After missing Minnesota’s season-opener against Wisconsin, former Winter National champ Bowen Becker is expected to make his season debut at this Saturday’s dual meet with Florida State.
A representative from the University of Minnesota said Becker didn’t travel to Wisconsin for personal reasons. The Gophers dropped a 170-130 dual to their Big Ten rivals, but should have Becker back in action for this week’s matchup with the Seminoles.
Becker is the fastest returning 50 freestyler in the nation. He was third last year in 18.90, but the top two (Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Held) have both graduated. Becker was actually 18.69 at Big Tens, the fastest returning time in the nation by more than a tenth of a second. He was also 14th at NCAAs last year and 7 of the 13 ahead of him have graduated.
An article on EverydayHealth.com from last month says Becker has battled his way through rheumatoid arthritis. He was diagnosed at age 11, and was told he had to give up sports with running and jumping. That’s when he started swimming, giving up tennis and lacrosse. He’s been a rapid improver in the pool. Just 20.4 and 45.4 in the sprint freestyles out of high school, Becker improved to 19.5/43.4 as a freshman, 19.0/42.2 as a sophomore and 18.6/41.6 as a junior. He was the 2016 Winter National champ in both the 50 and 100 yard freestyles.
Becker should get a good matchup against Florida State, which has its own solid sprint group led by senior Will Pisani.