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.
NC State took on Auburn and Kentucky in a two-day tri-meet last weekend, dominating the opening day of competition before the teams raced an unscored exhibition session on Saturday.
Amongst the Saturday swims was a standout performance from sophomore Will Gallant, who registered a swift 14:53.91 in the 1650 freestyle to mark the first man under 15 minutes in the NCAA this season.
Gallant, who spent his freshman year competing at Indiana in 2019-20 before transferring to NC State (and sitting out of collegiate competition last year), won the race by more than 50 seconds and was less than five off of his best time set at the 2019 Tennessee Invitational (14:49.00).
Gallant currently ranks first in the NCAA by more than 22 seconds.
The 20-year-old raced the 1000 freestyle on the first day of the meet in 9:02.72, placing second to teammate James Plage (9:00.34), and was only four-tenths slower than that in the opening 1000 of his 1650 swim on Saturday (9:03.13).
Since the 1650 is rarely contested during dual meets, Gallant’s time may be the fastest pre-November swim we’ve ever seen in college swimming. Dating back to 2000, the previous fastest on record prior to November came in 2019, when Notre Dame’s Jack Hoagland clocked 14:56.54.
Gallant was fifth in the 1650 at the 2020 Big Ten Championships as a freshman at Indiana, and has yet to race at an NCAA Championship meet due to the 2020 cancellation and him sitting out of college swimming last year.
His time from the weekend would’ve narrowly missed scoring at the 2021 NCAAs (17th), which projects him to be in good shape to be a big-time contributor for the Wolfpack at his first national championship in March.
Between Gallant, Plage and 2021 NCAA third-place finisher in the 1650 Ross Dant, NC State has a lethal trio in the distance freestyle events that figure to do some serious damage at the end of this season.
You can find full results of NC State’s exhibition meet on Saturday with Auburn and Kentucky here.