Gabriel Jett Discusses Backstroke Abilities, Butterfly Success At 2022 Minnesota Invite

by Ben Dornan 3

December 02nd, 2022 College, National, News, Pac-12, Video

On the first night of racing at the 2022 Minnesota Invite, Cal swimmer Gabriel Jett put up a 21.28 backstroke split, making him the second-fastest opener in the heat. Jett was swimming on Cal’s B team and was only out-touched by teammate Bjorn Seeliger who lead off the Cal A team with a 20.73.

Jett, a 200 butterfly NCAA finalist, discussed the fact that he does have a history as a backstroker despite being known more as a butterflier.

“Not many people know this, but I did a lot of backstroke in high school. I was primarily a backstroker until like senior year of high school. So I’ve always thought of myself as honestly more of a backstroker than a butterflier, which is funny because my 200 fly is now, I guess, my event” said Jett.

“But the triple distance meet, I don’t know, I mean it’s an early meet in the season. Kind of just experimenting. I don’t train backstroke that often… I’m more of a flyer of the team, that’s my identity, but yeah I don’t know, Dave just kind of threw me into it to see what I can go and I swam pretty well. That’s just kind of something I can keep in the back pocket for now.”

Watch the full interview here:

Jett became one of Cal’s signature butterfliers during his freshman season last year, swimming to a 6th place finish at NCAAs in the 200 fly with a 1:40.22. He also swam the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle at 2022 NCAAs, finishing in 18th with a 1:32.69 and 24th with a 4:15.98, respectively.

He was 4th overall at Pac-12s in the 200 fly with a 1:41.42 and placed 6th in the 200 freestyle at that meet with a 1:33.46. In the Pac-12 500 freestyle, he was 20th overall with a 4:23.09.

Following his freshmen season at Cal, Jett swam his way to a 200 butterfly national title at the 2022 Phillips 66 National Championships. Jett posted a 1:54.37 to win that event at nationals and also picked up a bronze medal in the 100 butterfly with a 52.19.

This mid-season backstroke split from Jett is a continuation of Jett’s backstroke racing this season following his victory at the Cal vs Stanford Triple Distance Meet in November. At that meet where swimmers had to swim the 50/100/200 of one stroke, Jett opted for the backstrokes. The decision may have seemed surprising considering that he is a national champion and NCAA finalist in the 200 butterfly, but the decision paid off when he won the backstroke competition.

Jett swam a 21.99 in the 50, a 46.89 in the 100, and a 1:43.30 in the 200 backstroke for a 2:52.18 add-up, which was the fastest in that discipline.

When discussing his anticipated lineup at Pac-12 Championships this season, Jett said that he will likely stick with the usual 500 free, 200 free, 200 fly triple that he swam last year. “Can’t promise anything though” he added, saying he might “throw in some other 200’s here or there.”

Jett swam the 500 freestyle on the second day of the meet, hitting a 4:22.26 for 8th place in the finals. Jett is also entered in the 100 butterfly as second seed (47.65),  the 200 freestyle as third seed (1:35.58), and the 200 butterfly.

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2 months ago

Amazing closing speed and so versatile. We haven’t begun to see what this guy is capable of.

2 months ago

If he has any kind of breaststroke, maybe he should try the 200 IM on the first day instead of the 500.

Reply to  Dot
2 months ago

He went a 3:54 400 IM splitting 1:10 on the breastroke 💀💀💀