This and That: Post-NCAAs

Column by John Lohn, Swimming World senior writer

NEW YORK, New York, March 28. IT'S been a while since I've packaged one of these bunch-of-notes columns, but this week seemed to be an appropriate time. After all, there's been a lot of news in the swimming world lately, including a sensational duel between California and Texas at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis. Here we go.

**For the second consecutive year, the NCAA championship battle on the male side was one heck of a duel between California and Texas. This time, however, the Golden Bears weathered the third-day storm brought by the Longhorns and hoisted the hardware. Last season, Texas used a phenomenal final day to claim its 10th title.

Much applause to California coach Dave Durden for having his team excel amid big-time pressure and high expectations. The majority of those who analyzed the NCAA Champs pegged the Bears to win the crown, not an easy position to be in. Although Texas closed the gap significantly on the final day of competition, California did what it needed to hold off a Longhorn surge. To name just one key development, among many (we'll go over the whole thing in Swimming World Magazine), Damir Dugonjic made the championship final in the 200 breaststroke after missing any final altogether in 2010.

The championship for the Golden Bears was a fitting collegiate career finish for Nathan Adrian, who swept the sprint freestyle events and punctuated the title by anchoring the victorious 400 freestyle relay. Adrian is the headliner of American sprinting right now and will be challenging for gold this summer at the World Championships in Shanghai. He deserved an NCAA encore like he packaged.

**Speaking of Texas, the Longhorns can be viewed as the early favorite for next year's championship, as coach Eddie Reese will return more than 400 points scored at the NCAA Champs. Helping matters will be the addition of freshmen studs Clay Youngquist and Kip Darmody.

Stanford, too, should be in good shape for next season. The Cardinal might lose some firepower, including Austin Staab, but Skip Kenney boasts the top recruit in the country in David Nolan. Oh, and lest you think I'm forgetting about California, the Bears have a heck of a recruiting class coming to Berkeley as well.

**We're about four months away from this summer's World Championships in Shanghai, and here is one storyline that I can't wait to see: How Amanda Beard performs in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events. Beard is as good a comeback story as Dara Torres. They both have demonstrated the ability to take time away from the sport, then return and compete at the highest level.

Beard, already a four-time Olympian, has herself positioned to make it to London, too. Sure, Rebecca Soni is the premier breaststroker in the world right now. But there's something that tells me we'll see Beard accepting a medal in Shanghai while standing on the podium. She's just that talented, a special part of our sport and with more chapters to write in her illustrious career.

**This next note comes from Tom Robinson, a good friend and the coach of Radnor High School, a highly respected and successful program in Southeastern Pennsylvania. After David Nolan set three individual national high school records, Robinson noted that Nolan's three performances are the highest-scoring in scholastic history according to the NISCA power-points table.

Of Nolan's national standards in the 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle, the top-scoring performance is in the medley. Nolan's mark of 1:41.39, which would have won the NCAA championship, is worth an astounding 194 points on the NISCA chart. Journalism is a business where you never say never, but it's entirely possible we'll never see a showing at the high school level like the one delivered by Nolan.

**So much has been made of Missy Franklin and her rising status, especially in the backstroke events. And, Franklin deserves all the credit she receives. That said, Rachel Bootsma isn't getting the attention she should. Bootsma is certainly capable of contending for an invitation to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

When the United States Olympic Trials are held next year in Omaha, the women's backstroke events will leave someone – if not several – heartbroken over a missed trip to Europe. With the likes of Natalie Coughlin, Elizabeth Pelton, Franklin and Bootsma in the picture, the United States has multiple contenders for medals in the backstroke events.

Follow John Lohn on Twitter at @JohnLohn.