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arena swim of the week: Luke Hobson fires 1:32.5 200 Free in preseason

Swim of the Week is brought to you by arena, a partner of SwimSwam.

Disclaimer: “Swim of the Week” is not intended to be a final selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather a particular swim that merits further investigation. Swim of the week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of this week’s many fast swimmers, perhaps a swimmer who slipped through the cracks when others were making headlines, or a race we haven’t been able to examine that way tight in the tide of weekly meetings.

To say that Luke Hobson Riding a wave of momentum would be an understatement.

The University of Texas sophomore beat a stunning time of 1:32.50 in the 200 freestyle at the Longhorns’ annual Orange & White intrasquad meeting on Thursday, an incredible feat considering the calendar is still busy indicates September.

Hobson had a successful inaugural season in Austin last year, particularly in the 500 Free, where he repeatedly reset the US 17-18 National Age Group record and eventually finished third in the NCAAs in a time of 4:08.42.

As the summer wore on, it became clear that his 200 Free had taken a giant leap forward. After a personal best of 1:32.31 in the NCAA heats and a 16th place finish in the finals, Hobson put on an impressive run of performances in the long lane pool.

First, at the International Team Trials in April, he finished seventh in the 200 free races, half a second behind to secure a spot on the US World Championship team. The personal best he had set in the heats, 1:46.92, the team would have managed by 0.01.

Three months later at the US Nationals in late July, Hobson dueled against a loaded field to win the event in a new PB of 1:46.14, defeating opponents like Kieran Smith, Jake Magahey and Grant house.

Then, at Duel In The Pool in August, Hobson uncorked another personal best, beating a 1:45.59 to secure his spot on the US national team.

He also free swam respective times of 1:41.69 and 3:35.67 in the SCM 200 and 400 while over in Australia, showing his exceptional form in a short course format that led into the NCAA season.

Then came the Texas Orange/White Classic, where the Nevada native smashed the meeting record of 1:33.97 and nearly beat his best before the first non-intrasquad meeting of the season.

Incredibly, Hobson went 1:40.29 in this event last season. Now, 1:32.50.

Throughout the 2021-22 season, Hobson clocked a 1:37.89 in October, dropped to 1:33.18 during the midseason Minnesota Invitational, and eventually clocked a best time of his life in the NCAAs with a 1:32.31. What’s not listed in these 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, US Open, and American record in the 800 – to lead free squadron.

Given that he’s already 1:32 halfway as of Sept. 22, adjusting his relay split on a flat start appears to be the low end of what Hobson could produce in the NCAA postseason.

It’s early in the season and a lot can happen, but below 1:30 seems imminent. It will also be interesting to see how starting the season in such good form after Duel In The Pool will impact his performances throughout the season.

You can see the race which teammate also sees Coby Carrozza go 1:33.40, below:

While race splits aren’t available yet (we’re hoping to get them from the school), the video tells us that Hobson got back at 11:45pm. In his PB swim from the NCAA preliminary rounds, he finished in 23.97.

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