UGA’s Kalisz wins NCAA title in 400 IM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Freshman Chase Kalisz won the title in the 400-yard individual medley to highlight Georgia’s record-setting night on Friday in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at The Natatorium on the IUPUI campus.

Through two days of competition, the Bulldogs remained in 10th with 106 points.

Kalisz recorded a strong second half in the 400-yard individual medley to wind up with a time of 3:38.05 — more than 1.5 seconds ahead of Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss. Kalisz’s time was the seventh-best all-time in short course yardage races (sixth among Americans), adding his name to a list that includes Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Kalisz also eclipsed his earlier school record of 3:39.82.

With Georgia coach Jack Bauerle watching alongside North Baltimore Aquatic Club’s Bob Bowman (under whom Kalisz previously trained), Kalisz was seventh after the butterfly and backstroke portions of the race. But in the breaststroke and freestyle section, the SEC’s Freshman of the Year not only caught the field but pulled away convincingly. His splits were 51.55 (butterfly), 55.42 (backstroke), 59.83 (breaststroke) and 51.25 (freestyle).

“We’re so proud of Chase,” Bauerle said in a news release. “To be an NCAA champion as a freshman is no small feat. He’s gotten better and better as we all knew he would. He had a heck of a swim tonight. We’re proud of that event. It’s a tough guys’ event. We like winning that event.”

Kalisz joins Robert Margalis (2003) and Bill Cregar (2011) as victorious Bulldogs in the 400-yard individual medley at the NCAAs.

“I’ve been training in the 400 IM since I was about 12,” Kalisz said in a news release. “I got started with Bob Bowman and I learned through Michael Phelps and Jack helped me bring it all together and have a good race plan. To be an NCAA champion is a dream come true. I remember watching Billy Cregar’s swim online and thinking, ‘I want to do that someday.’”

In the 100-yard breaststroke, Nic Fink posted a fourth-place time of 51.85. That shattered the school mark of 52.23 set in 2009 by Neil Versfeld. Ironically, Friday was Versfeld’s birthday.

The Bulldogs opened Friday’s final with a school-record effort in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Anival Rodriguez, Fink, Doug Reynolds and Matt Ellis stopped the clock in 1:25.99, eclipsing the 1:26.16 recorded by the SECs relay (featuring Fink and Reynolds) last season. The quartet placed 12th.

Matias Koski won the consolation final of the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:33.84 to come in ninth. That effort missed the school mark held by Matt Bartlett by 1/100ths of a second.

The 800-yard freestyle relay of Koski, Fink, Jameson Hill and Kalisz went 6:22.76 — the second-fastest time in Georgia annals — to finish 10th.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Reynolds placed 13th with a time of 46.52.

The NCAAs will conclude today with competition in the 100- and 1,650-yard freestyle, the 200-yard backstroke, the 200-yard breaststroke, the 200-yard butterfly, the 400-yard freestyle relay and platform diving. Prelims will begin at 11 a.m. and finals are slated for 7 p.m.

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