Air Force Academy’s Wen Zhang Is Under-the-Radar Threat At NCAA Champs

Wen Zhang

Air Force Academy’s Wen Zhang Is Under-the-Radar Threat At NCAA Champs

When the NCAA Men’s Championships get underway tomorrow, headliners like Leon Marchand, Destin Lasco and Carson Foster (among many others) are expected to produce impressive performances. However, there are some lesser-known athletes who are also looking to make a name for themselves at this year’s championships.

One of those athletes is the Air Force Academy’s Wen Zhang.

Although the Academy lacks the same cachet that schools like the California Golden Bears or Texas Longhorns enjoy, the talent at Air Force is not to be overlooked.

Zhang, the only athlete selected to represent the Air Force Academy at NCAAs, has been the recipient of many awards over the course of his career. As a freshman, he was crowned WAC Freshman of the Year after being named a CSCAA All-American in the 200-yard freestyle and clinching three WAC titles– while also going on to set a new school record in the 200-yard freestyle (1:33.92).

As a sophomore, Zhang came back to defend his title in the 200-yard freestyle, earning an NCAA B-Cut time (1:34.55). He was also part of the 400-yard freestyle relay team that claimed the WAC title. Over the course of the season, he also clocked the fastest time on the team in the 500-yard freestyle (4:25.80).

During his junior year, he won conference conference titles in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and the 800-yard free relay– while also setting WAC and Academy records in each of his events. Zhang’s efforts throughout the season also led him to the NCAA Championships, where he competed in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle.

This year, Zhang is expected to have a much bigger presence at the NCAA Championship meet. After touching in 1:31.42 in the 200-yard freestyle at the 2023 WAC Championships, the Falcon is headed into the meet with the fourth-fastest time in the event, ranked behind only Grant House (ASU), Jack Dahlgren (Missouri), and Charlie Hawke (Alabama).

He will also compete in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle.

For more information, and a full break down of the meet schedule, visit the NCAA website here.

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