Preface: UAAs is going down in Rochester this year. Spoiler alert: It is going to be cold as hell! Emory are clear favorites, but there will be a few teams looking to capitalize on any slip-ups. Long story short, this year’s UAAs should be fast and deep. Let’s get it on!
Emory: Last year, Emory won by about 300 points (shocking). This year, they’re going for an even dozen wins in a row, which would be a pretty impressive accomplishment. They’ve got a great mix of veterans, frosh and transfers that should allow them to challenge for top honors yet again. As usual though, a good portion of the Eagles will come in with no shave or taper, having already secured their tickets to the Show in December.
Players to Watch: Ross Spock (frosh). This kid can swim a lot of different events and he is FAST. He’s already been 20.6 in the 50 and 45.27 in the 100. These times are doubly impressive because Spock is arguably a backstroker. Also, he may have the most bad-ass name in d3 swimming.
Peter O’Brien (soph). Slippery Pete has been ON FIRE since the Eagles returned from Florida training. Coming off a great Miami meet where he blasted a 56.1 in the 100 breast and a 2:00.2 in the 200 breast, O’Brien has continued to excel, recently earning D3 swimmer of the week honors. While he’s probably not tapering for conference, I wouldn’t be surprised if he snuck into one of the top spots in both breastrokes.
Patrick Augustyn (Jr). Augustyn is a transfer from Notre Dame and has already established himself as one of the best butterflyers in the UAA. After killing it in both flys at Miami, Augustyn looks primed to make a serious statement, although most likely not at UAAs because he will probably not taper.
Dark Horse: Ben Redpath (Jr.). Smash has been making great strides since his breakout meet at Emory’s last chance meet last year. He’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades and will be looking to shore up some cuts at UAAs, particularly in the 200IM. If he gets out well, Redpath could definitely challenge for a W in the sprint IM.
CMU: Carnegie has been an up-and-coming team the last couple of years after a few down years following the graduation of Hunter, Pearson and Krzy, and with good reason. Although Emory did end up beating the Tartans by a fair amount, it must be said that CMU did make things interesting for a little while. If Coach Kinney and his staff get the Tartans to hit their taper, they could make things really uncomfortable for Emory again this year.
Players to Watch: Joshua Chen (frosh). Known as “the second coming” in some circles due to his biblically anointed initials, Chen is a freestyler/flyer with a lot of upside. As of now, it looks like his best event is the 200 free, where he’s already been a 1:42.5. However, he’s also been a 51.2 in the 100 fly, so he’s got a shot at the dance in a couple of events. If he hits his taper, watch out for JC to make some noise.
Alexander Hanson (Sr.). Hanson, like the band, has been around the block a few times at this point. Being no spring chicken, he should be ready to go with this being his last conference meet. The 400 IM is probably his version of MMMbop, having already gone a 4:00, while his backstroke is also really solid. Barring a meltdown (or infighting between himself and Taylor or Isaac) he should be challenging for top spot in the 400 and also in the 2back.
Daniel Glaser-Garbrick (Soph). Brick is the Tartans’ big gun. He’s already shored up his ticket to the dance by blasting a 1:50.88 in the 200 fly, while also dropping a 4:02 in the 400IM. He, Hanson and some of the Emory kids should have a great race in the 400 IM. He’ll also have a great shot at conference glory in the distance fly.
Dark Horse: Brandon Yee (Soph). Yee is a bit tricky to figure out. He’s a 200 freestyler (1:42.9) but also swims the 500 (4:43) and has swum the 1000. However, there’s no record of him swimming the mile, so maybe we’ll see him there. Depending on his taper, he could have a shot (albeit a long shot) of stamping his ticket in the 200 free.
University of Chicago: UCHI finished a ways off the pace last year in 3rd, which is still nothing to scoff at in a conference as fast and deep as the UAA. The Phoenixes have a great mix of young talent and established veterans who should lead them to a top 3 finish again this year, assuming all goes well.
Players to Watch: Nick Santoro (Jr.). Santoro is a gamechanger, having already dropped a 20.5 relay split on the end of UCHI’s 200 free relay in November. As an anchorman, he’s also split a 46low. The Phoenixes will really need their Ron Burgundy to show up if they hope to make an impact in Rochester.
Charles Du (Soph). Du(bee) had a really solid 200 fly for UCHI in November, dropping a 1:55.8. He’ll have to find another gear if he hopes to swim again in March, but Du should at least make the big heat in Rochester.
Eric Hallman (Frosh): Hall the Wall is a sprint butterflyer who could make an impact if he hits his taper. He’s already dropped a 51.1 in the 100 fly, so it’s not a stretch to think he could drop a little time and slip into the dance. If not, he should at least challenge for honors at UAAs, which is pretty impressive for a frosh.
Dark Horse: Ed Wagner (Sr.) Wagner’s best event is the 200 breast, where he swam a solid 2:09 in November. It would take a herculean effort to get into NCAAs, but with Wagner being a senior, who knows what could happen?
Wash U: Wash U has been up and down the last couple of years, coming in 4th at the most recent UAAs. If I know the Bears, and I’m pretty sure I do, finishing 4th won’t sit well with a team that not long ago boasted the likes of Eric Triebe and Mike “Dolph Lundgren” Slavik. Look for them to make a big push for the top 3 this year.
Players to Watch: David Chao (Sr). Chao has thrown down some really solid freestyles so far this year, with the most notable being a 1:41.6 200 free. He’s also a mainstay for the Bears’ relays. As Chao’s fortune goes, so does Wash U’s…
Kartik Anjur (Sr). Anjur is a solid freestyle, but it’s really the 100 backstroke where his bread is buttered. He was a 51.0 at Wheaton, which at the very least will allow him to challenge for a W at UAAs. His 200 back is a little shaky, but if he hits a taper he should be able to swim a lot faster than a 1:59.
Chris Valach (Jr). Valach is WashU’s resident D-man. He’s been a 16:19 in the mile, which is just off a B cut. While it’s not all that close to an A cut, making it to the dance isn’t out of the question. His 2 fly isn’t too shabby either, having already swum under 1:55.
Dark Horse: Brian Carpenter (frosh). He went to my high school (plug plug plug) and had a reputation for showing up when it counted. I don’t put a lot of stock in his in-season times because he’s a big-time taper swimmer. If he does anything, it will be in the backstrokes. If you read this Brian, don’t make me look stupid.
NYU: I hesitate to write about NYU at all because I know that FranklinPierce (arguably history’s worst president) will be up my ass whatever I write, but here goes nothing. NYU finished 5th last year and, for my money, it’s hard to see them moving up. The teams in front of them are just too deep. However, I’ve been wrong before…
Players to Watch: Bryson Naylor. Naylor looks like the top dog for the Violets (these guys REALLY need a name-change). He’s been a 4:08 in the 400IM on a one-week drop, which bodes well for his NCAA aspirations. He’s also a solid breastroker, having been a 1:00 and a 2:08. He’ll have to really “Nayl” (ahahahaha) his taper if the Violets are going to move into the top half of the conference.
Charles Wu: Wu, not to be confused with Du from UCHI, is a solid 200 IM’er. He’s been a 1:58 on a drop, which is definitely promising. If he hits his taper, he could have a shot at the big heat in Rochester.
Max Norris: Norris is a diver, which is something I know NOTHING about. However, he did win the 3 meter at the MIT invitational. Also, his last name is Norris, which is awesome in and of itself. There’s really not a lot else I can say about him.
Dark Horse: James Carroll (Frosh). Carroll had a really solid MIT meet, ripping a 1:46 in the 200 free. He’s a frosh, so it’s hard to say how he’ll do on a full taper. As a betting man, I’d guess that he shaves about 3 more seconds off that 1:46 and makes the big heat at UAAs.
Case: I owe SkipBrainless a HUGE debt of gratitude for helping me with the Case write-up. I would’ve been pretty lost without him. Case has some studs and some potential mixed in, but probably not enough to get into the top half of the table. They do have some kids/relays that could make the show though, if everything goes according to plan at least…
Players to Watch: Gus Bailey (frosh). Bailey has already made an impact as a frosh, hitting 21.3 in the 50 and 47.5 in the 100. It’s hard to say, based on results, whether Case has tapered, but my guess is that they haven’t done a full drop. Look for him to stand up and be counted in the sprints.
Sam Geiger (Jr.). The longer the distance, the better Geiger is. He’s a 4:46 in the 500, a 10:03 in the 1000 and a 16:30 in the mile. While distance kids don’t usually benefit as much as sprinters from a taper, Geiger should at least get top-8 honors in the mile.
Robby Browning (Sr.). Browning is the cagey veteran of the Case team. He’s a really solid backstroker and will be dreaming of stamping his ticket to NCAAs. Skip thinks he can be a 50.something in the 100, and quite frankly who am I to argue with that? He’ll need to step up and show some senior leadership if Case wants their 200 MR to get into the Dance.
Dark Horse: Sean Nickley (frosh). Snickley (I really hope this is his nickname) is a breastroker with a lot of potential. He’s been a 1:00 and a 2:13 so far. Further, he’s a solid 200 IMer, having dropped a 1:59 so far this year. While he probably won’t realistically stamp his ticket to NCAAs, he could end up making a big heat or two with some big swims at UAAs.
University of Rochester: The gracious hosts will have a tough time getting off the bottom, but anything is possible. Like the saying from Rocky VI, “fall down 7 times, stand up an 8th.” As hosts, they’ll be primed to swim fast, but moving up from last place might just be a bridge too far (lot of clichés in this opener).
Players to Watch: Kevin Howard (Jr.). Howard is a solid backstroker. His 55.4 won’t be enough to get into the big heat, but with a home crowd behind him he could be due for a big drop.
Sam Wilshere (frosh). Wilshere is a really good young butterflyer. He’s been a 1:58 in the 200 already. Wilshere has also dropped a 52.0 in the 100. A nice drop could see him make the big heat at UAAs in a couple events, which will probably not happen often for the hosts.
Evan Jones (Soph). Jones is URI’s D-man. He’s a 5:01 in the 500. Without a drop, he’ll have a hard time making it out of the C heat.
Dark Horse: Alex King (frosh). It looks like King is URI’s anchorman. He’ll need to have a big meet if the Yellowjacket relays are going to get anything going at UAAs.
A big thank you to Cary for the UAA preview despite all his law school homework that I’m sure he’d much rather be doing…