By Kevin Noth, SwimInfo Special Correspondent
Photos by Tim Morse
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., March 24. IN a follow-up to his incredible, record-setting swim of 18.74 seconds in the prelims of the 50 freestyle, Auburn senior Fred Bousquet clocked another sub-19 second performance, touching in 18.90 in the championship finals at the NCAA Champs.
Bousquet needed to again go below 19 seconds in order to hold off second-place finisher Duje Draganja of California-Berkley, who clocked 19.01 in the event. If not for Bousquet, Draganja would have set a new NCAA record, as the day started with the standard sitting at 19.05.
Bousquet went out in 9.38 seconds and returned with a second 25 split of 9.52. But it was Draganja who actually led at the turn, clocking a first 25 split of 9.29. He faded slightly with a return leg of 9.72 seconds.
Bousquet successfully defended his NCAA title for a second straight time and is the first three-peat winner of the 50 free since Southern Cal’s Joe Bottom won three straight titles from 1975-77. Bousquet is one of only three men to win the event three straight years.
Ben Wildman-Tobriner (Stanford) placed third and Lyndon Ferns (Arizona) took fourth. Rolandas Gimbutis took fifth giving Cal two swimmers among the top-5.
Ryan Wochomurka (Auburn), Matt Grevers (Northwestern), and Garrett Weber-Gale (Texas) placed sixth through eighth.