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.
While both of our monthly posts (Swimmer & Coach of the Month) went toward Florida, we elected to feature a different program with our Swim of the Week. Caeleb Dressel‘s 19.10 was beastly, but how many times can we give the guy Swim/Swimmer of the Month/Week? He’s entering Ledecky territory, where almost every time he swims, something notable goes down.
So, in keeping with the spirit of our Swim of the Week and looking to highlight a swim that may have gotten lost in the shuffle, we’re taking a look at a way-below-the-radar relay meet from out west that could have real-world relay impact on the NCAA.
Last season, Utah didn’t qualify any relays for the NCAA Championships. By far their closest shave was the 200 medley, where the team had a B cut (technically a “provisional standard”) and was exactly four tenths off an A cut (technically a “qualifying standard,” but still a time that would have earned the team a direct NCAA bid in all relays with a provisional standard).
That was after the Pac-12 Championships, where Utah went 1:25.45 with a big 21.39 leadoff for sophomore Paul Ungur. The Utes went after a time trial a day after the meet, and though they still didn’t make NCAAs, Ungur blasted a 20.98 leadoff leg that would have been right with the scoring pack at nationals.
Well this week, Ungur picked up where he left off, going 21.69 to lead off a mixed 200 medley relay at the Utah vs BYU relay meet hosted by Utah in Salt Lake City. That came late in the meet, after Ungur had already led off a 3×50 backstroke relay in 21.95.
With three of four legs returning from last year’s relay and Ungur already swimming very well on the leadoff leg, Utah should be in shape to challenge for an NCAA berth this coming season. And if they can get into the meet, it only took a time just three tenths faster than the Utes were last year to score points at 2017 NCAAs. With an improved Ungur, the Utes could scrape their way back onto the NCAA scoregboard come March.
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