15-Year-Old Cavan Gormsen Breaks 4:40 in 500 FR, 16:00 in 1650 at LIAC Invite

by Spencer Penland 1

December 13th, 2020 Club, News, Previews & Recaps

MR LIAC Travel To Nowhere

  • December 11-13, 2020
  • Freedom Pool, East Meadow, NY
  • Short Course Yards (SCY)
  • Results on MeetMobile, “MR LIAC Travel To Nowhere”

15-year-old Cavan Gormsen from  Long Island Aquatic Club went 4-for-6 on lifetime bests at the “Travel to Nowhere” invite this weekend. Gormsen had two top-12 swims in the girls 15-16 all-time standings.

The 500 free was Gormsen’s top-ranking swim came in the 500 free, where she knocked a little over 2 seconds off her personal best of 4:40.75. Gormsen posted a 4:38.45, blowing right through the 4:40 barrier, and establishing herself as the #10 all-time 15-16 year old at just 15. Gormsen was very consistent on the back end of the race, splitting 53.38 on the first 100, then clocking splits of 55.83, 56.12, 56.77, and 56.35 respectively by 100 after that. Most impressively, Gormsen’s previous best of 4:40.75 was set only a few weeks ago.

Gormsen’s other high-ranking swim came in the 1650, where she had an absolutely massive drop of 20.32 seconds. Much like the 500, Gormsen broke through a barrier here as well, touching in 15:58.97 to break the 16:00 mark and demolish her previous best of 16:19.29. Although older than her previous personal best in the 500, Gormsen’s 16:19 mile time was still from only less than 2 months ago. The swim ranks 12th all-time for 15-16 girls, which, again, is an impressive feat for a 15-year-old. Also like her 500, Gormsen’s pace in the 1650 was very consistent. She split 4:48.49 on the opening 500, then clocked a 4:51.25 on the 2nd 500 for a 9:39.74 at the 1000, and split 4:52.08 on the 3rd 500. She kept the same pace through the last 50s of the race, splitting 1:27.15 on the final 150 yards, which is roughly 4:50 500 pace.

Although it’s hard to say with a 100% certainty, our research has shown that Gormsen could be just the 5th 15-year-old to break 16:00 in the mile, and possibly only the 2nd to break 4:40 in the 500. We know that Katie Ledecky, Kate Ziegler, Becca Mann, and Paige McKenna all swam sub-16:00 at 15 years old. The uncertainty comes in with the swimmers from eras before the SWIMS database, such as Janet Evans and Tiffany Cohen, both of whom were under 16:00 at 16 years old, but we can’t tell if they had reached that point at 15. It’s a similar story in the 500, where we only know for sure that Katie Ledecky broke 4:40 as a 15 year old. However, Evans, Cohen, and Tracy Caulkins were all sub-4:40 as 16 year olds, but again it’s unclear what their times at 15 were.

In addition to the distance free events, Gormsen also clocked a significant drop in the 100 free, and narrowly missed her best in the 200 free, which was set just a few weeks ago. In the 100 free, Gormsen posted a 49.94, marking yet another broken barrier for the on-fire 15-year-old. She came into the meet with a personal best of 51.20, meaning Gormsen broke both 51 and 50 for the first time tonight. Showing off her distance prowess, Gormsen split the 100 free tightly, going out in 24.32, and coming home in 25.62. She swam a similarly paced race in the 200 free, where she finishing in 1:46.24. There, Gormsen went 52.22 on the first 100 (25.27/26.95), then brought it home in 54.02 (26.97/27.05). The swim was extremely close to being another personal best for Gormsen, but she came in just .06 seconds short of her 1:46.18 top mark.

Gormsen’s other best time came in the 200 IM, where she swam a 2:04.30, which knocked nearly 2 full seconds off her lifetime best of 2:06.30. Her previous best was from December of 2019, making it the oldest broken personal best for Gormsen this weekend. Although Gormsen is primarily a freestyler, she took the IM with considerable speed. She split 26.83 on the fly leg, then 30.51 on back for a 57.34 on the first 100 of the race. Her breast split was 38.85, and she brought the race home in 28.11.

Gormsen’s final race of the meet was the 200 fly, where she touched in 2:01.55, just a bit off her best of 2:00.05. Despite all the racing she did this weekend and it being her final event, Gormsen didn’t fade down the stretch of the race. She took it out in 58.74 on the first 100, thanks to a 27.94 opening split and 30.80 on the 2nd 50. Gormsen held it together coming home, splitting 31.30 on the 3rd 50, and 31.51 on the last 50, for a 1:02.81.

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Gerri M Stepanek
9 months ago

Congratulations Cavan!