2015 M. NCAA Picks: Northwestern’s Wilimovsky in a League of His Own in the Mile

NCAA MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS

1650 FREESTYLE

  • NCAA record: 14:24.08 — Martin Grodzki (Georgia) — 3/24/2012
  • American record: 14:23.52 — Connor Jaeger (Club Wolverine) — 12/06/2014
  • U.S. Open record: 14:23.52 — Connor Jaeger (Club Wolverine) — 12/06/2014
  • 2014 NCAA Champion: Connor Jaeger (Michigan) — 14:29.27

Martin Grodzki owned the mile in 2012, breaking NCAA and U.S. Open records, while Chad LaTourette was touched out by just tenths, although he himself still broke the American record. Lurking behind these two in third place was Connor Jaeger, who rose to the title in 2013 as well as 2014, winning by nearly ten seconds last year. While he couldn’t get under Grodzki’s NCAA record, this past December at Winter Nationals he threw down the 14:23.52 which now stands as the American and U.S. Open record.

Finishing fourth last year was Northwestern’s Jordan Wilimovsky. A freshman in 2013, he was barely under 15 minutes, quietly touching in 24th place out of 36 invited swimmers. In his sophomore season, the distance specialist (who has international experience in open water) soared at Big Tens, touching in 14:42.99, and was able to hold his taper pretty well for a 14:44.36 at NCAAs to take 4th. This year, Wilimovsky is in a realm of his own after his dominant showing of 14:33.50 at Big Tens. He is seeded first by 5.22 seconds, and even as Jaeger and Michael McBroom have since left the collegiate arena, it looks like the next distance star could continue to emerge this year.

The next pack behind the Wildcat is pretty tight. 2nd seed Matias Koski (14:38.72), 3rd seed Mitch D’Arrigo (14:39.90), 4th seed Arthur Frayler (14:40.05) and 5th seed Evan Pinion (14:42.04) all hail from the SEC, where Koski (Georgia), D’Arrigo (Florida), and Frayler (Florida) battled each other at the SEC Championships. Pinion fell to a 15:01.29 at SECs, but the Tennessee freshman notched a personal best at the Nike Cup Invitational last December and certainly has the talent to stick with the top group. Frayler was 3rd last year, D’Arrigo 7th, and Koski right behind the Gator in 8th. All three of them gained time from their season bests, but that’s no surprise seeing as the mile is the last day of competition coming off of a season which, for some, included one or more tapers. Koski was 3rd as a freshman, and though he fell to 8th last year, his freshman time (14:42.09) would have been 3rd again. He’s looked good all year, so he’s the pick for 2nd this year in a comeback season, of sorts. Frayler and D’Arrigo both gained over four seconds from their seed time at NCAAs last year, but Frayler has more experience and will likely grab 3rd, though D’Arrigo won’t be far behind. Pinion is a lock for 5th if he’s on, otherwise he could fall out of the top 10 easily.

The next best time this season is 6th seed Chris Swanson of Penn. The top Ivy League qualifier in this event, Swanson’s 14:43.87 put him nearly five seconds ahead of the next best swimmer, freshman Anton Ipsen of NC State (14:48.52). Swanson has been on a similar trajectory to Wilimovsky, as he jumped from 33rd place his freshman campaign (15:12.85) all the way up to 9th as a sophomore (14:49.63). He actually dropped four seconds from his seed last year, and if some of the top 5 slide enough, just holding onto his 14:43.87 might push him into the top 5. Ipsen, along with fellow freshman PJ Ransford (14:49.63) of Michigan are the final two under the 14:50 mark. Ipsen has been on fire pretty much all year, breaking school and pool records at multiple meets in the distance races, while Ransford represents new life for the Wolverines in the distance events, where they dominated the country with swimmers like** Jaeger, Sean Ryan, and Ryan Feeley.

TOP 8 PREDICTIONS

Swimmer Seed Best Time
Jordan Wilimovsky 14:33.50 14:33.50
Matias Koski 14:38.72 14:38.72
Arthur Frayler 14:40.05 14:38.06
Mitch D’Arrigo 14:39.90 14:39.90
Chris Swanson 14:43.87 14:43.87
Anton Ipsen 14:48.52 14:48.52
Evan Pinion 14:42.04 14:42.04
PJ Ransford 14:49.63 14:46.40

Dark Horse: You might have noticed the asterisks by the sentence regarding Michigan’s distance group, and those are meant for Anders Nielsen. The junior is deceivingly seeded at 26th with a 14:57.38, but he was 14:51 as a freshman and a sophomore, and his best time is a 14:47.88 from Winter Nationals his freshman season. Was he not brought that far down for the Big Ten Championships? His other races were not too far off of lifetimes bests. Nielsen’s taper level is cloudy, but he could be the one to blow by the 14:50 mark and snag a top 8 finish.

In This Story

9
Leave a Reply

5 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

I like Frayler here… but boy does Cal need someone to step up like last year in this event and score…

Reid

Unfortunately since they moved Hinshaw to the 200 fly they don’t seem to have a single swimmer entered in the 1650.

Aquamom2016

Nope, and they don’t value any of the distance events anyway. They made a lot of noise a couple of years ago stating they were trying to “improve” or “develop” their distance program, and hired Yuri to uphold appearances, but their actions certainly speak louder than words. They couldn’t care less about the distance events or distance swimmers. They are not alone, however. None of the college programs place much value in the distance events, since those guys typically don’t compete on relays which score the most points. Scoring the most points means you win the National Title, and if you are a DI coach from a major program, a big, fat six-figure (maybe seven?) cash bonus for bringing home… Read more »

Cal Bear '99

Jeremy Bagshaw 2nd in the 1650 at NCs last year, Janardan Burns 4th in the 1500 at summer nationals. Every program has down years in various events from time to time, but to say the Cal program by virtue does not “value” distance swimmers? A bit extreme, and entirely inaccurate…every Cal swimmer, coach and alum at the meet was at the pool watching Jeremy’s phenomenal swim last year, and by all accounts was among the highlights, if not THE highlight of the meet for the team.

And SWIM coaches getting “a fat six-figure (maybe seven?) cash bonus for bringing home the trophy”??? Please cite examples…just one even!

Lighten up AQUAMOM…have a beer…cheers!

swamswummer

God forbid these coaches try to recruit and organize a team that has the most potential to win the biggest competition in the sport they compete in!

Swimswim

My money is on j mov. Kid trains the house down and the results show it. How much time has this guy consistently dropped over the last 5-6? As far as I can remember he wasn’t a big name recruit like koski or d’agirro. Props to him for the hard work he’s put in.

Swimgeek

I think j dog will win this event without question. He’s an absolute animal. The dude outworks everyone all the time. This upcoming ncaa title will be just the beginning of his illustrious career. I have said it once and I’ll say it again, fear the flow.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!