This summer, North Carolina State junior lept into national and global swimming consciousness when he stood among giants (literally and figuratively) as the unknown factor on the American men’s 400 free relay in finals. Swimming with Caeleb Dressel, Michael Phelps, and Nathan Adrian, Held held his own with a 47.73 relay split and delivered an emotional moment as he stood atop the podium in Rio.
While many Olympic stars, be them pros or collegiate athletes, have had a bit of an Olympic hangover, with limited racing since Rio, Held jumped right back into the short pool and is already catching eyes again back in familiar water. Last Friday night, racing the 2016 NCAA Champions from Texas, Held split sub-19 not just once, but twice.
The first came in the meet-opening 200 medley relay, where Held’s 18.85-second anchor made up a .3-second deficit on the Longhorn A relay and give the Wolfpack momentum toward an eventual meet win.
Then, to end the meet, he did it again – splitting 18.90 to make up a two-tenths of a second gap on Texas’ Olympic champion and budding superstar Joseph Schooling.
For reference, Held anchored NC State’s 200 free relay in 18.28 at last year’s NCAA Championships and anchored the medley in 18.65.
Below, watch Held’s heroics twice against the Longhorns, courtesy of NC State Swim & Dive: