15-Year Old Keaton Jones Picks Up an Olympic Trials Cut in the 100 Back


  • September 25-27, 2020
  • Centennial Pool, Kingman, Arizona
  • LCM (50 meter pool)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “Swim Neptune Invitational”
  • Day 1 Recap

Day 2 of the Swim Neptune Invitational, which saw several teams from Southern California cross the border to race against Arizona’s Swim Neptune.

The day saw a morning and evening session raced with the same lineup of events. It wasn’t a true ‘prelims/finals’ setup, rather anybody who wanted to got a 2nd swim – which was not hard to pull off given the relatively-few entrants.

The highlights of Saturday’s racing was a pair of young swimmers who rewrote their own personal record-books: 15-year olds Keaton Jones and Macky Hodges.

Jones, of the host Neptune Swim, swam 1 race in each of the day’s 2 sessions and came away with a pair of best times.

In the morning, that was a 56.42 in the 100 back. That undercuts his previous best time of 57.56 by more than a second. His new best time makes Jones the 8th-best 15-year old American in this event in at least the last decade. It also dips him under the Olympic Trials standard, giving him a 3rd cut – in 2019, he already hit the standard in the 200 back.

In the evening session, Jones swam 4:02.28 in the 400 free, which cut almost 3 seconds off his prior previous best. That’s 3 best times in 3 swims for him, following a 14-second improvement in the 800 free on Friday. His 800 free time, thanks to an altitude conversion, also counts as an Olympic Trials cut.

His fellow 15-year old, Mission Viejo’s Macky Hodges, also was perfect on lifetime bests in her swims on Saturday. Early on, she swam 57.86 in the 100 free (.33 second improvement) and 27.07 in the 50 free (.07 second improvement). She finished her day with a new best time of 2:19.17 in the 200 back, a .79 second improvement. She swept the event wins in the 100 and 200 back.

The other highlight of the day was Sam Pearson, who is supposed to be starting her freshman season at Stanford this year but is representing Team Elite at this meet.

Pearson, who is still registered in the USA Swimming database to the Socal Aquatics Association, was slower than many of her seed times, but was actually faster than her lifetime bests almost across the board on Saturday.

  • 50 free – 25.69 (previous best: 26.04)
  • 100 free – 55.57 (previous best – 57.64)
  • 100 fly – 1:00.49 (previous best – 1:03.69)

The only race where she didn’t swim a best time was in the 200 fly, where she was 2:21.16, but has been a 2:17.

36-year old Ous Mellouli also made an appearance on Saturday. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has only swum a handful of meets since the 2016 Olympic Games, including just 4 races total in the last 3 seasons. This weekend in Arizona he swam 1:57.41 in the 200 free, 4:05.26 in the 400 free, and 8:39.12 in the 800 free – times that don’t indicate a serious run at the Tokyo Olympics.

Other Notables on Saturday:

  • Israeli National Teamer Andi Murez swam a 55.68 in the morning and followed that with a 55.18 in the evening. Her best time is 54.20, swum at the 2017 World Championships, and she was as fast as 54.85 earlier this year, prior to the global coronavirus outbreak. She added a 26.14 in the 50 free.
  • Justina Kozan, one of the top age groupers in the country, joined the fray on Saturday after not racing Friday. She recently switched teams from BREA Aquatics to join Mission Viejo. Kozan swam 3 races on Friday, including a 57.69 in the 100 free, 1:04.69 in the 100 back, and 1:13.54 in the 100 breast. All of those swims were short on her season bests.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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, …

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