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.
The 200 free is fast becoming the youngest and most exciting event in college swimming. Arizona State freshman Cameron Craig is a big reason why.
The Sun Devil rookie won a hotly-contested 200 free title at the Pac-12 Championships last week, going a massive 1:31.71.
That’s a drop of almost three full seconds from Craig’s previous lifetime-best, done at the Art Adamson Invite midseason. Looking back to Craig’s pre-college best shows an even bigger improvement curve. Craig’s best time before setting foot on the ASU campus was a 1:38.40 from the winter of 2015. That means Craig has cut an absurd 6.7 seconds over his freshman year.
Craig is now one of two freshmen leading the national ranks heading into the NCAA Championships. He trails only Harvard’s Dean Farris (1:31.56) this year, and freshman Maxime Rooney could also be in the mix, sitting 5th nationally. Rooney competes for Florida and is the junior world record-holder in the long course meters version of the event.
The 200 free as an event has made huge strides of late in the NCAA. (Keep an eye out for a special post on that later on!). And it’s an influx of elite young talent that’s raising the stakes. After freshman Townley Haas won last year’s NCAA title and broke the NCAA record, it appears the men’s 200 free only continues to get stronger with each incoming class.
When members of a freshman class are shedding as much time as Craig did last week, it’s no wonder why.
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