We’ve seen this story before.
Former Tennessee Volunteer, and current Tennessee post-grad, Maddy Banic busts out a fast practice swim, and then follows it with a breakthrough at a meet that counts.
Tennessee assistant coach Josh Huger this week posted a video of 24-year old pro swimmer Banic swimming a 22.7 flat-start 50 yard fly swim. While we don’t often see 50 yard butterflies on a flat-start, the best comparison comes from Banic’s senior NCAA Championship meet in 2019.
There, she split 22.58 with a .10 reaction time. Relay starts are usually worth at least half-a-second, which would put her 22.7 flat start at least around a 22.2 on a rolling-start equivalent. That’s three-tenths faster than she’s ever been on a rolling start.
What does this all mean for Banic? We won’t know for sure until next week. The swim was done in a 25 yard pool, as compared to the 50 meter pool that she’ll have to swim in next week as she attempts to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. It was also only a 50, which is not an Olympic event, versus the 100 that she’ll swim next week.
This swim had underwaters make up about 65% of the race, whereas next week, they’ll only make up about 30% of the race.
But Banic has some credibility of turning breakout practice swims into breakout competition swims. Last September, she swam a 50.6 in the 100 yard fly in practice, which was a best time for her. That led Energy Standard to sign her at the last minute for the International Swimming League season, which led to her being one of the true breakout performers of the ISL that saw her finish the regular season ranked 80th in the league in MVP scoring – and even that was mostly for wont of opportunities because of being part of the deepest butterfly group in the league.
It still will be a tall order for her to make the Olympic team in the 100 fly, with rising young swimmers like Claire Curzan and Torri Huske along with Olympic gold medalist Kelsi Dahlia to contend with.
We haven’t yet seen if Banic can truly turn her short course success into long course yet. She did go a lifetime best at a Pro Swim Series meet earlier this year of 59.26, which is encouraging. She’s only the 36th best American in the Olympic Trials qualifying period and just the 29th seed pre-scratch for Omaha, but she’s one more breakout away from a semi-final or even possibly a surprise final this week.
She’s done it before, so no reason to doubt her now.
Want to see a 22.7 50 Fly from a FLAT START? Don’t blink or you’ll miss American Record holder @madeline_banic in her lead up to Olympic Trials 💯🍊@swimswamnews @SwimmingWorld pic.twitter.com/xfov5MRlVr
— Josh Huger (@JoshHuger) June 10, 2021