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.
College dual meets are notoriously tricky to weigh. Still, when an unranked team beats the #5 team in the nation at a neutral site, people take notice.
The Virginia Tech men pulled off a major upset last week, beating #5-ranked Ohio State during a triangular hosted at Penn State. The H2Okies knocked off Ohio State by 17 points at the neutral location, powered by huge swims from sophomore Blake Manoff.
Manoff has had solid improvement in just over a year training at Virginia Tech. The Virginia high school standout joined VT at the same time as head coach Sergio Lopez, and the combination has been dynamite. Manoff won two individual events and two relays against Ohio State and Penn State, but his career-best 44.38 in the 100 free might be his most impactful swim.
Manoff was 46.2 in the 100 free coming out of high school. He didn’t swim the event at all last year, and wasn’t on a 400 free relay for the H2Okies at ACCs or NCAAs. But his in-season 44.3 makes him VT’s fastest 100 freestyler this season by seven tenths of a second. With half of the team’s 400 free relay from ACCs graduating, Manoff looks like a strong contender for that relay as a sophomore.
Improving his 100 also has to bode well for his individual events. Manoff went 500 free/100 fly/200 fly at ACCs last year, and swam only the 100 and 200 fly at NCAAs. But he also set career-bests last year in the 100 back and 200 IM. The way his butterflys and IM have been coming along, Manoff could be in line for a big breakout year for VT.
He’s already been 47.1 in the 100 fly this dual meet season, winning that event against Ohio State and Penn State. His 100 free drop suggests he should also be improving in the 200 free, where his individual best is a 1:36.7 from high school, but where he split 1:34.0 at ACCs last year.
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