TERRE HAUTE —
Step 1 is over for Addison Bray as he competes for the first time in the NCAA Division I swimming championships at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis.
Two more steps remain.
A sophomore for the University of Louisville’s team and a 2011 graduate of Terre Haute South High School, Bray swam the second leg (100-yard breaststroke) for the Cardinals in the preliminary round of the men’s 400-yard medley relay early Thursday. His time was 53.33 seconds and the team’s time was 3:11.10, good for 18th place.
Only the top 16 qualified for the finals Thursday night, although Louisville was listed as the second alternate.
Switching to individual events, Bray is scheduled to compete today in the second preliminary heat of the men’s 100 breaststroke. His qualifying time of 53.59 is tied for 26th fastest out of 41 athletes in the six heats.
The 100 breaststroke prelims are the fifth event listed as part of Session 3, which starts at 11 a.m. The top 16 from the prelims will advance to tonight’s finals, which are part of Session 4 (starting at 7 o’clock).
Then on Saturday, he’ll swim in the preliminary round of the men’s 200 breaststroke, which he enters with a qualifying time of 1:55.74 (26th fastest out of 44 competitors). The prelims will be part of Session 5 (11 a.m., it’s the third event listed) and the finals will be part of Session 7 (7 p.m.).
“My goals for the weekend are to get second swims in both [individual] events,” Bray told the Tribune-Star earlier this week. “But in the 200, I would like to get top eight.”
Bray described his season with Louisville as going “pretty well.”
“The beginning was very good,” he said. “I had a very good fall meet at Purdue. Then it got a little harder. I was dealing with some minor shoulder injuries.
“The Big East [conference championships] didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped, but I did have best times in both the 100 and 200, so that was a plus. So basically I don’t have anything to lose coming into this [NCAA] meet. I can just swim my race and hopefully everything works out.”
Bray, who turned 20 Wednesday, is a biology major who had a 3.80 grade-point average in his last semester.
Meanwhile, 2012 South grad Nolan Roach thought he might get to represent Indiana University’s team as part of the men’s 200 freestyle relay in the same NCAA meet. But Roach learned Tuesday morning that IU coaches decided not to enter the relay squad in the meet so that certain swimmers (not Roach) could focus on their individual events.
Roach did get to swim in time trials for the 50 freestyle Thursday, finishing in 21.1 seconds.
“It’s all about the experience from being in a meet like this,” Roach said Tuesday. “I’ve still got three more years left at least [to compete in the actual NCAA championships].”