Cameron Craig Goes 53.61 in 100 Fly, Finally ‘At Home Again in the Water’ After 14 Months

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Photo Courtesy: Dan D'Addona

Cameron Craig was eager to see what he could do in the water, racing for the first time in 14 months.

When he touched the wall after his first race, there were many emotions running through his head from relief to excitement.

In his first race back, Craig won the 100 fly in 53.61 at the Big Red Challenge hosted by Michigan Lakeshore Aquatic to earn a cut for the 2020 Olympic trials.

“It felt great. Going out felt smooth. The back-half felt good except for the last 10 meters, so I know I can work on that for nationals,” Craig told Swimming World. “For a first meet, it felt great. I have been anxious for the past few months.”

Craig left Arizona State after the 2018 NCAA championships. He took some time away and trained with SMAC before joining Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics in April.

“I grew up with coach Jim Whitehead. He is a great guy. I met him at SMAC when I was younger. As soon as I left ASU, I contacted him,” Craig said.

It has been a challenging year for Craig.

“I left because I had some mental health issues I was working out — on and off depression. I just needed a break, so I came back and spent a lot of time with family,” he said. “Now, I feel at home again being back in the water. Fourteen months is a long time. It was good that I noticed it, but it was hard because I loved ASU. But to better myself, I had to leave it all behind and start on my feet again. It is a rough road, but once you get there, you get there.”

At MLA, Craig has joined forces with several elite swimmers, most notably Devon Nowicki, who himself made a tough choice school to leave school last year.

“He has been swimming with a lot of pressure for a long time. I was relieving and nice to see him relaxed. That swim was monster,” MLA coach Jim Whitehead said. “We have seen a real turn in him the past couple of weeks. He is starting to enjoy it again. He was hitting a low point and I reached out to him just to make sure things were OK. Over time, things started to materialize. In many ways, our first four months with Devon were the same. He had gone through the whole cycle of what Cameron is going through right now, so he has been a very valuable resource for Cam. It has been instrumental.”

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Cameron Craig. Photo Courtesy: Dan D’Addona

Nowicki won the 200 breast in 2:27.07.

“It has been fun with Cameron. It has been a process for him, same as I had,” Nowicki said. “We have a lot of super fast guys on the club. It has been really competitive racing every day. I was super excited. I didn’t know he was coming back until a week before he arrived. It was cool to see him back in the water.”

Craig also won the 50 fly in 24.70 holding off Derek Maas (25.67) on Saturday.

“My goal is to perform well this summer and go back to college somewhere,” he said. “I want to get my degree and go from there. But this summer is showing me I can perform at a high level again. I am ready to try to make the USA team. That is what this summer is all about.”

MLA’s Skyler Cook-Weeks won the 200 free in 1:55.54 and the 50 free in 24.19, holding off Nowicki (24.23) and Derek Maas (24.37). Craig was sixth (25.58).

MLA’s Kyle Maas won the 100 back in 58.79.

In the women’s meet, MLA’s Sage Gettings won the 50 fly in 29.90.

SWYM’s Riley Nugent won the women’s 200 free (2:12.29). East Grand Rapids Aquatic’s Susan Lagrand won the 100 fly (1:04.82) and 100 back (1:06.84). Mid Michigan Aquatic’s Olivia Chick won the 50 free (27.97). Abbey Neveling won the 200 breast (2:43.44).

On Friday, MLA’s Kathyrn Ackerman won the 800 free in 9:07.91. Ian Miskelley won the 400 IM (4:48.69).

2 comments

  1. Brad Boelter

    Some of y’all swam in this meet with him today.