The HardCoreSwim of the Week goes to University of Virginia sophomore Courtney Bartholomew, who turned in an impressive [backstroke double] in a tri-meet between the Cavaliers/Wahoos, Navy, and Yale.
The Virginia women had a number of great swims this past weekend (including freshman Leah Smith, who put up three great early-season times in the mid-distance/distance freestyle events), but Bartholomew’s backstroke times stood out among the rest. Taking place in Annapolis, Maryland, the competition was swam entirely in short course meters, as the Naval Academy pool is designed for short course and long course meters competition only.
Bartholomew captured both backstroke events for the Cavaliers, clocking in at 58.79 in the 100 meter backstroke, and 2:10.30 in the 200 meter backstroke.
By themselves, those results don’t mean much to the average NCAA swim fan who is only used to looking at short course yards times at this point in the year. Converted, however, and you can see the bigger picture. The 58.79 from Bartholomew converts to somewhere in the 52.9-53.0 range, which would be the fastest time in the NCAA so far this year, topping the 53.18 standard set by Brooklyn Snodgrass the previous weekend at the SMU Classic. Her 2:10.30 in the 200 back converts somewhere between 1:57.2-1:57.5, comfortably placing her fifth nationally had it been in yards.
While conversions are a bit of a shot in the dark when traversing from long course to short course, going from short course meters to short course yards or vice versa is significantly more accurate largely because the turn factor (how good someone is off the walls) is almost completely removed.
As a true freshman last year, Bartholomew won both backstroke events at the ACC Championships last year and posted two individual top ten finishes at NCAA’s. After getting stuck in consols of the 100 back, she recorded a 51.63 to win the B-Final at NCAA’s, making her the fifth fastest performer of the meet. With a new coaching staff with a different philosophy, it will be interesting to see how Bartholomew (and the rest of UVA) builds off of these performances going forward.
Turning in some great early season times has to be a huge confidence boost for the Cavaliers. Between the controversial resignation of legendary coach Mark Bernardino and the quick transition to a new coaching staff, putting together strong performances early in the season will steady what has been a rocky few months for the program.
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