One of the University of Cincinnati’s own represented his school at the NCAA Championships.
Junior swimmer Chris Bready competed in two events at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis this weekend.
“It was a very incredible experience,” Bready said. “Coming from Olympic Trials a couple months beforehand and seeing a bunch of guys make the Olympic Team, and a couple months down the road I’m watching them compete at the NCAAs. It’s just a crazy experience to be at a couple of the same meets as a couple Olympians.”
Bready broke a school record during his first event of the weekend, the 500 freestyle.
Bready finished with a time of 4:20.37 during the preliminary round, beating his teammate Din Selmanovic’s record of 4:20.44, which he set during the 2017 American Athletic Conference Championship Feb. 16.
“At the time, I didn’t really know if it was a school record or not,” Bready said. “I knew I was close, but afterwards I asked my coach, ‘Did I get the school record? Did I take Din’s record?’ She said, ‘Yeah, you took it by seven 100ths.’ It’s just an honor to get my name on just anything, like a school record or pool record, just to leave my mark on a program makes me really excited and just happy.”
Bready said his record might not stand for long because Selmanovic will come ready next year to take it back and that the competition between the two is positive for their performances.
“We’re competing every day, not just him and me but the whole distance group,” Bready said. “It makes us faster because we’re not going to just have a top-level, we’re always going to be like, ‘I want to beat him today at practice. I want to beat him in the pool, every time I see him I want to beat him.’”
Head coach Mandy Commons-DiSalle encourages the competition, according to Bready.
“Coach is like, ‘All right, last one, give it your best. Try and beat him. Hey, kick his butt.’ They just want the best out of you,” Bready said.
This season was Bready’s third at UC. Before coming to Cincinnati, he swam for the Sienna Plantation Aquatics club in high school.
Bready said the biggest difference between swimming collegiately and for his prior team is that every place matters during the season.
“The coaches always say, ‘Get your hand on the wall first,’” Bready said. “So, in that aspect, it’s not always all about time in season. In season, it’s more about winning, getting second, third, fourth, even fifth place finishes, getting points for the team. So, in that aspect, it’s different. And just juggling it with classes, you have to plan your classes around practice time.”
Bready said his GPA is improving every semester and that improving his grades is just as important as improving his time.
“I’m always trying to get better and trying to be the best,” Bready said. “There’s always things to improve on, there’s different classes, there’s more material to learn. So, it’s all just trying to perform at the best of my ability.”
Motivation to be the best comes from Bready knowing there’s always someone above him.
“There’s always someone faster than me, someone smarter than me, so I’m just trying to run those people down and become the person they’re chasing,” Bready said.
Moving forward, Bready said the most realistic way for him to compete in the next Olympics is to swim well at the Open Water National Championships in Castaic Lake, California, May 19-21. He said if he makes top-six at the meet, he will be named to the US National Team.