Alexander Katz graduated this summer from one of the great high school distance programs at the Sarasota YMCA in Florida to one of the great college distance programs in Michigan, after verbally committing to the Wolverines of Mike Bottom (and Josh White, specifically, who leads the distance group).
Katz is really phenomenal through the middle distance events; he’s been 1:36.98, 4:24.99, and 8:57.80 in the 200, 500, and 1000 yard freestyle. He’s got just enough speed, as well, with a 45.4 in the 100 free.
Even with that really phenomenal 1000, though, he doesn’t really stretch to the mile – notable as the 1000 isn’t an NCAA event, but perhaps its Katz’s best event in yards. Recall, of course, that Connor Jaeger had hardly even attempted the mile coming to Michigan, and now he’s one of the best in the world in the 1650 yard/1500 meter frees.
Katz isn’t just a distance freestyler: he’s also been 1:45.1 in the 200 yard backstroke, which was easily Michigan’s weakest event in their national championship season, as well as 1:51.33/3:55.77 in the 200 and 400 yard IM’s.
It will be really interesting, though, to see what exactly Michigan decides to do with that 1000 free. While there’s some uncertainty there, what we do know is that everything that touches the Michigan distance group lately makes huge improvements, so Katz’s future is bright. What’s interesting about the NCAA schedule is that if he decides to swim the 200 free, the 500 free, and the 200 back, the schedule works out about perfectly.
In long course, Katz qualified for the National Team in the 200 free, the 400 free, and the 200 backstroke. He was 4th in the 200 back at the Junior World Championships. He also earned a bronze medal as the anchor of the United States’ 800 free relay at that meet.