NCAA Preview – M1650FS

For year after year after year after year…. etc… Kenyon won the 1650. Some would argue this run was more impressive than their team title because just 1 standout swimmer would have been enough to end it, rather than a full squad. Last year than run came to an end at the hands of Ryan Lichtenfels who easily defeated Kenyon’s Kegan Borland. Kegan has graduated and now Kenyon puts no one into the night portion of the 1650. After all those years and they go to no finalist. Will Kenyon stay off the podium entirely?

Freshmen are making noise in the 1650. 2 of the top 3 seeds are just freshmen and 5 of the top 11 were in high school just 1 year ago. Our top seed hails from Keene State and is a freshman. The 3rd seed, Al Weik is also a freshman who put up a nearly identical time at midseason where he was not rested or shaved (no word on his shaving status at NCACs). These youngster will need every bit of their youthful energy to keep with Mr. Lichtenfels however. He comes into the event nearly 15 seconds faster than last season and has been consistently dropping time.

The men’s 1650 has been very impressive this year. The last man in, Hope’s Josh Grabijas, was under 16 with a time that would have finished 12th last year. Not your typical bubble time. Historically the weakest event at D3 nats is making a bit of a turnaround. In addition to the aforementioned fantastic freshmen, only 1 of the top 6 men will be leaving us due to graduation this year. That being said, stats can tell you about anything and a look further down the list shows us several seniors who won’t be making it to Indianapolis next year, not as swimmers anyway.

Sleeper: Mark Bernstein. If you read our forums, you’re likely already aware that Mark posted this time at a last chance meet without rest or a shave. Once he’s hairless and rested, he will be sure to make a nice drop. Emory knows distance and Mark will benefit from some distance training post-last chance meet. Look for him to jump into the top 8 with a shot at the top 5.

Winner: Ryan Lichtenfels. The record may be in jeopardy but his 2-time status likely isn’t. It helps that he will be racing youthful and inexperienced competition but it’s doubtful that it will matter. Ryan will grab the lead early and not look back. I think he misses the record this year and saves that for 2012.

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