arena Swim of the Week: Mason Edmund’s Fearless Strategy Qualifies Him For NCAAs In 1650

Swim of the Week is brought to you by arena, a SwimSwam partner.

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.

Ohio State freshman Mason Edmund did exactly what he needed to do in order to qualify for his first NCAA Championship meet on Sunday at the OSU Last Chance Qualifier.

Edmund came into his first year with the Buckeyes with a personal best time of 15:21.35 in the 1650 freestyle, and after clocking 15:29.73 at the Ohio State Invitational in November, he dropped a big PB of 15:05.62 at the Big Ten Championships in February, placing him seventh in his conference debut.

That time ranked him 60th in the nation (entering Sunday, March 5), and it would take a time that ranked in the 28-32nd range, or a swim in the vicinity of 14:53-high, to earn an NCAA invite.

Although that seemed like a massive amount of time to take off in a week, especially given that he had just knocked off a big chunk at Big Tens, Edmund executed flawlessly in his “Last Chance” opportunity.

There was a certain fearlessness that Edmund had in the race that cannot be overstated. He was nine seconds faster over the first 500 in the Last Chance swim (4:27.93) compared to where he was at Big Tens (4:38.85), and at the 1000, he was more than 15 seconds under his pace from the conference meet (8:59.35 compared to 9:14.65).

From there, he was about four seconds slower over the closing 650 yards, but it didn’t matter, as the aggressive attack had put him in position for a monstrous swim.

Split Comparison

Edmund, 2023 Big Tens
Edmund, 2023 Last Chance
25.33 24.51
53.28 (27.95) 51.10 (26.59)
1:21.57 (28.29) 1:18.04 (26.94)
1:49.84 (28.27) 1:45.17 (27.13)
2:18.15 (28.31) 2:12.05 (26.88)
2:46.37 (28.22) 2:38.96 (26.91)
3:14.44 (28.07) 3:06.13 (27.17)
3:42.65 (28.21) 3:33.33 (27.20)
4:10.77 (28.12) 4:00.63 (27.30)
4:38.85 (28.08) 4:27.93 (27.30)
5:07.18 (28.33) 4:55.09 (27.16)
5:35.14 (27.96) 5:22.36 (27.27)
6:02.93 (27.79) 5:49.39 (27.03)
6:30.88 (27.95) 6:16.42 (27.03)
6:58.35 (27.47) 6:43.40 (26.98)
7:25.74 (27.39) 7:10.53 (27.13)
7:52.98 (27.24) 7:37.65 (27.12)
8:20.07 (27.09) 8:04.74 (27.09)
8:47.31 (27.24) 8:31.98 (27.24)
9:14.65 (27.34) 8:59.35 (27.37)
9:41.87 (27.22) 9:26.56 (27.21)
10:09.00 (27.13) 9:53.89 (27.33)
10:36.15 (27.15) 10:21.05 (27.16)
11:03.23 (27.08) 10:48.43 (27.38)
11:30.36 (27.13) 11:15.86 (27.43)
11:57.47 (27.11) 11:43.36 (27.50)
12:24.57 (27.10) 12:10.79 (27.43)
12:51.48 (26.91) 12:38.04 (27.25)
13:18.61 (27.13 13:05.65 (27.61)
13:45.82 (27.21) 13:33.05 (27.40)
14:12.91 (27.09) 14:00.54 (27.49)
14:39.63 (26.72) 14:27.84 (27.30)
15:05.62 (25.99) 14:53.54 (25.70)

Edmund’s time of 14:53.54 ranked him 29th in the NCAA, which ended up being right on the cut line and earning him a spot at the NCAA Championships in his freshman year.

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Go the distance
2 months ago

Way to go Mason! It’s been great to witness how he’s improved this season through hard work.

OSU Lover
2 months ago


2 months ago


3 months ago

He’s got a good work ethic. Likes racing in practice.

3 months ago

Go Boy Go!!
Keep up the good work.

3 months ago

It’s fun to see articles about distance strategy!

It seems more like he stopped trying to negative split so hard, it wasn’t really a fly and die strategy. At Big 10s he split 5:07/5:02/4:56 by 550, but at the last chance meet it was much more even with 4:55/4:58/4:59.

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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