Minnesota Gophers senior swimmer Max McHugh entered the NCAA Championships with a chance to add a pair of NCAA Championships to the two he won in 2021. Mission halfway accomplished. McHugh defended his NCAA Championship in the 100 breaststroke Friday night winning in the second fastest time ever recorded by a NCAA swimmer. After becoming just the second person ever to go under 50 seconds in the event in Friday morning’s prelims at 49.95, McHugh went even lower and touched at 49.90. He now has three individual NCAA Championships and will go for the double repeat Saturday in the 200 breaststroke.
McHugh’s time of 49.90 dominated the field winning by .82 seconds. In history, the only time faster belongs to Indiana’s Ian Finnerty, who recorded a 49.69 at the 2018 NCAA Championships. McHugh becomes the third Gopher swimmer in history to repeat as a national champion as Steve Jackman won the 100 free from 1961-62 and the 50 free in 1962 and 1963, while Walt Richardson accomplished the feat in the 100 fly from 1963-64. McHugh can join Jackman as the only duel double winner if he can defend his title Saturday night.
He joins an elusive crown of Gopher athletes as just the ninth Gopher in Minnesota history to have won 3 individual NCAA titles. He’s the fifth member of the Minnesota swimming and diving team to do it, and the second in two weeks as diver Sarah Bacon, won her fifth last week to tie for the most in Minnesota history.
McHugh will begin his quest for the double at 9:32 tomorrow morning in the prelims of the 200 breast in Atlanta. Assuming he advances, the final of the event is scheduled to occur at approximately 5:50 PM and will stream live on ESPN3.