Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week. 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 some as others grabbed the headlines.
In terms of sprints and relays, the North Carolina State men were the talk of the NCAA last February.
The Wolfpack blew away the ACC, winning 4 of 5 relays and smashing multiple meet records. But the team couldn’t quite run down Virginia Tech for the conference title, somewhat because of depth, but also because their dominance in the freestyles didn’t extend through the longer distances.
At last year’s ACC Championships, North Carolina State scored a whopping 8 different swimmers in the 50 free, and topped that with 9 scorers in the 100.
But in the 1650, the Wolfpack got just two men into scoring range, and just three in the 500. Keep in mind that the ACC scores all the way out to 24th place.
But things are looking quite different this year, and the reason is Anton Ipsen.
The Wolfpack went out and addressed a big need in the offseason by getting the Danish Ipsen, who has risen to become one of the nation’s top distance men.
Last weekend, NC State hosted the Minnesota Gophers in a two-day meet where Ipsen shined. The freshman opened the meet by crushing the second-fastest 1000 free in the NCAA this season, going 8:58.92 to easily top Minnesota’s All-American CJ Smith. Ipsen would return the next day to lead the 500 free in 4:23.47.
That 1000 free was a huge season-best for Ipsen, who has already been near the 15 minute barrier in the 1650 and should have legitimate top-8 potential in the event at NCAAs.
On top of that, Ipsen’s already got to be the heavy favorite to win the ACC title in the event, as he’s already been within about 3 seconds of last year’s winning time, and 2014 champion Bradley Phillips is graduated for Virginia.
That’s great news for NC State, which will hope to repeat last year’s post-season, where they seemed to heat up and never cool down, the only disappointments being the loss of the ACC crown by 38.5 points and a costly 200 free relay DQ that kept them outside of the top 10 at NCAAs.
With Ipsen holding down the fort in the distances, NC State looks to be in great shape to finally crack those barriers in 2015.
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