Swim of the Week: Freshman Nicole Maier’s 4:39.96 In 500 Free

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 pandemic-adjusted season, the MAC Championships happened after the NCAA Championships.

Had the order been more traditional, Miami freshman Nicole Maier might have scored points at the national championships.

Maier crushed two NCAA scoring times at last week’s MAC Women’s Championships. The German national came into the conference meet seeded at 4:45.20 in the 500 free. But on opening night, she crushed a 4:39.96 to blow out the MAC field.

That time would have made the A final at Women’s NCAAs last month. In fact, it would have placed Maier 7th overall and would have made her the highest-placing freshman in the entire nation for that event.

6 of the top 8 at NCAAs in the 500 free were seniors, including the entire top four. That could leave Maier in prime position to move way up into the NCAA’s upper echelon next season.

Maier also smashed a 1:45.56 leading off Miami’s 800 free relay. That individual 200 free time would have placed 12th at NCAAs.

Individually, Maier didn’t swim the 200 free – she instead took on the 400 IM, which she won in 4:11.30. That was a drop of six seconds from seed. Maier also went 1:57.54 in the 200 fly at MACs, plus 49.19 leading off Miami’s third-place 400 free relay.

The only other NCAA scoring times to come out of the MAC:

  • Akron’s Sarah Watson actually competed at NCAAs and scored in the 200 IM (14th). She went even faster in the IM at MACs, hitting a 1:56.42 that would have been 11th at NCAAs. Watson narrowly missed scoring at NCAAs in the 100 fly and 100 free, but went faster in the fly at MACs – her 52.04 would have been 14th at NCAAs.
  • Bowling Green’s Daisy Platts won the 200 back in 1:53.67 – that would have been 15th at NCAA finals, tying for 16th in prelims. Like Watson, Platts competed at NCAAs but she did not score.

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1 month ago

Nice to see some speed coming out of the mid-majors.

1 month ago


About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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