(Photo by BYU Photo)
AUSTIN, Texas – Concluding the 2013-2014 BYU swimming and diving season, junior Hayden Palmer represented BYU at the 2014 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships Friday afternoon.
“The atmosphere here (at NCAA championships) is awesome,” Palmer said. “It’s fun to race against people who push you to go faster. What better place to go faster than the NCAAs?”
In Thursday’s 200-yard individual medley event, Palmer finished 49th in the preliminaries with a time of 1:47.96. The qualifying times in the men’s 200 IM were between 1:43.66 and 1:41.15.
“I felt pretty good with the 200 IM. In preliminaries, I swam faster than my seed time and I was happy with that,” Palmer said. “I should have gone out slower in the 400 IM but you live and learn.”
More excited to score than nervous to fail, Palmer left the blocks determined to swim as fast as his opponents. Getting ahead of himself, he swam faster than he should have in the first leg of the race which caught up to him in the last leg. Palmer placed higher in his main event, the 400 IM, finishing 33rd with a time of 3:48.75. Those headed to finals finished between 3:45.13 and 3:38.36.
“This is the fastest meet in the world and you have to swim really fast,” BYU head coach John Brooks said. “He learned what he needs to do next year and he’ll get back here next year and try to score.”
Palmer will train this summer for nationals and return to BYU in the fall for the 2014-2015 season, his last as a Cougar.
“Next year, I want to get an A cut going into the meet so I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll be invited,” Palmer said. “Next season will be my last, so it will be my last NCAAs. I won’t start out as fast as I did, I’ll ease my way into that event.”