Johns Hopkins freshman Avery Clapp, one of the best recruits to ever commit to an NCAA Division III school, swam a lifetime best last weekend in the 50 yard free – in spite of having a torn ACL.
Clapp led off Johns Hopkins’ 200 yard free relay at the Thomas Murphy Invitational last weekend in a new best time of 20.97, though that relay was ultimately disqualified. He backed that up with a 21.00 in the individual event final.
Clapp’s best high school times in the 100 yard fly (47.31) and 200 yard fly (1:44.80) would have placed him 5th and 2nd, respectively, at last year’s NCAA Division III Championships. In both cases, the returning champions set D3 championship records as sophomores – Chicago’s Jesse Ssengonzi won the 100 fly in 46.77, and Claremont’s Frank Applebaum won the 200 fly in 1:44.01.
Johns Hopkins head coach Scott Armstrong says that Clapp re-tore his ACL before the start of the season in a pickup basketball game. He originally tore it in 8th grade.
“He has been able to keep working hard and competing despite the tear, and we are hopeful that he will be able to keep it up and get surgery after the season,” Armstrong said.
The ACL is one of four main ligaments of the knee. It controls rotation and the forward movement of the shin bone. Multiple studies show that there is an increased risk of a second tear in people who have torn their ACL once.
Racing in a techsuit, but in full training, Clapp won the 200 fly against a field of D1 opponents in 1:48.50, and also finished 2nd in the 100 fly in 48.29 over the weekend.
The Johns Hopkins men finished 2nd at last year’s NCAA Division III Championships: 77.5 points behind Emory, and .5 points ahead of Denison.