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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 18, 2024
Cannon Clifton broke eight school records in Columbus last weekend. 

Cannon Clifton broke eight school records in Columbus last weekend. 

Clifton headlines strong Badger performance at Big Ten meet

Cannon Clifton knew his senior season was going to be big after his breakout performance at last summer’s U.S. Open, but he didn’t know exactly how big it was going to be until the school records started falling like confetti at the Big Ten Championships this weekend.

After four days at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio, Clifton is the proud owner of eight new school records, with four of those records coming on relays, and led his team to a fifth-place finish.

Overall, the Badgers smashed ten school records and countless more personal-best marks as they got themselves into taper mode to get locked and loaded for their ultimate end goal of the NCAA Championships next month.

The two biggest moments on a national scale were the two records that were completely eviscerated by Clifton in the 100-yard freestyle and fellow senior Matt Hutchins in the 500-yard freestyle.

In the final heat of Saturday morning’s prelims, Clifton, who at that time had already broken six school records, lined up next to U.S. Olympian and Indiana junior Blake Pieroni. He raced him in an epic fight to the finish, with Clifton coming out on top in a speedy :42.00, which not only broke the school record, but briefly broke the Big Ten record. Pieroni would lower it to :41.44 in a later race in which Clifton came in third. Clifton’s time is currently ranked fifth in the NCAA.

The untapered Hutchins was neck-and-neck with Michigan freshman Felix Auböck through the entire 500-yard freestyle final on Thursday night, with spectators and teammates watching the time fly by as they made their way through 20 lengths of the pool.

When the clock finally stopped, Auböck came in to win the race in 4:10:63, with Hutchins not far behind in 4:11.98, a school record by almost a second and a half. Hutchins, like Clifton, had a speedy time that ranks as the fourth-fastest in the NCAA.

In addition, Clifton broke three other individual school records in the 50- and 200-yard freestyles and the 100-yard butterfly, while senior Brett Pinfold shattered the school mark in the 200-yard individual medley.

Other top moments of the meet included junior Victor Goicoechea’s fifth-place finish in a loaded mile field, and massive success from four freshmen.

Kevin Pomeroy scored UW’s first men’s diving points in more than a year with a 15th-place finish in the platform final. Michael Milinovich earned himself two top-ten finishes in the 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard individual medley, while Eric Geunes won the C-final of the 500-yard freestyle.

The biggest bit of excitement over a win was when freshman Cam Tysoe won the 200-yard backstroke C-final with a time of 1:43.79, giving him the first NCAA provisional cut of his career. When the Australian saw the time on the scoreboard, he celebrated like he’d won the entire meet.

With numerous Badgers scoring and posting NCAA qualifying times, head coach Whitney Hite has much to look forward to as his team pushes forward toward the NCAA Championships next month.

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