Three UNC swimmers finished their competition in various events at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships this past week. Recent graduate Lilly Higgs, rising junior Patrick Hussey and rising sophomore Olivia Nel traveled to Budapest, Hungary to represent their respective countries at the championship, which started on June 18.
Higgs competed in the women's 50- and 100-meter breaststroke and a mixed 4x100 meter medley relay representing the Bahamas. On June 19, Higgs recorded a 1:13.13 time in the 100-meter breaststroke, which earned her 674 points, but did not qualify her for the semifinals. Higgs left the pool with a personal best in the mixed 4x100 meter medley relay on June 21, with the Bahamas team timing 4:15.19 to finish in 22nd place. Higgs ended up her time at the championship in the 50-meter breaststroke event on Friday, finishing with a time of 32.98 seconds to earn 701 points. She did not earn a qualifying time for the semifinals of this event.
Nel represented South Africa in the women's 50- and 100-meter backstroke, as well as the mixed 4x100 meter medley relay. In the 100-meter backstroke, she finished eighth in her heat with a time of 1:02:95 to earn 760 points. She was less than two seconds behind the last swimmer in her heat two qualify for the semifinals.
Nel ended the competition with the mixed 4x100 meter medley relay and 50-meter backstroke on June 21. Nel’s medley relay finished in just over four minutes, which earned 739 points for RSA. Nel finished seventh in heat two of the 50-meter backstroke with a time of 29.06 seconds, which was good for 800 points.
Hussey took to the pool for Canada in the men's 200-meter butterfly and the men's 4x200 meter freestyle relay. Hussey finished second in heat two of the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 2:00:24, earning 780 points. Despite this finish, Hussey didn't qualify for the semifinals of the event. Hussey swam his last event in the men’s 4x200 meter freestyle relay this past Thursday, serving as the anchor for the Canadian squad that finished 11th in the event.
Who stood out?
Hussey stood out from the pack, as he reached personal bests at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in both the 200-meter butterfly and his relay swim.
Nel collected the most points out of the Tar Heels to compete in last week's swim events. Nel totaled 2,299 points across her three events.
Why does it matter?
Although all three swimmers have competed in events at the international level before, their accomplishments at this competition show that UNC’s swim and dive team boasts three extremely experienced swimmers that can handle the pressure of performing on the big stage.
This marked the first FINA World Championship for Hussey and Nel and second championship for Higgs.
When do they play next?
Junior Alex Hart, a diver and the last Tar Heel to compete at the championship, will hit the pool in the three-meter springboard preliminary event as he represents Austria beginning on Monday, June 27.