2021 NCAA Men’s Swimming Championships: Freshmen Are Not Afraid; Texas to Score Big Diving Points

destin-lasco
Destin Lasco. Photo Courtesy: Luke Jamroz Photography

The 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships continued Thursday morning from Greensboro, North Carolina as the Cal Golden Bears came out roaring with six A-finalists advancing – two in each event, and four B-finalists. In a year where Texas looked like the best team in the country, Cal, who didn’t get its season started until January, reminded the swimming community why they are the defending national champions from 2019.

Cal has the top seed in the 200 IM with Destin Lasco (1:40.61) and the 50 free with Ryan Hoffer (18.43), while Georgia’s Jake Magahey is leading the 500 free field at 4:09.36.

That leaves two of the three top seeds as rookies at this meet, signaling a youth movement in the sport, much like the women’s meet last week when freshmen Alex Walsh and Phoebe Bacon won individual titles.

We already knew that the high school class of 2020 was stacked with the likes of Lasco, Magahey, Georgia’s Luca Urlando, Texas’ Carson Foster and Virginia’s Matt Brownstead. But the fact that these freshmen are already making an impact at the NCAA meet is impressive, since in year’s past a lot of freshmen let the environment get the better of them despite coming in with impressive resumes from their junior careers.

Any coach in Greensboro right now will tell you that there is no environment as intense as the NCAA championships, and that includes the pressure-packed Olympic Trials, although those may be a close second. So any freshman that can step up behind the blocks and get a second swim is impressive due to the intensity that the meet brings. Of course when the spectators are eliminated from the meet, as is the case this year, that pressure can be alleviated, and that may be what has led to such a solid morning for the freshmen class with seven returning to tonight’s finals.

Magahey is the only freshman in the top 16 in the 500, while Foster and Lasco are the lone rookies in the 200 IM. The 50 free is a bit more interesting, with three freshmen in the A-Final – Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger, Florida’s Adam Chaney, and Virginia Tech’s Youssef Ramadan, as well as Virginia’s Brownstead.

In total, seven freshmen will have a second swim tonight, compared to six in 2019, 18 and 17. A freshman has not won an event at the men’s meet since Townley Haas won the 500 and 200 free in 2016.

It was an impressive showing from the freshmen class, and maybe one or two of them have a chance at winning their first NCAA title tonight.

Elsewhere in the meet:

It is worth noting how fast this meet was this morning, even in a pandemic. It took a 4:14 to get a second swim in the 500 free, which is a couple tenths faster than what it took each of the last three NCAA meets, compared to the women’s meet last week when it was a noticeably slower meet based on top 16 times.

The 200 IM’s 16th place time was a 1:43.1, which is around the same window of what it has taken in year’s past. The 50 free was slightly slower as 19.39 made it back as it has been a 19.2 each of the last three NCAAs.

The 200 free and 400 medley relays tonight will certainly be interesting, especially factoring in the team race between Cal and Texas, as the Longhorns already grabbed the 40 points they were seeded to win in the 800 free last night. Texas is seeded first in the 400 medley and Cal is not seeded first in any relays for the rest of the meet.

In the battle for third place that should not be ignored due to the Cal – Texas battle, Florida had a strong morning with three up and four down while Georgia was fourth overall with three up and zero down. Arizona had a really good morning with two A-finalists advancing while Michigan, the last team to win before Texas and Cal, had one up and two down from this morning.

Texas put two divers in the A-Final of 1m along with a B-Finalist that will certainly provide a boost tonight. Indiana and Ohio State each had an A-finalist in diving along with Stanford in their pursuits of a top ten finish.

Ups, Downs

  1. California 6, 4
  2. Texas 5, 6
  3. Florida 3, 4
  4. Georgia 3, 0
  5. Arizona 2, 0
  6. Michigan 1, 2
  7. Ohio State 1, 2
  8. NC State 1, 1
  9. Stanford 1, 1
  10. Indiana 1, 1
  11. Missouri 1, 1
  12. LSU 1, 1
  13. Miami 1, 1
  14. Texas A&M 1, 0
  15. Virginia Tech 1, 0
  16. Georgia Tech 1, 0
  17. Purdue 1, 0
  18. Pittsburgh 1, 0
  19. Virginia 0, 1
  20. Notre Dame 0, 1
  21. Tennessee 0, 1
  22. Wisconsin 0, 1
  23. North Carolina 0, 1
  24. Kentucky 0, 1
  25. Utah 0, 1
  26. Florida State 0, 1

Scoring Based on Psych Sheets

Data courtesy Price Fishback. The numbers below indicate the points the top 15 schools on the psych sheet gained or lost compared to where they were seeded.

  1. Texas +51
  2. California +34
  3. Stanford +23
  4. Indiana +13
  5. Michigan +12
  6. Virginia Tech +10
  7. NC State +4
  8. Georgia Tech +2
  9. Florida +1
  10. Georgia -4
  11. Louisville -6
  12. Virginia -11
  13. Alabama -13
  14. Texas A&M -16
  15. Ohio State -16
 Event 6  Men 1 mtr Diving
==================================================================
         Meet: M 473.75  3/28/2013 Kristian Ipsen, Stanford
    Name                 Year School               Seed    Prelims        
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Hernandez, Juan        SR LSU                    NP     380.55  
  2 Casey, Conor           JR Stanford               NP     379.50  
  3 Windle, Jordan         SR Texas                  NP     379.30  
  4 Duperre, Noah          FR Texas                  NP     376.45  
  5 Capobianco, Andrew     JR Indiana                NP     369.80  
  6 Duncan, Greg           SR Purdue                 NP     367.85  
  7 Scapens, Brodie        SO Miami                  NP     339.60  
  8 Yost, Lyle             SO Ohio St                NP     338.90  

  9 Canova, Joey           SR Ohio St                NP     328.50  
 10 Wade, Matthew          JR Tennessee              NP     327.00  
 11 Abramowicz, Tazman     JR Wisconsin              NP     326.15  
 12 Hart, Alexander        SO UNC                    NP     319.85  
 13 Matthews, Jack         FR Miami                  NP     310.95  
 14 McCourt, Brendan       FR Texas                  NP     310.20  
 15 Lane, Chase            SR Kentucky               NP     303.35  
 16 Lopez, Carlo           SO Missouri               NP     302.65

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