To be honest, this week was just plain unfair. This was one of the most incredible men’s NCAA meets we have ever seen, with a staggering ten NCAA records. Ryan Murphy, Caeleb Dressel, Will Licon, Joseph Schooling and Jack Conger (to name just a few) all had amazing, record-breaking meets that stamped their names on the record books and put them more in the spotlight heading into the Olympic summer. But of all the amazing performances this week, the most awe-inspiring (and arguably the most historic) came from Townley Haas, a freshman from the University of Texas.
Haas started off the meet with a monster swim that suggested he may be able to challenge the oldest record on the books: Simon Burnett’s 1:31.20 that has stood as the fastest ever since 2006 (and was also recorded in the same Atlanta pool). Swimming the second leg of the 800 free relay on the first night, the freshman merely recorded the fastest relay split in history, dropping a 1:30.52 that clipped Michael Wynalda’s 1:30.60 from 2014 NCAA’s. With all eyes on him in the individual final of the 200 freestyle, Haas delivered. Going out in a monstrous 43.61 (20.90, 22.71), Haas came back in 46.85 (23.31, 23.54) to touch in a record-setting 1:30.46. That broke fellow Longhorn Ricky Berens’ American record, Burnett’s NCAA record, and made Haas the first man under 1:31 by over half a second.
Speaking to his young swimmer’s accomplishment, Eddie Reese joked that his swim showed “[That] his 500 wasn’t very good,” (Haas won the 500 on the first night of the meet) before predicting that Haas’s best swims lay ahead of him this summer, adding “there are a lot of people around the country that decided they were gonna practice a lot harder tomorrow morning because of what he did tonight.”
Congratulations Townley Haas on earning Swimming World’s Performance of the Week!