Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
In a year where the NCAA Division III Championships were canceled, it’s as close as you’ll get to a national championship swim.
Junior Michael Bylander crushed a huge 1:57.84 in the 200 breaststroke at his UW-Eau Claire Blugolds’ season-ending dual meet with UW-Stevens Point. That’s the #1 time in the nation this year among Division III swimmers – and it’s not close. Bylander sits 2.2 seconds ahead of the #2 time, and is the only Division III swimmer this season under two minutes.
Last year, only one swimmer went faster that 1:57.8 – that was NYU senior Giorgio Delgrosso, who was 1:56.55. Bylander’s time this year would have been just half a second off of the 2019 NCAA Division III champion, and would have won the NCAA meet by almost a second in 2018.
For Bylander, specifically, it’s a huge time drop. His previous best was a 2:00.87 set at the WIAC Championships in February of 2020. Bylander was set to swim the event at NCAAs before the national meet was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With one year of college swimming remaining, Bylander has a chance to become the #2 swimmer of all-time at the Division III level. Currently, Delgrosso’s 1:56.5 ranks second overall behind former Emory standout Andrew Wilson (1:50.80 back in 2017). Bylander is the #7 swimmer of all-time in Division III and just the seventh to break 1:58.