Max McHugh ends Gophers swimming career with NCAA title

McHugh competed in the NCAA Swimming and Diving tournament last weekend and claimed the 100-meter breaststroke title and finished third in 200-meter breaststroke event.

Max McHugh demonstrates the breaststroke in the Jean K.  Freeman Aquatic Center on Monday, March 11, 2019.

Jack Rodgers

Max McHugh demonstrates the breaststroke in the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on Monday, March 11, 2019.

by Alex Karwowski

Max McHugh, a fifth-year senior and team captain of the Gophers’ men’s swimming and diving team, finished out his career Saturday with an NCAA title in the 100-meter breaststroke and a third place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke.

McHugh became the seventh male in NCAA history to win three straight 100-meter breast titles and the eighth to win three titles overall. He followed up the historic day finishing out his career with a season best of 1:49:91 in the 200-meter breaststroke.

In his four trips to the NCAA Championships, McHugh never placed lower than third in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke events.

As a freshman, he was third in the 100-meter breast before claiming the first place titles in 2021 and 2022. He entered the 2023 tournament as the defending champion in the 100-meter breaststroke event.

“Defending champion, it doesn’t mean much to me,” McHugh said in a press release. “I knew defending champion doesn’t mean anything to any of my competitors, so I had to go and get it done this year.”

McHugh followed up his NCAA title with a third-place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke event the next day. He previously won second place in the 200 event in 2019, first place in 2021 and second place again in 2022.

With such an illustrious finish to his Gophers career, McHugh said he’s not quite sure what’s next for him.

“I need to make a new goal list,” he said. “I’d love to finally break out onto that international scene, try to convert to long-course a little bit better.”

Among the other Gophers competing in the tournament, the 1650-meter freestyle event had two Gophers with Top 25 finishes. Junior Chris Nagy placed 21st with a time of 14:52.23 and sophomore Bar Soloveychik was two spots behind Nagy in 23rd.

In Saturday’s prelims, junior Kaiser Neverman placed 24th in the 200-meter butterfly even. He had a time of 1:42.93, the second fastest swim in Gophers program history.

Gophers freshman Drew Bennett competed in platform diving and finished in 25th place in the preliminary round with a score of 325.55.

Minnesota finished 21st overall at the tournament. It marks the 32nd straight season with a Top 25 finish for the team.