2022 NCAA Men’s Championships: Brendan Burns Springs Surprise in 200 Fly

Brendan Burns; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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2022 NCAA Men’s Championships: Brendan Burns Springs Surprise in 200 Fly

For all those races when you wonder why a swimmer would go out fast, to put themselves through the punishment, only to get swamped at the end, let Brendan Burns be your guiding star.

The Indiana junior, flying under the radar in the final of the 200 butterfly Saturday night, flew out of the gates in the final. The longer he stayed out front, the greater the chance that he might pull a surprise on the favorites on the field.

The result was a first national title.

Burns was ahead at every wall in compiling the perfect race to usurp Luca Urlando and Nicolas Albiero for the victory. Burns took it out fast and stayed there, getting to the wall first in 1:38.71.

“It means everything. This is pretty life-changing,” Burns said. “I knew I had to have a perfect race against those guys out there, Luca, Nick, Trenton. All those guys out there are either fantastic 200 butterfliers or probably a lot better swimmers than I am. Fortunately, this is short-course and I just worked really hard on my underwater kicking. I knew I had to execute my race plan and just pray.”

Burns was the fourth seed out of prelims, but he was ahead at each wall. He survived a long glide into the 150-yard wall and was long on his finish, but still planted his hands to the wall .11 ahead of Urlando.

The 200 fly produced a magnificent final, the top four finishers separated by 0.29 seconds. Georgia’s Urlando was chasing a first title of the week, after finishing second in the 100 fly and third in the 200 IM. Albiero was hoping to repeat as NCAA champion and carried the top seed into finals by a half-second.

But Burns was better than both. Urlando surged to second in 1:38.82. Albiero was third in 1:38.88, augmenting a pair of sixth-places from Friday night in the 100 fly and 100 back. It’s the first NCAA title in the event since Gary Hall Sr. in 1973

Burns finished seventh in the event last year. He was second in the 100 back, on the wrong side of a .11-second margin to NC State’s Kacper Stokowski, and ninth in the 100 fly.

In the team race, Trenton Julian all but sewed up the title for California by finishing fourth in 1:39.00. Gabriel Jett was sixth.

Burns described the 200 fly as “my baby,” an event he obsesses over as a form of “artistic expression.” The two-time Big Ten Championships Swimmer of the Meet hadn’t quite had the NCAAs he would’ve liked yet, so meld NCAA success with the event he holds so dear felt perfect Saturday.

“Last year’s NCAAs was a bit of a disappointment,” Brendan Burns said. “Even though I made two A finals, I had higher goals, higher aspirations for myself. This year, I used that as motivation to work hard this year. I had really, really big goals this year. … When I swim a 200 fly, it just feel really natural, it feels so good. And for this being the biggest accomplishment of my career, it just means a lot.”

Event 12  Men 100 Yard Backstroke
         NCAA: N 43.35  3/25/2022 Luca Urlando, Georgia
         Meet: M 43.35  3/25/2022 Luca Urlando, Georgia
     American: A 43.35  3/25/2022 Luca Urlando, Georgia
   U. S. Open: O 43.35  3/25/2022 Luca Urlando, Georgia
         Pool: P 43.35  3/25/2022 Luca Urlando, Georgia
    Name                 Year School            Prelims     Finals Points 
                       === Championship Final ===                        
  1 Stokowski, Kacper      JR NCSU                44.44      44.04   20  
    r:+0.61  21.34        44.04 (22.70)
  2 Burns, Brendan         JR Indiana             44.36      44.15   17  
    r:+0.56  21.40        44.15 (22.75)
  3 Chaney, Adam           SO Florida             44.39      44.35   16  
    r:+0.62  21.02        44.35 (23.33)
  4 Lasco, Destin          SO California          44.48      44.36   15  
    r:+0.64  21.70        44.36 (22.66)
  5 Armstrong, Hunter      JR Ohio St             44.72      44.42   14  
    r:+0.65  21.44        44.42 (22.98)
  6 Albiero, Nicolas       5Y Louisville          44.54      44.60   13  
    r:+0.60  21.56        44.60 (23.04)
  7 Farris, Dean           SR Harvard             44.55      44.68   12  
    r:+0.57  21.26        44.68 (23.42)
  8 Seeliger, Bjorn        SO California          44.58      44.87   11  
    r:+0.71  21.23        44.87 (23.64)
                        === Consolation Final ===                        
  9 Menke, Matthew         JR Alabama             44.96      44.66    9  
    r:+0.68  21.24        44.66 (23.42)
 10 Fantoni, Gabriel       5Y Indiana             44.92      44.70    7  
    r:+0.68  21.37        44.70 (23.33)
 11 MacAlister, Leon       JR Stanford            44.89      44.93    6  
    r:+0.61  21.56        44.93 (23.37)
 12 Carr, Daniel           5Y California          44.94      44.98    4.5
    r:+0.64  21.86        44.98 (23.12)
 12 Auchinachie, Cameron   5Y Texas               45.28      44.98    4.5
    r:+0.73  21.41        44.98 (23.57)
 14 Mefford, Bryce         5Y California          45.11      45.03    3  
    r:+0.60  22.00        45.03 (23.03)
 15 Stoffle, Aidan         JR Auburn              45.36      45.60    2  
    r:+0.64  21.73        45.60 (23.87)
 16 Webb, Forest           JR VT                  45.36      45.72    1  
    r:+0.56  21.90        45.72 (23.82)
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