When head swim and dive coach Whitney Hite recruited his current class of seniors in the fall of 2012, he had no idea how successful the group of six would be four years later.
This past weekend in Austin, Texas, the seniors led the way as the men’s team put up a multitude of top times at the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational.
Senior Matt Hutchins was the star of the show for Wisconsin, putting up marks in both the 500-yard freestyle and the mile that were within the top 8 in the country. Hutchins, competing un-shaved and with a minimal amount of rest, put up a prelim time of 4:15.03, only two seconds off his fully-rested school record in the 500. In the finals, Hutchins swam a 4:17.24, good for sixth place in the meet and the eighth-fastest time in the country.
In the mile, Hutchins and junior Victor Goicoechea swam the grueling 66 lengths of the pool en route to top-15 national finishes. Hutchins finished third overall with a season-best 14:47.62, and Goicoechea was not far behind with a seventh-place finish of 14:59.27. Hutchins’ time puts him at No. 4 in the country, and Goicoechea’s ranks 14th.
In the shorter events, all the seniors had their chance to shine, with every member of the class putting up season or career-best marks. Most notable were Brett Pinfold’s fourth-place 200-yard freestyle time of 1:34.41, which ranks 14th in the country, and Cannon Clifton’s 100-yard butterfly, which placed 9th with a time of 46.83. That blistering pace put Dan Lester’s nearly five-year-old school record in serious danger. Clifton also placed 5th overall in the 100-yard freestyle with an impressive time of 43.26.
Overall, eight men put up individual NCAA provisional qualifying times at the meet, and for two of them - freshman Camille Hodge and junior Todd McCarthy - it was their first time doing so.
The Badgers will be back in action on January 13th when they visit USC.