UofL press release:
University of Louisville sprinter Joao De Lucca won the national championship in the 100 freestyle to go along his 200 free win from earlier at the NCAA Division I Men’s Championships Saturday night at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center on the campus of the University of Texas.
De Lucca pulled off the double win by posting a 41.70 in the 100 feww, the first male swimmer to pull off the rare 100, 200 free double since 1995 when fellow Brazilian Gustavo Borges. The swim put De Lucca in 11th all time in the event. It is his third national championship in his career, adding in the 2013 200 freestyle title.
“I didn’t expect to win the 100 free at all,” said De Lucca. “To be honest I really thought (Auburn’s) Marcelo [Chierighini] was going to get this one. He’s done a really really good job this season. I knew he was going to come for me so I changed my strategy. I went out faster.”
Seeded third, De Lucca managed to knock off top seed Marcelo Chierighini of Auburn. De Lucca used his trademark fast start blasting off the blocks and posting the only sub-19 second first split of the field at 19.94. He then held off Chierighini and Cristian Quintero of USC, his rival in the 200 freestyle down the stretch.
“I was kind of scared. Definitely winning and beating Marcelo, we’re (national) teammates. We have a big rivalry. He started swimming when he was 15 or so and he’s really good. We have this big rivalry. We’re good friends but the rivalry has always been there and definitely winning this race means a lot to me. I didn’t expect to win at all. I’m shocked. It’s kind of like winning the first time,” said De Lucca.
His win and school record time pushed the Cards into 11th place, their second best all time team finish.
“It was an awesome swim by Joao De Lucca,” said UofL coach Arthur Albiero. “The breaststrokers were great too, both at 1:53.7. We have spent three years hovering around the top 10 finish. We are building something special.” U of L added more team points whenThomas Dahlia finished fifth in the consols with a 1:53.72 with teammate Addison Bray just five one-hundredth of a second behind him for sixth.
Freshman Grigory Tarasevich, who just missed qualifying for the finals, posted a school record time in the 200 back with a 1:41.33 in the prelims to be the second alternate.