By Sharon Robb
ATLANTA, March 26, 2022—California dethroned rival and defending champion Texas to win the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday night at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center.
The Cal Bears won with 487.5 points followed by Texas with 436.5 and Florida with 374 points. Cal pulled away after scoring 53 points in the 200 backstroke for a comfortable margin of victory.
Cal has now won seven NCAA men’s titles, five under head coach Dave Durden. The Bears have finished in the top two every year except 2009 and 2009 and no lower than fourth in other seasons under Durden.
University of Florida senior and two-time Olympic gold medalist Bobby Finke of St. Petersburg won the 1,650-yard freestyle in 14:22.08, the fifth fastest time ever and his second consecutive 1,650 NCAA title.
“I’ll be honest, that race was one of the sloppiest miles I’ve ever done, so I’m not really happy with how it went,” Finke said after the race. “I’m glad I got the win and the points for the Gators, but individually, I don’t think it’s the best performance I could have had.”
University of Miami senior diver Zach Cooper was second on 10-meter platform with 443.05 points just behind Purdue freshman Tyler Downs with 447.20. Cooper missed his sixth dive and had to settle for second. Florida junior Leonardo Garcia was fourth with 406.05.
In other individual events:
Cal sophomore Destin Lasco, fastest morning qualifier, won the 200-yard backstroke in 1:37.71 and was his team’s only individual winner on the final night.
LSU junior sprinter Brooks Curry won the 100-yard freestyle in 40.84 to complete his sweep.
Arizona State freshman Leon Marchand won the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:48.20 just ahead of Minnesota’s Max McHugh in 1:48.76 for his second title of the meet.
Brendan Burns of Indiana won the 200-yard butterfly in a best time 1:38.71, ahead of Georgia’s Luca Urlando in 1:38.82 to become the first Indiana swimmer to win the event since 1973 when Gary Hall Sr. did it. Before that it was Mark Spitz in 1971 and 1972. It was Burns first NCAA title.
In a thrilling final event, Texas, buoyed by anchor Danny Krueger, won the 400-yard freestyle relay in 2:46.03 ahead of Arizona State in 2:46.40 and California in 2:46.42.
ESPNU will air a two-hour show at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 5. Links can be found on WatchESPN or at the Championship Central webpage.
The official website for the men’s championship is http://www.ncaa.com/championships/swimming-men/d1. As the host institution, Georgia Tech’s website also has Championship Central.
The DI Men’s Swimming & Diving Program can be viewed at http://www.NCAA.com/gameprograms. The program is free to view and can be downloaded and printed.
TEAM TOTALS: 1. California 487.5, 2. Texas 436.5, 3. Florida 374, 4. N.C. State 291, 5. Indiana 265, 6. Arizon State 236, 7. Stanford 231, 8. Georgia 194, 9. Ohio State 165, 10. Virginia 154.5, 23. University of Miami 31.
1,650-yard freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, UF 14:22.28, time drop 5.42, 2. Will Gallant, NC State 14:31.34, 3. Ross Dant, NC State 14:31.72.
200-yard backstroke: 1. Destin Lasco, CAL 1:37.71, 2. Carson Foster, TEX 1:38.77, 3. Daniel Carr, CAL 1:39.06, 4. Kieran Smith, UF 1:39.39.
100-yard freestyle: 1. Brooks Curry, LSU 40.84, 2. Bjorn Seeliger, CAL 41.00, 3. Andrei Minakov, STAN 41.09.
200-yard breaststroke: 1. Leon Marchand, ASU 1:48.20, 2. Max McHugh, MINN 1:48.76, 3. Matt Fallon, PENN 1:49.16.
200-yard butterfly: 1. Brendan Burns, IU 1:38.71, 2. Luca Urlando, UGA 1:38.82, 3. Nicolas Albiero, LOU 1:38.88.
Platform diving: 1. Tyler Downs, PUR 447.20, 2. Zach Cooper, UM 443.05, 3. Bryden Hattie, TENN 418.70, 4. Leonardo Garcia, UF 406.05.
400-yard freestyle relay: 1. Texas 2:46.03 (Drew Kibler, Cameron Auchinachie, Caspar Corbeau, Danny Krueger), 2. Arizona State 2:46.40, 3. California 2:46.42, 6. Florida 2:47.39 (Adam Chaney, Eric Friese, Macguire McDuff, Kieran Smith), 17. Florida State 2:50.99.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com