NCAA Race of the Night: The Rebirth of Kasey Carlson in the 100 Breaststroke

Editorial coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA

Commentary by Jeff Commings

PHOENIX, Arizona, March 22. KASEY Carlson won a bronze medal in the 100 breaststroke at the world championships the summer before her senior year of high school, something that would put a lot of pressure on virtually anyone. When she began her collegiate career at the University of Southern California, lots of people expected her to be the next queen of breaststroke — or at least Rebecca Soni's second in command.

That promise finally looks like it's fulfilling itself, based on Carlson's performance tonight at the women's NCAA Division I swimming and diving championships. The Trojan junior went head-to-head with American record holder Breeja Larson in the 100 breast final, and looked like the racer that we remembered from 2009 and 2010. Punching the wall in a personal best 58.36 had to be a big relief for Carlson, who was 10th in the event in 2012 and fourth in 2011.

“It was a great race and hopefully I pushed her (Larson) as much as she pushed me,” Carlson said. “My goal was to go out as fast as I could and hang on.”

Hopefully this means good things for Carlson in her long course season. While it will be tough to crack the top two tandem of Soni and Larson and earn a return trip to the world championships, it will be great to see the Kasey Carlson of 2009 — and the Kasey Carlson of March 22, 2013 — in the 100 breast final at the world championship trials.