The Stanford men’s distance group got a big boost this week. On Friday, the school announced that they’d hire distance swimming legend Jeff Kostoff as their new assistant coach; and a day earlier, Matthew Hirschberger verbally committed to the program according to a Tweet from his father.
This marks the third-straight season in which the Cardinal have grabbed one of the country’s top distance freestylers – for 2015, it was Liam Egan (already a top-10 distance swimmer tat the college level now); for this coming fall they bring in National High School Record holder Grant Shoulds and True Sweetser; and now they add a National Age Group Record holder Hirschberger to that group for the fall of 2017.
Hirschberger showed big promise as a young age grouper and has carried that success through high school. A former Clearwater Aquatic Team (Florida) swimmer, he’s moved in the last few years to train with the best women’s distance swimmer in history, Katie Ledecky, at NCAP in the Washington D.C. Metroplex – Ledecky is also committed to swim for Stanford, though she arrives a year earlier.
Hirschberger’s best times:
- 50 free – 21.92
- 100 free – 46.70
- 200 free – 1:37.13
- 500 free – 4:16.43
- 1000 free – 8:45.11
- 1650 free – 14:51.81
He’s also been 3:52 in the long course 400 and 15:19 in the long course 1500.
That time in the 1650 is already good enough to have scored 14th (where Egan was) at last year’s NCAA Championships, even with Hirschberger having two years of training to improve upon it.
Hirschberger has an interesting connection to the man that is presumed to be his future coach: Kostoff. As a 15-16, Matthew swam an 8:45 1000 free, and when he swam it in 2015, pushed him to 7th-place on the all-time rankings (at any age). That included breaking a 33-year old National Age Group Record for 15-16s in the event that had been held by none-other-than Kostoff.
Though not eligible, the time actually was 4 seconds better than Kostoff’s own 17-18 record too.
In total, Hirschberger currently owns 5 National Age Group Records:
- 11-12 1000 yard free, 9:38.50
- 13-14 1000 yard free, 9:02.37
- yard free, 8:45.11
- 11-12 400 meter free, 4:12.52
- 11-12 800 meter free, 8:48.59