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NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships Day 3: Team race is coming down to the wire between Cal and Texas

The California Golden Bears trail the Texas Longhorns by just 6 points going into Day 3. After all the prelims are done, Bears will have slightly more swimmers in scoring positions than the Longhorns, but things are so close that every race will matter. ROLL ON YOU BEARS!

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There have been plenty of reasons to get excited for Coach Durden and the Bears at the NCAA so far, but we all want to see them into the pool when the day is done.
There have been plenty of reasons to get excited for Coach Durden and the Bears at the NCAA so far, but we all want to see them into the pool when the day is done.
Cal Men's Swimming and Diving Facebook Page

The Golden Bears are so close to getting that 5th NCAA team title of program's history (and 3rd one in 4 years). So are the host Texas Longhorns, however. After another exciting morning of prelim actions that goes a long way toward which school will bring home the 2014 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving title, the Bears and the Longhorns are separated by a very small margin. Plenty of head to head races tonight will determine who will be crowned as the national champions. It is both very exciting and nerve-wrecking at the same times.

Team standings entering today (14 of 21 events completed)

1. Texas 318.5
2. California 312.5
3. Florida 279
4. Michigan 225
5. Georgia 200
6. Southern Cal. 140
7. Arizona 135.5
8. Auburn 121
9. Stanford 117
10. Florida State 96

In short, Cal have 7 swimmers in A (championship) finals tonight and 2 in B (consolation) finals. Texas, including diving where they have had the edge all week long, have 5 in A finals and 5 in B finals. Texas enter the day with a slim 6 point lead on the Bears. Both schools have qualified for the A finals for the meet ending 400 free relay. It is expected that the national championships will not be clinched until the last event is over.

I will cover the various races in detail below.


Viewing Information:

Live Swimming Results: here (there have been a weird glitch with the results in that some of the results are only shown if you open this in incognito mode)

Tonight's video link: ESPN3/WatchESPN

Your one link to all the info:

ESPN3 will have live coverage for Friday and Saturday night's finals. ESPNU will show the tape delayed coverage (action cut down to 90 minutes) at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 9.


Links to my NCAA swimming coverage this week

(and the official Cal videos for each day)

Preview (includes an explanation of the scoring)

Day 1

Day 2


National Championships won by the Golden Bears in this meet so far

  • 2014 NCAA 200 Free relay champions: Tyler Messerschmidt, Ryan Murphy, Tony Cox, and Seth Stubblefield
  • 2014 NCAA 400 Medley relay champions: Ryan Murphy (back), Chuck Katis (breast), Marcin Tarczynski (fly), and Seth Stubblefield (free)
  • 2014 NCAA 200 Medley relay champions: Ryan Murphy (back), Chuck Katis (breast), Tony Cox (fly), and Tyler Messerschmidt (free)
  • 2014 NCAA 100 Back champion: Ryan Murphy

Plenty of Bears are in position to add to this list tonight. The best bet being Ryan Murphy also winning the 200 Back title. Cal may also be considered a favorite for the meet ending 400 free relay, particularly if a team national championship is on the line.


The Cal cheering section for this meet is both large and loud. Quite a few Cal alum and/or parents are dressed in full body Bears suits.

Calympian Nathan Adrian has traveled to Austin to cheer on the the current Bears (and his training partners).


Saturday Night Schedule

#15 Men 1650 Free

Cal's senior Jeremy Bagshaw and junior Adam Hinshaw will try to score points in the "swimming mile" event. Even in the most optimal case, they are likely to be only B-finalists (9 to 1 points each). Texas have 3 swimmers with Sam Lewis having the 15th best qualifying time according to the psych sheet.

Plausible best case scenario: Bears make up that 6 point deficit here.

#16 Men 200 Back Finals

While the men's team don't quite dominate the backstroke as much as the Cal women, this event is still a strong suit for the Bears. Both freshman Ryan Murphy (top prelim time) and sophomore Jacob Pebley are in the A-final.

Somewhat surprisingly, Texas are also sending two swimmers to the A-Final (Darmody and Conger) in addition to two more in the B-Final (Murphy and Glass).

Plausible best case scenario: Ryan Murphy with the title. Jacob Pebley finishes in the top 3 to offset the 4 scores from Texas.

#17 Men 100 Free Finals

This is another event where the Bears and the Longhorns can go head to head.

In the A-Final, Cal's junior Seth Stubblefield will try to place above Texas' John Murray.

In the B-Final, Cal's sophomore Tyler Messerschmidt will try to finish before Texas' Matthew Ellis.

Plausible best case scenario: Bears gain a few points here. I would be quite happy if we can stay even with Texas here. Their two swimmers have slightly better time, but everyone in the field for 100 Free are all super fast.

#18 Men 200 Breast Finals

Things finally started to look great for the Bears when the 200 Breast prelim results came in.

Cal have two swimmers in the A-Final: junior transfer Chuck Katis and sophomore Josh Prenot. Texas only managed to place one swimmer (Will Licon) in the B-Final (he was just squeezed into the B-final...a huge break for the Bears).

Plausible best case scenario: A Cal win here would be a major surprise since Arizona's Cordes is so good at the breaststroke. Still, if the Bears can finish 2nd and 3rd here that would be huge. Bears will take over the team lead after this event (barring DQ's).

#19 Men 200 Fly Finals

More good news for the Bears as Texas was shutout here. No one really knows who will win this race, so the Bears are quite fortunate to be able to have two swimmers step up enough to make the finals. Senior (Poland) Calympian Marcin Tarczynski made the A-Final. Freshman Long Gutierrez made the B-Final.

#20 Men Platform Diving Finals

Bears don't have any divers that qualified for the NCAA. Texas have scores quite a few points in the two previous diving events, with Hixon wining both (that's 40 points right there) in addition to one B-Finalist. The prelim result in platform diving had Texas placing one guy (Hixon again) in the A-Final and one (Anderson) in the B-Final.

Plausible best case scenario: The best case scenario is that Cal's points from 200 Fly will cancel out Texas' points from platform diving. Given the home diving advantage (more familiarity withe sight lines, etc.), it is perhaps more plausible for Texas' Hixon to win this than Cal's Tarczynski to win the 200 Fly. There could be a near dead heat between Cal and Texas heading into the final event.

#21 Men 400 Free Relay Finals

This race will determine the winner. Even if the Bears have a lead going into this, the lead is unlikely large enough that they can even say that they clinch the national championships just by not DQ (that would be the case if the Bears are 19 points over Texas).

Both the Bears and the Longhorns are in the A-Final for this race.

Note: I have stop tracking Florida and Michigan (the reigning champions) due to their limited number of swimmers that qualified in the prelim. They are likely to have more swimmers that are in position to win tonight's individual events, however.

It is shaping up to be an exhilarating finish. Cal have not won a NCAA team national championship (note that Rugby is not a NCAA sponsored sport) since men's swimming won this back in 2012.