2014 MNCAA Venue
Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick
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AUSTIN, Texas, March 29. THIS morning during preliminary qualifying at the NCAA Division I Men's Championships, California, Texas and Florida all put themselves in position to win the NCAA team title depending on how things break tonight.

Here's the team standings heading into this morning:

Team Standings
1. Texas 318.5
2. California 312.5
3. Florida 279
4. Michigan 225
5. Georgia 200
6. USC 140
7. Arizona 135.5
8. Auburn 121
9. Stanford 117
10. Florida State 96

Men's 200 back
California's Ryan Murphy put together the top swim of the morning with a 1:39.16, which is a second off his fourth-ranked 1:38.15 from Nov. of 2012 while swimming in high school. The 100-yard backstroke winner is definitely looking to beat that time this evening.

Murphy's teammate Jacob Pebley sandwiched the A final field with an eighth-place 1:40.42 to give California two A finalists. They didn't, however, pick up any B finalists.

Texas had the most impressive team outing of the morning in the distance dorsal as Kip Darmody (1:40.20) and Jack Conger (1:40.27) qualified fifth and sixth, while Patrick Murphy (1:40.50) and Will Glass (1:40.93) both made the B final with ninth and 13th overall.

Indiana's Eric Ress, who is ranked 12th all time in the event, qualified second in 1:39.25, while Tennessee's Sean Lehane beat his school record with a third-seeded 1:39.42 to leapfrog Omar Pinzon into 14th all time.

Stanford's David Nolan (1:39.72) and West Virginia's Bryce Bohman (1:40.36) also earned spots in the championship heat.

Georgia's Tynan Stewart (1:40.61), Auburn's Joe Patching (1:40.82), Florida's Corey Main (1:4-0.82), NC State's Stephen Coetzer (1:40.94), Virginia Tech's Collin Higgins (1:40.96) and Virginia's Luke Papendick (1:41.07) also earned their way into the B final to join the pair of Longhorns.

In a surprising development, defending champion Drew teDuits of Wisconsin will not swim at night after a 30th-place 1:43.03 this morning. He had entered the meet with a 1:39.84 and should have finaled.

Team Race -- Running Up/Downs
Texas: 2 up/2 down
California: 2 up/0 down
Florida: 0 up/1 down

Men's 100 free
Texas kept rolling in the men's 100 free with a one up, one down performance to push their team tally to three up and three down so far.

John Murray popped a second-place time of 41.77 to make the A final and vault to 14th all time in the event's history, while teammate Matt Ellis posted a 42.47 to tie for ninth overall and make the B final.

Auburn's Marcelo Chierighini, who has had a subpar meet thus far for his standards, drilled a 41.52 to begin to make up for the rest of the week. That's nearly a top-15 all time performance, and is just off his lifetime best of 41.46 from last month at SECs.

Louisville's Joao De Lucca, the 200 free winner from last night, powered his way to third in 42.09. USC's Cristian Quintero (42.11), Penn State's Shane Ryan (42.13), Florida's Brad deBorde (42.18), California's Seth Stubblefield (42.31) and Auburn's Kyle Darmody (42.42) also grabbed lanes in the championship heat.

The Golden Bears also turned in a one up, one down in the event as Tyler Messerschmidt placed 13th with a 42.50 to join teammate Stubblefield tonight with a second swim.

Meanwhile, Alabama's Kristian Gkolomeev (42.47), Tennessee's Luke Percy (42.49). Minnesota's Derek Toomeyh (42.49), Auburn's James Disney-May (42.50), NC State's Simonas Bilis (42.51) and Alabama's BJ Hornikel (42.53) picked up the other transfer spots into the consolation heat.

Team Race -- Running Up/Downs
Texas: 3 up/3 down
California: 3 up/1 down
Florida: 1 up/1 down

Men's 200 breast
Kevin Cordes is reaching Michael Phelps 200 fly level with his breaststroke swims as Cordes put up a relaxed, easy speed 1:50.44 to lead qualifying this morning. That's just the fourth-fastest time ever, giving Cordes the top five times of all time without expending much energy. The defending champion is definitely gunning for his American, NCAA record of 1:48.68 this evening.

California, meanwhile, responded to a strong couple of events from Texas with a two up performance against Texas' one down with Chuck Katis (1:52.84) and Josh Prenot (1:53.14) placing sixth and seventh. That gives the Golden Bears five up, one down so far against Texas' three up, four down.

Indiana's Cody Miller vaulted to eighth all time in the event with a sizzling 1:51.85 for the second seed tonight, while Alabama's Anton McKee posted a 1:52.46 to finish third this morning.

Georgia's Nic Fink (1:52.58), Michigan's Richard Funk (1:52.72) and Missouri's Sam Tierney (1:53.42) also made the championship heat.

Texas' Will Licon (1:53.44), Purdue's Lyam Dias (1:53.64), Virginia's Yannick Kaeser (1:53.71), Florida's Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (1:53.72), Louisville's Addison Bray (1:54.11), Louisville's Thomas Dahlia (1:54.20), Florida's Matt Elliott (1:54.25) and Wisconsin's Nick Schafer (1:54.34) will comprise the consolation field this evening.

Team Race -- Running Up/Downs
Texas: 3 up/4 down
California: 5 up/1 down
Florida: 1 up/3 down

Men's 200 fly
Michigan's Dylan Bosch toyed with the American and NCAA record time of 1:39.65, splitting his race 23.00, 47.90, 1:13.98, but shut it down in the final 50 to finish with a 1:40.67 for the top seed heading into finals. That's the 10th fastest time ever, and bodes well for Bosch, who will be looking to at least become just the third sub-1:40 man ever, joining Michael Phelps and Tom Shields.

Florida, meanwhile, countered with a big two up qualification event to run its total tally to three up, three down. Marcin Cieslak qualified third in 1:41.48, and could become a three-time winner after already winning the 200 IM and 100 fly the previous two nights. His teammate, Sebastien Rousseau, snared seventh overall in 1:43.09. Florida also has two swimmers seeded in the top five in the 1650 free and should challenge California for the team title heading into the 400 free relay tonight.

California went one up, one down with Marcin Tarczysnki placing third overall in 1:42.02 and Long Gutierrez tying for 14th overall with a 1:43.42. Texas, however, was blanked in the event and will need a huge platform event to overcome California's strong day in the team title event. Texas is trying to give head coach Eddie Reese his 11th career coaching men's title, that would tie him with Mike Peppe for the men's record. Richard Quick (13) and David Marsh (12) are 1-2 in the overall men's and women's coaching title rankings.

NC State's Christian McCurdy (1:42.53), Michigan's Kyle Whitaker (1:42.53), Arizona's Michael Meyer (1:42.76) and Indiana's Steve Schmuhl (1:43.10) claimed the rest of the A final spots.

Arizona State's Alexandru Coci (1:43.11), LSU's Frank Greeff (1:43.14), Florida State's Connor Knight (1:43.22), Columbia's David Jakl (1:43.25), Minnesota's Kyler Van Swol (1:43.37), Stanford's Tom Kremer (1:43.42) and Auburn's Arthur Mendes (1:43.45) will join Gutierrez in the B final.

Team Race -- Running Up/Downs
Texas: 3 up/4 down
California: 6 up/2 down
Florida: 3 up/3 down

Men's 400 free relay
Auburn's James Disney-May (42.76), Alex Hancock (44.08), Kyle Darmody (41.91), and Marcelo Chierighini (41.25) threw down the top time of the morning with a 2:50.00, and could make some serious noise this evening in terms of record-breaking times.

But, most of the crowd will be looking at the three teams that qualified 2-3-4 behind the Tigers as the team title will most likely come down to the final relay with California, Texas and Florida all in the mix.

California's Tyler Messerschmidt (42.47), Ryan Murphy (42.43), Tony Cox (43.36) and Seth Stubblefield (42.38) qualified second in 2:5064, while Texas' John Murray (42.96), Matt Ellis (43.33), Caleb Weir (42.34) and Kip Darmody (42.29) posted a third-place 2:50.92.

Florida's Brad deBorde (42.64), Corey Main (42.51), Marcin Cieslak (42.84) and Matt Curby (42.97) clocked a 2:50.96 for fourth overall.

NC State (2:51.13), Alabama (2:51.30), Tennessee (2:51.93) and USC (2:52.04) rounded out the top eight.

Ohio State (2:52.08), Michigan (2:52.21), Louisville (2:52.73), Georgia (2:52.88), Stanford (2:52.92), Arizona (2:52.95), UNLV (2:53.07) and Penn State (2:53.41) qualified ninth through 16th for the consolation heat.

In what, besides the close team race, is the story of the meet. The total relay DQ tally ran up to 18 with Minnesota picking up an exchange disqualification with a -.03 between Derek Toomey and Daryl Turner.

Team Race -- Running Up/Downs
Texas: 4 up/4 down
California: 7 up/2 down
Florida: 4 up/3 down

Platform diving
Following a bit of a scare yesterday when Duke's Nick McCrory pulled out of the three-meter springboard mid-competition for an undisclosed reason, McCrory came back with a vengeance this morning as he looks to win the tower for the fourth time in his career. McCrory tallied 480.35 points during prelims, and could become the first man to ever post a career sweep of the platform event.

In the team title hunt, Texas picked up some much-needed points as Michael Hixon squeaked into the championship field with an eighth-place 382.00, while Mark Anderson qualified 13th with 360.95 points to make the consolation field diving shortly. But, will it be enough to absorb California's incredible final day of swimming?

Arizona's Rafael Quintero (455.10), Missouri's David Bonuchi (417.90), Virginia Tech's Ryan Hawkins (407.10), Stanford's Kristian Ipsen (388.55), Hawaii's Amund Gismervik (384.15) and Virginia Tech's Thomas Shinholser (383.10) also will return this evening.

Auburn's John Santeiu (379.30), Tennessee's Mauricio Robles Rodriguez (378.15), Arizona's Dominic Ricotta (370.40), Kentucky's Greg Ferrucci (365.50), Virginia's JB Kolod (343.80), Auburn's Fraser McKean (329.45) and Purdue's Nathan Cox (328.75) will join Anderson in the consolation finale taking place shortly after the prelim session.

Team Race -- Running Up/Downs
Texas: 1 up/1 down
California: 7 up/2 down
Florida: 4 up/3 down

1650 free to come

Results: NCAA Division I Men's Championships: Day Three Prelims