We have now seen the fastest relay split ever in three different distances on night 1 of the 2013 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. You’ve already heard all about Vlad Morozov’s 17.86 in the 50 freestyle: a number that won’t soon be forgotten by swimming fandom.
But here’s two more to add to the memory banks: 49.56 and 43.48.
Those were the breaststroke split by Kevin Cordes and butterfly by Tom Shields.
For a lot of people, those probably look more like freestyle times, and really good freestyle times at that.
Nope, this is the recalibration of times that we all have to process as the bar gets raised higher-and-higher in our sport. Both were the fastest ever splits in their respective legs.
In the breaststroke, former Cal Golden Bear swimmer Damir Dugonjic had the old best split, with a 50.24 from the super-suit era.
In the fly, former Stanford swimmer Austin Staab was the old best split; he was a 43.55 at NCAA’s in 2009. Shields himself was a 43.56 last year. Shields took his 100 fly out in 19.68 on the first 50. That’s one of the fastest 50 butterflies we’ve ever seen, and he did it on the first half of this race!
So the question now has to be:
Which is more impressive?
A 17.86 in the 50 free?
A 49.56 in the 100 breaststroke?
A 43.48 in the 100 fly?
These are like video game times, folks. If you haven’t been watching, do it. History is going down this week in Indy.