Texas A&M sophomore Bethany Galat has taken another huge leap forward in what has been a dream summer, adding a U.S. Open Title to a list of accomplishments that includes just about everything but a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team.
After finishing in 3rd place at the Olympic Trials a month ago in the 200 meter breaststroke, Galat swam a 2:24.34 on Thursday in Minneapolis to win the event by almost three seconds. She had the biggest improvement curve of any woman at the Olympic Trials and took 3rd place in both the 200 breaststroke and the 400 IM to just barely miss the team. In those events, she improved her seed by 23 and 16 places, respectively.
At the U.S. Open, she entered as the top seed an heavy favorite, and lived up to billing with the swim that ranks her 11th in American history in the event. While it won’t earn her a retroactive spot on the team, and is a swim out-of-context, Galat will receive an even bigger boost from the team as it was .05 seconds faster than the time that Molly Hannis swam in Omaha to take the second Olympic spot in the 200 breaststroke.
Galat’s shown the ability to get off the blocks in a hurry this summer as a big key to her success. On Saturday, her .60 reaction time was the fastest of the field by a tenth – a category she also led in the final at the Olympic Trials.
Galat took 5th place in the 200 breaststroke at the NCAA Championships. Only one swimmer (Sarah Haase of Stanford) ahead of her graduated after last season, and while American Record holder Lilly King is still a mile ahead of the country heading into her sophomore season, the versatile Galat has all of the keys to a breakthrough junior season for the Aggies:
- She’s got among the best training groups in the country in her best events, where the Aggies could put 3 or more swimmers into each A final at NCAAs.
- She swims at a program that has a long history of success in her best events.
- She’s got as much momentum as anybody in the country heading into the fall with the demonstrated ability to swim big at big meets and to drop time at every taper, even the second of her summer.
Galat scored 37 individual points at NCAAs last season.