Morozov Wins USC's First NCAA 50 Free Title Since 1977
March 28, 2013
Junior Vladimir Morozov not only won USC's first 50-yard free title since 1977 with the fourth-fastest time ever (18.63), his 50-yard relay split in Troy's second-place 200y free relay (17.86) was the fastest ever as the Trojan speedster dominated the talk on the first day of finals at the 2013 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at the IU Natatorium/IUPUI Sports Complex in Indianapolis, Ind., on Thursday (March 28).
USC finished the first day of competition in fourth with a combined 100 points. Michigan is in first (153) and is followed in the top 10 by California (123.5), Auburn (112.5), USC, Texas (99), Florida (97), Arizona and Stanford (81), Indiana (68) and Georgia (34).
Morozov motored to an 18.91 in the 50y free prelims to earn the top seed in finals, which was 0.05 off his personal record but a mere a tune-up swim as it turned out.
He opened the evening competition by joining junior Jack Wagner, freshman Maclin Davis and junior Dimitri Colupaev to lead USC's 200y free relay to second place in a school record 1:16.22, 0.62 faster than the school-record time set in prelims (junior Chase Bloch swam on that in prelims instead of Colupaev).
Swimming the third leg of the relay, Morozov clocked an other-worldly 17.86 split, becoming the first person known to go under 18 seconds on a 50 split.
For an encore, Morozov became the third-fastest man ever in the 50-yard free (from a flat start) when he won the race in 18.63 for USC's first title in the race since Joe Bottom won it three straight times between 1975-77. It was also USC's first men's NCAA title since Larsen Jensen won two races in 2007 (500y and 1650y free).
Morozov went out in 8.99 seconds and came back in 9.64, the fastest time in both legs, and finished well ahead of Auburn's Marcelo Chierighini (18.99), who entered the meet with the year's fastest time (18.85).
The only people to have gone faster that Morozov in the 50 are former Auburn swimmers Cesar Cielo (18.47 and 18.52 in 2008) and Matt Targett (18.52 in 2009). Those times, however, were clocked while wearing the since-banned polyurethane suits.
"The 50 in the relay was an out of body experience," Morozov said. "I was 100% ready to go physically and mentally and executed the details perfectly. We have never won this relay in history and today we were runner-ups - and all the guys are coming back next year.
"As for the individual title, I'm definitely happy to finally become a national champion and post the fastest textile time ever. I can't wait to see what I can do in the 100!"
USC sophomore Cristian Quintero finished third in the 500y free in 4:13.52, just off his PR and his second top 3 finish at the NCAAs after a second-place last year. He led early in the race before giving way to first place Connor Jaeger of Michigan (4:10.84) and Texas senior Michael McBroom (4:11.39).
USC closed the night by swimming in its first 400y medley relay final since 2007 and the quartet of sophomores Luca Spinazzola and Sergio Lujan Rivera, Davis and Morozov finished fourth with a school record 3:04.98. Equally as impressive, Spinazzola's lead-off 100y back of 46.36 broke Lenny Krayzelburg's 1997 school record in the distance of 46.55. Krazyelburg's 100y and 200y back records were both set in 1997 and were the longest standing Trojan yards records entering this year.
"From the get go the men have been eying this meet with the intent to move to the top 4," USC Coach Dave Salo said. "The first day was no disappointment. Relay records, historical records and, lost in the battle, was Luca Spinazzola taking down the long held Lenny Krayzelburg 100 back record. Vlad was incredible tonight and a true workhorse. He had six swims - all big."
Senior Alex Lendrum took 20th in the 200y IM (1:44.64), 0.40 out of the `B' final, and freshman Morten Klarskov was 33rd (1:45.80). Wagner tied for 27th in the 50y free in 19.79, though his lead-off 19.59 in the 200y free relay prelim would've been good enough for a spot in the `B' final. Colupaev (4:21.36) and sophomore Chad Bobrosky (4:22.32) finished 35th and 39th, respectively, in the 500y free.
The meet continues Friday and Saturday with prelims at 8 a.m. and finals at 4 p.m. PT both days.