An American record and two NAGs highlight explosive night 4 at 2014 Winter Juniors

2014 Winter Junior Nationals

Girls 1650 free

  • Meet Record: 16:02.79 – Amber McDermott, 2008
  • 11-12 NAG: 16:34.13 – Chloe Sutton, 2005
  • 13-14 NAG: 15:54.46 – Becca Mann, 2012
  • 15-16 NAG: 15:15.17 – Katie Ledecky, 2013
  • 17-18 NAG: 15:13.30 – Katie Ledecky, 2014

Texas Ford’s Gabrielle Kopenski made her first foray under 16 minutes, winning the girls 1650 in 15:56.39. It’s easy to forget how big the 16-minute barrier is with Katie Ledecky lowering all the National Age Group records so far, but this swim from Kopenski comes within 2 seconds of the 13-14 NAG and would put her into the top 20 for 17-18-year-old swimmers in history in the event.

She finished about 12 seconds up on second place, which actually came out of the morning heats. Erin Earley of Hopkins Mariner dropped 11 seconds from her lifetime-best to go 16:08.20 in the early heats. That time held up for second overall, as did the next four times from those morning swims.

Third overall was the Denver Hilltoppers’ Haley Rowley, a Purdue commit who went 16:11.17 in the morning heats, and she was followed by Erin Emery (16:12.21), a Minnesota commit from the Sandpipers of Nevada. The two will both see each other plenty next year in the Big Ten conference.

Magnolia’s Joy Field was next in 16:17.08, and the second finisher in the final heat, Santa Clara’s Sandra Soe, took sixth in 16:22.98.

Also finishing top 8: Karling Hemstreet of Nitro (16:23.36) and Lakeside’s Lauren Pitzer (16:23.99).

Boys 1650 free

  • Meet Record: 14:55.32 – Mathias Koski, 2011
  • 11-12 NAG: 16:17.80 – Nick Caldwell, 2006
  • 13-14 NAG: 15:14.17 – Arthur Frayler, 2008
  • 15-16 NAG: 14:51.81 – Matthew Hirschberger, 2014
  • 17-18 NAG: 14:38.22 – Jeff Kostoff, 1984

Sean Grieshop has been one of the unquestioned stars of this meet, and he put up maybe his finest swim on the final day. Grieshop went 14:45.40 to crush both the meet record and the 15-16 National Age Group record in the 1650 free.

It’s been a crazy week for that record. Prior to last week, Jeff Kostoff‘s 1982 mark hadn’t been bettered in over 30 years. But now it’s fallen twice in one week, as DC Metroplex’s Matthew Hirschberger broke the mark just last week at Senior Nationals with a 14:51.81. Now Grieshop takes 6 more seconds off that time with a swim that stands up as the 4th-best 1650 free done this season for swimmers of any age.

Grieshop’s 16-year-old teammate Taylor Abbott took second place, going 15:01.46 to give Nitro, which has been firing on all cylinders this week, a 1-2 sweep. Just behind was Parkland’s Sam Magnan in 15:05.26.

The top finisher from the afternoon heats, Loveland’s Liam Gately, wound up fourth overall, putting up a 15:10.26. Right behind him was another afternoon swimmer, Santa Clara’s Michael Messner, who was 15:13.65.

Jerad Kaskawal of FAST (15:15.08) and Eric Ng of Scarlet (15:15.28) also jumped into the top 8.

Girls 200 back

  • Meet Record: 1:50.59 – Clara Smiddy, 2013
  • 11-12 NAG: 1:58.31 – Alexandra Walsh, 2014
  • 13-14 NAG: 1:51.07 – Missy Franklin, 2010
  • 15-16 NAG: 1:50.66 – Kylie Stewart, 2013
  • 17-18 NAG: 1:48.42 – Missy Franklin, 2013

Scottsdale (AZ) 14-year-old Taylor Ruck won her third event of Winter Nationals, going 1:53.13 in the 200 back to complete a sweep of the backstroke events in Federal Way.

Ruck, a Canadian national, is starting to get into elite territory in multiple events, and this one sees her only about two seconds off what Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin went at the same age. In addition to her 100 and 200 back and 500 free wins, Ruck also won the 400 IM B final earlier this week.

Hopkins Mariner’s Eryn Earley was second in 1:54.61 – she swam the 1650 free earlier today, and although she was lucky enough to swim in the afternoon heats instead of the final, that 1650 free/200 back double is still very impressive.

Third went to Boulder City Henderson’s Abby Richter, who was the top qualifier out of prelims. Richter was 1:54.88, just behind Earley and besting her prelims time by a few tenths.

Missoula’s Hanni Leach finished fourth in 1:55.52. Schroeder YMCA’s Ashlyn Schoof went 1:56.20 for fifth, followed by another 1650 free/200 back doubler, Denver Hilltoppers’ Haley Rowley. Rowley was 1:57.00 after taking third in the mile behind Earley.

A pair of Nitro swimmers closed out the A final, with 15-year-old Regan Barney going 1:57.03 and 17-year-old Karling Hemstreet (yet another swimmer coming out of the 1650) eighth in 1:59.66.

Boys 200 back

  • Meet Record: 1:40.79 – Jacob Pebley, 2011
  • 11-12 NAG: 1:53.42 – Destin Lasco, 2014
  • 13-14 NAG: 1:43.15 – Michael Andrew, 2014
  • 15-16 NAG: 1:40.90 – Ryan Murphy, 2011
  • 17-18 NAG: 1:37.35 – Ryan Murphy, 2014

Dynamo’s Michael Taylor broke through with his first win of Winter Juniors, going 1:42.61 in the 200 back. That’s a lifetime-best for him, displacing his prelims swim, and moves him to about a second and a half off the 15-16 NAG record held by NCAA star Ryan Murphy. Taylor is just 15 years old.

After dropping a whopping four and a half seconds in prelims, Cypress Fairbanks 17-year-old Braxton Flowers went another tenth faster in the final to hang on for silver. His 1:44.24 just outlasted Brennan Balogh of Lincoln Select, who was 1:44.29.

Canyons’ Jessie Kim went 1:44.75, edging out SwimAtanta’s Jordan Ross (1:45.05) for fifth. Closing out the A final were Lakewood’s Daniel McArthur (1:45.79), Aquazot’s Daniel Tran (1:45.92) and Austin Swim Club’s Josh Artmann (1:50.61).

Girls 100 free

  • Meet Record: 47.78 – Abbey Weitzeil, 2013
  • 11-12 NAG: 50.27 – Missy Franklin, 2008
  • 13-14 NAG: 47.94 – Missy Franklin, 2010
  • 15-16 NAG: 47.73 – Simone Manuel, 2013
  • 17-18 NAG: 46.75 – Simone Manuel, 2014 (Unofficial: Manuel – 46.62 – 2014)

Chalk up a third event win for Stanzi Moseley, who takes the 100 free in 48.44. Moseley, 16, has now swept the 50, 100 and 200 frees for Roadrunner Aquatics, and without swimming any other events or relays, will leave Winter Juniors with the rare distinction of being completely undefeated. Moseley even put up the top time in all three of her prelims swims.

She had to fight hard for this one, as Scottsdale’s Taylor Ruck was on a tear for her second-straight event win. Ruck, coming off the 200 back, trailed by four tenths at the 50 mark, but put together a furious comeback over the final 50 yards to go 48.54 – just a tenth behind Moseley.

Y-Spartaquatics’ Katrina Konopka also got under 49 seconds, going 48.86 to put the entire podium in the 48s.

Lakeside’s Lauren Pitzer, who made top 8 in the mile earlier today, took fourth here in 49.06. Pitzer didn’t win an event this weekend, but was very impressive in her range. She won the B final of the 50 free and took 2nd in the 200 and 500, along with 4th here and 8th in the 1650.

Pine Crest’s Marta Ciesla was 49.29 for fifth, with KING’s Ashley Sutherland (49.54) just behind. Denver Swim Academy teammates Annie Ochitwa (49.65) and Brooke Stenstrom (49.77) took 7th and 8th in the A final.

In the B final, Aquazot’s Eva Merrell, who broke the 100 fly NAG earlier this week, put up a 49.40 to take 9th overall.

Boys 100 free

  • Meet Record: 42.85 -Caeleb Dressel, 2013
  • 11-12 NAG: 47.89 – Vinny Marciano, 2014
  • 13-14 NAG: 43.90 – Michael Andrew, 2014
  • 15-16 NAG: 43.05 – Ryan Hoffer, 2014
  • 17-18 NAG: 42.34 – David Nolan, 2011

Repeating his arc from the 50 free on Thursday, Scottsdale’s Ryan Hoffer re-broke his 100 free National Age Group record in the final, going 42.67.

That makes Hoffer the first 16-year-old under 43 seconds in this race, and lowers his NAG record from this morning by almost a half a second. Hoffer has been dominant this meet, as this is his fourth win and his fifth NAG record-breaking swim, counting both prelims and finals of the 50 and 100 free along with the 100 fly final last night.

Runner-up honors went to Michigan Lakeshore’s Tabahn Afrik in 43.88. Afrik was one of four boys just under the 44-second barrier, but he managed to get his hand on the wall first.

Third place was Andrea Vergani of the Bolles School in 43.91. Just outside of podium-range: Upper Dublin’s 200 free winner Michael Jensen (43.95) and Nitro’s Tate Jackson (43.96).

Mark McGlaughlin of the Iowa Flyers went 44.10 for sixth, followed by another Bolles School Shark, Tyler Rice, in 44.50. Dynamo’s Knox Auerbach rounded out the heat in 44.80.

Girls 200 breast

  • Meet Record: 2:10.03 – Mary Olsen, 2010
  • 11-12 NAG: 2:15.64 – Alexandra Walsh, 2014
  • 13-14 NAG: 2:10.22 – Allie Szekely, 2012
  • 15-16 NAG: 2:08.11 – Caitlin Leverenz, 2007
  • 17-18 NAG: 2:05.99 – Annie Zhu, 2013

Top-seeded Emma Schanz took care of business in the 200 breast final, cutting another half-second to earn the Junior National title for the Spokane Waves.

Schanz was 2:10.85, putting together a big back half to run down JCC Sailfish Lauren Barber for the win. Barber actually led 1:01.80 to 1:02.34 at the halfway point, but Schanz went 33.7 followed by 34.7 on her final two 50s to run down Barber, who was a narrow second in 2:10.89.

Metroplex’s Vanessa Pearl also jumped onto the podium, dropping almost a second from prelims to go 2:12.37. Barely off the podium were Riley Scott (2:12.64), Ella Eastin (2:12.68) and Nora Deleske (2:12.72).

Rounding out the A final were Grace Zhao of Palo Alto in 2:13.22 and Hershey’s Allie Raab at 2:15.33.

Boys 200 breast

  • Meet Record: 1:55.88 – Steven Stumph, 2012
  • 11-12 NAG: 2:09.37 – Ethan Dang, 2014
  • 13-14 NAG: 1:57.87 – Reece Whitley, 2014
  • 15-16 NAG: 1:54.87 – Andrew Seliskar, 2013
  • 17-18 NAG: 1:52.21 – Andrew Seliskar, 2014

The boys 200 breast had some unique drama – in the championship final, top-seeded Jeremy Babinet of Palo Alto put up the field’s fastest time at 1:56.64, only to be disqualified out of the win. It appeared the officials signaled the infraction at the 100-turn, suggesting either a one-handed touch or a pullout violation.

That left Oregon 18-year-old Thomas Brewer of the Current in the driver’s seat. Brewer nearly ran down Babinet late, and went 1:57.04 to ultimately take home the win. That’s a three second drop from his prelims time.

East Bay’s Carson Sand took home silver, going 1:58.09. That topped Palo Alto’s Joe Kmak, who was 1:58.58.

Also under two minutes in the A final: Georgia Coastal’s Brennan Pastorek (1:59.40) and 100 breast champ Blair Bish of the Arkansas Dolphins (1:59.67).

Rounding out the A final were James Daugherty of the Bolles School (2:01.00) and So Cal’s Billy Monjay (2:01.54).

But perhaps the story of the event came in the B final, where Michael Andrew actually put up the fastest time of the entire event, better than both Brewer and Babinet.

Andrew was 1:56.57 to win that heat, a lifetime-best by three seconds and probably the best swim we’ve seen from him since he aged up into the 15-16 division. Andrew is now within two seconds of the 15-16 NAG in the event, set by Andrew Seliskar.

Girls 200 fly

  • Meet Record: 1:55.26 – Megan Kingsley, 2013
  • 11-12 NAG: 2:00.00 – Madison Wright, 2009
  • 13-14 NAG: 1:56.01 – Cassidy Bayer, 2013
  • 15-16 NAG: 1:52.99 – Mary Meagher, 1981
  • 17-18 NAG: 1:52.92 – Janet Hu, 2014

Ella Eastin came down with her third win of the weekend, going 1:54.37 to take the 200 fly in a new meet record. Eastin, coming off the 200 breast just a few heats earlier, showed no signs of fatigue, actually throwing down a 28.79 to close the race after swimming 29-mids on both of the middle 50s.

Second went to Iowa Flyer Ruby Martin, who blasted a lifetime-best 1:56.68. She’s now just six tenths off the 13-14 National Age Group record of 1:56.01 held by Cassidy Bayer, though it appears, based on USA Swimming’s SWIMS database, that Martin aged up from 14 to 15 today. If that’s the case, she punctuated her birthday with a lifetime-best and a silver medal at Winter Juniors.

Martin just beat out Aquazot’s Sonia Wang, who took third in 1:56.82.

Razorback Aquahawgs 15-year-old Taylor Pike was 1:57.59 for fourth, with the duo of Paige Maynard (1:58.02 for Davis Arden) and Victoria Edwards (1:58.13 for Longhorn) right behind.

Rounding out the A final were Dakota Luther (1:58.68, also for Longhorn) and Amy Okada (1:59.46 from Royal Swim Team).

Brittany Usinger won the B heat, going a 1:57.64 that would have put her fifth in the championship heat.

Boys 200 fly

  • Meet Record: 1:43.64 – Sam McHugh, 2013
  • 11-12 NAG: 1:57.62 – Andrew Snabes, 2003
  • 13-14 NAG: 1:45.39 – Michael Andrew, 2014
  • 15-16 NAG: 1:42.10 – Michael Phelps, 2002
  • 17-18 NAG: 1:41.52 – Tom Shields, 2010

After getting disqualified from his primary event, the 200 back, in the preliminaries today, Upper Dublin’s Michael Thomas made up for it in the best way he could: by winning the 200 fly at finals.

Thomas put his outstanding underwaters to work, picking up ground off of each wall to go 1:44.33 for the win. That’s a drop of about a second and a half for Thomas from his best, and not having to swim the 200 back at finals had a silver lining: Thomas was fresh enough to go almost three seconds faster than he did in prelims.

Second was Matthew Grauslys of Executive Swimming, who went 1:45.14, a full-second drop from his prelims swim as well.

Bolles School Shark Javier Barrena went 1:46.01 for third place, just bouncing Zach Harting (1:46.30) and Mason Tenney (1:46.56) off the podium.

Bluefish’s Max Miranda went 1:46.87 for sixth, with Palo Alto’s Lucca Martins (1:47.39) and the Bolles School’s Joey Carbone (1:49.18) rounding out the A final. Carbone had to win a swim-off to make the final this morning.

Girls 4×100 free relay

  • Meet record: 3:17.93 – SwimMAC, 2013
  • 13-14 NAG: 3:24.37 – Aquajets, 2012
  • 15-16 NAG: 3:20.84 – Longhorn, 2007
  • 17-18 NAG: 3:18.55 – SwimMAC, 2014
  • 15-18 NAG: 3:16.58 – Palo Alto Stanford, 2010

Once again it was Abbey Weitzeil providing the relay fireworks for Canyons Aquatic Club. The high school senior blasted one final insane 46.29 to crush the 17-18 NAG record, the American record and the U.S. Open record in the 100 freestyle.

Weitzeil has been lights out all week. You can read more about her fantastic swim here, but the short version is that Weitzeil is now the fastest swimmer ever over 100 yards, displacing the American record set by Simone Manuel at 46.62 and the U.S. Open record held by former Auburn NCAA champ Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace at 46.61. And she crushed both those marks by three tenths.

Her Canyons crew rode that huge wake to pick up the Junior National title in 3:18.51. Joining Weitzeil on the relay were Tamara Santoyo, Mik Ranslem and Alexa Skorus-Neely. Santoyo was 50.69, Ranslem 51.20, and Skorus-Neely, the youngest member of the team at just 15, held her own with a 50.33, the team’s second-fastest split overall.

Y-Spartaquatics took second, going 3:20.75. Katina Konopka was 48.55 on the anchor leg, a solid time for the Arizona commit. Y-Spartaquatics also got a 50.08 leadoff leg from Ali Galyer.

Scottsdale wound up third in 3:20.91. That team featured a 50.76 leadoff leg from senior USC commit Victoria Toris, as well as a 48.80 from 14-year-old Taylor Ruck.

Boys 4×100 free relay

  • Meet record: 2:55.89 – Bolles, 2012
  • 13-14 NAG: 3:10.47 – Scottsdale, 2013
  • 15-16 NAG: 3:01.01 – Upper Dublin, 2014
  • 17-18 NAG: 2:56.15 – SwimMAC, 2013
  • 15-18 NAG: 2:56.15 – SwimMAC, 2013

The Bolles School took home the boys 400 free relay to cap off an eventful Winter Juniors. The team of Tyler Rice (44.33), Jabari Baptiste (44.09), Grady Heath (45.86) and Andrea Vergani (43.48) went 2:57.76 to win by about two seconds.

Scottsdale were the early leaders, using 100 free champ Ryan Hoffer as their leadoff leg. Hoffer was 43.35 on that split, not long after his 42.6 in the individual 100.

But Bolles struck back through the rest of the relay to ultimately take home gold. Also running down Scottsdale were the boys from Palo Alto. Benjamin Ho (45.05), Joe Molinari (44.93), Jeremy Babinet (45.66) and Albert Gwo (43.91) combined to go 2:59.55 for second place.

Scottsdale’s crew settled for third, getting a 44.04 from anchor Jack Blake to go 2:59.73.

Also breaking three minutes were the fourth-place finishers, Canyons Aquatic Club. Senior Cole Cogswell, a Stanford commit, was 43.76 on the leadoff leg, helping the team go 2:59.82.

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bobo gigi


Girls’ 1650 free. Gabrielle Kopenski
Boys’ 1650 free. Sean Grieshop with a new 15/16 NAG record. Sub 14.50.
Girls’ 200 back. Taylor Ruck 1.53?
Boys’ 200 back. Michael Taylor
Girls’ 100 free. Stanzi Moseley with a new meet and 15/16 NAG record.
Boys’ 100 free. Ryan Hoffer with a sub 43.
Girls’ 200 breast. Emma Schanz
Boys’ 200 breast. Jeremy Babinet
Girls’ 200 fly. Ella Eastin
Boys’ 200 fly. No idea.

bobo gigi

Boys’ 200 fly. Michael Thomas


It’s uncanny.


I’m not as confident as you about Eastin taking the 2Fly. Assuming she doesn’t scratch the 2Breast that’s a tough close double, and Wang almost hit her own seed time in prelims.

bobo gigi

I made my predictions in one minute without watching the prelims. It’s based just on my instinct. 🙂
I didn’t see that Ella Eastin had a 200 breast just before. You’re right. It’s a tough double.

bobo gigi

Big swim for Miss Kopenski in the 1650 free!
New meet record and only 2 seconds off the 13/14 NAG record.
She impressed me last summer with her smooth and long stroke.
And she has no fear of attacking hard her races.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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