arena Swim of the Week: Jack Alexy Culminates 200 Free Progression With 1:29 At NCAAs

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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.

Jack Alexy is not someone who flies under the radar anymore, but still, not many were predicting him to be among the top finishers in the 200 freestyle at the Men’s NCAA Championships.

Alexy only raced the event once last season, clocking 1:37.78 on the lead-off leg of Cal’s ‘B’ 800 free relay at the 2022 Minnesota Invite, but coming off his breakout performance at the 2023 World Championships where he piled up five medals, the New Jersey native took on the 200 free quite frequently in his junior season with the Bears.

Alexy’s best time stood at 1:35.52 from 2019 coming into 2023-24, a mark he set while he was 16, but he took it down to 1:33.83 in December at the Minnesota Invite and then went 1:32.74 during Cal’s dual with Arizona in January.

That entry time placed him down in 27th on the psych sheets coming into NCAAs, but Alexy was one of many swimmers to send a warning shot for the individual event on the opening night of the meet in the 800 free relay, splitting 1:30.50 on Cal’s record-breaking squad that won the title in the event for the first time since 1986.

The 21-year-old then went faster than his split in the prelims of the 200 free, clocking 1:30.38 to snag Lane 5 in the final that featured solely junior swimmers.

Alexy upped his game again in the final.

Leaning on the speed that earned him a silver medal in the 100 free at the 2023 Worlds, he opened things up in a blistering 43.31 at the 100, leading the tightly bunched field with six of the eight finalists sub-44.

Luke Hobson pulled away on the back half en route to defending his title and taking back the NCAA and U.S. Open Record he broke leading off the 800 free relay—which Leon Marchand took minutes later in the next heat on Wednesday—but Alexy closed better than anyone else to place 2nd.

Alexy came home in 46.44 over the final 100 to become just the seventh swimmer in history under the 1:30 barrier, touching in 1:29.75. He also broke the Cal school record of 1:30.14 set by Andrew Seliskar in 2019.

All-Time Performers, Men’s 200 Freestyle (SCY)

  1. Luke Hobson (Texas), 1:28.81 – 2024 NCAA Championships
  2. Leon Marchand (ASU), 1:28.97 – 2024 NCAA Championships
  3. Dean Farris (Harvard), 1:29.15 – 2019 NCAA Championships
  4. Kieran Smith (Florida), 1:29.48 – 2021 SEC Championships
  5. Townley Haas (Texas), 1:29.50 – 2018 NCAA Championships
  6. Blake Pieroni (Indiana), 1:29.63 – 2018 NCAA Championships
  7. Jack Alexy (Cal), 1:29.75 – 2024 NCAA Championships
  8. Andrew Seliskar (Cal), 1:30.14 – 2019 NCAA Championships
  9. Grant House (ASU), 1:30.23 – 2022 Pac-12 Championships
  10. Drew Kibler (Texas), 1:30.28 – 2022 NCAA Championships

In the 800 free relay, with the benefit of an exchange, Alexy was out sub-20 at the 50 and a blistering 42.2 at the 100. He faded a bit on the last 50, but altered his splitting strategy optimally for the individual event.

Split Comparison

Alexy, 800 FR Relay (with takeover) Alexy, 200 FR Prelims Alexy, 200 FR Final
19.94 20.81 20.45
42.26 (22.32) 44.00 (23.19) 43.31 (22.86)
1:05.90 (23.64) 1:06.95 (22.95) 1:06.47 (23.16)
1:30.50 (24.60) 1:30.38 (23.43) 1:29.75 (23.28)

Whether or not Alexy takes on the 200 free seriously in the long course pool this summer remains to be seen, but his performance in short course tells us the potential is there.

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1 month ago

This dude is quickly figuring out this race. He clearly overcooked the first 100 in the relay and had it dialed in by the the finals of the individual 200. Scary potential. If he get’s his underwaters even just to average, look out..

1 month ago

still can’t process that Alexy is faster than Seliskar and Kibler ever were

1 month ago

Alexy has achieved great results in SCY even though his underwater game is lacking, relatively speaking. Thus while is 129 is obviously great in SCY what’s exciting is what it implies about his prospects for time drops in LCM, where turns are half as frequent.

1 month ago

Love to see him at least take a crack at long course 200 free. Just for fun

His best is like 1:53 from 2018

1 month ago

Caribe’s runner up 100 free and massive 40.5 PB is also worth noting, I feel like no one has talked about this

Justin Pollard
Reply to  Andrew
1 month ago

This is the nicest Cal comment you’ve ever made 🤗

1 month ago

he has a really beautiful 200 free stroke, I loved watching him in this race

Grant Drukker
Reply to  eagleswim
1 month ago

Smoothest looking 200 I saw all week.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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