Keene State College all-American automatically qualifies for nationals three weeks into season
The goal for every collegiate swimmer is to get to nationals, for some getting that automatic qualifying time is a season long task, but for others it’s taken care of in a few weeks.
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Keene State College’s men’s swimmer Drew Ledwith finished third at nationals in the 1650 yard freestyle swim last year, and has wasted no time securing his return trip for this year.
“The 1650 is his ticket to nationals,” Head swimming and diving coach Jack Fabian said. “It’s an event he likes a lot, an event that he’s really trying to master, and probably an event he can continue to hopefully place in the top three at nationals.”
Ledwith swam a time of 15:37.13 in the 1650 yard freestyle at the MIT Winter Invitational meet to automatically qualify for the A cut at nationals.
He also provisionally qualified for the 500 yard freestyle swim at the same meet.
Ledwith qualified for the NCAA meet, which is occurring in late March, a month into the season, so some may wondering how he will continue to push himself for the rest of the season.
Ledwith said he’s pushing himself with the hopes of beating the two freshmen who beat him at nationals last year.
Fabian said it’s actually a blessing to qualify so early.
He said because Ledwith doesn’t have to be worried about overworking himself, and being fresh for every meet, he can work extra hard for the remainder of the year purely in preparation for nationals.
Ledwith will likely not be the only KSC men’s swimmer at nationals this year however.
“He’s also a part of those relays, like the 400 relay, 800 relay, he even swims on the 200 relay, which is a sprinter event,” Fabian said. “Because he’s the fastest, we have three really fast guys, and he’s the fourth fastest guy on the team and he’s actually holding his own quite well in that. He’s just an all-around great swimmer at this point.”
Ledwith will hope to go to the NCAA with several of his teammates as part of a relay team.
Ledwith participates in mostly the freestyle relay events with sophomores James Black and Jared Hyde, and junior Austin Harris.
Fabian said all three swimmers have a chance to make it to the NCAA meet in individual events as well.
“It’s a big priority this year, to get four people to nationals, and for them to qualify individually too would be great,” Ledwith said.
Ledwith said his goal is to swim the 1650 in 15:15, 15 seconds faster than his time from last year.
“With the training regimen I’m on I’ll be ready to go by the end of the year,” Ledwith said. “I’m right where I want to be.”
Ledwith continues to lead the Owls, putting up one victorious performance after another.
Ryan Glavey can be contacted at email@example.com