HardCore Swim of the Week: Quintero does it all for USC freestyle corps

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This week’s HardCore Swim goes to a swimmer who inspired some engaging chatter in our comments section not for one single swim, but instead for the hardcore way he swam a number of events (and distance) at the Pac-12 Men’s Championships.

USC had the great fortune of entering an oustanding distance/middle distance swimmer into the Pac-12 ring, one who won both the 200 (1:32.81) and 500 (4:12.56) frees. The Trojans also had an athlete who  could bring the heat in the splash-and-dash, anchoring their 200 free relay in 18.8, one of the faster splits in the nation so far.

The interesting part is that those two athletes are the same person: junior Cristian Quintero.

Quintero showed off some impressive range at Pac-12s, combining big-time speed with the length and endurance to impact longer races. He won the 200 and 500 frees and finished a strong second in the 100. But where his range might be most helpful to USC is in relays – as good as many freestylers in the NCAA are, you won’t find many who can headline a 200 free relay and an 800 free relay in the same week, which Quintero did. He split 1:31.9 on the Trojan’s 800 team before putting up that 18.8 over the shorter distance.

There’s no doubt Quintero could have scored big points in any of the freestyle distances, even outside the range that he entered in (100-500 yards). The question has arisen if Quintero is the first men to break 15 minutes in a mile as well as 19 seconds in a 50, and whether he’s the first or not, he’s certainly in very elite company with that kind of resume.

The Trojans will likely need to lean on Quintero even more at NCAAs, but they couldn’t pick an athlete with more weapons to rely on. His scary combination of speed and endurance is a truly hardcore feat.

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Interesting pick. I have to agree with them; that is some impressive range.


Really impressive range! If he had picked the 1650 over the 100 free, he would have likely won 3 events at PAC 12’s. He surely would have been the swimmer of the meet instead of Cordes. The 2nd place in the 100 cost him that award.


He also split 41.5 in the 400 medley relay that got DQ

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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