PHOENIX, Arizona, March 5. VLAD Morozov has been very impressive these past three months in the pool, winning world championship titles in December and being a consistent performer in the sprint freestyles during the second half of the college season.
But last night at the Pac 12 championships in Federal Way, Washington, the junior from the University of Southern California got under the 19-second barrier in the 50-yard freestyle for the first time, posting an 18.92 in prelims, followed by an 18.86 in finals. That puts him within four tenths of Cesar Cielo's US Open and NCAA record of 18.46 from 2008, though we will admit that four tenths is a lot to drop in a 50. Morozov is the only swimmer under 19 seconds so far this collegiate season, and that statistic makes him the heavy favorite for the NCAA title in a few weeks after two years of being the runner up.
Editor's note: Auburn's Marcelo Chierighini went 18.88 at the Southeastern Conference championships. We regret the error.
Oh, and we wanted to mention that Morozov split an 18.51 on the third leg of USC's 200 free relay, which will help the Trojans greatly at NCAAs.
Congratulations, Vlad Morozov, you've earned Speedo's Performance of the Week.