AUSTIN, Texas — Cal Poly sophomore Sonny Fierro became an All-America Honorable Mention on Saturday evening at the NCAA Men's Swimming Championships.
Fierro earned the historic status by finishing 15th in the 1,650-yard freestyle — seven spots above his No. 22 seed coming into the race — as he broke his own school record in the event, finishing in 14 minutes, 56.01 seconds inside the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center.
He closed particularly well, swimming the final 50 yards in 25.58 seconds, the fastest of his 33 splits after the first, and was consistent throughout, as he never slowed to a 28-second clip the whole way. (Of the 33, 29 were in the 27-second vicinity.)
Fierro also competed in the 500 and 200 freestyle races earlier this week.
While it was the fourth time in five years that Cal Poly has been represented on either the men's or women's side at an NCAA Championships meet, Fierro also became the first Mustang of the recent group to score at the finals, as he recorded two points to etch Cal Poly in 46th place, a half-point ahead of Georgia Tech.
His old program record in the mile was 15:00.97, which came three weeks ago at the Pac-12 Conference Championships in Federal Way, Wash. (where he was the runner-up).
On Saturday, his time edged Minnesota junior C.J. Smith by eight-hundredths of a second as both rounded out the All-America field.
(Top-eight finishers are first-team All-Americans, while ninth through 16th are automatically awarded honorable mention slots.)
Georgia sophomore Matias Koski clinched the final first-team All-America spot by touching the wall 8.27 seconds ahead of Fierro, for eighth place.
Michigan senior Connor Jaeger, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, lived up to his No. 1 billing to win the national title at 14:29.27 (4.92 seconds back of the American record).
ESPNU will televise a 90-minute presentation of the meet at 5 p.m. April 9.
To view the complete All-America team, click HERE.
Photo by Chuckarelei Studio