Men’s NCAA Division I Championships: 3 Who Can Break 1:50 In 200 Breast


Editorial content for the men’s NCAA Division I Championships is sponsored by Nike Swim.

Commentary by Jeff Commings

TUCSON – Kevin Cordes is bound to have some company in the rarefied air that is the sub-1:50 club in the 200 breast at the men’s NCAA Division I Championships. While no one has even been under 1:51 except for Cordes, this year could mark a major turning point in the 200 breast, and a major step forward for American swimming.

Men’s NCAA Division I Championships psych sheet

Cordes has given a major boost of confidence to his competition this year, as the Arizona senior has not put up his usual jaw-dropping times this season. Is he holding back and waiting for something amazing in his final college meet, or are we seeing a dent in the armor? In any case, his challengers have been working hard to break that 1:50 barrier since Cordes first broke it in 2013. Three swimmers have a legitimate shot at that barrier, based on their performances so far this season.

Nic Fink

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Fink made a major breakthrough in 2013, qualifying for the world championship team in the 100 breast. His 200 breast improved greatly in 2014, resulting in a third-place time of 1:51.92 at last year’s NCAAs. Fink is the top seed in the event with a 1:51.58, and his speed could be an asset in the 200. He should easily be able to hit the 100-yard mark in 52-mid, but he’ll need two more 50s under 29 seconds to break the barrier. If he can split 52-low at the 100, he’ll give Cordes a serious run in the final half of the race.

Chuck Katis

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Like Cordes, this is Katis’ final NCAA championships, and he’ll want to go out with a bang. Katis has the tools to keep pace with Cordes in the opening 100, but the test will be posting splits under 29 seconds for the third and fourth 50s. Katis is seeded 16th in the 200 breast with a 1:54.30, but his best time is 1:52.64 from last year’s NCAAs. Yes, dropping 2.6 seconds at this level is quite difficult and rare, but I believe he’s been holding back on a breakout swim, waiting for the 200 breast final in Iowa City to get the Golden Bears cheering.

Josh Prenot

Josh Prenot Men's NCAA Division I Championships

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Prenot could also get under the 1:50 barrier thanks to a season’s worth of work with Katis. Prenot has been gaining attention mostly for his IM prowess, but he is a solid 200 breaststroker, proven last summer with a fourth-place finish in the 200 breast at the Pan Pacific championships. Prenot is a silent but deadly swimmer, and appears to have an constant source of energy in the pool. If he can tap into some early speed, he’ll have the endurance at the end. The major issue for Prenot will be recovering well from swimming two 400 IMs the previous day.

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Jason Pullano
9 years ago

Will Licon!!

Matthew Broussard
9 years ago

But seriously, what’s going on with Cordes?

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