arena Swim of the Week: Kaiser Neverman Drops Big, Sets Minnesota Record In 200 IM

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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.

Minnesota junior Kaiser Neverman has been on fire through the first two days of the Minnesota Invitational.

After contributing a 1:33.64 split on the Golden Gopher’s record-breaking 800 free relay Wednesday night, Neverman swam back-to-back personal best times in the men’s 200 IM, culminating with a new school record and a third-place finish against a competitive field.

Coming into the meet, Neverman held a best time of 1:46.13 in the 200 IM, set at the 2021 Big Ten Championships during his freshman year where he finished in 18th place.

During Thursday’s prelims in Minneapolis, the 20-year-old brought his personal best down to 1:45.33, qualifying second into the final behind Texas senior Braden Vines (1:43.70), putting him within eight-tenths of the Minnesota school record of 1:44.53 set by Jakub Maly in 2016.

In the final, Neverman took care of business, getting down to 1:43.91 to place third, reset the program record and bring his PB down by more than two seconds over the course of eight hours or so.

The only swimmers finishing ahead of him were 2022 NCAA runner-up Destin Lasco and fellow 2022 ‘A’ finalist Jake Foster, while Neverman managed to out-touch Vines, a consolation finalist at last season’s NCAAs, by one one-hundredth.

“That was a little bit more of a surprise,” Neverman told SwimSwam’s Ben Dornan of the 200 IM, comparing it to the 800 free relay the previous night. “Obviously, the fly events are more on my sights, and the long course 200 fly was the one I got this summer, so I was looking for those.

“But I still train IM and am still involved in that event so when I went my best time in the morning, I knew that I was pretty set up to do something so I just did the best I could, and it was really fun.

“I didn’t have any specific time goals for the 200 IM, especially right now. But, you know, I think that exceeded my expectations and I’m really happy with it. But, you know, we’re always looking to go for more and we’re always expecting the most.”

Compared to his best time coming in and his prelim showing, Neverman was faster across all four strokes in the final, particularly over the back half. His second 100 in the final (54.84) was over a second faster than the morning (55.86).

Split Comparison – Personal Bests

Neverman, 2021 Big Tens Neverman, Minnesota Invite Prelims Neverman, Minnesota Invite Final
22.86 22.58 22.56
49.57 (26.71) 49.47 (26.89) 49.07 (26.51)
1:20.71 (31.14) 1:20.08 (30.61) 1:19.08 (30.01)
1:46.13 (25.42) 1:45.33 (25.25) 1:43.91 (24.83)

Compared to the previous Minnesota record, set by Maly at the 2016 NCAA Championships, Neverman made the difference with his sub-25 freestyle leg.

Split Comparison – Minnesota Records

Maly, 2016 NCAAs Neverman, Minnesota Invite Final
22.92 22.56
49.23 (26.31) 49.07 (26.51)
1:19.01 (29.80) 1:19.08 (30.01)
1:44.53 (25.50) 1:43.91 (24.83)

On Wednesday night in the 800 free relay, the quartet of Chris Morris (1:34.22), Bar Soloveychik (1:32.79), Neverman (1:33.64) and Alberto Hernanrcia (1:35.60) combined for a time of 6:16.25 to shatter the Minnesota school record of 6:20.41 set way back in 2009.

Neverman’s best 200 free from a flat start is 1:38.34 from March 2020.

“That one was in (our) sights and that was part of the decision-making in not doing to 200 medley (relay),” Neverman said.

“But that one was really fun because we haven’t had a large group of guys that are 200 freestylers, so it was really exciting to get that and that was on our radar. We actually surprised ourselves a little bit still, so that was really exciting to do with those guys.”

The 800 free relay team is now just over two-tenths off of an NCAA ‘A’ cut (6:16.02), while Neverman’s swim in the 200 IM is within striking distance of what it took to earn an NCAA invite last season (1:43.36).

On Friday, Neverman was five one-hundredths shy of his best time in the 100 fly, registering a time of 46.82 to qualify into the final tied for fourth.

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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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