Like the ladies, the top men are gone. In this case, it’s the entire top 3. The rest of the finals heat, however, is back. There are also fresh faces. Ross Spock (no relation to Spock) and Jason Adams immediately spring to mind. 7 guys got below 50. last season, including Jimmy Chapman who did so in consols. 6 come into the meet with times under 50, which is only 1 more than last year so depth will be similar.
What are they doing down in Denison? Granville has become the backstroker Mecca in recent years. Last year they put 4 into the top 16, splitting them evenly between finals and consols. None of those backstrokers graduated and all are back at nationals (though Chabot is ranked 31st). It also doesn’t include Quinn Bartlett who posted a 1:47 in the 200 backstroke.
Did you know Robert Barry actually came in faster last year? He did. Michael Mptosis? He was faster too and this year, he had to put up his qualifying time in February. On the other side of things, Jimmy Chapman comes in faster. He’ll need to post a faster prelims time if he wants to compete though.
Sleeper: Max Scholten. The Pamona-Pitzer senior snuck into the meet this year after being a finalist in 2010. Despite his times coming in February, that didn’t stop him from dropping in prelims last year and again in finals. I see a similar trend this year and while it may not be good enough to win, it should put him back into the top 8.
Winner: Ross Spock. Was I swayed by the Emory contributors on this website? Yes. Did they bribe me? No, though I’d still accept gifts. Spock is full of potential and here is the key: he’s great underwater. A freshman who dropped a lot of time in December, swims for Emory and has great underwaters is more than enough information for me to pick him.