The weekend that Sydney bronze medalist Chris Thompson set an American record in the 1,500-meter freestyle, he also swam the 1,000-yard free. He clocked 9:00.
Freshman John Cole went 9:04 last weekend.
It was his first collegiate swim.
"Even though the 1,000 is not an NCAA event, his time is competitive with the best in the country," said sophomore teammate Dan Shevchik
The 9:04.07 was a personal best for the 6'1 Harrington Park, NJ native, whose previous best had been a 9:09.
The meet was the men's season opener against Army and Columbia, and Cole had won the event by an almost unheard-of 30 seconds. Sophomore teammate John Persinger came in second.
"I think he's been training awesome," Persinger said "He works really hard. He'll be a great asset to the team, especially because we lost Tim Martin and Brian Cadman to graduation [last spring] and [sophomore] Andrew McConnell to injury."
Last summer, Cole placed 12th in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the Olympic Trials held in Indianapolis. Over the course of his high-school career, Cole was named state champion five times.
The freshman is also a member of the 2001 National Junior Team, a select group chosen based on swimmers' performance at national-level competition.
Cole won the 500 freestyle last Friday night, touching at 4:27.57. The time qualified him for the "B" standard in NCAA competition, and his teammates have little doubt that his times will improve before that meet in March.
"I think he's primed for a good season," Persinger said. "He was certainly psyched to swim in a college dual meet."