Texas, California Set to Finish One-Two at Men’s NCAAs

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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By David Rieder

IOWA CITY – What little drama remained in the race for the team title after just one day of competition at men’s NCAAs disappeared Friday morning when Texas qualified six for the championship final of the 100 fly. And one day later, California has eliminated any drama that remained in the race for runner-up honors.

For the first time this meet, Texas was not the top team of prelims, as Cal picked up one more individual (8) in finals compared to the Longhorns (7). The Bears are seeded to score 59 more points compared to the psych sheet. Cal’s Ryan Murphy enters the 200 back as the top seed and favorite to complete the backstroke sweep, while he will have teammate Jacob Pebley alongside him. Tyler Messerschmidt (100 free), Chuck Katis (200 breast), and Adam Hinshaw (200 fly) also earned championship swims.

The Longhorns, meanwhile, continued their powerhouse run in butterfly when they put three into the championship final of the 200 fly. And of the three, Joseph Schooling and Clark Smith have already won individual titles this meet, while Jack Conger owns the fastest time ever in the event (1:39.31). Meanwhile, Texas also has Will Licon in the 200 breast, where he will continue his campaign for national swimmer of the meet after a blazing 1:49.54 this morning.

Going into the final day, the race for third looked to be heated between Florida, USC, and Michigan, and it was the Wolverines who made the strongest statement on day three. Projected to improve on their psych sheet seedings by 18 points, the Wolverines placed three into finals this evening, including Bruno Ortiz in the 100 free, Richard Funk in the 200 breast, and top seeded defending champion Dylan Bosch in the 200 fly.

Florida and Michigan are projected to be just five points apart in the battle for fourth after both fell 15 points from their seedings in prelims. Among those two teams, only Cristian Quintero (100 free) qualified for a championship final this evening.

Meanwhile, Georgia, Stanford, and NC State are seeded to finish within seven points of each other for sixth, seventh, and eighth. The Bulldogs’ Nic Fink (200 breast) and Tynan Stewart (200 fly) swim in championship finals on day three, while the Cardinal will count on David Nolan in the 200 back for big points. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, have Simonas Bilis in the 100 free final, and they will have an outside chance at a victory in the 400 free relay.

Finally, in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn should round out the top ten. The Crimson Tide, currently seeded to finish four points ahead of the Tigers, have Kristian Gkolomeev in the 100 free final and Anton McKee in the 200 breast final, while Auburn will count on Joe Patching to move up from his eighth seed in the 200 back.

Team Performance vs. Psych Sheet, Day Three Prelims

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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