Ultra Swimmer of the Month: Hunter Armstrong

Ultra Swim Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer who has proven themselves over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishments slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

Individual long course world records don’t come along every day.

On the men’s side, more than half (nine of 17) all-time records were set in 2012 or before, meaning they’ve been on the books for (nearly) a decade or more.

So when a record comes around unexpectedly, it should be celebrated.

That’s what Hunter Armstrong gave us last Thursday evening, as the 21-year-old blasted his way to a time of 23.71 in the men’s 50 backstroke, breaking the previous world record of 23.80 set by Russian Kliment Kolesnikov last year.

While the record wasn’t a massive surprise, with Armstrong having become the #2 performer of all-time with a 24.01 in the prelims, the two swims back-to-back were definitely a complete shock.

The race was blistering as a whole, with Justin Ress (23.92) and Shaine Casas (24.00) becoming the third and fourth-fastest swimmers of all-time.

For Armstrong, that swim came after he hit a best time of 48.25 in the 100 free final, tying for fourth with Drew Kibler, to qualify for the Worlds team in the 400 free relay.

Armstrong carried his momentum into the 100 back, where he upended the world record holder in that event, Ryan Murphy, with a defiant victory in a personal best time of 52.20.

Armstrong closed out the meet by hitting back-to-back PBs in the 50 free, finishing tied for fifth in the final in 22.00.

Having recently wrapped up his junior year at Ohio State, Armstrong then announced that he would forgo his senior season in the NCAA and turn pro.

It was certainly an eventful week for Armstrong for all the right reasons, and there’s surely more to come in the coming months.

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Walter Sobchak
7 months ago

Congratulations! Hunter! Well deserved. Now that you’re a pro, you can accept the $50,000 bonus payment that goes with this award!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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