14-Year-Old Luka Mijatovic Scorches Another NAG Record During 800 Free Win in 8:07.96

by Riley Overend 22

June 11th, 2023 Club, National, News, Records


Luka Mijatovic continued rewriting the U.S. boys’ 13-14 national age group (NAG) record book on Sunday at the George F. Haines International Swim Meet in San Jose, California.

The Pleasanton Seahawks 14-year-old cruised to victory in the 800-meter freestyle by nearly 12 seconds with a winning time of 8:07.96, breaking a NAG record held by Evan Pinion (8:08.75 in 2009) for the second time in less than 24 hours.

On Saturday, he blazed a 3:56.36 in the 400 free to take down Pinion’s previous standard of 3:57.61. He now owns five NAG records after taking down three SCY standards (500 free, 1000 free, and 1650 free) over the past six months.

Mijatovic shaved more than two seconds off his previous-best 8:10.30 from April, which moved him up third all-time in the NAG rankings behind Lleyton Plattel (8:09.74) and Pinion (8:08.75). Before April, his lifetime best in the 800 free was an 8:30.89 from last July.

Mijatovic now owns a U.S. 2024 Olympic Trials cut in the 800 free, under the standard of 8:09.69, before he has even started high school.


  1. Luka Mijatovic – 8:07.96 (2023)
  2. Evan Pinion – 8:08.75 (2009)
  3. Lleyton Plattel – 8:09.74 (2017)
  4. Andrew Abruzzo – 8:15.84 (2014)
  5. Michael Phelps – 8:16.10 (2000)

Mijatovic only logged three splits above 31 seconds, during the sixth, eighth and 10th laps of the race. He opened with a 27.51 split, then clocked a 30.63, 30.50, 30.72, 30.77, 31.03, 30.70, 31.22, 30.84, 31.36, 30.82, 30.91, 30.72, 30.74, and 30.30 before scorching home in 29.19.

At 14 years old, Mijatovic is already the eighth-fastest American in the world this year. He touched almost 12 seconds ahead of 21-year-old rising Cal senior Jack Meehan (8:19.66).

On Sunday morning, Mijatovic posted a personal-best 52.78 in the 100 free, dropping more than two seconds off his previous-best 55.09 from April. He’s been on a tear this weekend, firing off his NAG record Saturday on the back end of a double featuring the 200 back, where he placed third in a personal-best 2:10.31. He dropped more than half a second off his previous-best 2:10.98 from prelims. Before this weekend, his lifetime best in the event was a 2:13.40 from April.

On Friday, Mijatovic placed fourth in the 200 free in 1:51.70, crushing his previous best by more than three seconds and moving him up to second all-time in his age group behind only Thomas Heilman (1:51.27). On Thursday, he kicked off the meet by shaving almost a minute off his best time in the 1500-meter freestyle with a 15:47.19, just about 16 seconds away from Jesse Vassallo’s legendary 13-14 NAG record of 15:31.03 from way back in 1976.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

These splits indicate that there is a current in this pool. All the even splits are slower than the surrounding odd splits. Wonder what he could do in a non currented pool.

Reply to  Ross
1 year ago

Probably the same, just more consistent splits. The only time currents matter are for 50s. If you swim an even number of laps, the advantage one way plus the disadvantage the other way equals nothing.

Swim Alchemist
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

For non LCM 50s, currents are a net disadvantage (the disadvantage against the current is “more bad” than the advantage with the current is good). Though it is very small.

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

Vector calculus shows this is not correct. But just think about it. If the current were 3 mph a swimmer traveling at 2 m/sec in a neutral pool would go ~ 20 seconds the first 50 but the second 50 would take an hour. You spend more time going against the current at the slower pace, and therefore your overall pace is slowed.

Swim Alchemist
Reply to  Ross
1 year ago

Noticed this too.

Reply to  Ross
1 year ago

Or he just races like he trains and negative spits 100s

4 kick pullout
1 year ago

Just wow. Keep it up kid, and congrats. Don’t be afraid to go after those Thorpey times. Full send baby!

Ceccon - Kamminga - Milak - Popovici
1 year ago

The next Ian Thorpe


Have you looked at the list of guys that are also in the top 5 of the 13-14 all-time ranking?
Evan Pinion: Who?
Lleyton Plattel: Who?
Andrew Abruzzo: Who?
Michael Phelps: Amazing swimmer, no doubt, but he never did anything in the 800 free at senior level.

Mijatovic would be the first to do anything of note at the senior level in the 800 free.

Tea rex
Reply to  Sawdust
1 year ago

Love seeing this and remembering Phelps was a NAG-level distance swimmer. I think he just moved away from that because at Olympics the 400 was on the same day as 400 IM, 800 didn’t exist, and there were more medals to chase at 100/200 than trying to go up to 1500.

Foreign Embassy
Reply to  Sawdust
1 year ago

Evan pinion swam at Tennessee. I don’t believe he ever scored. Lleyton is/was at ASU but I don’t think made the pac-12 team. Andrew Abruzzo swam at Georgia. I believe he consoled at ncaas. Definitely a challenge to go this fast this young and continue making waves in college. But I hope he does!

Philip Johnson

Yeah, let’s calm down on this. The kid is a great swimmer, but I have seen nothing thus far to think he’s the next Thorpe.

1 year ago

Seeing Cal bears lose to a middle school kid made my day

1 year ago

I assume he’ll swim at world trials no? Cuz with competition next to him he might be resetting those records and setting new ones by a lot.

1 year ago

He got an Olympic Trials cut before his first day of high school.

Matt Fallon Goat
1 year ago

The fact that he’s posting times like this and is still 15+ seconds off vassallo’s nag really says something about that record

Reply to  Matt Fallon Goat
1 year ago

For now…that record could be gone very soon. Luka just turned 14 and has the summer to go.

Reply to  Matt Fallon Goat
1 year ago

I think he had a bad swim in the 1500 though. Surely, if he can swim an 8 07 in the 800 then he should be able to do a sub 15:40 in the 1500.

1 year ago

14 year olds out here beating cal seniors by 12 seconds. what in the world

Reply to  KSW
1 year ago

i would reevaluate my life choices at that point ngl

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

Read More »