2013 Swammy Awards: Age Group Swimmer of the Year – 15 to 16

Anne Lepesant
by Anne Lepesant 4

January 07th, 2014 Club, News

15-16 Girls

Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital Swim Club, Alexandria VA

We didn’t have to give this one much thought: Katie Ledecky is just mind-blowingly fast (in fact, she’s so fast she could make Honorable Mention for the 15-16 boys’ list!) for a swimmer of any age, let alone as young as sixteen.

At the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona this summer she broke two World Records en route to winning three individual gold medals: 400m free, 800m free, and 1500m free. In the 800 she eclipsed the previous world record of 8:14.10, set by the UK’s Rebecca Adlington at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with a 8:13.86; and in the 1500 she crushed Kate Ziegler’s 2007 mark of 15:42.54, going an unbelievable 15:36.53. Furthermore, Ledecky became only the second woman ever to dip under the 4:00 mark in the 400 at the same meet, setting the American record with 3:59.82.

At home she rewrote the record books for 15-16 girls with NAGs in:

  • 200y free             1:42.03
  • 500y free             4:31.38
  • 1000y free           9:14.22
  • 1650y free           15:15.17 (American record)
  • 400m free           3:59.82 (American record)
  • 800m free           8:13.86 (World, American records)
  • 1500m free         15:36.53 (World, American records)

Ledecky also swam for her high school, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, MD, where she took down another of Kate Ziegler’s records: At the 2013 Metro Championships Ledecky swam 4:33.14 in the 500 free to claim the national high school record. Ziegler’s mark of 4:33.35 had stood untouched since 2006. At the same meet she broke Missy Franklin’s independent school record in the 200 free with a 1:42.96. Franklin had set that record in 2012 going 1:43.15.

Ledecky ended the year with a monstrous 1650 at Winter Nationals. Swimming against the top milers in the country, she lapped her closest competition once –and most of the field twice– en route to an absolutely stunning 15:15.17. That was a nine-second obliteration of the old record of 15:24.35, set by Katie Hoff in 2008.

Ledecky turns seventeen in March. Until then, who knows what she is capable of? We’ll see soon enough as the 2014 Metros take place in February.

Honorable Mention:

  • SwimMAC Carolina’s Kathleen Baker ended the year with fifteen swims in the top ten for 15-16 girls. They included the 100m free, 100/200m back (number one in both), 200m fly, 200m IM (number one), 400m IM. In the short course season she was top-ten in 100/200y free, 100/200y back, 100/200y breast, 100y fly and 200/400y IM. In other words, Baker is up at the top of just about everything.
  • Becca Mann of Clearwater Aquatic Team was only fifteen this year but in her first year in the age group she managed top-ten times in the 200/400/800/1500m free, 200m fly, 200/400m IM as well as 500/1000/1650y free, 200y fly, and 400y IM. In the distance frees she was second only to Katie Ledecky. Mann’s biggest success, though, came not in the pool but in open water swimming, where she finished second in the 10K at Nationals to earn a spot on the 2013 World Championship Team. She swam in both the 5K and 10K at 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, and won gold in the 1500 at 2013 FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai.
  • Katie McLaughlin of Mission Viejo Nadadores emerged as one of the top junior swimmers in the country in 2013. McLaughlin won High Point Award at Summer Juniors and went on to represent the U.S. in Dubai where she won the 200m fly. She claims the second-fastest ever 200m and 200y flys in the nation for 15-16 girls, behind only Mary T Meagher. Her top ten finishes include 50/100/200m free, 100/200m fly, 50/200y free, and 100/200y fly. McLaughlin set Southern California Division I high school records in both the 200y free and 100y fly.
  • Ella Eastin of SOCAL Aquatics Association has been setting records since forever. This year she set the national high school record in the 200y IM, and meet records in the 200m/400m IM at Summer Juniors, the 400m IM at 2013 FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai, and the 200y/400y IM at Winter Juniors. She ended the year with top-ten swims in the 200m free, 100m back, 200m fly, 200/400m IM, 500y free, 200y back, and 200/400y IM.
  • First Colony Swim Team sprinter Simone Manuel became a household name in swimming families all over the country when she anchored the medley relay to victory in the tiebreak event at 2013 Duel In The Pool. Earlier in the year she broke two NAG records in the 50y free (22.04) and 100y free (47.73). The 50 had belonged to Janet Hu (22.13 from 2012); the 100 to Dagny Knutsen (47.80 from 2008).

15-16 Boys

Andrew Seliskar, Nation’s Capital Swim Club, McLean VA

It really doesn’t matter which age group you throw him into… Andrew Seliskar will come out on top. The first nine months of the year he was a member of the 15-16 age group, where he tore up the record books in breast and IM. When he moved on to the 17-18s at the end of September he began his climb to the top of that group as well.

As a sixteen-year-old, Seliskar ended 2013 with an astounding 18 top-ten swims, including an impressive quantity of number ones. These include 100m free (10), 200m free (7), 100m breast (2), 200m breast (7), 100m fly (3), 200m fly (1), 200m IM (1), 400m IM (1), 50y free (10), 100y free (5), 200y free (2), 500y free (2), 100y breast (1), 200y breast (1), 100y fly (5), 200y fly (1), 200y IM (1), 400y IM (1).

Seliskar set a meet record in the 200 fly at Summer Juniors, and only just missed the 200 IM mark with his 2:00.21 victory. His performances earned him a spot on the National Junior team traveling to the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai where he set a meet record (1:56.42) and won gold in the 200 fly. Though he finished fourth in the 200m IM in Dubai, he cut another half-second off his 15-16 NAG record time and became the first American 16-year-old under 2:00 in the IM.

Seliskar won’t turn eighteen until he goes to college, which gives him two more summers to have a go at the 17-18 NAGs. Although he’s never swum a long course event as a 17-year-old, his times from last summer would place him third on the all-time list in the 200m fly, fifth in the 200m IM, 19th in the 100m fly, 24th in the 100m breast, and 31st in the 400m IM.

NAGs in 2013:

  • 200m IM              1:59.84 (beat Michael Phelps’ 2001 record of 2:00.86)
  • 100y breast         53.26 (Cody Miller’s 2008 mark of 54.38 was broken by three 15-16 boys in 2013 – Tommy Brewer 54.32, Carsten Vissering 53.87, and Seliskar)
  • 200y breast         1:54.87 (beat Cody Miller’s 1:56.46 from 2008)
  • 200y IM                1:44.03 (beat Gunnar Bentz’s record of 1:45.17 from 2012, which beat Ryan Murphy’s 1:45.77 from 2011, which beat Michael Phelps’ 1:46.30 from 2002)

Honorable Mention:

  • Caeleb Dressel of Bolles School Sharks spent half the year in the 15-16 age group and half in the 17-18 age group. He aged out of the 15-16s with national age group records in the 50m free (22.39), 100m free (49.28), and 200m free (1:48.64) free, as well as top-ten times in 100m fly and 200m IM. He ranked second in the 50y/100y free behind Ryan Hoffer (see below) and was top-ten in the 200y free and 100y fly as well. More about Dressel’s accomplishments in the 17-18 article.
  • NOVA of Virginia Aquatics’ Townley Haas picked up a NAG record of his own, taking down Michael Phelps’s 500 free of 4:18.12 from 2002 with his 4:17.45. He also had the number one 400m free in the nation, and was a top-ten finisher in the 100/200/800m and 100/200/1000/1650y free events.
  • Ryan Hoffer of Scottsdale Aquatic Club, although barely fifteen, is already the owner of two 15-16 NAGs. He broke Caeleb Dressel’s records in the 50y and 100y free with 19.54 and 43.13, respectively. Hoffer also wound up with top-ten times in the 100y back and 100y fly after aging up. Hoffer, who was fourteen most of the year, also made our list for 13-14 boys.
  • Nation’s Capital Swim Club’s Carsten Vissering became the first 15-16 boy to go under 1:02 in the 100m breast when he broke the NAG with 1:01.94, erasing Christian Higgins’ 2009 record of 1:02.29. He also finished the year on top in the 200m breast and in the number two spot in both the 100y and 200y breast.


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It’s interesting how Justin Lynch made the top 3 performances of the summer for USA Swimming as a whole, but didn’t make this article. Still, a great job to everybody, and I hope 2014 is outstanding as well.

bobo gigi

You’re right. He broke the 100 fly 15/16 NAG record of Michael Phelps in 52.75.


wow. your “honorable mention” of the girls reads like any one of them could have taken this title. can we remember another moment where there were THIS MANY good girls all at once?

also – i wish people talked a bit more about how Ledecky’s 400 free is the “First non-suited sub-4 minute” in history. it’s hard to take Pellegrini’s record all the seriously given she hasn’t come within 3 seconds of it in 5 years and it was all in the suit era swirl. that 400 free should get more cred as there is a strong argument saying that THAT time is actually the WR, too….

bobo gigi

About Miss Ledecky’s 400 free, you should read more often my comments. 🙂
I repeat again and again it’s in my opinion her greatest accomplishment of the year. 3.59 in textile is amazing. It will be very hard but I hope she will break that record next summer.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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