Breaking Through? Athletes Looking for the Top Spot at NCAA Championships


Breaking Through? Athletes Looking for the Top Spot at NCAA Championships

This week, the best male collegiate swimmers in the nation will travel to Minneapolis for the NCAA Championships. It’s a special meet that annually produces great matchups and considerable speed. For many athletes competing this weekend, NCAAs is one stop along the road to the Olympic Trials next summer.

Meanwhile, Leon Marchard, Brooks Curry, and Max McHugh are standouts who have already proven themselves on the college stage, and will be chasing additional NCAA titles. The list below takes a look at a handful of athletes who are looking for a breakthrough victory in Minneapolis.

Carson Foster

A junior at the University of Texas, Carson Foster travels to Minneapolis in hopes of bringing home his first individual NCAA title. A key fixture to the dominance of Texas, Foster has been close to a title several times, and certainly has the potential to secure victory. 

At last summer’s World Championships in Budapest, Foster enjoyed a breakout performance. He was a part of the world-championship winning 800 freestyle relay, and also picked up a pair of silver medals in both of the individual medley events.

This year at NCAAs, Foster will swim his typical championship event lineup, tackling the 400 IM, 200 IM and 200 backstroke. While some may question the inclusion of Carson Foster on this list, given his impressive resume, he fits the mold as he pursues an NCAA title.

Youssef Ramadan

An important piece of Virginia Tech’s outstanding performance at the ACC Championships, Youssef Ramadan looks to carry that success with him to the pool in Minneapolis. A junior, Ramadan hails from Egypt, where he is currently a two-time, short-course African record holder, both in relays. Two years ago, Ramadan competed in the Tokyo Olympics, where he swam the 100 butterfly and finished 16th overall, while also setting an Egyptian record of 51.67.

At ACCs last month, Ramada was essential to the Hokies’ success. He finished first in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while also adding a runnerup finish in the 50 free. Virginia Tech finished second overall, its highest finish in nine years. Ramadan will swim the same events this weekend as he looks to reach the top step on the podium, the 100 fly his best chance at gold.

Jordan Crooks

Jordan Crooks is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, and a dominant performance at NCAAs would be the cherry on top of a breakthrough season. Many remember the dominance Caleb Dressel displayed during his collegiate career in the sprint events, and Crooks is displaying speed that brings back memories.

Last month at the Southeast Conference Championships, Crooks became the second person ever to break 18 seconds in the 50 freestyle, going 17.93. To no surprise, he won the 50 at SECs, while also picking up another title and a second-place finish in the 100 free and 100 fly, respectively. His outstanding performances at SECs earned him the Commissioner’s Trophy and Swimmer of the Meet honors.

As Crooks and the Volunteers head to the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center, he will compete in the same events he did at his conference meet, and will try to reach the top of the college-swimming world in record-breaking time.

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