July 30, 2013
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IRVINE, Calif. -- Danny Tucker of Purdue men's swimming and diving won the 100m freestyle national championship while breaking the program's long course record twice on the opening day of the U.S. Open Tuesday at the William Wollett, Jr. Aquatics Center.
Tucker became the Boilermakers' first U.S. Open champion as well as the first Purdue swimmer to eclipse the 50-second mark in the 100m free. He posted two of the three fastest times of the day in the event, initially breaking the program's LCM record with a time 49.26 in the preliminaries. He came back in the finals with a time of 49.11 to win the A final and national championship.
"Watching [assistant coach] J. Agnew and Danny work together this summer has been magical," Purdue head coach Dan Ross said. "It was a great swim for Danny tonight. He's a U.S. Open champion. What a cool accomplishment, but at the same time it's very well deserved."
USA Swimming hosts the U.S. Open yearly in late July/early August. This year's meet is being contested outdoors. As an open competition, any American swimmer can qualify for the U.S. Open by achieving a qualification cut time at a sanctioned long course meters meet. Over 100 swimmers raced in the 100m freestyle Tuesday.
Tucker's 100m free qualifying time ranked 17th entering the U.S. Open. He won heat 11 Tuesday morning with the top prelim time of the day. Only Daxon Hill's finals time of 49.17 while finishing as the runner-up bested Tucker's prelim time.
A rising senior from Naperville, Ill., Tucker is one of 14 Boilers competing at the U.S. Open this week. He won the 50m and 100m free at the Indiana Senior State meet held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center July 18-21. His qualifying time in the 50m free ranked 10th entering the U.S. Open. The 50m free is set for Saturday as the final event of the meet. Tucker is also scheduled to race as part of Purdue's 4x100 (400m) free relay Wednesday evening.
Danny Conway (200 fly), Matt Friede (100 free), Nate Hopkins (1500 free), Carly Mercer (100 free) and Rhiannon Sheets (200 fly) along with the women's 4x100 free relay team also raced Tuesday. Mercer finished one spot shy of qualifying for the C final of the 100m free, placing 25th overall in the prelims.
The 4x100 free relay team of Alex Todd, Kylie Vogel, Mercer and Sheets placed fifth in its heat.
Tucker was the runner-up in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle at the 2013 Big Ten Championships. He qualified for the NCAA Championships in both events and also raced on the Boilers' 200 and 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays at NCAAs. He earned Honorable Mention All-America acclaim with the 200 free relay team for the second year in a row.
At the 2013 Big Ten Championships, Tucker also broke the Purdue short court yardage record in the 100 free twice. After initially eclipsing the mark in the prelims, he lowered it again in the finals (42.84). He also posted the second-fastest time in program history in the 50 free (19.35).
Long course events are commonplace at national and international meets and feature 50-meter lengths of the pool. The NCAA season features short course yardage events and 25-yard lengths of the pool.