FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Forget that it was the slowest winning 50-yard freestyle time in six years. For the Feigen family, senior Jimmy Feigen’s first-place finish on Thursday in the NCAA Championships was a sprint of beauty.

“Oh my goodness,” Mike Feigen said from the stands as he celebrated his son’s first NCAA title. “We’ve been waiting and waiting. And last year was so close.”

2011 wasn't his only close call. As a freshman he finished second in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle. As a sophomore, Feigen was fourth in the 50 and second again in the 100. In his junior year, he finished third in the 50 and second in the 100. And the margins in all of those events was minimal.

Which is why Mike Feigen exclaimed, “This is it! This is what we’ve been waiting for for years and year.”

His son admitted the race, which he completed in 19.01 seconds, was a blur. He finished seven one-hundredths of a second faster than USC’s Vladimir Morozov.

“You know, every race is the same. You dive in and pretty much black out,” Feigen said.

“I wish I had a better answer, but you black out and the training takes over. I’ve probably swam hundreds and hundreds and thousands and thousands of 50s in my lifetime. Each one feels the same, whether you go a 20.5 or a 19.0. It’s all out and it’s all tiring.”

Feigen had the fastest time in the prelims, 19.03. Then at night he led off the Texas 200-relay in 19.10.

“The prelim swim was interesting. It felt real, real smooth. The smoothest 50 I’ve ever had. It felt really great.”

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Perhaps that’s why his coach, Eddie Reese, has an interesting way to describe his stroke.

“If you watch his stroke, we call it pretty down South,” Reese said. “He just swims so pretty. He’s got a great future and he’s honestly just started. He’s going to be something else.”

“I knew great things were going to be coming after the morning swim,” Feigen said. He was right.

In the 50 individual race, Feigen burst out to an early lead that he never lost.

“I expected better things tonight, to be honest. But I’m not going to sit here and complain. I won the event against a great field,” Feigen said. “So either way I’m happy.”

He rolled his eyes when asked about finally breaking through.

“Oh, yeah. A long time. It’s been great. My four years have been really great and the NCAA meet has been really good to me.  Finally, I’m a senior and it feels like things are starting to pick up. It’s my time. I’m a senior and the spotlight is kind of getting thrust in my direction. And I’m ready to accept that.”

He'll have all the spotlight he wants on Saturday, swimming the showcase race of the meet, the 100 free.

“That’s my signature event,” Feigen said, “so let’s hope we can see great things in that one.”

Reese was asked if he had to counsel Feigen after all those tough losses.

“I just had to counsel him to work harder,” Reese cracked.

Thursday, he finally congratulated the 22-year-old who, Mike Feigen pointed out, started swimming at five.

“That’s a lot of hard seats,” Mike Feigen joked, “and a lot of hot pools.”

His son laughed.

“This year, woo-hoo! I won it.”