Cornell junior Alex Evdokimov will compete this weekend in the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships in Indianapolis. The team-MVP will race both the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke events, as he did at NCAA’s last year, when he placed 15th in the 200 for All-American honors, and 23rd in the 100.
Evdokimov is a three-time Ivy League champion in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200, and holds the Ivy League record in both events. While he is utterly dominant in the Ivy League, he will face much higher levels of competition at NCAAs, a factor that will impact his race strategy.
“The primary obstacle to overcome with respect to a strategy is being able to go a best time in prelims at NCAAs,” said Cornell head coach Wes Newman. “It will take a best time in the morning in order to make it back to a final for Alex. Keeping in mind he went his previous best times in a finals setting with a packed crowd in the evening, it can be a challenge to reproduce that performance in a prelim setting first thing in the morning. If Alex can do that, he will be giving himself a good shot at the final.”
Focusing on not holding back in the less-intense atmosphere of morning prelims should maximize Evdokimov’s opportunities to swim with the best in the country at night, leading him to further All-American accolades in one or both of his events.
Going into the meet, Evdokimov is ranked 16th in the 200 breaststroke, with a personal best time of 1:53.72. He is ranked 11th in the 100 breaststroke, with a personal best of 52.13.
Last year, Evdokimov swam a time of 1:55.17 in the 200 breaststroke prelims at NCAA’s, qualifying for finals, in which he swam 1:55.90. He also swam 53.02 in the 100 breaststroke prelims, a time which didn’t qualify him for finals. Losing the opportunity to swim in finals in either event is a disappointment which Newman hopes Evdokimov will be able to avoid this time around.
Evdokimov’s personal best times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke thus far have both come from races at the Ivy League Championships. Newman and Evdokimov have planned throughout the season to change when Evdokimov sees his best results.
“Our goal from the beginning of this season was to try and go best times at NCAAs,” Newman said. “In order to do that, Alex needed to swim fast in December to qualify for NCAAs then, which he did. We therefore did not have to completely focus on Ivies, with the intention of swimming faster at NCAAs. Alex did a great job defending both his titles with minimal rest at Ivies this year, and we are now hoping to see lifetime best swims at NCAAs with more rest and preparation.”
Evdokimov will compete in the 100 breaststroke on Friday, March 24, and in the 200 breaststroke on Saturday, March 25. Each day, prelims will take place at 10 a.m. and finals will begin at 6 p.m. at the Indiana University Natatorium.