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 SMU Classic traditionally features a number of early swims that shake up the NCAA status quo. USC freshman Louise Hansson had three.
Already a Swedish Olympian and international medalist, Hansson is suggesting she’ll buck the trend of international stars who take considerable time to adjust to the NCAA’s short course yards format. At the SMU Classic, the new USC Trojan put up three NCAA-leading times individually, keyed by a huge 1:43.04 in the 200 freestyle.
In that swim, Hansson held off Louisville star Mallory Comerford for a narrow touchout win as both swimmers challenged their career-bests. For Hansson, that time is arguably more impressive than her long course meters best of 1:58.45. And Comerford’s 1:43.13 is faster than she’s ever been outside of last year’s NCAA (1:42.5) and ACC meet (1:42.7).
The two also lead the NCAA rankings by more than two seconds over the third-best time of the season.
But Hansson wasn’t done. Relegated to the B final in the 100 back (each team only gets one entry into each final, and USC went with established All-American relay leg Hannah Weiss for the A), Hansson blasted the fastest time of not only the entire meet, but the nation for the year. Her 52.35 would have beaten A final winner Matea Samardzic by six tenths, and it currently ranks her first in the NCAA by a half-second.
Finally, Hansson won the 200 IM in 1:55.96, blowing out the field by four seconds and leading the NCAA by three.
Those times stack up extremely well against last year’s NCAA meet: Hansson would have been 4th in the 200 free, 7th in the IM and 21st in the backstroke at NCAAs last year – and that’s just counting her times from a November meet rather than a championship rest meet.
If Hansson can improve those times by even small margins by March, USC is looking at a freshman with potential to score 30+ points at the national championships.
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