16-Year-Old Jacob Whittle Cranks Out 48.76 100 Meter Free in Long Course


Swimming in the A final at the 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials, 16-year-old Jacob Whittle swam to a new British age group record in the 100 freestyle with a 48.76.

Heading into the meet Whittle had a PB of 49.97 from back in 2019 and lowered it to a 49.31 in the prelims. By getting down to a 48.76 he becomes the fastest 16-year-old in British history, beating out Matthew Richards‘ former age group record of 48.88 which he swam at the 2019 European Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia.

For reference to just how fast a 48.76 is from a 16-year-old, we can take a look at how fast 2016 Olympic Champion Kyle Chalmers was at that age. In April 2015, Chalmers posted a 48.89 at the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships & World Championship Trials to take out Cam McEvoy‘s previous mark of 49.70. Just one year after that age group record by Chalmers, he went on to become Olympic champion in the event with a 47.58 World Junior Record which stood until October 2020 when Andrei Minakov lowered it to a 47.57.

Chalmers is the gold standard, globally, for 16-year old sprinters.

Whittle is also faster than the reigning world champion in the event Caeleb Dressel was at age 16. In 2013, Dressel posted a new US 15-16 age group record of 49.28; a mark that still stands today. Dressel has gone on to dominate the international scene in the long course 100 freestyle, winning gold at 2017 Worlds with a 47.17 and again in 2019 with a 46.96. Dressel is also one of three men to ever crack 47 seconds in the event and is the closest swimmer to Cesar Cielo’s 46.91 world record from 2009.

Duncan Scott pulled off the win in the event at 2021 British Trials with a 47.87 while Matthew Richards followed with a 48.23. Tom Dean reached the podium with his 48.51 and Whittle’s record-breaking 48.76 was good enough for fourth. While Whittle was just over the Olympic selection standard of 48.35 and this is not the sole qualification opportunity for the British Olympic squad, it could end up being fast enough for a spot on the 4×100 freestyle relay.

By hitting a 48.76, Whittle ties David Cumberlidge as the 6th fastest man in British history. Scott matched his own British record in the event while Matt Richards and Tom Dean became the 3rd and 5th fastest British men in the event’s history.

All-Time 100 Freestyle Ranking – Great Britain

  1. Duncan Scott – 47.87
  2. Simon Burnett – 48.20
  3. Matt Richards – 48.23
  4. Adam Brown – 48.48
  5. Tom Dean – 48.51
  6. Ben Proud – 48.52
  7. Lewis Edward Burras – 48.58
  8. Jacob Whittle / David Cumberlidge – 48.76
  9. Calum Jarvis – 48.79

Whittle’s swim also undercuts Duncan Scott‘s 17-year-old age group record of 49.09 from 2015 and gets him just 0.10 seconds away from Scott’s 48.66 18-year-old record.

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28 days ago

wasn´t Popovici faster than Chalmers at 16?

Reply to  Rafael
28 days ago

Popovici was 49.2 I think

28 days ago

This one’s going to the very top – Well done young man!

28 days ago

How do they select relays?

U.K. Coach
Reply to  Swammer
28 days ago

They add Cam Kurle and Dan Wallace and then also take everyone else who beat them.

Reply to  U.K. Coach
28 days ago


Success Leaves Clues
Reply to  U.K. Coach
28 days ago

Thank goodness they did. Without Dan Wallace the 4×200 team doesn’t win a medal!!

Thomas Selig
Reply to  Success Leaves Clues
28 days ago

Yeah in fairness the Dan Wallace pick paid off in Rio: good relay splits and made the 200 IM final, so can’t argue too much with that one. The Cam Kurle pick in Gwangju also worked out OK: did his job in qualifying the relay for the final. The Nick Pyle pick on the other hand…

Anyway, here’s the relevant part of the GB selection process on freestyle relays:
“The top four finishers in each of the Open Final of the 100m and 200m Freestyle events will be ranked as a relay team on the basis of their combined Open Finals time against the time in Table 1. This may qualify the relay for consideration but it does not… Read more »