The Auburn men had one weakness on their team this year; one spot that looked like it might keep them from a top 5 finish.
In one mid-season pickup, the Tigers have erased that weakness: they’ve taken a break from the class of 2013 to add Brazilian Arthur Mendes to their squad for this season. He will join the Tigers this winter and is expected to compete for them at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Mendes’ long course times are definitely good enough to warrant mention among the top-8 NCAA swimmers. He has bests of 52.70 in the 100 fly anda 2:00 in the 200 fly. That 100 fly time converts to a 46-low in yards. He should score immediately at least in that event.
Mendes, who just graduated from high school in his native Brazil, will immediately be given big responsibilities, as he should hop onto the Auburn medley relays. That would allow his fellow Brazilian Marcelo Chierighini to slide over to the freestyle anchors, where he’s one of the best in the country.
Remember that Chierighini came over in much the same fashion in 2011, and his freshman season ended spectacularly. If Brett Hawke can get the same from Mendes, then these Auburn medleys should both be top-5 again (at least).
He’s also a very good freestyler, with long course bests of 50.7 and 1:51.0 in the 100 and 200 respectively. Those convert to sub-45 in the 100 yard free and sub-1:38 in the 200.
This is a game-changer for the 2012-2013 NCAA Season. Mark it on your scorecards.