Kibler Posts Nation-Leading 200 Free, LeVant Nets Stanford Record

by Robert Gibbs 5

November 28th, 2018 Big 12, Big Ten, College, Pac-12, SEC

Texas Hall of Fame Invite

The high school boys class of 2018 was historically good in the 200 freestyle, and they’re wasting no time in showing it at the big meets this fall. Tonight at the Texas Hall of Fame Invite, both Texas and Stanford elected to lead off their A relays with one of their highly-touted freshmen, and both came up with big swims.

Longhorn Drew Kibler flipped first at the 50, splitting 21.05, but Stanford’s Jack LeVant was right behind him in 21.17. The two freshman dueled it out over the remaining 150 yards, with Kibler emerging victorious with a time of 1:32.20. That time knocks almost half a second off his previous personal best, a 1:32.66 from the 2017 Speedo Junior Winter Championships, and makes him the fastest man in the NCAA so far this season.

LeVant stayed close the whole way, ultimately touching in 1:32.61. Not only was that a lifetime best by almost a second, with his previous best of 1:33.57 coming at 2018 Texas high school states, but that’s also ranks only behind Kibler this season,

Adding to the accolades, LeVant’s swim also set a new Stanford record.

Both Kibler and LeVant came into this season with times that would’ve scored at last season’s NCAA championships, and both of their times from tonight would’ve made the A-final. Last year only one freshman, Cal’s Bryce Mefford, made the A-final, with another three freshmen making the B-final.

This year, five freshmen came into their NCAA careers with times that would score in the 200 free; Kibler had the fastest time in the class, LeVant had the 5th-fastest, and Alexei Sancov, Patrick Callan, and Trey Freeman were ranked in between those two. Tonight, Sancov led off USC’s relay in 1:34.23, definitely not shabby, but well off his 1:32-high from high school. Freeman ranks around the top 20 currently this season, but is 4th in the 500, which is probably his stronger event. Callan will presumably be swimming the 200 this week as the Wolverines tackle the Georgia Invite. Yet another freshman, Clayton Bobo has been as fast as 1:34.41 so far.

And while some of the fast times these guys threw down in high school may be tied to the short course 200 free explosion we’ve seen over the past few years, ever since Townley Haas shattered the yards records as a freshman, this current crop of freshmen is plenty strong in long course.  LeVant ranked 5th in the US last year and made the World Championships team in the 4×200 free relay. Kibler, Freeman, and another freshman, Kieran Smith, ranked 14th-16th (including international swimmers who show up in the USA database), and Sancov (one of those aforementioned international swimmers) ranked 17th. All of those men were 1:47.75 or better, while Callan wasn’t too far back at 1:48.40.

While swimmers develop along different timelines and some of these guys may end up focusing on other events, this group came out of high school promising to be a very special class in middle distance freestyle. Tonight’s results indicate that this group is very much on track, and it should be fun to see what they can do over the next three and a half years of their college careers.

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1 year ago

Dean, The Mythic Legend, Farris with a 1:32.0 split on the dq’d Havard A relay.

tea rex
1 year ago

Fastest split of the session?
1:32.09, Dean FAAARRRISSSSSSSS… (r -0.02)

1 year ago

A few other 1:32 splits —
Jake Sannem 1:32.7 on the TX B relay
Dean Farris 1:32.0 on a DQ’ed Harvard relay (false start not by him)