Jack Conger‘s butterfly has been off the charts this season, breaking school records at January dual meets and posting the fastest LCM 100 fly in the world at the Pro Swim Series – Austin meet. Most recently, he started off with a 200 butterfly time trial and broke the American and US Open records in the event with his time of 1:39.31.
There has been a lot of speculation about what Conger’s event will be at the NCAA Championships. Last year at the NCAA Championships he swam the 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 200 backstroke. This year however, he is altering his schedule to focus on two new events. He got rid of his first day event, and will now be swimming the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke on day 2. His final day there is also a change. He is opting out of the 200 backstroke to swim the 200 butterfly.
Coming into the meet, he will be the top seed in both the 100 and 200 butterflies, and is the ninth seed in the 100 backstroke. Many of our readers discussed the possibility of swimming the 200 back and the 200 fly on the final day of the meet, but as many people agreed, that would have been a brutal final day of racing.
The 200 butterfly is now set up to be very exciting. We could see three (or more) swimmers dip under the American and US Open Record. Conger holds it at 1:39.31, but Michigan’s Dylan Bosch set the US Open record last year at the NCAA Championships with his time of 1:39.33. He still holds the NCAA record with that time, as the NCAA will not accept time trial swims as official records. The third swimmer that has the potential to be with them at the finish in the 200 fly is Conger’s teammate, Joseph Schooling. He is currently ranked second in the country and seeded ahead of Bosch with his time of 1:40.59.
The last thing to consider is whether Conger will be able to put up another record breaking swim after swimming a full meet in Iowa. When he broke the American/US Open records at the Big 12 Championships, he did so in a time trial before the meet started. There is a big difference between a fresh swim on day 1 and your last swim on day 3 of the NCAA Championships. That meet can be physically and mentally exhausting. We know Bosch can do it after watching him break the US Open record last year on the third day of the meet, but it will be up to Conger to step up this year. If he does step up though, it will be very hard to beat him.