10 Things We Noticed on Day 4 at the 2014 U.S. Junior National Championships

With the “10 things we notice” post almost fully constructed in my head, 15-year old Michael Andrew came in, as he does, at the end of the 4th day of the 2014 U.S. Junior National Championships and upset the whole thing.

As the last individual heat winner of the day, Andrew (1) won his first U.S. national championship of any form or fashion, age, open, or otherwise, with a 55.73 in the men’s 100 backstroke. He beat out Dynamo’s Michael Taylor (56.07) for the victory.

The win already slides Andrew up to 6th on the all-time 15-16 top 100 list (Ryan Murphy’s NAG Record is way out ahead of everyone else).

This meet was supposed to be Andrew’s big coming out. It was his first chance, now as a 15-16 where the records get really tough, to prove himself against the swimmers that he’s going to be fighting for spots on teams for the next decade or longer.

At the beginning of this meet, Andrew was largely a non-factor. He swam in some minor finals, and he swam a lot of best times, but if he didn’t have the history that Andrew has, he could have easily blended in with dozens of other swimmers doing the same.

Then on day 3, he took 3rd in the 100 fly, just four tenths behind Alex Valente. Then, in the 100 backstroke, he took the title. During every day of this meet, he’s gotten a little better and a little better at finishing his races. In the 100 back, he had the fastest first 50, and the fastest second 50. This is either a trend that will continue into Nationals next week, or it’s a sign that the 100 fly and the 100 back, in long course, have become his best events.

But we can’t overlook what Taylor did to place 2nd in that race. (2) He’s just going into his sophomore year of high school.

In the women’s 200 free, Stanzi Moseley (3) broke through the arbitrary two-minute barrier with a 1:59.88 to win the girls’ 200 free. She held a huge lead at 150 meters, but fell back on the anchor to the field. She’s just 16, and is the second 16-year old to go under two minutes this year (Ledecky did so before she turned 17 earlier this year).

And by the way, Stanzi? (4) it’s short for “Constanze,” which is a variant of the Latin, and much more popular, name “Constance.”

(5) after four DQ’s in prelims of the girls’ 200 breaststroke, there were another two in the A-Final of the same event. That included Emma Schanz, who was the #2 seed coming into the meet, and Allie Szekely, who was the #4 seed coming into the meet. After #3 seed Riley Scott scratched the event, that was a lot of competition for the top-seeded, 14-year old Emma Cain, gone.

But it was Emily Kopas, who came through strong in finals, that got the win.

Despite all of the success in the women’s individual 200 free, the splits, all-around, in the girls’ 800 free relay didn’t live up to the same standard.

The exception is Dynamo’s (6) Kylie Stewart. She’s one of a handful of swimmers who are in town just to swim a few relays and get warmed up this week, and in her second swim (she was also on the team’s 400 free relay) she split a 2:00.96 for Dynamo’s 6th-place relay. Nobody else was better than a 2:02.

14-year old (7) Reece Whitley was 3rd in the 200 breaststroke in 2:16.81, missing his best time. His best time was done a few weeks ago at an LSC Championship where reports were that he was just on a small drop taper, not a full taper. He was in his typical position after 100 meters, 7th place but within reach of the leaders in a 1:06.31 split. That’s faster than he was when he set the old record. While Whitley did kick things in on the 3rd 50 and then the 4th 50 , and in fact had the fastest back-half of the entire A-Final, but he just didn’t have the pop coming home to get the record.

(8) Keaton Blovad from the Tualatin Hills Swim Club, who was the youngest swimmer at the 2012 Olympic Trials at 13 years old, has reemerged on the national level. She moved to Arizona to train under Coley Stickels at the Phoenix Swim Club in the lead-up to those 2012 Olympic Trials, but afterward went back to the Tualatin Hills Swim Club in Oregon, where she had previously trained.

Blovad did swim at Winter Nationals in 2012, but doesn’t have a single long course result in the USA Swimming database from the summer of 2013.

On Saturday, she placed was 10th in 1:03.12. That’s her first finals swim of the meet so far, and was a nice swim (though in 2012 she was a 1:02.70).

The second-youngest swimmer at the 2012 Olympic Trials was Claire Adams of the Carmel Swim Club. (9) She placed 2nd on Saturday in the same 100 backstroke in 1:01.12.

And last, but not least, we’re still noticing 14-year old (10) Taylor Ruck from the Scottsdale Aquatic Club. She has yet to win an event, and in fact the 200 free on Saturday was her first A-Final of the meet. The impression she is leaving, however, is exciting. After a 2:00.14 in finals, she’s now 7th on the all-time 13-14 rankings. She finished with gusto, splitting 30.83: a full second faster than Moseley.

Sunday will be the final day of the 2014 Junior National Championships. Check back in for the final punctuation on a great 5 days of racing.

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7 years ago

The expectations heaped on MA to break 15-16 NAGs in his first few months in the age group aren’t reasonable. He just broke the 13-14 records last season, at the top of the age group, and the 15-16 records are extremely fast. Give him a little time. He has about 21 more months in this new age group to develop and improve.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Neo
7 years ago

I agree about the times.
He’s doing great in my opinion.
This week, I was more interested in watching him compete against other young talents and try to win one or two races rather than watching him swim for times.

7 years ago

Braden, Maybe you can answer my question (I only asked Bobo because it looked like he had just posted a comment), Is Michael Andrew the youngest swimmer to win a title at Jr Nat’s so far in 2014? I believe he’s the youngest male, but I don’t know the ages of many of the women.

Also, I haven’t seen it mentioned yet in any of the comments or articles here, but I believe Maxime Rooney is another one of the star swimmers at this year’s Juniors who has dual citizenship because he is half Filipino. As with Andrew, Cain, Ruck, Lee, etc I don’t think he has definitely decided to represent the US internationally. Do you have any info about… Read more »

Reply to  Danjohnrob
7 years ago

Easop Lee who won the 200 fly is 14. She also has dual citizenship with South Korea (or potentially sole citizenship there?).

Reply to  Braden Keith
7 years ago

Thanks Braden, Bobo and DMSwim, I forgot about the 200 fly, it seems like that happened a long time ago! I thought that was significant, being the youngest boy/girl to win atthis year’s Jr Nat, and wanted to point it out.

I decided to ask about Rooney, as I said, because there had been no mention of it. Also, I googled him and saw an article calling him the “Filipino Phelps”, another saying he was keeping the Philipine Swimming Assoc informed of his progress, and ranking lists for swimmers from the Philipines with his name. I didn’t want to pencil him in for the 2020 Olympic relay if he’s not going to swim for us! 🙂

Reply to  Braden Keith
7 years ago

Braden, you’re amazing! I can’t believe how hard you guys work here at SwimSwam or how quickly you address even questions from unimportant fans like me! 🙂

bobo gigi
Reply to  Danjohnrob
7 years ago

Yes. Easop Lee is the youngest winner of the meet so far.
About the citizenships, Mr Rooney will swim next week at US Nationals so he probably wants to represent USA. I don’t know. it’s just a supposition.
I don’t see Michael Andrew swim for a country other than USA. Her future is red, white and blue.
Emma Cain has swum for GB at the last European junior championships. I think she has chosen.
The big question for me is Taylor Ruck. She will not swim next week at US Nationals. It looks like Missy, another US-Canadian dual citizen, hasn’t convinced her yet to represent USA. 🙂
Of course these are pure suppositions from myself.… Read more »

bobo gigi
7 years ago

Talking about the 200 free, elsewhere in USA this week….
Southern Zone championships
13-year-old Zach Hills from Kentucky swam a crazy fast 1.55.29!
Fastest time ever for a 13-year-old US boy!
Results here

bobo gigi
7 years ago

Great recap.
If I had to be a stickler (new word learned), I would say that something about the boys’ 200 free misses. Very good race between Haas and Rooney with fast times at the end. They represent the future of the event in USA with Bentz and Conger.
Andrew’s first US national title was the story of the evening. I imagine it’s always a very important step in a career.
Is it the first of many others? Nobody knows.

Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

Bobo, I know that a lot of 13-14 girls and 15-16 boys have made finals or done well at this meet, but is MA the youngest to actually WIN a title?

Reply to  Danjohnrob
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe
7 years ago

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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