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Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
University of Florida freshman Aleksas Savickas was the biggest surprise performer of the U.S. Open last weekend, sweeping the men’s 100 and 200 breaststroke over a pair of talented fields.
A Lithuanian native, Savickas started things off with a victory in the 100 breast, producing back-to-back best times of 1:00.55 and 1:00.54, but his more impressive showing came the following day in the 200.
After nearing his lifetime best of 2:13.35 with a 2:13.85 prelim swim, qualifying third overall into the final, Savickas grabbed the bull by the horns and really attacked the final, and it paid off.
Out in a blistering 1:01.79 at the 100-meter turn, Savickas held firm coming down the stretch despite feeling some pressure from behind from Chase Kalisz, nearly matching Kalisz’s back-half split to claim the win in a time of 2:09.68.
The time for Savickas marks a significant best time by more than three and a half seconds, and ranks him as the third-fastest Lithuanian of all-time, trailing only Giedrius Titenis (2:07.80) and Andrius Sidlauskas (2:09.20).
Savickas’ previous best time was set at the 2021 European Junior Championships, where he won gold by two one-hundredths in a razor-thin battle with Russia’s Dmitrii Askhabov.
Compared to that swim (and his prelim performance), Savickas was clearly much more aggressive on the opening 100, and he managed to be significantly quicker on the third length as well while holding steady coming home.
|Savickas, 2021 Euro Juniors||Savickas, 2022 U.S. Open Prelims||Savickas, 2022 U.S. Open Final|
|1:04.08 (33.86)||1:05.30 (34.54)||1:01.79 (32.64)|
|1:38.37 (34.29)||1:39.79 (34.49)||1:35.24 (33.45)|
|2:13.35 (34.98)||2:13.85 (34.06)||2:09.68 (34.44)|
Although he’s flying a bit under the radar, Savickas is a contender to challenge for a top finish at the NCAA Championships in his freshman year, currently ranking fourth in the nation in the 200 breast after swimming an NCAA ‘A’ cut of 1:51.29 en route to victory at the UGA Fall Invite in November.
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