Max McHugh Upsets Reece Whitley in 200 Distance to Sweep NCAA Breaststroke Titles

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Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Max McHugh Upsets Reece Whitley in 200 Distance to Sweep NCAA Breaststroke Titles

Minnesota’s Max McHugh took down Cal’s Reece Whitley in the finals of the 200 breaststroke at the NCAAs in Greensboro when a lot of people were expecting Whitley to challenge the American record of 1:47.91 set by Will Licon back in 2017. Whitley and McHugh were stroke for stroke for the first 150 with McHugh leading at the 100 at 52.16 to Whitley’s 52.22, while Whitley took the lead at the 150 1:20.28 to McHugh’s 1:20.31.

But it was the Minnesota Gopher, who won Minnesota’s first NCAA men’s swimming title since 1964 last night in the 100 breast, who stayed controlled on the final 50, splitting a 28.71 on the final 50 to Whitley’s 29.26 to win his second NCAA title of the weekend.

Max McHugh and Reece Whitley have a storied rivalry, trading the national high school record in the 100 breaststroke in 2018, with McHugh breaking Whitley’s record before the latter got it back to win the high school swimmer of the year awarded by this publication. Their rivalry was disrupted by the pandemic last year but they will go at it one more year in 2022.

Cal’s Hugo Gonzalez placed third for the Bears at 1:51.20 to close the gap behind Texas to 21 points as the Longhorns had Caspar Corbeau finish fourth at 1:51.43.

Stanford’s Daniel Roy (1:51.82) finished fifth as the junior should factor into the Olympic Trials race this summer in long course.

Virginia Tech’s Charles Coll Marti (1:51.84), Virginia’s Keefer Barnum (1:52.23) and Georgia Tech’s Caio Pumputis (1:52.27) also swam in the championship final.

This is Minnesota’s first ever NCAA title in the 200 breaststroke and the first for the Big Ten since Indiana’s Ian Finnerty won in 2018 as Max McHugh will be returning for his senior season.

All-Time Rankings:

  1. 1:47.91, Will Licon, Texas, 2017
  2. 1:48.53, Reece Whitley, California, 2020
  3. 1:48.66, Kevin Cordes, Arizona, 2014
  4. 1:48.70, Andrew Seliskar, California, 2019
  5. 1:49.02, Max McHugh, Minnesota, 2021
  6. 1:49.31, Cody Miller, Indiana, 2017

 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 1:49.87  3/27/2021 Reece Whitley, California
    Name                 Year School            Prelims     Finals Points 
=========================================================================
                       === Championship Final ===                        
 
  1 McHugh, Max            JR Minnesota         1:50.88    1:49.02P  20  
    r:+0.69  24.41        52.16 (27.75)
        1:20.31 (28.15)     1:49.02 (28.71)
  2 Whitley, Reece         JR California        1:49.87    1:49.54P  17  
    r:+0.71  24.63        52.22 (27.59)
        1:20.28 (28.06)     1:49.54 (29.26)
  3 Gonzalez, Hugo         JR California        1:52.26    1:51.20   16  
    r:+0.67  25.16        53.42 (28.26)
        1:21.89 (28.47)     1:51.20 (29.31)
  4 Corbeau, Caspar        SO Texas             1:52.01    1:51.43   15  
    r:+0.69  25.10        53.20 (28.10)
        1:22.00 (28.80)     1:51.43 (29.43)
  5 Roy, Daniel            JR Stanford          1:51.76    1:51.82   14  
    r:+0.60  25.38        53.25 (27.87)
        1:21.83 (28.58)     1:51.82 (29.99)
  6 Coll Marti, Carles     FR VT                1:52.26    1:51.84   13  
    r:+0.63  24.91        53.56 (28.65)
        1:22.69 (29.13)     1:51.84 (29.15)
  7 Barnum, Keefer         SR Virginia          1:52.30    1:52.23   12  
    r:+0.63  25.29        53.57 (28.28)
        1:22.37 (28.80)     1:52.23 (29.86)
  8 Pumputis, Caio         SR GT                1:52.23    1:52.27   11  
    r:+0.65  24.94        52.86 (27.92)
        1:21.70 (28.84)     1:52.27 (30.57)
 
                        === Consolation Final ===                        
 
  9 Mathews, Jason         JR Ohio St           1:52.87    1:52.56    9  
    r:+0.63  24.97        53.32 (28.35)
        1:22.39 (29.07)     1:52.56 (30.17)
 10 Foster, Jake           SO Texas             1:52.85    1:52.59    7  
    r:+0.67  25.15        53.40 (28.25)
        1:22.64 (29.24)     1:52.59 (29.95)
 11 Pouch, AJ              SO VT                1:53.32    1:53.03    6  
    r:+0.65  25.26        53.58 (28.32)
        1:22.79 (29.21)     1:53.03 (30.24)
 12 Vines, Braden          JR Texas             1:52.51    1:53.08    5  
    r:+0.58  25.70        54.01 (28.31)
        1:23.24 (29.23)     1:53.08 (29.84)
 13 Otto, Matt             SR Virginia          1:53.11    1:53.31    4  
    r:+0.71  25.99        54.39 (28.40)
        1:23.57 (29.18)     1:53.31 (29.74)
 14 Delakis, Paul          SR Ohio St           1:53.09    1:53.38    3  
    r:+0.68  25.87        54.38 (28.51)
        1:23.93 (29.55)     1:53.38 (29.45)
 15 Dalmolin, Jack         SR Georgia           1:53.30    1:54.12    2  
    r:+0.73  25.75        54.66 (28.91)
        1:24.28 (29.62)     1:54.12 (29.84)
 16 Epitropov, Lyubomir    JR Tennessee         1:53.03    1:54.33    1  
    r:+0.70  26.41        55.28 (28.87)
        1:24.45 (29.17)     1:54.33 (29.88)
Men - Team Rankings - Through Event 18                  
 
  1. Texas                             529   2. California                        508
  3. Florida                           331   4. Georgia                           239
  5. Indiana                           168   6. Louisville                        159
  7. Texas A&M                         149   8. NC State                          136
  9. Ohio St                           131  10. Virginia                          130
 11. Michigan                          106  12. Virginia Tech                      91
 13. Arizona                            81  14. Stanford                           78
 15. Missouri                           73  16. Alabama                            67
 17. Lsu                                64  18. Purdue                             42
 19. Minnesota                          40  19. Georgia Tech                       40
 21. Tennessee                          39  22. University of Miami                38
 23. UNC                                31  24. Notre Dame                         29
 25. Pittsburgh                         28  26. Florida St                       24.5
 27. Wisconsin                          15  27. Southern California                15
 29. Penn St                            13  30. Kentucky                            9
 31. Utah                              6.5

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