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.
In 2017, if I had said Andrew Seliskar would be pushing for a U.S. World Championships roster spot in any event, you probably would have guessed 200 fly. After all, that’s where Seliskar won his first international medal – gold at 2013 World Juniors. If I said ‘guess again’, you’d probably wager the 200 or 400 IM – events Seliskar won at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. If those, too, were wrong, you might guess breaststroke, where Seliskar has always been sneaky-good.
It might take ten guesses to get to the event that has been most steadily rising for Seliskar on the national level: 200 freestyle.
Seliskar, once one of the most exciting young swimmers in the nation, has only bettered lifetime-bests in two long course events since the spring of 2015. (His short course swimming was in a similar funk, until he hit lifetime-bests in four races this season). But over the last three weeks, Seliskar has knocked down his own personal best in the 200 free three times, going from 1:50.22 (done as a 17-year-old in 2014) to 1:48.35, without a major rest-and-focus meet yet this summer.
Last week, Seliskar went 1:49.23 in prelims and 1:48.35 in finals of the 200 free at the Santa Clara Pro Swim Series, beating a field that included three-fourths of Team USA’s bronze-medal 4×200 free relay from the 2017 World Championships (Townley Haas was third in 1:49.55, Zane Grothe seventh in 1:51.58 and Jack Conger eighth in 1:51.60, plus Worlds prelims swimmers Jay Litherland sixth in 1:51.23 and Clark Smith 13th in 1:52.37).
With that swim, Seliskar beat 8 of the 14 legs of the American 4×200 free relay at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds. The only members of those relays he didn’t beat head-to-head were 2017 leadoff man Blake Pieroni (absent in Santa Clara), 2017 prelims swimmer Caeleb Dressel (scratched in Santa Clara), 2016 leadoff man Conor Dwyer (absent in Santa Clara) and 2016 relay members Ryan Lochte (didn’t enter this event in Santa Clara) and Michael Phelps (retired).
Seliskar currently ranks 4th among Americans this season, behind only Conger, Pieroni and Grothe.
We saw a hint of this explosion coming when Seliskar cut two full seconds off his short course 200 free time during college season, going a blistering 1:31.28 at NCAAs. Now, we could see Seliskar looking to follow in the footsteps of Conger or Gunnar Bentz – versatile strokers who found their best Olympic opening as 200 freestylers.
WE MAKE SWIMMERS.
There isn’t a second that goes by when the team at blueseventy aren’t thinking about you. How you eat, breathe, train, play, win, lose, suffer and celebrate. How swimming is every part of what makes you tick. Aptly named because 70% of the earth is covered in water, blueseventy is a world leader in the pool and open water. Since 1993, we design, test, refine and craft products using superior materials and revolutionary details that equate to comfort, freedom from restriction and ultimately a competitive advantage in the water. This is where we thrive. There is no substitute and no way around it. We’re all for the swim.
Visit blueseventy.com/pages/swim to learn more.
blueseventy is a SwimSwam partner.