Texas Continues Stellar Start to NCAAs During Day Two Prelims

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By David Rieder

AUSTIN, Texas, March 28. AFTER last night establishing a one point lead over California, the University of Texas once again shined during the day two prelims session in their home pool at the men’s NCAA Championships. The Longhorns put six swimmers into championship finals for tonight, more than any other school. Not to be outdone, however, Cal answered back with the most total swimmers qualifying for evening action, with 11 total, 4 in A-finals and 7 in B-finals.

Projected to score a mere 54 points on day two, not including diving and the 800 free relay, the Longhorns’ preliminary positioning would earn them 131, again excluding the last two events of the day. Familiar names from day one keyed Texas’ surge, including Will Licon. The freshman entered the meet seeded 33rd in the 400 IM, but his four second drop from 3:46.96 to 3:42.75 put him in seventh after prelims. Jack Conger placed third in the 100 fly and provided the only sub-20 fly split in leading Texas’ 200 medley relay to the top seed, but having teammates Tripp Cooper and Will Glass join him in the 100 fly final gives the Longhorns big points.

Crucial into Cal pushing up the standings has been Chuck Katis, a junior breaststroker who this morning moved up from 13th to third in the 100 breast. His 52.14 split crushed his 52.69 seed time, but he should have even more in the tank after a 50.46 relay split last night. His leg will be critical for a Bears team that just managed to sneak into the 200 medley relay final after winning the 400 relay on Thursday. Ryan Murphy goes for the win in the 100 back as he enters with the top seed, while teammate Tony Cox had a nice half second drop to move up from 13th to fourth. Projections say the Bears will outscore their psych sheet total by 45.5 tonight

Georgia joins Cal and Texas in the plus column as they are seeded to score 34 more points than projected. Chase Kalisz took the top seed in the 400 IM as expected, as he could challenge Tyler Clary’s American record of 3:35.98 in the final, but teammate Tynan Stewart cut off almost five seconds to join Kalisz in the final. Doug Reynolds snuck into the 100 fly final in eighth, while Matias Koski dropped a second off his best time in the 200 free to earn the third seed with a 1:33.22.

Florida (-17), Michigan (-24), and Arizona, (-43) all suffered losses during the third day of prelims. Florida had title contender Sebastian Rousseau drop out of the A-final in the 400 IM, as he and teammate Matt Elliott finished a painful ninth and tenth, respectively. The Wolverines, meanwhile, must count on the 100 breast to stay in the thick of the title race, as Bruno Ortiz qualified second in 52.04, and Richard Funk won a swim-off to make the A-final with a 1.76 that would have placed him second in prelims.

An Arizona swimmer had the highlight of the morning session as Kevin Cordes ripped off a 50.55 in the 100 breast, taking 0.15 off his American and U.S. Open record in the event. Still, the Wildcats saw Kevin Steel fall all the way from tenth to 23rd in the event, although Brad Tandy helped ease the pain with as he picked up 16th after being seeded 23rd. Sixth-seeded Michael Meyer fell all the way to fifteenth in the 400 IM, while the fourth seed in the 100 back, Mitchell Friedemann, will swim in the consolation final after placing 13th.

Day Two Prelims Ups/Downs for Individual Swimming Events

Arizona — two up/five down
California – four up/seven down
Florida — three up/six down
Georgia — five up/two down
Michigan — five up/two down
Texas — six up/two down

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Author: David Rieder

David Rieder has been a contributor to Swimming World since 2009. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University. He has previously interned for WCBD News 2 and ESPN New York.

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