14-Year Old Erika Pelaez Hits Olympic Trials Wave 2 Cut in 100 Free – 55.51


With the two Olympic veterans Alia Atkinson and Bruno Fratus, along with Saturday night’s rainstorm, moved on, it was time for the teenagers to shine on the final night of the Piranhas Senior Invite in Florida.

14-year old Erika Pelaez of Eagle Aquatics, who was already one of the youngest Olympic Trials qualifiers, has now become one of the youngest Wave 2 Olympic Trials qualifiers after a 55.51 in the 100 free on Sunday.

Her winning time undercuts her own personal best of 56.03, which was already a Wave 1 cut, as well as the Wave 2 standard of 55.56.

Pelaez’s swim now ranks her as the 3rd-fastest American 13-14 in the history of the event, behind only a pair of Olympic medalists.

Fastest 13-14 American Women in History, 100 LCM Free:

  1. Missy Franklin – 54.03 (2009)
  2. Lia Neal – 55.00 (2009)
  3. Erika Pelaez – 55.51 (2021)
  4. Erin Gemmell – 55.87 (2019)
  5. Liz Pelton – 56.00 (2008)

Under the new two-tier USA Swimming qualifying system, she’s now eligible to swim all races at the faster Wave 2 meet where she has at least a Wave 1 cut. That includes now the 50 free and 100 back.

This week, she won those races along with the 200 free and the non-Olympic 50 back. She also swam a best time of 2:17.72 to finish 3rd in the 200 backstroke on Sunday – the only non-winning finals swim of her meet.

That 200 back victory went to 16-year old Julia Podkoscielny, who swam a new best time of 2:14.16. That gives her a new Olympic Trials Wave 1 cut in the event.

She previously added a new Wave 1 cut in the 400 IM (4:44.83) at this meet, dropping almost 6 seconds to get there. She also won the 200 IM on Saturday in the rain, though she didn’t swim a best time.

A third Olympic Trials cut went on the board from a teenage girl on Sunday when Maddie Smutny opened the finals session with a 2:14.37 win in the 200 fly. Smutny, a high school sophomore, swims for SoFlo Aquatics (the same club as the aforementioned Atkinson).

Her best time entering the meet was 2:15.75, and her Sunday swim dipped under the 2:14.59 Olympic Trials Wave 1 standard.

Smutny is now the fastest 15-year old in the country in that event this season by half-a-second.

Other Sunday Highlights:

  • Joey Carbone of Saint Andrew’s Aquatics won the 200 fly in 2:02.30, which bucks the youth trend a little. The 24-year old former Yale swimmer now trains with Saint Andrews Swimming in Boca Raton. His lifetime best in the event is a 2:01.56 from 2015 when he was still in high school.
  • 17-year old Reese Branzell, another Saint Andrew’s swimmer, won the boys’ 100 free in 50.52, which along with his 50.57 in prelims improved his lifetime best by seven tenths of a second. That leaves Branzell, a high school senior and Georgia commit, just shy of the Wave 1 Olympic Trials cut of 50.49. He now ranks as the second-fastest 17 & under in the country this season, behind only top recruit Sam Hoover.
  • SoFlo’s Jessica Yeager won the 200 breaststroke in 2:34.27. Yeager was scheduled to be racing her freshman season at Princeton this year, but the Ivy League canceled their winter sports seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally from the Austin, Texas area, Yeager has been living and training in Florida.
  • Julio Horrego won the men’s 200 breastroke in 2:18.31, which is about a second-and-a-half shy of his best time.
  • Puerto Rican swimmer Yeziel Morales won the 200 back by five-and-a-half seconds, touching in 2:01.51. He is the Puerto Rican record holder in that event at 2:00.27.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

1 Comment
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

FWIW, both Erika and Maddie train almost exclusively in 25 yard pools.

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, …

Read More »