NCAA Preview – M400IM

2-time champion and NCAA record holder Alex Beyer is gone. This opens things up considerably. Insert Paul Dyrkacz and his 3:53 from NESCACs. This comes a bit out of no where since he didn’t break 4:00 last year. If we look at his NCAA time compared to his NESCAC time, we actually see a drop. It’s one thing to drop from a good conference taper time, but entirely another to drop from his amazing NESCAC swim. Even if he doesn’t drop, can anyone catch him? His closest competitor, John Hu, sits at 3:56, so he may not need a time drop.

Few events have more potential winners than the 400 IM. This is odd because the 50 is always considered a crap shoot. It’s not and neither is this, but it’s wide open. Lichtenfels, Thurston, Hu, Dyrkacz, Bateman, Wilson, etc. That’s a long list and that makes it exciting. Considering there are 6 of them, there’s even a good chance one of these doesn’t even make the big heat. Parity is good for D3 swimming (just kidding Kenyon, we love when you win every year).

Sleeper: Dan Thurston. Prior to looking at last year’s results, I forgot Thurston finished second. He’s seeded 6th right now and the talk has centered around Dyrkacz and Hu, after Hu put up amazing times far too early in the season. Thurston was only a 3:57 in prelims, then dropped 3 seconds in finals to finish 2nd. As long as he’s in the final heat, he’s a threat.

Winner: Ryan Lichtenfels. I’ve flip-flopped on this several times and to several competitors. He comes in 2 seconds faster than last year and dropped 4 seconds. If he does that again, he’s sitting at 3:53 with Dyrkacz. Will it be enough? Apparently I think so, or I wouldn’t have picked him.

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