While 14-year old Michael Andrew and 13-year old Reece Whitley spent the weekend assaulting the National Age Group Record books, 11-year old King Aquatic Club swimmer Ethan Dang made his mark as the next in the impressive run of age group breaststroking we’ve seen.
Though he didn’t quite get any official records, Dang put up incredibly impressive times at the PNS 14 & Under Short Course Championships in Federal Way this weekend.
He finished 2nd in the 11-12 100 yard breaststroke with a 1:03.10, behind only 12-year old Kevin Houseman and his 1:02.89.
In the 200, the race wasn’t even close, and Dang swam a 2:14.60 to win ahead of the runner-up Houseman by 8 seconds.
Dang will have about four seconds to go in the 100 and five seconds to go in the 200 to get Whitley’s National Age Group Records, but he’s already ranked 8th on the all-time 11-12 list in the 200, despite being on the younger end of the age group.
There’s no official records for 11-year olds kept in the United States, but dating back to at least 2001, the fastest 11-year old breaststroker was Michael Andrew at 1:03.17, and the fastest 200 is a 2:19 by Brian Tsui. Whitley didn’t end up having his big breakout until he turned 12 (he was only a 2:30 in the 200 at 11, for example), but Dang’s margins in this event are really incredible. Consider also that Dang is not nearly as tall as Andrew or Whitley were at the same age – those two are notable in that they’re very tall for breaststrokers at any age, whereas Dang seems to have yet to hit his growth spurt (he’s right around 5 feet tall), and his times are still competitive.
At some point, he is probably going to have to compete against his two predecessors, and at that point, he can’t use his height as an excuse if he doesn’t grow to match their gargantuan proportions, but for now Dang is using incredible technique to put up incredible times.
Dang was also a 2:04.9 in the 200 IM, a 29.5 in the 50 breast, a 58.3 in the 100 IM, and a 24.23 in the 50 free. In that 50 free, he placed 2nd to Vlad Elizarov of the Bellevue Club, who was 24.22.
Full meet results available here.