Shackleton enjoys first season at IU
The Indiana University men’s swimming team is winding down one of its best seasons in program history. The Hoosiers recently placed second in the Big Ten Championships, their sixth consecutive top-three finish in a conference tournament.
The Hoosiers entered the NCAA Championships, which began on March 23, as the No. 8 ranked team in the nation.
And while freshman Trey Shackleton may not have had a lead role in the Hoosiers historic act in 2015-16, the Northwestern High School grad has made a name for himself at Indiana in just his first season. It should come as little surprise after Shackleton captured six state medals in high school, including silver last year in the 500-yard freestyle.
“This is definitely one of the best teams in the modern era for Indiana,” said Shackleton. “We have a great history of good swim teams. We’re going into NCAAs ranked eighth this year, which if we can hold this rank would be the highest finish we’ve had for a long time.”
Holding one’s own at the Division I level is a challenge in itself. To crack the list of swimmers participating in the postseason, especially as a freshman, is a whole other story.
While Shackleton didn’t swim at the Big Ten Championships and won’t be participating in NCAAs, he’s accomplished plenty in his first year. Building on his distance events from high school and the club swimming at Parkland Area Aquatic Club (PAC), he holds a season best time of 4:33.33 in the 500-freestyle. He swam a 4:33.06 in the 500 freestyle in states last year.
In the much longer distance events, Shackleton’s best time in the 1,000-yard freestyle as a Hoosier is 9:33.79. He swam the 1,650-yard freestyle in 15:45.20 this year in the Hoosierland Invitational on December 5.
“They never really had anything that long in high school competition,” Shackleton said of the 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyles. “But when I was training with my club team, I would swim a lot of longer events.
“I’ve worked harder than I ever had before, and I really pushed my limits to what I never thought I would be able to do. It’s been a great experience so far.”
The biggest surprise Shackleton has seen, however, is his time in the 200-yard butterfly, an event he didn’t take too seriously in high school. But he learned quickly that when a team is in need of a swimmer to fill in an event, rising to the occasion is the best way to leave an impact.
“I’ve actually seen my butterfly develop, which is really amazing for me because I was never much of a butterfly swimmer,” Shackleton said. “All of a sudden they had me doing butterfly every so often and I dropped a lot of time.
“It was always sort of an event that was there and I was OK at it. One of the things you learn in college is when there is a hole and it needs to be filled on the roster, then there is a time you have to step up and fill it.”
Shackleton’s top time in the 200 butterfly is in 1:50.30, the 12th-fastest mark of any Indiana male in this season.
The season itself might be nearing an end, but Shackleton has no plans to take much rest heading into the offseason. In fact, he has plenty of high goals when he comes back to New Tripoli and rejoins PAC this summer.
“I’m hoping to make Olympic trials for June,” Shackleton said. “That would probably be my biggest goal going forward now.”