Produced by Coleman Hodges.
Reported by Lauren Neidigh.
A lot of the pre-meet buzz surrounding the mens 100 breast (Whitley vs. Andrew) at U.S. Nationals overlooked a key player. Surprisingly, new American face turned a lot of heads this morning. Andrew Wilson clocked the only sub-1:00 of the morning, swimming a 59.68 to top the heats.
Wilson, a senior-to-be at Emory, has been training with the Texas Longhorns this summer. That gave him a chance to train with Austin Temple and 200 Breast NCAA Champion Will Licon.
It seems to have paid off well, as he dropped 2 seconds in the 100 breast prelims this morning to top the field at U.S. Nationals. He came to the meet with a 1:01.87, but tore through that, splitting 27.99/31.69.
That time makes him the 6th fastest American of all time, right between Cody Miller(59.51) and Kevin Cordes (59.70). Miller and Cordes are both in Kazan representing the U.S. at the FINA World Championships.
It also would have placed him in the top 8 at Worlds. It took a 59.75 to qualify for the final, and 59.68 would’ve finished 7th. Miller, the fastest of the Americans at the meet, just missed finals after landing 9th at 59.86.
Wilson’s improvement isn’t completely unexpected. His performance during the 2014-15 NCAA season was a sign that he’d be translating to fast long course swims. At the NCAA Division 3 Championships, he set a new NCAA record in the 100 breast at 51.72. He followed that up with another record in the 200 breast, swimming a 1:52.97. While NCAA Division III times are generally slower than those in Division I, his 100 time would’ve put him in the A-Final of Division I as well.
Wilson also has some pedigree – his older sister Jenny Wilson was an NCAA Division I All-American breaststroker at Northwestern. She recently came out of retirement and is qualified to swim at this week’s U.S. National Championships as well.