While much has been made of the Duke women’s recruiting in the last two seasons, the men’s program has less-obviously put together a solid three-year run of recruiting.
Riley Hickman from the Davis Arden Racing Team in California will give this year’s class its lightning-rod after his verbal commitment over the weekend.
Hickman is primarily a freestyler, but also has good results in the butterfly and IM events. In yards, his bests are:
- 50 free – 21.02
- 100 free – 45.28
- 200 free – 1:38.27
- 500 free – 4:29.86
- 100 fly – 50.87
- 200 IM – 1:55.05
In 2013, Hickman was the Sac Joaquin Section Champ in California in both the 100 and 200 freestyles as a sophomore, though he didn’t wind up winning either event as a junior. He also split 44.4 in the 100 yard free on a relay as a sophomore, and 20.1 on the anchor of a medley relay as a junior.
How impactful will Hickman be as a freshman with Duke? The ranks of his flat-start freestyle times as compared to Duke’s times in the 2013-2014 season:
- 50 free – #5
- 100 free – #2
- 200 free – #2
- 500 free – #1
That with the 50 probably not being truly indicative of the time he’s capable of, either, based on that relay start as a junior.
The biggest area of improvement that Hickman can look for is his ability to finish races. Regardless of the length, in the 100, 200, and 500 frees, he’s had some issue with finishing races as well as he starts them. Given how good his times are despite that, however, should be enticing for the Duke coaches.
Still, Hickman should go a long way toward helping Duke start to climb out of their hole in the ACC. Last year, they finished 8th out of 11 teams, and one of the teams they beat was Miami, who doesn’t have any swimmers (only divers).
That included placing 9th out of 10 team sin the 400 free relay. The good news is that the Duke sprint group is very, very young. That 400 free relay had four freshmen on it, and those four will be entering the primes of their careers as juniors when Hickman comes to reinforce the group. What’s really special about that group is that they all seem to perform very well on relays – just as Hickman’s time spreads show that he does. That’s a very good foundation upon which to build a program.