Editorial coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 28. AFTER watching Vlad Morozov crush a 50 free split of 17.86 earlier in the night, the crowd had their eyes on USC's lane at the NCAA Division I Men's Championships in the 400-yard medley relay. It didn't take long, however, for the Arizona Wildcats to draw everyone's attention as the team nearly clocked an NCAA record on the back of a blistering breaststroke split by Kevin Cordes.
With a jaw-dropping 49.56 breaststroke split by Cordes, Arizona's Mitchell Friedemann (45.51), Cordes (49.56), Giles Smith (44.86) and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (42.16) won the finale by more than two seconds with a sizzling 3:02.09. That is Arizona's third title in the event, as the Wildcats won in 2006 and 2008.
Arizona downed second-place California by 2.37 seconds, but that's not even close to the NCAA record for the largest margin of victory in a 400-yard medley relay. Ohio State and Stanford hold that record with matching 4.40-second triumphs in 1962 and 1995.
California's Anthony Cox (46.50), Trevor Hoyt (52.20), Tom Shields (43.48) and Fabio Gimondi (42.28) took second in 3:04.46 with Shields posting an awesome butterfly split. Michigan mitigated the potential team-title race damage the event could have had with a third-place 3:04.73 from Miguel Ortiz (45.85), Richard Funk (51.51), Sean Fletcher (45.15) and Bruno Ortiz (42.22).
Vlad Morozov still managed a blazing anchor of 40.60 for the Trojans as Luca Spinazzola (46.36), Sergio Lujan-Rivera (52.30), Maclin Davis (45.72) and Morozov (40.60) put together a fourth-place time of 3:04.98.
Auburn (3:05.65), Texas (3:08.18), Florida (3:08.40) and Penn State (3:08.42) placed fifth through eighth in the finale. Indiana picked up the consolation heat win in 3:08.40.
Michigan closed out the day in first with 153 points, while California stood second with 123.5 points. Auburn moved into third with 112.5 points, while USC completed the 100-point squads with a fourth-place 100-point tally. Texas held fifth with 99 points.
Florida (97), Arizona (81), Stanford (81), Indiana (68) and Georgia (34) made up the rest of the top 10.