Quintero Wins NCAA Title In 500y Free
March 27, 2014
Senior Cristian Quintero won his first career NCAA title with a convincing win in the 500y free while Troy's 400y medley relay finished fifth to highlight USC's first night of finals at the 2014 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, Texas, on Thursday (March 27).
USC finished the first day in eighth with 51 points. Host Texas leads with 146 points and followed in the top 10 by California (145), Florida (137), Michigan (109), Georgia (74), Arizona (68.5), Auburn (54), USC, Stanford (46) and Alabama (40.5).
Quintero, who clocked a 4:13.03 in prelims, won the NCAA title in 4:10.02, coming within a quarter second of USC's seven-year-old record in the race, set by Larsen Jensen during his 2007 NCAA title swim (4:09.80).
Quintero dominated the race, leading wire-to-wire and maintaining a second or more lead for most of the race. His time was the 11th fastest of all-time and made him the eighth-fastest swimmer ever in the race. It also USC's 14th title in the distance.
"I feel awesome," Quintero said after the race. "Since the beginning I felt really strong. I knew I had this. I had this in me all the time. I'm really proud of this. I'm really glad with my last performance. It was my last 500 free and I really wanted to make a good performance and I did."
Said USC Coach Dave Salo: "It was a great swim by Cristian. The strategy was to take the field out fast because (Dan) Wallace and (Connor) Jaeger come back fast. He definitely took the field out of their comfort zone and won the event he has wanted to win the last couple seasons."
Freshman Reed Malone swam in the `B' final of the race and took 14th in 4:16.85. He went 4:15.74 in prelims.
USC's 400y medley relay turned in a season-best 3:05.91 in the `A' final as juniors Luca Spinazzola and Sergio Lujan Rivera, sophomore Maclin Davis and senior Dimitri Colupaev swam to fifth. The same quartet went just 0.02 slower in prelims.
Spinazolla's lead-off of 45.68 in prelims shattered his 100y back school record of 46.12 and he repeated the exact time in finals to tie his mark.
Troy's 200y free relay earned a `B' final spot as freshman Dylan Carter and seniors Jack Wagner, Quintero and Colupaev swam to a 1:17.71, 13th best in prelims. But the foursome of Wagner, Davis, freshman Santo Condorelli and Coluapev were disqualified for an early take-off on one of the exchanges.
"Overall we are on the board in the top 10 and looking to a stronger day tomorrow," Salo said. "Our medley relay showed we have some speed in the 100's so we're looking to Spinazzola and Davis to get into finals in the 100 back and fly, respectively. The 200 free is a strong event for us with Quintero, Colupaev, Malone and Carter. The guys have been very determined all season long to have a strong 800 free relay so that will be a focus for tomorrow night."
Other USC finishers in prelims included Ted Singley in the 500y free (50th, 4:26.55), Spinazzola in the 200y IM (46th, 1:46.70), Davis in the 50y free (t-31st, 19.66) and Carter in the 50y free (42nd, 19.93).
The meet continues Friday and Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. (PT) both days.