By Sharon Robb
March 27, 2014
In an electrifying atmosphere, University of California-Berkeley won the final event of the night to trail Texas by one point on the opening night of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
The 400-yard medley relay, with a blistering backstroke split of 44.91 from Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, won by a two-body length lead for a pool record 3:02.66. Other relay members were Chuck Katis, Marcin Tarcynski and Seth Stubblefield.
Murphy’s opening split was a national 17-18 age group record for the 18-year-old.
The previous pool record of 3:02.94 was held by Olympians Aaron Piersol, Brendan Hansen, Ian Crocker and Neil Walker.
As expected, it looks like a four-team battle for the national title between Texas with 146 points, Cal-Berkeley with 145, Florida with 137 and Michigan with 109 at the Lee and Joe Jamil Swimming Center at the University of Texas in Austin.
Florida State is 12th with 38 points and University of Miami is 20th with 12 points.
The Gators had plenty of star power on Thursday night.
Florida senior Marcin Cieslak won the 200-yard individual medley in a career-best time of 1:40.58, third fastest performer in history and fourth fastest of all-time. Cieslak broke Ryan Lochte’s pool record of 1:40.97.
Murphy, a freshman at California, was eighth in the 200 IM 1:43.91 after going 1:42.24 in prelims. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Jason Coombs, a freshman at Florida State, was 40th in 1:46.09.
Gator teammate Brad deBorde, seeded first after morning prelims, was third in the 50-yard freestyle in 18.98, the last swimmer under 19 seconds in finals.
Florida junior Dan Wallace was second in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:11.62. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Carlos Omana, a junior at Florida, was 37th in 4:20.58.
Florida’s 200-yard freestyle relay was fifth in 1:16.98 with Brad deBorde, Sebastien Rousseau, Corey Main and Matt Curby.
In other championship races:
Southern Cal junior Cristian Quintero won the 500-yard freestyle in a pool record 4:10.02. Quintero took it out fast and led from wire-to-wire. Defending champion Connor Jaeger of Michigan was third in 4:12.67.
Alabama freshman Kristian Gkolomeev and Arizona junior Brad Tandy tied for the NCAA title in the 50-yard freestyle in 18.95. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Paul Murray, a senior at Florida State, was seventh in 19.14 after going 19.08 in prelims. Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter, a freshman at Southern Cal, was 42nd in 19.93.
Top-seed California opened the evening with a win in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:15.27, just missing the American record by .01. The relay came from behind with an anchor leg split of 18.4 from Seth Stubblefield. Other relay members were Tyler Messerschmidt, Ryan Murphy and Tony Cox. Texas was second in 1:15.53.
Texas freshman Michael Hixon topped a strong field to win the 1-meter springboard diving title with 443.50 points. Stanford junior Kris Ipsen was second with 436.55. University of Miami junior Samuel Dorman was seventh with 379.00.
Friday’s events are 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, 800-yard freestyle relay and 3-meter springboard diving.
Prelims are 11 a.m. and finals 7 p.m. Both sessions will be live streamed at Texassports.com.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com