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Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
To say that Luke Hobson is riding a wave of momentum would be an understatement.
The University of Texas sophomore dropped a blistering time of 1:32.50 in the 200 freestyle at the Longhorns’ annual Orange & White intrasquad meet on Thursday, an incredible showing given that the calendar still reads September.
Hobson had a successful opening season in Austin last year, most notably in the 500 free, where he reset the U.S. 17-18 National Age Group Record multiple times and ultimately finished third at NCAAs in a time of 4:08.42.
Over the summer, it became clear his 200 free had taken a massive leap forward. After swimming a best time of 1:32.31 in the NCAA prelims and ultimately finishing 16th in the final, Hobson had an impressive run of performances in the long course pool.
First, he placed seventh in the 200 free at the International Team Trials in April, half a second off earning a berth on the U.S. World Championship team. The personal best time he set in the prelims, 1:46.92, would’ve made the team by .01.
Three months later, at U.S. Nationals in late July, Hobson out-dueled a loaded field to win the event in a new PB of 1:46.14, taking out the likes of Kieran Smith, Jake Magahey and Grant House.
Then, at the Duel In The Pool in August, Hobson uncorked another best, dropping a 1:45.59 to book his spot on the U.S. National Team.
He also swam respective times of 1:41.69 and 3:35.67 in the SCM 200 and 400 free while over in Australia, showing off his exceptional form in a short course format leading into the NCAA season.
Then came the Texas Orange/White Classic, where the Nevada native annihilated the meet record of 1:33.97 and nearly downed his best time before the team’s first non-intrasquad meet of the season.
Incredibly, Hobson went 1:40.29 at this event last season. Now, 1:32.50.
Throughout the 2021-22 season, Hobson clocked 1:37.89 in October, got down to 1:33.18 during the mid-season Minnesota Invitational, and ultimately went a lifetime best of 1:32.31 at NCAAs.
Hobson, 2022 NCAA Prelims
Hobson, 2022 Orange/White
What’s not listed in those official times is his NCAA relay split of 1:30.84, which helped propel the Longhorn men to the national title and a new NCAA, U.S. Open and American Record in the 800 free relay.
Given that he’s already 1:32-mid on Sept. 22, matching his relay split on a flat-start seems like the low-end of what Hobson might be able to produce in the NCAA postseason.
It’s early in the season, and a lot can happen, but sub-1:30 seems imminent. It will also be interesting to see how entering the season on such good form coming off the Duel In The Pool will impact his performances over the course of the campaign.
You can watch the race, which also sees teammate Coby Carrozza go 1:33.40, below:
Full results from the intrasquad can be found here.
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