Spencer LaFata, a 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier and product of the Badger Swim Club in New York, has verbally committed to the Duke Blue Devils.
Best times in yards/meters:
- 200 free – 1:40.52/1:54.94
- 500 free – 4:27.03/3:59.59
- 1000y/800m free – 9:11.32/8:17.07
- 1650y/1500m free – 15:21.94/15:48.77
Duke historically hasn’t had much success in men’s distance swimming, but they did make a lot of progress last season when then-sophomore Matt Johnson (15:08.84) and then-freshman Riley Hickman (15:09.94) moved into the top two spots of all-time in program history. Before Johnson arrived, the fastest time ever record by a Duke miler was a 15:23 from 2011.
With LaFata’s addition, though, the three fastest milers in program history will all be training together for the 2017-2018 season.
As an indicator of how important the growth in that distance program is for Duke, in the 2014-2015 season, they entered 3 milers at the ACC Championships and scored 17 points (C-Final scoring). In 2015-2016, they entered 2 milers at the ACC Championships and scored 50 points.
In a conference that doesn’t have great depth in the distance freestyles, LaFata will have an opportunity for an immediate impact.
LaFata, who swims at the Fordham Preparatory School. He finished 2nd at the 2016 New York High School State Championships in the 200 free (1:40.52) and won the 500 free (4:27.02), which took Fordham Prep to a second-place team finish.
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