Two 13-year-old swimmers punched tickets to Omaha for the 2020 Olympic Trials last night.
Swimming at the 2019 Pink A+ Invitational, 13-year-old Illinois swimmer Leah Hayes of the Fox Valley Park District Riptides took 2nd in the 400 IM last night at the University of Iowa pool. Her time of 4:50.99 breezed past the 4:51.79 OT cut and took seven seconds off of her old best. It’s Hayes’ first OT cut, and she is the youngest swimmer qualified for the meet right now.
Just a couple of hours later at the Mission Viejo Swim Meet of Champions, Jillian Cox of Austin Trinity Aquatic Club smashed her personal best to go 4:16.27 in the 400 free, slipping under the 4:16.89 OT cut.
The first 13-year-old to qualify for OTs was Wisconsin’s Maggie Wanezek. She is qualified for OTs in the 100 back, and she’s also 13. Hayes is the youngest, followed by Wanezek, and then Cox.
Last night, Hayes also took second in the 200 free (2:02.90) after she came into the meet with a 2:04.29 from last summer. This morning in prelims, she posted a 27.53 in the 50 free, 1:07.64 100 back, and 2:40.69 in the 200 breast, hitting a PR in the 100 back by over a second. Cox placed 11th in the 400 free in a much tougher field of swimmers in Mission Viejo. Cox’s 400 free time was the only best time she’s hit so far, and she took a huge chunk off of her old best (4:19.95).
Hayes’ times from last night move her to 32nd and 35th in the 400 IM and 200 free, respectively, in the 13-14 age group. With a fall birthday, she won’t turn 14 until after the summer, and she won’t age up out of the age group until fall of 2020. The 13-14 NAG records sit at 1:58.53 in the 200 free (Sippy Woodhead, 1978) and 4:38.76 in the 400 IM (Becca Mann, 2012). For Cox, she moves to 33rd in the 13-14 age group rankings in the 400 free, chasing Woodhead’s 4:07.15 legendary NAG.
This is Hayes’ second LCM meet since last summer. In May, she went 1:14.85 in the 100 breast, 2:34.97 in the 200 fly, and 2:21.92 in the 200 IM, of which the 200 fly was a best. This the fourth LCM meet of the year for Cox.
Hayes, who was the 2018 Sports Illustrated SportsKid of the Year, currently holds six NAG records: four in LCM in the 10 & under category (100 free, 200 free, 50 breast, 200 IM) and two in SCY in the 11-12 category (100 breast and 400 IM).