In a late candidate for “most impressive age group swim of the year,” 12-year old Ethan Dang has not only annihilated his own 11-12 National Age Group Record in the 200 yard breaststroke, but he has qualified for the 2014 Winter Junior Nationals that begin next Wednesday.
Dang swam a 2:05.56 on Sunday evening at the 2014 Husky Invitational, which is raced at his home pool: the King County Aquatic Center. That’s the same pool where he will now have the opportunity to race at the 2014 Winter Junior National Championships in this 200 breaststroke next week – the time standard for that meet is a 2:05.89.
While Dang’s swim is technically after the entry deadline, USA Swimming allows times swum from December 3rd – December 7th to be used to enter the meet, though it cannot alter a swimmer’s seeding/entry time otherwise.
Dang also has the “Bonus” time standard in the 100 breaststroke, so he will be able to enter that event as well. He is also now eligible to swim both short course time trials throughout the meet and the Sunday long course time trial afterward – offering him an opportunity to chase long course National Age Group Records as well (he ages up before the long course season gets into full swing in the summer).
One achievement as impressive as the other, Dang is now almost four seconds faster than the great Reece Whitley was (2:09.40) in 2012, which was the National Age Group Record in the event up until a month ago. Taking that further, when Whitley did his swim, he was four seconds better than anybody else had ever been. Dang’s time would already rank him 29th on the all-time list of 13-14’s in the event (Whitley has that record in 1:58.39).
So fast was this swim from Dang that his split at 100 yards, 59.80, is faster than any other 11-12 in history has been. It would have been a National Age Group Record of its own if the meet were raced in a different order and he hadn’t already broken that mark on Saturday.
Whitley 2012: 29.59/32.88/33.56/33.37 = 2:09.40
Dang (Prelims): 28.95/32.75/33.88/33.44 = 2:09.02
Dang (Finals): 28.12/31.68/33.12/32.64 = 2:05.56