Disclaimer: Dolfin 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 Dolfin 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.
Pitt’s Blaise Vera has been one of the standout swimmers of the NCAA’s fall season.
The junior smashed a nation-leading 19.53 in the 50 free last week, part of a huge showing against ACC rival Notre Dame. Vera is just three tenths off his lifetime-best (19.24), which he put up at ACCs last year.
His improvement curve has been outstanding. Out of high school, he was 20.25 and 44.05 in the 50 and 100 freestyle. As a freshman in college, he cut to 20.0, though his 100 didn’t improve. Then last year, in a breakout sophomore campaign, he dropped all the way to 19.24 and 42.04.
During dual meet season, he was only 20.2/44.6 last year, and was 19.6/43.1 at Pitt’s mid-season invite at Ohio State. This season, he’s already been 19.53 and 43.15, with a 42.4 relay split to boot. Here were all of Vera’s swims in the two-day matchup with Notre Dame:
- 50 free (relay leadoff): 19.53
- 100 free: 43.30
- 100 free (relay split): 42.40
- 50 fly (relay split): 20.81
- 50 free: 19.75
- 100 free (relay leadoff): 43.15
If Vera can start to transition his best swims from relay leadoffs into individual events, he could be a real contender for major NCAA points. He didn’t score last year, taking 25th (19.35) in the 50 free, 28th (46.09) in the 100 fly and 24th (42.41) in the 100 free. It took 19.20 and 42.18 to score in the freestyles and 45.64 in the butterfly at last year’s NCAA Championships.
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