Kenyon graduates 3 seniors from an NCAA record breaking relay. Replacing that relay won’t be easy, but it’s already been done. They did this by upgrading their freestyle and fly legs, keeping the same backstroker and having a dang good breastroker. They will win this relay and the battle will be for second.
Based on seed times, Denison and Emory are setting the stage for an epic 2nd place battle. While Denison put up their sub 3:20 time in February, Emory did theirs back in December and didn’t taper for their conference championships. For Denison, this is a full second drop from last year’s seed time which ended with a 3:19.4, good enough for 3rd place, just ahead of Emory. The aforementioned Eagles, however, had a seed time of just 3:23 last year and dropped down below 3:20. With a much fast seed time, expectations out of the Coca-Cola city must be sky high.
I personally thought this event would be quicker in terms of depth. There is no denying that 3:25 is a good time, but compared to the times and depth in other events, this one is lacking. I believe what is at hand here is a lack of a 4th guy. For example, Kalamazoo is ranked 8th, right in the middle of the pack with one of the top breastrokers, the top 100 guy and a B cut backstroker up front. They, like all teams, lack that 4th essential member. In a 200, of stroke or freestyle, someone on the team can usually fake it and get by with it. That’s not the case in a 100. At least the bottom 8 of this event will still be respectable this year.
Sleeper: MIT. I doubt anyone is sleeping on them, but if you are, big mistake. They lack a backstroker (see last paragraph) but have enough on the last 3 legs to catch up to about any relay in the country. Their top recruit was their breastroker who came in at a 56 and was posting blistering in-season times during the second half of the year. Their flyers has been posting sub-50 as easily as his classmates count cards in Vegas. Oh, and on the end, they have one of the premiere freshmen sprinters in the country. If they get a 51-anything up front, this relay could sneak into the top 3.
Winner: Kenyon. A win just isn’t as sweet without the record and this team won’t get it.