 necessary to qualify last year and a 20.43 needed for top 16. Few freshman made it in this year, leaving a battle between numerous seniors who currently maintain a presence of 9 within the invited 19. What surprise drops will there be with the excitement of NCAAs? How many people can be under 19 this year? With an event where swimmers truly live and die by the hundredth, it is too hard to say. To predict a race this crazy would be insane, so some basic times will be used instead. For certain it seems like a sub-20 performance will be what it takes for a top-3. Will it be an instant lock, or will a sub-20 be left out this year?
- XXXX 19.6
- XXXX 19.8
- XXXX 19.9
200 Medley Relay
NCAA Record: 1:27.54 2015 NCAAs Kenyon
2015 Champion: 1:27.54 Kenyon
Reigning champion and NCAA record holder Kenyon returns as the #1 seed in 1:29.19, followed by 7 additional teams already under 1:30 and 10 in the 1:30s. Kenyon’s record relay from last year graduated 3 seniors, leaving breaststroker Trevor Manz as the sole remaining member. The biggest blow will be the absence of 200 Backstroke record holder, Harrison Curley on the front half, though it seems Kenyon has found able replacements for all legs and will look to defend their title. Behind them, #2 Williams (1:29.31) will look to their retention of 100 backstroke record holder, Benjamin Lin, to give a quick boost at the start. With a breaststroker and butterflier decently on par to Kenyon’s, Williams’ anchor leg becomes the wildcard.
#3 Emory (1:29.58) loses the massive 23.72 from redshirting Andrew Wilson as well as their butterflier. Of course, to replace Wilson is difficult, whereas their strength will come in retaining a quick backstroker in Mitchell Cooper and a furious anchor leg in Oliver Smith, capable of consistently dropping 19.5s. #4 Wash U. (1:29.71) will look to 100 Butterfly powerhouse Reed Dalton to throw down a split in the 20s, supplemented by solid breaststroke and freestyle legs to make up for their weakness in a leadoff backstroker. A relatively weak 1:32.03 was enough to make it back 16th last year, though the dropoff was staggering as 14th was 1:30.89. With the depth of relays entered this year, look more towards that mark as being the cutoff. 1:30.29 was good for top 8 and it looks as though a time around there will remain the cutoff this year.
- Kenyon 1:28.4
- Emory 1:28.7
- Williams 1:28.8
200 Free Relay
NCAA Record: 1:18.06 2012 NCAAs Kenyon
2015 Champion: 1:20.38 Kenyon
Kenyon again enters seeded #1 in another relay at 1:20.61, having swam the NCAA record time a few years ago and being the reigning champions looking to defend their title. On their relay lies Ryan Funk and Joseph Duronio, both with sub-20 splits under their belts already. Looking to challenge for the title will be #2 MIT (1:20.74) who also holds sub-20 splits in two swimmers, Jeremy Bogle and Daryl Neubieser, with similar times for the remaining two as compared to Kenyon. #3 Chicago (1:21.08) swims with a destructive leg by Thomas Meek, a 19.40 within their seed time, bolstered by solid 20s around him.
#4 Rowan (1:21.33) will rely on reigning 50 Free champion Jesse Novak with a fast sub-20 to lead things off, while #5 Denison (1:21.42) has lined up a solid team of middle 20s. 1:23.53 swam into 16th last year for prelims. However, like the 200 Medley Relay, seed times are far faster and point to a 1:22.5 or lower as the cutoff. The championship final, at 1:21.88 last year, will seemingly remain around that point. Keys to the race will not only be having a fast leadoff to avoid the waves of so many swimmers, but absolutely quick and safe exchanges to cut off as much time as possible while avoiding the dreaded DQ.
- Kenyon 1:20.3
- Chicago 1:20.6
- MIT 1:20.8
NCAA Record: 3:46.62 2015 NCAAs Harrison Curley, Kenyon
2015 Champion: 3:46.62 Harrison Curley, Kenyon
The toughest, most trying and variable swim at NCAAs. Last year certainly showed how tough the event is, with the top guys dropping time from prelims to finals while many of the rest added time. It takes a great swimmer to be truly consistent in the 400IM, even for the top-tier talent of D3. As such, the name of the game is always about consistency and the event is likely to favor those who have danced the dance before and know where they need to be to slot into top 8 without wasting firepower they will need in the evening.
NCAA champion and record holder Harrison Curley has graduated, leaving Jackson Lindell of Denison to return seeded #1 with a 3:50.28, having been 3rd in the event last year with around the same time. #2 Ian Reardon of Kenyon comes in at 3:53.66, the rest all falling between 3:56s-4:00. 3:59 returned last year and a 3:54 got into finals. With so many on the cusp of sub-4:00, there are bound to be many under and perhaps a push for a 3:58 return is possible. Keep an eye on Lindell, especially contingent upon his 200IM the day prior. Conover, seeded # in 3:57.18, is also looking to set himself up with a great 500 Free the day prior as well. Conover also holds the NCAA record in the Mile, giving him the immense toughness and endurance to come home in 26s and even 25s on the backhalf to make the race into a nail-biter.
- Jackson Lindell 3:48.5
- Arthur Conover 3:49.4
- Ian Reardon 3:49.8
NCAA Record: 46.97 2015 NCAAs Reed Dalton, Wash U.
2015 Champion: 46.97 Reed Dalton, Wash U.
This event is absolutely loaded with returning senior talent, with 8 of the top 10 in their final year of competition. Returning champion Reed Dalton has had a very successful season and was way ahead of the competition last year after being seeded with around the same time, going in 48.00 last year compared to 47.98 this year. Runner-up last year was graduating Karl Mering, which leaves 3rd place Michael Lanz, currently seeded #1 barely ahead of Dalton in a 47.97, as his next closest competitor. No other swimmers have yet been under 48 this season outside of these top two in Lanz and Dalton. Orion Martin sits #3 seed at a perfect 48.00, followed by #4 Andrew Rich (48.13) and #5 Cameron Martinez (48.24) before #6 Ivan Garin seems almost distant at 48.61.
A 48.93 qualified in 16th prelims last year, and a hair faster 48.70 was an astounding 8th. With a few guys on the edge of hitting 48 this year, #18 John Bauer of Worcester Poly (49.05)and #19 Matthew Veldman of Chicago (49.05) are looking to close in on a spot in the top 16. An interesting note is that no freshman qualified in the top 16 at last year’s NCAAs. Freshman like #25 Nathanial Kozycki (49.34) and #29 Andrew Pek (49.45) are then looking to make strong debuts and challenge that, with freshmen peers #12 Eben Schumann (48.84) and #16 Kingsley Bowen (48.92) already strongly seeded within striking distance of the upperclassmen who are looking to dominate the event again.
Expect to see quick prelims to qualify in, with a smooth performance by some of the top guys who have already gone 47s and have the confidence to finish ahead of the pack.
- Reed Dalton 46.6
- Michael Lanz 47.4
- Orion Martin 47.7
NCAA Record: 1:36.63 1988 D1 NCAAs Dennis Mulvihill, Kenyon
2015 Champion: 1:37.37 Connor Sholtis, Amherst
Evan Holder is seeded #1 by a comfortable lead over the competition, his time of 1:37.10 within striking distance of Dennis Mulvihill’s legendary record that was set at the 1988 D1 NCAA meet where he placed 15th when collegiate swimmers could all qualify up into the faster divisions. Behind Holder are #2 Thetford of W&L (1:37.76) and #3 Baker of Emory (1:37.99). Watch out for big drops from Thetford, who was seeded at 1:43.62 last year and dropped a 1:40.29 in prelims to take a far back 31st before now being the #2 seed this year and 2.5 seconds faster. Baker was 5th last year himself and has been consistent in his time, but with the absence of the top 3 who were graduating seniors, he will look to make his move. Jesse Novak, #3 seed in the 50 (19.93) and #1 seed in the 100 (43.88), looks to try his hand in the 200, though is seeded back #39 with a 1:41.15. Will his pure sprint speed be enough to qualify in the top 16 or will he fall off? On the other end, 500 Free record holder #40 Andrew Greenhalgh is also entered in the event. Will a hopeful 4:19 the day before give him the confidence for a gigantic 200? It will be interesting to see how these two, a sprinter and a distance man, meet this year.
Last year, 1:39.30 made it in, 1:38.85 for finals. The sheer range of 1:39s is astounding, many likely looking to piece together fast swims when challenging one another in the morning. A 1:38 does not seem too outlandish a prediction to make in returning for the evening session, but certainly will take an amazing swim to fight to the wall the whole 200 and be under 1:39. Other guys to watch for would be #6 Duronio of Kenyon (1:38.68) who finished 5th last year. Beyond him, many 1:39s are only a half-second away from the vaunted 1:38 this year. #12 Meek of Chicago was seeded 1:38.89 last year but fell to 1:41.78 in prelims. Denison’s #7 Stuart Hohm returns for his sophomore attempt, having been seeded 1:38.40 before a prelims swim of 1:39.21 and a rough finals swim at 1:41.15 last year. In his second year, expect some more confident swims from Hohm.
- Evan Holder 1:36.XX, possible NCAA Record
- Christian Baker 1:37.4
- Thomas Thetford 1:37.7
400 Medley Relay
NCAA Record: 3:13.49 2015 NCAAs Williams
2015 Champions: 3:13.49 Williams
Williams and Emory dominated the competition last year, with the former having a record 47.03 backstroke from Benjamin Lin, and the latter having an absolutely incredible 51.27 from double breaststroke champion and record holder Andrew Wilson. Both relays shattered the previous NCAA record, Denison’s 3:15.09 from the 2012 NCAAs. Williams returns as #2 (3:17.31) with Lin still at the helm but a switchout of their graduated backhalf swimmers. Emory returns as #5 (3:17.91) with the absence of Wilson, a hard leg to replace, and their graduated butterflier. Wash U. takes the #1 seed (3:16.86), with Reed Dalton ready to throw down a 46 butterfly split and Michael Lagieski a 54 breaststroke with a 44 anchor by Ross Brown.
#3 Denison comes in at 3:17.56, housing a solid team with a 43-capable Ryan Fleming as the anchor. #4 Johns Hopkins (3:17.90) comes in a hair faster than Emory, led by Evan Holder’s ability to split 53 in breaststroke and a strong butterflier, but a surprising lack of freestyle speed will hold them back. #6 Kenyon (3:18.26) was 3rd last year, but loses backstroker Harrison Curley with no standout replacement, though a 43-capable Austin Caldwell on the anchor is replaced by a near equally capable Joseph Duronio. 3:21.07 relegated now #7 Calvin (3:18.43) to a 16th placement last year, after a staggering four DQs during prelims. The depth this year shows a definite 3:20 for a likely top 16, with the speedy 3:17.53 from last year for top 8 probable to stay the same for finals placement.
- Wash U. 3:15.7
- MIT/Kenyon 3:15.9
- Williams/Denison 3:16.0
NCAA Record: 1:44.93 2015 NCAAs Alex Anderson, Mary Washington
2015 Champion: 1:44.93 Alex Anderson, Mary Washington
Another event dominated by the seniors last year, 3 of the top 4 finishers last year (1st, 2nd, 4th) have now graduated, leaving Michael Lanz of St. Thomas as the sole swimmer with a 1:45 performance behind him, having been 1:45.76 for 3rd last year. This year, Lanz is seeded back #23 with a 1:50.76. Compared to his seed of 1:49.57 last year, over a second faster than this year, it may seem like cause for concern. However, Lanz is a taper powerhouse, swimming 1:53s-1:56s in dual meets before dropping the hammer on invites and conference meets (1:49s-1:50s) and finally his 1:47 prelims to 1:45 finals performance last year at NCAAs. Definitely keep an eye on what he has in store for his senior year.
NCAA record holder in the 100 Fly, #4 Reed Dalton, looks to make a strong senior performance in the 200 Fly as well. Seeded 1:48.76, Dalton was 1:48.07 last year for 6th. With the positive progress of his butterfly, look for Dalton to make a move early on in the race. Moving up, #3 Luke Schlueter (1:48.66) looks to team up with teammate #2 Douglas Kogut (1:48.61) for a strong MIT showing. Schlueter was 1:47.63 for 5th, while Kogut was left out of the consolations at 17th having been 1:50.25. Finally, #1 Orion Martin looks to try a serious hand at the 200 Fly after seemingly testing out his endurance to the limits last year, going out in a 48.69 and falling off in a likely painful 34.06 last 50 to take 28th in 1:51.66. His seed time of 1:47.73 looks good on paper, but was brought home in a 29.77. Last year the slowest final 50 among the top 8 was a 29.56 from 8th, Sam Spurrell, who ended up in a 1:48.84. The rest of the field roared home in 27s and 28s, which makes Martin’s strategy look dangerous, especially when untested against a field so fast as his seed time is from a lone time trial from his midseason invitational.
- Michael Lanz 1:45.6
- Luke Schlueter 1:47.5
- Reed Dalton 1:47.8
NCAA Record: 47.03 2015 NCAAs (Medley) Benjamin Lin, Williams
2015 Champion: 47.77 Benjamin Lin, Williams
Reigning champion Benjamin Lin of Williams returns as the only swimmer to have been under 48 among the field, and even further than that, the closest to being under 47 even. Last year Lin set the NCAA record in the finals of the 400 Medley Relay, and looks this year to break under the barrier into the 46s. #2 Ravi Sun of Stevens, over a second behind Lin, sits with a 48.97. Having placed 16th last year in 49.76, Sun has dropped almost a second from his time last year to now be in contention for a top 8 spot. Returning from the finals last year are #7 Matthew Williams (49.11), #16 Michael Fothergill (49.63), #17 Adam Betts (49.64), and #18 Bo Mattix (49.75). Others looking to make it in are #23 Matthew Cooper (50.18) who finished 9th last year in 48.70, and #3 Mitchell Cooper (49.01) who is a full second faster than his seed (50.18) and 23rd place performance (50.35) last year.
49.73 made it back last year, and a half second faster at 49.23 was enough for finals. With so many seeded in 49s, it will be interesting to see where the cutoffs fall and if the top 8 will all be pushed below 49 this year. And with Lin favorited so strongly, will he merely go for the win to save energy after likely setting the NCAA record in Williams’ 400 Medley Relay, or go all in?
- Benjamin Lin 46.XX/47.5
- Matt Williams 48.0
- Bo Mattix 48.2
NCAA Record: 51.72 2015 NCAAs Andrew Wilson, Emory
2015 Champion: 51.72 Andrew Wilson, Emory
With NCAA Champion (and 2015 US National Champion) Andrew Wilson redshirting the year to train at Texas, this year’s 100 breast has opened itself up quite a bit with numerous returning finalists. #1 Michael Lagieski of Wash U. looks to be in a comfortable lead with a 54.10, having finished 2nd last year in a 54.11. #2 Tyler Thompson of Baldwin Wallace at 54.68 in his debut NCAAs after having a previous personal best of 56.59 from his last year conference meet. Returning #3 Kyle Walthall (54.78) and #4 Trevor Manz of Kenyon (54.90) round out those already under 55 this year. #7 Johnson Cochran of Calvin (55.20) rounds out the list of finalist returners, himself looking to make a return to the top after studying abroad part of his junior year while still offering impressive swims. Two years ago, Cochran had a phenomenal prelims swim of 54.35 to seed 1st into finals, before taking 3rd in 54.53.
They will be challenged by #5 Zechariah Banks of Wabash (55.00) and #6 James Shangle of TCNJ (55.07), who have made massive drops after both holding previous bests in the 56s. A 56.14 was needed for top 16, and a 55.50 for finals. This year’s depth in the 55s looks to make finals much harder to make, and it seems reasonable to think a 55 itself will be needed to make it back at all this year. Keep an eye on guys like #19 Cooper Tollen (56.04) who was 16th last year, or #11 Jacob Tamposi (55.50) who was seeded 55.17 last year and has been on the edge of 54. A final interesting note is that there is one single freshman in the event this year, seeded last at 36th with a 57.39.
- Michael Lagieski 53.9
- Kyle Walthall 54.2
- Johnson Cochran 54.3
NCAA Record: 578.70 2014 NCAC Champs Connor Dignam, Denison
2015 Champion: 532.85 Max Levy, Denison
Last year Denison swept the top of the podium, finishing 1-2-3. With NCAA record holder Connor Dignam now graduated, reigning champion Max Levy and 3rd place Ben Lewis return with teammate Brian Allen. Allen, after not advancing to finals last year, will look to join his Denison teammates this year around after all three swept their regional’s 1-meter. With the graduation of 5 seniors total from the top 8, and 3 from the bottom 8, numerous spots have opened up for upcoming divers to take advantage of. Albion freshman Henry Swett and Jake Burris will look to gain experience together, having been through an impressive season with the ability to score in the middle 400s and challenge Denison’s dominance.
Look for returning finalist Matthew Rohrer of Tufts as well, the sole returning finalist after Denison’s Levy and Lewis. Aaron Carlson from Suny Fredonia, having tied for 9th last year as a freshman, will also be eager to join the top 8 after nearly breaking 500 at his regional. Expect Lake Forest’s Heath Ogawa, a freshman placing behind the Denison trio at regionals, to challenge in the morning for a spot in the top. NCAA judges are tough and each of the 24 divers will need to nail their list in prelims in order to secure a spot in finals, giving major focus to their voluntaries in order to give themselves a great base for finals. Every dive matters, as well as the confidence many have from previous NCAA experiences. 407.45 was the cutoff for top-16, with a much higher 452.25 required for top 8 placement. Denison will be looking to conquer, with not many this year having been close to their abilities to score in the 500s for conference and regional meets. Watch for Levy’s 105B (forward 2 ½, pike) and 405C (inward 2 ½, tuck) to clinch 50s+ in score and secure the title.
- Max Levy 550s
- Ben Lewis 520s
- Ogawa/Allen/Carlson 490s
800 Free Relay
NCAA Record: 6:29.27 2013 NCAAs Johns Hopkins
2015 Champions: 6:33.23 TCNJ
Last year, favorites Kenyon lost a close race to TCNJ by .12. Even with a quick 1:37.87 anchor by Arthur Conover, the NCAA record holder in the grueling mile, TCNJ was able to hold on for the win. TCNJ returns 3/4ths of their winning relay, replacing graduated senior Brett Pedersen (1:38.04 split last year) with sophomore Philip Binaco. With a relatively lackluster showing at their conference meet, expect TCNJ to explode with the same fire as last year. #1 Denison will be looking to hold off #2 Johns Hopkins, each with a stellar relay team. On Denison, standouts Ryan Fleming and anchor Bart Brunk look to boost their relay with 1:38s, while Johns Hopkins will answer with a quick leadoff by 200 Free #1 Evan Holder and a solid leg by 500 Free NCAA record holder Andrew Greenhalgh along with returning sophomores Davis Knox and Griffith Otazu. Kenyon will also be out for revenge, likely adding Conover to their lineup and supplementing with a duo of 1:38s ready to go in senior Joseph Duronio and junior Trevor Manz.
6:46.68 was 16th last year, a 6:40.83 for 8th. With #16 BSC (6:45.66) already a second faster than 16th last year, this year’s 800 Free Relay is bound to have even faster swims under the NCAA spotlight.
- Kenyon 6:33.2
- Johns Hopkins 6:33.8
- Denison 6:34.4
NCAA Record: 15:01.24 2015 NCAAs Arthur Conover, Kenyon
2015 Champion: 15:01.24 Arthur Conover, Kenyon
Last year, Conover and Greenhalgh ran away with the race, placing 1st in a new NCAA record time and 2nd respectively in a 15:04.63. An exact 10 seconds behind was 3rd place Shahar Resman in 15:14.63. This year seems as though it may be the same, with a possible break of the 15 minute barrier as Conover and Greenhalgh push one another far beyond the competition. These two will have battled for a record earlier in the meet during the 500, but Conover looks to have the upper hand in endurance. Will Greenhalgh’s possible break under 4:20 give him the confidence to take down Conover in the mile? Behind them, do not ignore current #1 Christian Baker who has made a gigantic 13 second drop from his personal best since last year, 15:33 down to a 15:20. Will it be enough to challenge?
Point-scoring 16th was a 16:00.21 last year, an 8th place performance at 15:41.58. This year could remain around the same, with Conover and Greenhalgh leading the pack by far, as 15:20s from guys like freshman #4 Joshua Graves of MIT and returning #5 Austin Palmer of NYU race behind. 15:30s stand at freshman #6 Thomas Gordon of Emory and #7 Luke Dobben of Wash U. who returns after an apparent junior year absence. A slew of 15:40s is led by #8 Caleb Meinderstma of Calvin, a full 9 seconds faster than his performance last year and with sights set on the podium.
- Arthur Conover 14:59.XX, NCAA Record
- Andrew Greenhalgh 15:02
- Christian Baker 15:19
NCAA Record: 43.16 2012 NCAAs Zach Turk, Kenyon
2015 Champion: 43.68 Jesse Novak, Rowan
Often hailed as the “Blue Ribbon Event” of swimming, the 100 Free is the quickest and toughest event to call. Reigning champion Jesse Novak looks to defend his title by swimming in the 43s, but experienced sophomore Thomas Thetford has now joined him under 44 and has a chance to upset Novak. The next closest to these two would be #22 Alex Poltash of Claremont who, although seeded with a 45.25, exploded last year during prelims with a 44.06 to take the 1st seed into finals. He may not have the sheer front end speed of Novak and others who take it out in a sub-21, but he does maintain a roaring backhalf and was the only swimmer to return sub-23 during both prelims and finals. Behind these three, an incredible depth of 44 mids and highs will be fighting for a spot in the evening session.
45.01 qualified for 16th, but with how variable the touch can be in a 100, it is possible that a few 45s sneak in or it could be equally possible that only 44s return. 44.65 was 8th, a number likely to be the same, as 44 mid remains the name of the game to make the big top 8. This race is truly the test of the best swimmers, who not only have to race fast in the morning and nail their strategy, but come back even harder at night once everyone is pumped up even more at having qualified in. Behind the likely top 3, 4th-16th are up for grabs. How many can be under 45, and could there be three swimmers under 44?
- Jesse Novak 43.4
- Thomas Thetford 43.8
- Alex Poltash 43.9
NCAA Record: 1:43.49 2015 NCAAs Harrison Curley, Kenyon
2015 Champion: 1:43.49 Harrison Curley, Kenyon
Seniors Harrison Curley and Kevin Lindgren absolutely destroyed this event last year, with both demolishing Michael Brus’ original NCAA record of 1:44.81 from 2013 before Curley swam under it by .02 in prelims. He later took over a full second off during finals. For Lindgren to have swam 1:44.08, far under the original record and place 2nd is insane. With the graduation of both, #1 Jackson Lindell of Denison looks to take the throne. Seeded in a 1:47.02, Lindell was 1:45.66 for 3rd last year. Behind Lindell in seeds lies the record holder in the 100 Back, #2 Benjamin Lin. Lin took 4th last year in a 1:46.06, and is entered this year with a 1:47.27. Along with Lindell and Lin, #16 Jared Scheuer of Emory (1:48.99) completes a trio of guys who have swam under 1:47.
#3 Michael Winget of Tufts (1:47.30) finished 5th in 1:47.70 last year, though be on the lookout for returning sophomore #17 Adam Betts of NYU (1:49.00) who crushed a 1:47.23 to capture the consolation final and has the ability to challenge high in the top 8. Behind these five, Lindell, Lin, Scheuer, Winget, Betts, lie a multitude of talented guys who are already seeded in 1:47s and 1:48 lows. #4 Kingsley Bowen of Tufts (1:47.34) will join his teammate Winget in their attempts at securing a spot on the podium. #11 Ravi Sun of Stevens (1:48.19) as well looks to return into the top 8, having swam a qualifying 1:47.08 before fading into a 1:48.19 at finals. 1:48.69 was the magic number to secure top 16 last year, and 1:47.76 for top 8. With so many guys already in the 1:47 range or having already swam 1:47s and merely being seeded higher, these two numbers are guaranteed to drop in order to qualify for the evening.
- Jackson Lindell 1:45.3
- Benjamin Lin 1:45.8
- Betts/Scheuer 1:46.7
NCAA Record: 1:52.97 2015 NCAAs Andrew Wilson, Emory
2015 Champion: 1:52.97 Andrew Wilson, Emory
The final event where the absence of redshirting Andrew Wilson opens up opportunities for many. 200 Free and IM powerhouse Evan Holder of Johns Hopkins comes in well ahead as the #1 seed, 1:58.59 from his midseason invitational. #2 Kyle Walthall of YCP follows with a 1:59.24, the only other swimmer seeded under 2:00. A handful of others have been under 2:00, however, and all look to make it an incredibly close race. #3 Ian Reardon (2:00.20) was 1:59.50 in prelims last year before falling to 6th with a 2:00.47. #5 Michael Lagieski (2:00.45) finished 3rd in a 1:59.80, and #15 Trevor Manz (2:02.58) took the consolation heat in 1:59.88. That makes 5 guys who have broken under 2:00 either last year at this meet or sometime during this year. In much the same manner as the 200 Back with its tough 1:47 barrier, numerous swimmers will be looking to obtain the highly coveted sub-2:00 200 Breast at this meet.
Leading that pack will be returning #13 Johnson Cochran (2:02.28), having been 2:00.09 last year and looking to capitalize on a full season of training after being abroad for part of his junior year before hitting a personal best last year regardless. #4 James Shangle (2:00.44), who dropped significantly from his 2:02.04 seed from last year, looks to join the finals after being left out as a reserve 18th previously. Others to watch will be #6 Elliot Penson of Wheaton (2:00.86), and the many 2:01s who will all be fighting for a spot to return. 2:03.17 returned as 16th last year, 2:00.33 for top 8. It could very well take a sub-2:00 performance this year to return for the championship final.
- Evan Holder 1:57.8
- Trevor Manz 1:58.8
- Kyle Walthall 1:59.1
NCAA Record: 645.90 2014 NCAC Champs Connor Dignan, Denison
2015 Champion: 580.85 Max Levy, Denison
Double reigning champion Max Levy of Denison again looks to defend his title, as well joined by fellow teammates Ben Lewis and Brian Allen. All three scored well into the 500s during their regional meet, with Henry Swett of Albion and Conor Farrell of Case Western Reserve having trailed in the upper 400s behind them. Daniel Goldstein of Grinnell will challenge Denison’s dominance again, having been in the 500s in his respective regional. Arron Carlson of Suny Fredonia will also challenge the Denison trio, scoring in the middle 500s and in prime position to overtake part of the trio.
As an overwhelming 10 of the top 16 were seniors last year, the 3-meter board is open for many to gain valuable national championship diving experience. A morning score of 443.00 was needed for 16th, and a much higher 483.55 for top 8 placement. With numerous guys having breached 500s or been near at their respective regional meets, one mere over-rotation or missed entry could cost a diving placement in not just finals, but perhaps even the consolations as well. Anticipate Max Levy’s growing experience to continue to dominate, though the remaining spots will be close. Keep an eye out for Levy’s twisters, his historically high-scoring dives that are sure to put him in the lead and clinch the title.
- Max Levy 590s
- Daniel Goldstein 560s
- Benjamin Lewis 550s
400 Free Relay
NCAA Record: 2:53.59 2012 NCAAs Kenyon
2015 Champion: 2:57.85 Chicago/TCNJ
An exciting finish ended the meet last year, with Chicago and TCNJ taking 1st by a tie. The two return, with TCNJ seeded #5 in 3:00.03 and Chicago as #6 in 3:00.25. TCNJ graduates their two fastest legs, Perez Brian (44.13) and Brett Pederson (44.18), while Chicago holds absences in Mantim Lee (45.65 leadoff) and Jeremy Estes (44.11) but do return with Matthew Veldman (43.95 anchor). The current leaders are #1 Emory and #2 Denison respectively. Emory did not swim their 400 Free Relay last year, whereas Denison swam a solid 4th place 2:58.48. Denison only graduates Damon Rosenburg, replacing him with a 45.70 Stuart Hohm and retaining the rest of their relay.
Always be on the lookout for Kenyon, who consistently puts up guys capable of 44s. MIT as well maintains a team of 44s, but may not have enough firepower this year to challenge for the top of the podium. Johns Hopkins has Evan Holder, but not much elsewise in the 44 range and will be relegated to 45s and doing their best to break under 3:00. A close race in the final moments of NCAAs is always exciting, as the D3 powerhouses in Emory, Denison and Kenyon fight for the final event title.
- Denison 2:57.2
- Emory 2:57.7
- Kenyon 2:58