COLLEGE STATION, Texas, March 28. THE final day of prelims came to a close at the NCAA Division I Men's Championships held in College Station, Texas. Auburn put together a strong morning to set the table for its eighth national title. Should Auburn be able to close the deal this evening, that eighth title would tie them with Stanford for fifth in NCAA history. Michigan and Ohio State own the top tally with 11 each, while USC and Texas own nine apiece.
You basically had to be a top-15 performer of all time to make the championship heat of a rapidly progressing men's 200-yard back.
Michigan's Tyler Clary clocked a startling 1:38.17 in the morning, which is the third-fastest time of all time. Only Ryan Lochte has been faster with a 1:36.81 and a 1:37.68.
Arizona's Jake Tapp qualified second in 1:39.13, which is the 12th-best time ever in the event and made him the fifth-fastest performer of all time. Auburn's Pascal Wollach qualified third in 1:39.91 to become the seventh-best ever, while Florida's Omar Pinzon posted a fourth-place 1:39.96 to move into eighth all time.
Stanford's Eugene Godsoe moved up to 11th all time with a fifth-place 1:40.13, while Auburn's Jared White, the slowest seed of the event with a 1:45.07, clocked a 1:40.21 to jump into 12th all time. Auburn's Kohlton Norys qualified seventh in 1:40.24 to become the 14th-fastest ever. Texas' Hill Taylor finished eighth in 1:40.47.
The consolation heat will be made up of Auburn's Max Murphy (1:40.53), Penn State's Patrick Schirk (1:40.63), Florida's Rexford Tullius (1:40.83), California's David Russell (1:41.00), Florida State's Andrew Hodgson (1:41.11), Oakland's Anders Jensen (1:41.27), Texas' Neil Caskey (1:41.46) and Texas' Bryan Collins (1:41.83).
Auburn will gain ground in the team race with 3 up and 1 down, while Texas went 1 up and 2 down.
Matt Targett of Auburn led the way in prelims with a swift time of 41.68. The effort tied an Ian Crocker 2007 readout for 11th-best ever. Targett, however, already owns the eighth-best time with a 41.55. Yale's Alex Righi qualified second in 41.71 to move up to seventh all time in the event, while Texas' Jimmy Feigen posted a third-place 41.77 to become the ninth-fastest ever.
California's Nathan Adrian (41.86), Auburn's Gideon Louw (41.95), Texas' Dave Walters (42.05), Stanford's Austin Staab (42.25) and Arizona's Nick Nilo (42.34) made up the rest of the big final.
Auburn's Jakob Andkjaer (42.42), California's Graeme Moore (42.57), Texas' Peter Jameson (42.63), Stanford's Alex Coville (42.65), Tennessee's Jonas Persson (42.66), Florida's Brett Fraser (42.76), Virginia's Scot Robison (42.77) and California's Bennett Clark (42.78) will compete in the consolation heat.
In what is turning into a dual meet between Auburn and Texas for the team title, Auburn went 2 up and 1 down, while Texas went 2 up and 1 down as well.
In the fourth heat, California's Sean Mahoney clocked a time of 1:51.96 to break the NCAA record of 1:52.07 set by Georgia's Neil Versfeld last month at the SEC Championships. Mahoney's time tied Mike Alexandrov for third-fastest all time behind only Brendan Hansen (1:51.74) and Ed Moses (1:51.88).
Versfeld qualified second in 1:52.10, just missing his personal best, while Auburn's Adam Klein touched third in 1:53.44. Klein's time moved him up to 12th all time in the event.
Stanford's Paul Kornfeld finished fourth in 1:53.52, while teammate John Criste took fifth in 1:53.56 to become the 14th best ever.
California's Nolan Koon (1:53.78), Florida's Clark Burckle (1:53.89) and California's Martti Aljand (1:53.96) rounded out the A final.
Arizona's Jack Brown (1:54.05), California's Damir Dugonjic (1:54.07), Virginia's Ryan Hurley (1:54.39), Texas' Agustin Magruder (1:54.85), Stanford's Curtis Lovelace (1:54.95), Arizona's Marcus Titus (1:55.11), UC Davis' Scott Weltz (1:55.11) and California's Martin Liivamagi (1:55.22) earned spots in the consolation heat.
In the team race, Auburn went 1 up, while Texas went 1 down. Stanford will make some noise after going 2 up and 1 down, while California went 3 up and 2 down.
Similar to the 200 back, you almost had to be a top-15 swimmer of all time in the 200 fly to make the championship heat.
Florida's Shaune Fraser continued to have himself a great meet when he shot down the NCAA record during prelims with a 1:41.17 in the penultimate heat of the afternoon. The effort clipped the 1:41.33 set by Georgia's Gil Stovall last year and made Fraser the third-fastest ever.
Auburn's Logan Madson cleared the former NCAA record with a second-place 1:41.31 to become fourth all-time, while Georgia's Mark Dylla touched third in 1:41.43 to move up to sixth all time.
Auburn's Tyler McGill checked in with a fourth-place 1:41.49 to jump up to seventh all time, while Stanford's Bobby Bollier qualified fifth in 1:41.79 to become the ninth-fastest of all time.
Stanford's David Mosko earned the sixth spot in finals with a 1:41.98 to move up to 11th all time, while Arizona's A.J. Tipton became the 14th-best with a seventh-place 1:42.38. South Carolina's Nick Walkotten sat just outside the top 15 with an eighth-place 1:42.73.
Princeton's Doug Lennox (1:42.76), Auburn's Robert Looney (1:43.01), Florida's Bradley Ally (1:43.03), Princeton's Dan Eckel (1:43.03), Wisconsin's Scott Rice (1:43.31), Georgia's Todd McGraw (1:43.49), Louisville's Pedro Oliveira (1:43.59) and Navy's Adam Meyer (1:43.62) made the B final.
Auburn continued to make a statement on the third day with 2 up and 1 down, while Texas will not score in the event.
400 free relay
California's Nathan Adrian, Graeme Moore, Josh Daniels and Bennett Clark led morning qualifying with a time of 2:48.78. Stanford's Jake Allen, Austin Staab, David Dunford and Jason Dunford claimed the second seed with a 2:49.74, while Auburn's Jakob Andkjaer, Kohlton Norys, Steve Scheren and Matt Targett clinched third in 2:49.75.
Michigan (2:50.30), Texas (2:50.37), Florida (2:50.76), Arizona (2:50.92) and Minnesota (2:51.48) comprised the rest of the top eight.
Kentucky (2:51.94), Tennessee (2:52.04), Florida State (2:53.06), Virginia (2:53.59), Princeton (2:53.83), Texas A&M (2:53.98), SMU (2:54.31) and LSU (2:54.81) rounded out the consolation heat.
Purdue did well for itself in the tower prelims as the Boilermakers went 2 up and 1 down. David Boudia topped qualifying with 471.40 points, while David Colturi took third with 440.90. Kyle Mitrione made it into consols with a 15th-place 348.25.
Other A finalists were Texas' Drew Livingston (453.25), Ohio State's Sean Moore (431.65), Alabama's Aaron Fleshner (424.00), Miami's Reuben Ross (406.20), Indiana's Landon Marzullo (400.90) and USC's Harrison Jones (397.35).
Texas A&M's Eric Sehn (396.25), Auburn's Daniel Mazzaferro (395.70), Stanford's Brent Eichenseer (379.20), Arizona State's Michele Benedetti (366.30), Auburn's Kelly Marx (357.10), USC's Steven Starks (356.00) and Arizona's Ben Grado (337.90) earned a shot at diving in the consolation finals.
In the consolation final, Sehn won with 434.85 points, while Mazzaferro finished second with 431.65 points. Marx took third with 414.70 points.