Emory’s Andrew Wilson Continues to Climb Breaststroke Top Times Lists

Earlier this weekend, Emory’s Andrew Wilson dropped a 51.14 in the 100 breaststroke at the Miami Invitational, sailing past his own NCAA Division III record and vaulting himself to the 7th-best performer and 5th-fastest American in history. The senior, who took last year off to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials, has made a thunderous return to collegiate swimming. Yesterday, he shattered another individual D3 record, this time in the 200 breaststroke. Wilson won the race easily, touching in 1:51.15 and shaving nearly two full seconds off of his own record. That time in the 200 also moved him up to 7th-best American (and performer) in history.

200 breast split comparison

  • OLD RECORD (1:52.97)
    • 25.70 – 28.73 (54.43) – 29.07 – 29.47
  • NEW RECORD (1:51.15)
    • 24.82 – 28.37 (53.19) – 28.70 – 29.26

Wilson showed remarkably front-end speed yesterday in his 200 breast final swim, yet still had more in the tank to finish even stronger than he did when he broke the record last. He finishes the weekend with new D3 records in the 100 breast and 200 breast, and split 23.18 and 50.84 on Emory’s 200 and 400 medley relays, respectively, which both broke D3 records.

Let’s consider Wilson’s success in two different contexts:


Wilson is the fastest breaststroker that Division III (or II, for that matter) has ever seen. By a large margin. Before him, the 100 breast record was a 53.61 and the 200 a 1:57.79. He’s now taken 2.47 seconds off of the 100 breast record and over six seconds off of the 200 breast record. Even more impressive is the fact that in his absence last season, the 100 breast winner (Kyle Walthall, 53.67) and 200 breast winner (Ian Reardon, 1:57.78) were just as far behind his lifetime bests as are the old records. His NCAA title chances this coming March are pretty much the same as the chances that Katie Ledecky wins the 1650 free at the Division I Women’s Championships– quite simply, nobody is anywhere close to his level in D3, and nobody ever has been.


Like previously stated, Wilson is the 7th-best performer of all time in both breaststroke events, and the 5th-best American in the 100. Below is a list of how Wilson would’ve stacked against the best from three top meets this weekend: the U.S. Winter Nationals, the Texas Hall of Fame Swimming Invite, and the UGA Invite.


  1. Andrew Wilson, Emory 51.14
  2. Kevin Cordes, Unattached 51.88
  3. Carsten Vissering, USC 52.17
  4. Chase Kalisz, Georgia 52.31
  5. Connor Hoppe, Cal 52.44
  6. Carson Sand, Cal 52.61
  7. Ian Finnerty, Indiana 52.68
  8. Jason Coombs, FSU 52.71


  1. Will Licon, Texas 1:50.76
  2. Andrew Wilson, Emory 1:51.15
  3. Kevin Cordes, Unattached 1:53.51
  4. Nick Zito, WEST Swim Club 1:54.67
  5. Conner McHugh, Minnesota 1:54.85
  6. Hunter Cobleigh, Cal 1:55.24
  7. Matt Anderson, Stanford 1:55.26
  8. Jason Coombs, FSU 1:55.27

Two high-profile Division 1 invites happened this weekend. USA Swimming had an SCY Winter National Championship. Nonetheless, Wilson put up the fastest 100 breast in the country by far, and was a close 2nd in the 200.

The last time Wilson swam at the Miami Invitational was his mid-season championship meet at the end of 2014, during his junior season. He went 53.41 in the 100 and 1:57.18 in the 200 at that meet, and tapered down to 51.72 and 1:52.97 at the 2015 NCAA D3 Champs. Obviously, it would be somewhat outlandish to predict similar drops for his 2017 NCAA meet (although I think we all want to see a 49), but it’s fair to expect some more progression (and more records) next March.

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Bill Bell
5 years ago

Wilson is sixth-fastest performer and has the 16th-faatest performance all-time in the 100.

In the 200 he’s 6/18. His 100 would have won the NCAA D1 title year EVERY year except 2K9, ’11 and ’13-’15. His 200 time would have won NCAAs every year save for 2K13-’16.

Of course there’s no way of knowing how he would have fared had he swam @ the D1 meet with
say Cordes in one lane next to him and Will Licon/Josh Prenot/Cody Miller/Brendan Hansen
in the other.

Something tells me he’d more than hold his own. Just look @ the guy who won the 200 breast
gold @ Rio. Talk about coming out of left field (but he DID beat… Read more »

5 years ago

Who is Andrew Wilson.

Kristaps Porzingas?

Alex Muni
5 years ago

Was a timer for all four of his swims. His stroke is surprisingly long and ridiculously strong. Incredible sight.

Coach Mike 1952
5 years ago

No one was even close: what if – for instance – he was swimming Licon at the Texas Invite? He likely would have gone 1:50+ like Licon did, & who knows maybe even better?

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
5 years ago

maybe slower…we will never know

Tom from Chicago
5 years ago

Can he also swim in the NCAA DIvision I Championship?

Reply to  Tom from Chicago
5 years ago

Does he swim for an NCAA Division I School?

Reply to  Paul
5 years ago

The question seems far fetched, but less than years ago he could have. In the mid 80’s Jim Born (Kenyon) came into DI has the #3 seed in the 100 free (then missed the wall on the third turn at Indy and missed finals). I don’t know what the qualification criteria was, but it was something like: Win the event at DIII championships and swim below the DI selection time. I think they abolished it in the late 80’s.

Pau Hana
Reply to  R&R
5 years ago

Born did make finals at least once, I believe. And Dennis Mulvihill, another Kenyon swimming, made consols in the 200 free a few years later.

Reply to  R&R
5 years ago

Wilson would probably rather help Emory win their first D3 title rather than win individual D1. He could have transferred to somewhere to win D1. Kenyon or Denison have won the last 37 titles.

Bald Blue Jay
Reply to  Osd
5 years ago

JHU, then Kenyon, then Denison have won the last 40 National titles. An Emory win this year would be a huge testiment to Jon Howel’s hard work over many years and well deserved by an under appreciated coach!!!

G Lee
Reply to  Tom from Chicago
5 years ago

No. You must swim within your division.

Reply to  Tom from Chicago
5 years ago

He wants to be big fish in teeny pond

Reply to  Dawgpaddle
5 years ago

I wouldn’t say that at all. He was an okay DIII recruit when he started… 59 something 100BR. – wouldn’t have been able to walk onto any top DI program. Finishing out his degree at Emory is a good move, great school, and it doesn’t seem to be hurting his swimming much (to say the least).

Reply to  Dawgpaddle
5 years ago

#1 He was a 59 breastroker out of high school.
#2 His is very loyal to his college coach too and his school.
The D1 schools should have recruited him in high school

5 years ago

This is very impressive.

5 years ago

Wilson to Licon “You ain’t hard”

Andrew Majeske
Reply to  BofA
5 years ago

I think both Wilson and Licon knew this was going to be close in the 200 breast. They trained against each other in practice all last year– that must have been something to see.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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