Zach Apple is an American sprint freestyler. The Auburn University swimmer shocked the swimming world at the 2017 U.S. Nationals and World Championship Trials. He took out a loaded field including Olympic Champion, Nathan Adrian and other big names like Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Held to enter the final seeded first. He went on to book his spot at his first World Championships with a fourth place finish.
Apple originally committed to swim collegiately at Western Kentucky but when the school suspended the program in the spring before he was supposed to be on campus, Apple decided to sign with Auburn.
Apple qualified for the maximum three individual events at the NCAA Championships in his freshman year. His best finish came in the 50 yard freestyle where he finished 19th. In the 100 yard freestyle he finished 35th and the 200 yard freestyle he finished 20th. He earned All-American honors for his prelim swim on the 200 yard freestyle relay where the Tigers went on to finish 6th.
In his sophomore season, Apple became the 13th Auburn swimmer to earn the maximum 7 All-American honors in a single season. His best individual finish came in the 50 yard freestyle when he tied for 4th place with Missouri’s Michael Chadwick in 18.97. He finished 12th and 14th in the 200 and 100 yard freestyle. On Auburn’s relays, Apple helped the tigers to 6th place in the 200 yard freestyle, 11th in the 400 yard freestyle, 12th in the 800 yard freestyle. His other All-American honor was for his prelim swim in the 400 yard medley relay.
Apple will make his international debut at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He qualified for the 400 meter freestyle relay after finishing 4th in the 100 meter freestyle. At the Trials in Indianapolis, Apple got heads turning when he took down big names like Nathan Adrian and Caeleb Dressel in the prelims. He entered the final seeded first with a time of 48.14, 2.04 seconds faster than his previous best time.