Coleman Stewart Stuns With Title From Lane 1 — After Double

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Coleman Stewart. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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By Dan D’Addona.

The task of executing a double in one night is daunting. Few have the multi-event speed to even attempt it. Even fewer have the mental toughness to embrace it.

There is a select group in NCAA history that has been able to score in two events in one night at an NCAA championships, and the list of swimmers winning a national title in that double is even smaller, led by some legendary Cal names like Tom Shields, Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

That list grew by one on Friday and it happened in unexpected fashion.

North Carolina State’s Coleman Stewart came into the NCAA championships as the top seed in the 100 back. But after a good swim in the 100 butterfly prelims to reach the consolation final, he took the seventh seed in the 100 back, putting him all the way in lane one.

Somehow, after three other swims already, Stewart managed a late surge and stunningly touched first for his first national title.

“(NC State coach) Braden (Holloway) and I talked about making sure we had all the little details right,” Stewart said. “I have kind of been not doing very well at that earlier in the week. But we got it done. Thankfully, it all came together.”

Stewart won the event in 44.58, but just one hundredth of a second over John Shebat of Texas. Stewart’s teammate Andreas Vazaios finished third (44.81).

The 100 butterfly didn’t fare quite as well for Stewart, especially in the morning, finishing in 45.36 to land in the B final with the 11th seed.

With another morning swim to go, Stewart had to push that behind him and motivate him.

It worked.

He landed in the A final for the backstroke, then surged to win the consolation final of the butterfly — giving him a little momentum heading into the backstroke despite being in lane one.

“Absolutely (gave me momentum),” Stewart said. “Braden said that might have been the best thing for me, not making the A final. I was angry this morning because I messed up my third turn in the 100 fly. That kind of gave me a little extra motivation tonight.”

The motivation piggy-backed on Stewart training for this night all season for the Wolfpack.

“It is definitely something that I have trained for a lot this year,” he said. “It is pretty tough — I’ll be honest – but after this morning, I was kind of hurting. But we are making sure we get all the recovery done. It takes some extra time but it is definitely worth it. Tonight it paid off.

“We train a lot of all-out stuff over and over again. To be able to do that and keep going definitely helped, especially the back half of the races.”

The back half of the race is where Stewart won the race, being the only one in the field to go sub-23 (22.97) after being fourth at the halfway point (21.61).

It was just enough for a hundredth-of-a-second national title — from lane one — and a spot in a very exclusive double up club.

2 comments

  1. Timothy O

    Is that Coleman Andrew ? Michael Stewart’s twin ?