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.
Anytime you break a record held by the all-time greatest, you’re going to get some buzz.
That’s never been more true than now, as Gianluca Urlando‘s shattering of a Michael Phelps National Age Group (NAG) record has created plenty of buzz. The record-breaking swim came in what was arguably Phelps’ best event (the 200 fly), as Urlando destroyed a Winter Juniors field.
The 16-year-old Urlando went 1:40.91 – that’s 1.19 seconds faster than Phelps was at age 16. Urlando now leads all non-Phelps 200 flyers in age group history by a full two seconds.
Watching the swim (we’ve embedded it below) shows a remarkably polished swimmer. Urlando’s underwaters are great, but his turns in particular are picturesque. Then, too, his splitting is like that of a veteran, and far more consistent than even Phelps was at that age. Here’s a quick splits comparison:
|GIANLUCA URLANDO, WINTER JUNIORS EAST, DECEMBER 2018||MICHAEL PHELPS, SPRING SECTIONALS, MARCH 2002|
|100||48.50 (25.62)||48.58 (25.92)|
|150||1:14.08 (25.58)||1:15.76 (27.18)|
|200||1:40.91 (26.83)||1:42.10 (26.34)|
Urlando’s time is .06 seconds away from being the fastest junior swim in history in the event. The 17-18 NAG is 1:40.85 (set by Nicholas Albiero at men’s NCAAs last year), and Urlando still has two full years as a junior. His swim also ranks him 23rd all-time in the event for swimmers of any age, and on the cusp of becoming just the 12th man ever (of any age) to break 1:40. One more crazy stat: though Urlando is still a high school junior and won’t join the NCAA ranks until the fall of 2020, his time would currently rank #2 among all NCAA swimmers this season and would have finished 8th at NCAAs last season.
It’s worth noting, too, that while any short course yards comparison to Phelps is a bit flawed (Phelps famously focused more on long course meters, even as an age grouper), Urlando has proven his value in long course meters, too. Last summer, he put up the #2 time all-time among American 15-16s in the long course 200 fly, going 1:55.21 and sitting just seven tenths behind a Phelps swim that won gold at the 2001 World Championships. And only 16, Urlando has the #2 junior time of all-time among American men, behind only an 18-year-old Phelps’ time of 1:53.93.
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