How would that work? What events would be added? Is it legal to make an athlete suffer that many events in the span of 3 1/2 days? All of these questions and more began swirling through the ol' noggins of the FloSwimming crew.
The natural response: 50s of stroke, 100 IM, and maybe the 1000 freestyle. Duh, right?
Welp, not us. We steered this ship in a different, more painful direction and wondered what would happen if the NCAA added the 800 medley relay -- a "true test of swimming" for all of you purists out there.
Thus, we came up with our "Purely Hypothetical All-NCAA 800 Medley Relay Dream Team" for the women and the men.
NOTE: For the sake of relevancy and simplicity, this consists of swimmers who have competed on the NCAA level within the last four years.
Women 800 M.R. Dream Team
Kathleen Baker (Cal)
Lilly King (Indiana)
Kelsi Worrell (Louisville)
Missy Franklin (Cal)
This one was pretty tough -- on the bookends at least. Missy Franklin was practically interchangeable and could swim both legs. However, the differential between Kathleen Baker's 1:48.44 in the 200 back and Franklin's 1:47.91 was less than the differential between Katie Ledecky/Mallory Comerford's 1:40.36 in the 200 free and Franklin's 1:39.10. Therefore, we made a judgement call and threw Missy on the anchor. While maybe not as impressive as the men's relay below, the women's dream team is still dominant. This relay would take down some lower-tier Power Five programs in the 800 freestyle relay and, if you factor in relay exchanges, could have beaten the times posted last season by Ohio University, Iowa State, Southern Illinois, and West Virginia. Now, all things are not constant when comparing apples and oranges. But still, it is a very impressive reference point -- 10/10 would pay money to watch that relay compete.
Men 800 M.R. Dream Team
Ryan Murphy (Cal)
Will Licon (Texas)
Jack Conger (Texas)
Townley Haas (Texas)
The men's dream team might as well be the Texas Longhorns 2.0. I mean, heck -- throw 1:37 200 backstroker John Shebat on the leadoff and this relay is still pretty dang good. The scary thing about this team is that its aggregate time of 6:31.45 (average split = 1:37.8) would actually make a pretty decent 800 freestyle relay -- better than some mid-level Power Five schools. Last year alone, that time would have taken down Northwestern, West Virginia, and TCU. Factor in relay exchanges and it could have beaten Texas A&M and LSU as well.
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