In the last two days, across the country, we’ve seen now three National Age Group Records go down, with the latest being Arizona’s Kevin Cordes in the men’s 200 breaststroke in prelims of the 2011 Texas Invite.
He posted a 1:53.55 in the morning heats to take the top seed. That’s an NCAA automatic qualifying time and also breaks Nolan Koon’s 17-18 National Age Group record. The previous mark was set at 1:53.78 back in 2009.
Koon has leaned very heavily towards sprint breaststrokes as his college career has worn on – he hasn’t been as fast in the 200 since that swim at NCAA’s his freshman year, and he was 15th at NCAA’s last year.
That time is a three-second drop for Cordes, though historically it isn’t quite as spectacular as his 51.7 was in yesterday’s 100 breaststroke. Still, this time would have placed him 4th at last year’s NCAA Championship meet. The big competitors come March this year will be the Texas boys Eric Friedland (who was 7th in prelims in 1:58.42) and Nick D’Innocenzo (who was 5th in this prelims in 1:55.5), among others. I wouldn’t expect either of the Longhorns to challenge Cordes too heavily tonight (they don’t appear as rested as Arizona), but Cordes’ teammate Carl Mickelson also had a great morning swim of 1:54.13. That’s his career-best time by half-a-second.
Arizona actually holds the top four seeds with Austen Thompson posting a 1:54.98 and Kevin Munsch swimming a 1:55.49. Don’t be shocked if Thompson also breaks down into the 1:53-range in finals, given how well he performed in the 400 IM yesterday.
The other spectacular morning time came from Margo Geer in the 100 free, where she swam a 47.32 to take the top seed by a second-and-a-half. That’s the best time in the country this year. That’s her career-best time and moves her into 7th on the all-time list. Though Auburn’s Anna Vanderpool-Wallace dominated the sprint freestyles last year, there are quite a few sprinters who are stepping up their games early this season.
These two swims were definitely the bright spots of the morning, as much of the field seemed to begin running out of steam after a high-level weekend of racing.
Full meet results available here.