By Kyle Sagendorph//USA Swimming Communications Intern | Thursday, March 28, 2019
After last week’s Women’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships saw four American records bested, the men’s championships is off to a hot start in its follow-up efforts, as two records fell during the first day of competition. The event runs through Saturday night and takes place at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.
The 800 freestyle relay was the lone event of Wednesday night’s finals session. Eleven national team members took to the pool, but it was the Texas relay team of Drew Kibler, Austin Katz, Jeff Newkirk and Townley Haas who took the title in a new American record time of 6:05.08. North Carolina State and Cal rounded out the top-3 with times of 6:06.63 and 6:07.31, respectively.
Katz, a sophomore from Sarasota, Fla., improved his national championship count to two, with the other coming in last year’s 200 backstroke. The national teamer completed the second leg in 1:31.45.
For Haas, the win marks his eighth NCAA title of his four-year career with the Longhorns. He previously helped win the 800 free relay title in 2016. This year, Haas anchored the team with a sub-1:30 time, touching in 1:29.66 to help etch the Texas relay squad into the record books. The previous American record was also set by a Texas relay team that featured Katz and Haas, when the Longhorns touched in 6:07.59 in Minneapolis last March at the 2018 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.
Harvard’s Dean Farris also managed to put his name in the record books, when his 1:29.15 split was good for the fastest 200 freestyle lead off split in American history. The split bests the mark set by Haas at last year’s NCAA Championships, when he touched in 1:29.50. Farris’ efforts helped Harvard finish in a top-8 position for the first time in over 20 years.
Other notable splits included Cal’s Andrew Seliskar and Indiana’s Zach Apple recording lead-off splits of 1:30.14 and 1:30.34, respectively. Seliskar’s fast start helped Cal to a third-place finish, while Apple’s efforts led to a fourth-place finish for the Hoosiers.
Thursday's prelims are underway, while the first full day of finals at the event begins at 7 p.m. ET. The night will feature a handful of national teamers, including Haas, Seliskar, Justin Ress, Abrahm DeVine and more. Prelims are streamed live at texassports.com, while finals action is available on ESPN3 with live results also available.