Le Sets School Record, Wins 200 IM Heat at NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships
March 27, 2014
Complete Results | Quotes | NCAA Championships Central
Le swam 1:44.17 to finish 20th overall and dropped 1.2 seconds from his NCAA-qualifying time. He reclaimed the Missouri State school record, held by sophomore teammate Uvis Kalnins of 1:44.69, from the MAC championships earlier this month.
Kalnins finished fourth in his heat of the 200 IM Thursday in 1:45.07 to place 35th overall.
"I was very pleased with both Paul and Uvis' swims this morning," said Missouri State head coach Dave Collins. "I felt they both did a nice job of managing their emotions and swimming their race. Although he just missed making finals, I felt Paul's school-record swim sets him up really well for the backstroke events. He has a lot of confidence so it will be fun to see what happens.
"For Uvis, we will look to build on today's experience and double the distance in tomorrow's 400 IM," said Collins.
"I didn't expect the meet to be as fast as at it was," said Kalnins, the 2014 MAC Swimmer of the Year. "I knew that it was going to be faster than last year, but for example, the top eight in the 200 IM was more than a second faster than it was last year, so that was a surprise for me."
Le was on track to swim in the finals session slated for 7 p.m., Friday until the final heat, which knocked the three-time All-MAC first team selection out of contention.
"I went a best time, so hopefully I can keep going with that and I have a positive attitude toward the rest of my races," he said. "Last year, I added [time] in two of my races, so hopefully I have a great start to this meet and hopefully ride that wave and keep swimming fast."
Florida's Marcin Cieslak turned in the top time of the prelims in the event for the second consecutive year, swimming 1:41.15. Cieslak and the 18 swimmers who finished ahead of Le are from schools that belong to power conferences.
Ceislak's 200 IM prelims swim at the 2013 NCAA championships of 1:42.52 would not have put the UF senior into the top eight this season.
"Swimming is getting much faster every day," Le said. "It's just going to keep getting harder and harder from here on out [to make the meet]. I wasn't expecting the 200 IM to be that fast just to make it back in. It's only going to get harder from here on out."
The Bears will get back in the water Friday for prelims in the 400 IM and 100 backstroke beginning at 11 a.m., Kalnins and Le will swim the 400 IM and 100 backstroke, respectively, and come into their events each seeded 34th overall.