IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Just squeeze, baby.
After qualifying second in the morning preliminaries of the 200-yard individual medley, Stanford senior David Nolan, who won the crown in 2013, made a slight adjustment for the finals.
He then elaborated.
"You just squeeze," he said. "Pinch a penny."
And the luck rubbed off.
Nolan became the first man to break the 1-minute, 40-second barrier in the event and broke his own NCAA, American and U.S. Open records in the process. He churned to a 1:39.38 finish Thursday night in the NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Iowa's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
"It feels pretty good," said Nolan with a laugh. "It's always been a goal, ever since high school when I was swimming pretty fast. But tonight it was real fun to actually have it happen."
Nolan was seeded second to Texas sophomore Will Licon, who finished nearly 0.7 seconds ahead of him in prelims.
"I knew I had a lot more in me," said Nolan, who also swam on two relays in prelims. He sat out the 200 freestyle relay in the consolation finals and saved his energy for the IM.
Nolan set the NCAA, American and U.S. Open records earlier in the month at the Pac-12 conference meet when he went 1:40.07.
"After Pac-12s, not being shaved and fully rested, I knew I could swim a lot faster," Nolan said. "I was pretty confident coming into the finals."
Nolan said he set a goal of 1:39.40 for the finals, but didn't think he was swimming that fast during the race. He did not realize he had split a 21.67 in the leadoff butterfly leg and was at 45.99 after the backstroke leg at the midpoint of the race.
"I did feel a little bit tight before the swim, so I was like, 'Obviously go for under 1:40,' " he said. "I was like, just rip it and see what happens. I was pretty pumped to get the goal at [NCAAs]."
Licon finished second in 1:40.09, which also broke the previous championship record of 1:40.49 set by Bradley Ally in 2009.
Nolan still has the 100 backstroke and 800 free relay on Friday and the 200 back on Saturday. After that, his college career is over.
But he has his eyes on another goal. Swimming long course (meters) and taking a run at the U.S. national team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
"We'll see how this summer goes," he said. "I've always liked long course more even though my times and stuff haven't shown that.
"The goal is obviously 2016."