Disclaimer: Blueseventy 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 blueSeventy Swim 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.
They weren’t the most high-profile swims of the always-fast SMU Classic. But they might turn out to be the most impactful for the Louisville Cardinals.
Long course standout Diana Dunn had two key IM swims for Louisville over the weekend, showing some big lifetime-bests just a few months into her college career. That could be massive for Louisville: the Cardinals returned nearly all of their key scorers from last year’s NCAAs, but didn’t have any standout freshman. That is, none besides Dunn, who didn’t project as a top recruit based on her short course times, but whose long course success makes her a likely darkhorse candidate for breakout freshman of the year.
Dunn spent her later high school years focusing mostly on long course, and that decision earned her a spot on Team USA’s World Junior Championships roster in 2017. Now, she’s showing signs that her short course times might be coming into line with her long course prowess.
At the SMU Classic, Dunn won B finals of both the 200 and 400 IM. The meet format only allows each team one entrant into each heat, but Dunn’s time would have actually won the 200 IM and she would have been third in the 400.
The 200 IM was a 1:59.46, her first time ever under two minutes. (Dunn went 2:00.00 as a high school senior at Texas’s high school state meet). In the 400, she went 4:14.95, a drop of nearly four seconds from her previous best.
Neither time is at NCAA scoring (or even invite) level. But lifetime-bests in early October of her freshman year suggest Dunn might be in line for some big drops in her best events: most notably a 1:46.5 200 free and a 4:47.2 500 free. The 200 is especially important: Louisville returns all of its 2018 NCAA relay legs except for one spot on the 800 free relay. Dunn seems the top contender for that spot, and she actually came off the 400 IM to lead off that relay at the SMU Classic. That’s a brutal double, but Dunn went 1:48.33, within a few seconds of her best. She also split the race extremely well for mid-season and coming off a 400 IM: 25.8/27.3/27.5/27.5.
If Dunn can perform like a top 10 freshman, Louisville could be in line to contend for both an ACC title and a top-4-or-better finish as a team at NCAAs.
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