Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
Coach Bob Bowman had his Arizona State Sun Devils competing at an incredible level in the first half of March, before the NCAA season was halted by COVID-19.
Since taking over at ASU, Bowman has clearly focused his recruiting efforts on the relay-distance freestyles, stockpiling top prospects in the 100/200 free range. And even without the transferred Cameron Craig or the redshirting Grant House, Bowman still managed to get 8 men to score at Pac-12s in those events, putting up some massive drops along the way.
Here’s a look at all of Arizona State’s 50/100/200 free scorers from 2020 Pac-12s, compared with their top times coming into the 2019-2020 NCAA season last fall:
|Best Pre-NCAA Season—->Pac-12s|
|Swimmer||200 free||100 free||50 free|
The freshmen Dolan, Hill and Gray have been particularly impressive. Dolan was already an elite recruit, but had a drop of more than a second in the 100 free and 1.5 in the 200 free. Hill was a borderline top 20 prospect who dropped more than a second in both the 100 and 200. Gray had the biggest explosion, cutting three seconds in the 200 and 1.5 in the 100.
Bybee and Bresette are sophomores, Swift and Carlson juniors. Only Poti is a senior, and Arizona State could potentially get House back next season.
And that chart doesn’t even include non-free strokes. Poti dropped from 44.9 to 44.14 in the 100 back, moving to #6 all-time in the event. The sophomore Bybee missed Pac-12s last year, but cut from 46.5 to 45.19 in fly this year, taking second at Pac-12s. Carlson went from 46.7 to 46.2 in butterfly.
Hill cut from 4:18 to 4:15 in the 500. Gray was 4:35 in the 500 out of high school and went 4:18. Bresette went from 4:20 to 4:15. Senior Benjamin Olszewski went 4:14 after going 4:18 last year. (He also went from 3:48 to 3:44 in the IM and 14:56 to 14:52 in the mile).
Arizona State also ranked in the top 10 nationally in four of the five relays, all swum in March. The 200 medley ranked #2 and the 400 free relay #3. (The 800 free was 7th and 200 free 10th). The 400 medley took a DQ at Pac-12s, but would have ranked solidly 6th with their time, even if the false start accounted for half a second.
All said, Arizona State had an oustanding season, and put the nation on notice for a 2020-2021 season where the Sun Devils should be major factors.
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