INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Carson-Newman swimming brings in another All-American honor with Seth Hughes finishing in the top eight of the 100 Backstroke at the National Championships Friday evening.
"For Seth, it's a long time coming," Coach Jordan Taylor said. "It's something he's been working on since he came in as a freshman. He's improved tremendously in the last four years, in all events but especially the backstroke. His hard work and dedication really paid off. We saw a very emotional reaction from Seth in the morning when he realized that he had got into the 'A' final and set a lifetime best when it was kind of like a lifetime of hard work came down to that moment."
Hughes swam his fastest time ever in the 100 Back and finished in eighth place in the prelims giving him a shot to swim in the Championship Finals where he finished in 8thplace at 47.73 seconds. With the finish, Hughes earned his first career All-American honor and is only the second male swimmer in school history to do so. The last individual on the men's team to earn the title was Paul Ungur in the same event four years ago.
"It's definitely something I've wanted to do since freshman year," Hughes said. "Coming in and seeing Paul's time, it was so fast. It's always been something I've wanted to accomplish and I'm SO glad I got to do it my senior year before I graduated so it feels pretty good."
Making it this far was somewhat of a redemption for Hughes. The senior broke his wrist prior to the Conference Championships last year and his season was brought to a disappointing abrupt end.
"At that point, swimming was taking a toll on me," Hughes said of last season. "I think breaking my wrist kind of helped me because I was kind of robbed right before conference. I didn't get to perform, and I was training really well, and I wanted to see my results. So, coming in this year I had a lot of drive and a lot of passion."
The next event of the evening with an Eagle representative was the consolation final of the men's 500 Free. Matthew George competed and finished in 13th place with a time of 4:28.37. CJ Jensen swam in the consolation final of the women's 200 Fly and finished in 16th place with a time of 2:02.80.
"Both Matt and CJ had great prelim swims this morning," Taylor said. "Matt swam a lifetime best and broke the school record just one position away from making the 'A' final, just unlucky that it didn't go his way but he's delighted with the way he swam. CJ also had a lifetime best and just missed the school record but it's great to see more Second Team All-Americans."
"That's one of the good things we see about Carson-Newman. Yeah, we get people to Nationals. But we get here, we show up and we swim fast and we make it back into the finals at night to get the points on the big stage."
Competition will continue on the third and final day on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. For updates and results check back on cneagles.com.
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