2021 NCAA MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Wednesday, March 24 – Saturday, March 27, 2021
- Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center / Greensboro, NC (Eastern Time Zone)
- Prelims 10 AM/ Finals 6 PM (Local Time)
- Short course yards (SCY) format
- Defending champion: Cal (1x) – 2019 results
- Streaming: ESPN3
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
Cal’s Destin Lasco unloaded a massive swim from one of the early heats in the 200 IM on Thursday morning at the Men’s NCAA Championships, becoming the fastest freshman in history to qualify first for the ‘A’ final after coming in seeded 58th.
The 19-year-old rocketed to a time of 1:40.61 from the second of eight heats, moving him past Golden Bear teammate Hugo Gonzalez to hold the distinction as the quickest first-year in NCAA history. Gonzalez swam a time of 1:40.67 back at the 2018 SEC Championships when he was with Auburn.
Qualifying tied for fourth overall was Texas freshman Carson Foster, who dropped just over a tenth from his PB of 1:41.46 in 1:41.34, maintaining his spot at #3 on the all-time fastest freshmen list.
The top seven freshmen ever includes three Cal swimmers, plus Gonzalez who transferred over in 2019.
Fastest Freshman, Men’s 200 IM (SCY)
- Destin Lasco (Cal), 1:40.61 – 2021
- Hugo Gonzalez (Auburn), 1:40.67 – 2018
- Carson Foster (Texas), 1:41.34 – 2021
- Andrew Seliskar (Cal), 1:41.65 – 2016
- Ryan Murphy (Cal), 1:42.24 – 2014
- Kieran Smith (Florida), 1:42.26 – 2019
- Shaine Casas (Texas A&M), 1:42.29 – 2019
This swim marked only the second time Lasco has raced the 200 IM this season, having been 1:45.91 at Cal’s dual with USC in late January. His previous best time stood at 1:44.59 from March of 2018 when he was 16.
Among all ‘A’ finalists, Lasco was the only man to go sub-25 on the backstroke leg (24.83) and sub-24 on freestyle (23.99). His senior teammate Daniel Carr (24.74 backstroke) and Ohio State’s Paul DeLakis (23.98 freestyle) both did so as well, but they were both relegated to the consolation final.
In the all-time performers list, Lasco moves up into 18th, notably trailing Michael Phelps‘ fastest ever time (1:40.58 from 2010) by just .03.
This event has been won by a senior in five of the last six championships, with Texas’ Will Licon‘s victory as a junior in 2016 the last non-senior title. Stanford’s David Nolan — the former American Record holder who was 1:42.52 as a freshman — was the last underclassmen to win the event as a sophomore in 2013, while former Longhorn Austin Surhoff was the last freshman to claim the 200 IM in 2010.
Looking at the 2020-21 season rankings, only Texas A&M junior Shaine Casas (1:38.95) has been faster than Lasco’s prelim swim, putting him in prime position to have a top finish tonight.
Casas qualified second this morning in 1:40.74, followed by fellow junior Gonzalez (1:40.94), and then Georgia Tech senior Caio Pumputis tied with Foster for fourth in 1:41.34.
And moving forward, Lasco figures to be a force to be reckoned with in the backstroke events, coming in seeded 11th and second in the 100 and 200, respectively.