By Kevin Noth, SwimInfo Special Correspondent
Photos by Tim Morse
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 24. STANFORD had to come from behind to score a victory in the 400 medley relay, but got the job done to close out the opening day of the NCAA Championships.
Throughout the race, it was Northwestern that held the lead behind a strong opening leg by Matt Grevers (45.89), an equally impressive breaststroke by Mike Alexandrov (52.47) and Kyle Bubolz’s brisk butterfly split (45.75). Unfortunately for the Wildcats, there are four legs to a relay and Northwestern faded to fourth over the final freestyle leg.
Stanford’s Ben Wildman-Tobriner seized first place shortly after entering the water during his anchor leg and would not relinquish the lead. He closed with a 41.82 freestyle split over the final 100 to seal a Cardinal victory. Stanford recorded a pool record time of 3:08.78 by adding in Jayme Cramer’s opening split of 46.28, Gary Marshall’s breaststroke split of 52.19, the fastest in the field, and Matt McDonald’s butterfly leg of 46.21.
Arizona touched in second place in a time of 3:07.57 behind Simon Burnett’s sizzling 100 freestyle split of 41.70. Auburn used George Bovell’s anchor split of 41.72 to finish in third place at 3:07.92
With a third-place finish in the 400 medley relay, Auburn holds a commanding lead over Arizona, 172-130, while Cal is in third place with 126 points. Stanford was the only other school to finish with more than 100 points, notching 120. Florida rounds out the top five team scores, with 86 points.