2021 NCAA Men’s Championships: Reece Whitley Takes 200 Breast Top Seed

reece-whitley
Reece Whitley; Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

California’s Reece Whitley hasn’t yet had the NCAA Men’s Championships he would’ve wanted. He enters the final day of the meet without a gold medal to his name, settling for third in the 100 breaststroke and a B final in the 200 individual medley. The Golden Bears finished second and third in the two medley relays.

That stands to change in the Cal junior’s signature event, the 200 breast.

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NCAA Men’s Championships: 200 Breaststroke

It’s going to take a special swim Saturday night to unseat the record that has been on the board since 2017. That mark, 1:47.91, belongs to Will Licon, who set the NCAA, meet, American and U.S. Open records all in one fell swoop four years ago.

For the third straight race Saturday morning, a Cal Golden Bear is the top seed. This time the honor went to Whitley, who set a pool record of 1:49.87 in the final prelims heat. That downed the mark set a heat earlier by Minnesota Max McHugh, the historic champion of the 100 breast, in 1:50.88. Both times downed the Greensboro Aquatic Center mark set by Louisville’s Evgenii Somov at the ACC Championships a month ago at 1:51.26.

Somov, the fourth seed in the race, declared a false start and flew back to Russia for next month’s Olympic Trials.

Cal could pick up some ground in the team race, with Whitley first and Hugo Gonzalez tied for the sixth seed (with Virginia Tech’s Carles Coll Marti). Texas, the other title contender, only pushed fourth seed Caspar Corbeau into the A final. But the Longhorns have the ninth and tenth seed, Braden Vines and Jake Foster, respectively, lurking in the B final.

Event 18  Men 200 Yard Breaststroke
==================================================================
         NCAA: N 1:47.91  3/25/2017 Will Licon, Texas
         Meet: M 1:47.91  3/25/2017 Will Licon, Texas
     American: A 1:47.91  3/25/2017 Will Licon, Texas
   U. S. Open: O 1:47.91  3/25/2017 Will Licon, Texas
         Pool: P 1:51.26  2/27/2021 Evgenii Somov, Louisville
    Name                 Year School               Seed    Prelims        
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Whitley, Reece         JR California        1:48.53    1:49.87P 
    r:+0.72  24.76        52.85 (28.09)
        1:20.95 (28.10)     1:49.87 (28.92)
  2 McHugh, Max            JR Minnesota         1:50.93    1:50.88P 
    r:+0.69  24.72        52.76 (28.04)
        1:21.45 (28.69)     1:50.88 (29.43)
  3 Roy, Daniel            JR Stanford          1:51.07    1:51.76  
    r:+0.60  26.09        54.15 (28.06)
        1:22.71 (28.56)     1:51.76 (29.05)
  4 Corbeau, Caspar        SO Texas             1:52.52    1:52.01  
    r:+0.69  25.22        53.31 (28.09)
        1:22.22 (28.91)     1:52.01 (29.79)
  5 Pumputis, Caio         SR GT                1:51.81    1:52.23  
    r:+0.68  25.19        53.89 (28.70)
        1:22.92 (29.03)     1:52.23 (29.31)
  6 Coll Marti, Carles     FR VT                1:53.31    1:52.26  
    r:+0.64  25.07        53.73 (28.66)
        1:22.86 (29.13)     1:52.26 (29.40)
  6 Gonzalez, Hugo         JR California        1:53.53    1:52.26  
    r:+0.67  25.67        53.96 (28.29)
        1:23.04 (29.08)     1:52.26 (29.22)
  8 Barnum, Keefer         SR Virginia          1:53.02    1:52.30  
    r:+0.65  25.44        53.77 (28.33)
        1:22.68 (28.91)     1:52.30 (29.62)