By Kevin Noth, SwimInfo Special Correspondent
Photos by Tim Morse
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 25. NORTHWESTERN sophomore Matt Grevers had to fight for the crown, but managed to out-touch Florida’s Ryan Lochte in the 100 backstroke by .03 to claim the first Wildcat individual NCAA title since 1958. Grevers and Lochte were neck and neck throughout the race.
Lochte led after the first 25 yards, clocking a 10.67 first 25 split, but Grevers pulled slightly ahead after recording an equally impressive 11.09 second split. The Gator junior responded by marking 11.68 on his third split, pulling nearly even with Grevers.
The final 25 yards was an all-out race to the wall with neither swimmer able to gain an advantage over the other. Grevers managed clip Lochte at the wall, touching in a winning time of 45.62 seconds. Lochte placed second in a time 45.65 seconds.
“To be honest I didn’t think I had a good chance at all,” Grevers said. “Usually you don’t look at the person next to you because it kind of messes up your stroke. But I was looking right at him and I didn’t want him to get away from me. I just tried my best during the last stretch because I know he comes home strong. So I turned it up an extra gear and luckily for me, we were even at the finish.”
Doug Van Wie of Auburn turned in a final 25 split of 11.68 to claim third in a time of 46.17. Stanford swimmers Jayme Cramer and Hongzhe Sun tied for fourth, both recording a time of 46.55.
Chad Barlow (Auburn), Nick Thoman (Arizona) and Adam Mania (Wisconsin) rounded out the championship field in sixth through eighth, respectively.