There has been a lot of anticipation about the long course breaststroke potential of A&M sophomore Breeja Larson after she put up such spectacular improvements in yards her first year in college, but some health issues over the summer prevented us from getting a good feel for what she’s capable of. We’ve even had a lot of interest from out international readers, which shows how wide the reach of college swimming is becoming.
Get ready for the buzz to grow even louder, as Larson posted a 1:08.45 in prelims (run in long course meters) of the Tennessee Invite. That knocks two seconds off of her previous career-best time, which was done at last year’s Santa Clara Invitational. In fact, from the time when she began college until now, she’s dropped almost 4 seconds altogether in the race.
She went out extremely well in a 32.49 and powered through the back half in a 35.96 to take the top seed headed into this evening’s yards finals.
Larson is now the 40th-ranked swimmer in the world in 2011 in the event, and 9th among Americans (about 6 sit between 1:08.2 and 1:08.5.) Based on history, and other swims at this meet, A&M is pretty rested, but the time is still an exciting one for American swimming.
Tomorrow’s 200 breast will almost be more significant, as Jessica Hardy and Rebecca Soni are so incredible in the 100 that they’ll be hard to beat. There might be more of an opening for London in the 200.
Also in that race, Louisville sophomore Gisselle Kohoyda marked a great 1:10.59 to take the second seed, which is nearly a two-second drop for her as well (in the last 3 months, no-less). Look for her to start making some national waves in the American squad if she continues to develop well in a great Louisville breaststroking program.
Other strong morning swims include a 2:02.50 from sophomore Lindsay Gendron in the women’s 200 free, and a 1:50.83 from rising Brazilian star Joao de Lucca in the 200 free (for Louisville).
Live results of the Tennessee Invite are available here.