2014 US Junior Nationals: Okubo at home, leads 200 fly after day 1 prelims

Wednesday morning kicks off the U.S. Junior National Championships, featuring many of the rising age group stars who have been rewriting the National Age Group record books this season.

Day 1 prelims will include the 200 fly and 100 breast for both genders, with heats of the girl’s 800 free and boy’s 1500 free to follow in the afternoon. The top-seeded heats of each distance event will race with the final tonight.

The best race of the entire meet might be tonight’s boys 100 breast, where national high school record-breakers Jacob Molacek and Connor Hoppe are among the top seeds, along with incoming Cal freshman Nick Silverthorn and age group phenoms Michael Andrew and Reece Whitley.

Michelle Cefal leads the girl’s 200 fly, fresh off her freshman season with Tennessee. The men’s race features Youth Olympic Games team member Justin Wright, plus Aquazot’s standout Corey Okubo and NAG record-breaker Alex Valente. Kyrgystani Olympian Daria Talanova is atop the women’s 100 breast, with 16-year-old Kate Herrill and Michigan commit Carolyn McCann in tow.

We’ll be here every step of the way at Juniors, recapping each event as it happens. So keep refreshing this page for live updates and post your own fan commentary in our comments section.

2014 US Junior National Championships

Girls 200 Fly

Chattahoochee Gold’s Lauren Case rocketed to the meet’s first overall top seed, hacking a full second off her lifetime-best to go 2:12.01. Things will be extremely close behind her in tonight’s final, though, as most of the top seeds didn’t hit their seed times and could have something left in the tank for finals.

14-year-old Easop Lee is the 2-seed, going 2:12.08 for NBAC, and she’s been 2:11 before in her career. The Redlands’ Sonia Wang was also 2:12 this morning, going 2:12.78 to grab an inside lane for tonight. She and Lee will flank Case in the final.

Isabella Paez of Metro Aquatic Club in Miami went a lifetime-best 2:13.44 to take fourth. The incoming Duke commit finished just behind Case in her preliminary heat. Also from that heat was Madison Wright of Kingfish, who went 2:13.45 for the 5-seed.

SwimMAC’s Caitlin Casazza sits sixth in 2:13.73. The final two championship heat slots went to young swimmers, 15-year-old Longhorn Aquatics flyer Victoria Edwards and 14-year-old Madison Homovich of North Coast Aquatic. Edwards was 2:13.86 and Homovich 2:13.96 as the entire top 8 got under 2:14 on the morning.

Carmel Swim Club’s Veronica Burchill leads a B final that will also include the top pre-meet seed Michelle Cefal, who qualified 13th.

Boys 200 Fly

Swimming right in his Southern California backyard, Aquazot’s Corey Okubo took the top seed in a tough boy’s 200 fly with a 1:58.89. Okubo, beginning what should be a busy weekend for him, was the only swimmer under two minutes, though that should change dramatically in the final.

KING’s Mathias Oh went 2:00.00 for the second seed, cruising to the win in the final circle-seeded heat. That’s a lifetime-best for Oh by 1.2 seconds, and he should have a great shot at his first-ever sub-two-minute swim from lane 5 tonight.

From just outside of the circle seed came Arizona Gold’s Mark Jurek, the third seed after smashing four full seconds off his PR with a 2:00.34. Jurek also had one of the field’s better final 50 splits, which should make him fun to watch tonight. North Baltimore’s Cole Buese went 2:00.63 to sit just behind in the 4-spot before another huge dropped checked in. Upper Dublin’s Michael Thomas hadn’t been under 2:14 prior to this summer, but he went 2:00.80 for 5th place.

Mathew Grauslys of Executive Aquatic Club in New England went 2:00.89 for sixth, the last of five straight swimmers in the 2:00-range. The final two A final qualifiers were Zach Harting (2:01.12) and Maxime Rooney (2:01.43).

Girls 100 Breast

Lindsey Horejsi out of Atlantis Swimming in Minnesota took the top breaststroking seed, going 1:09.59 to win the final preliminary heat. That displaced KING’s Carolyn McCann, who had led the standings up until that heat. McCann, a Michigan Wolverine prospect, went 1:09.77 to hang onto the two-seed, as Horejsi’s heatmate Jorie Caneta out of Roadrunner Aquatics went 1:09.89 to finish just behind McCan in the standings.

Shorewood (WI) Swim Club’s Rachel Munson is the fourth seed, going 1:10.18. Things got tight from there, with the entire rest of the championship heat qualifiers going 1:10 this morning. Lauren Barber of the Jewish Community Center Sailfish took fifth from a very early heat, going 1:10.21. That’s over a three-second drop from her previous best.

15-year-old Nikol Popov of Canyons went 1:10.69 for sixth, with 16-year-old Allie Szekely seventh in 1:10.81. The final A-heat spot went to Madison Winstead out of Highbridge Aquatic of Kentucky. Winstead went 1:10.89.

Emma Cain, a 14-year-old who trains in Great Britain and has dual citizenship, went 1:11.00 to head the B final.

Boys 100 Breast

There are some huge names in this event, but it was a gigantic time drop from Canyons’ Peter Kropp that nabbed the top seed. Kropp, and 18-year-old rising sophomore at Duke University, went 1:02.21 for the top spot, cutting over a second and a half from his lifetime-best. That’s also faster than anyone else’s seed time coming in, meaning Kropp could be in line for a big title push tonight.

National High School record-holder Jacob Molacek went 1:03.03 for the second seed, about a tenth off his best long-course time. Competing for Greater Omaha Aquatics, he’ll take lane five tonight, with the Arkansas Dolphins’ Blair Bish third in 1:03.13.

15-year-old Chandler Bray of Avon Community in Indiana went 1:03.18 for fourth, a drop of over a second for him. He tied for that spot with Connor Hoppe, the other national high school record-breaker. Hoppe, swimming for Clovis Swim Club, cut about three tenths of his own.

Louisville’s Todd Owen went 1:03.35 for the 6th seed, with Ross Palazzo (1:03.38) and Curtis Ogren (1:03.47) joining him in the final.

Current Swimming’s Tommy Brewer will lead the B final after going 1:03.53. That heat will include Cal prospect Nick Silverthorn, 14-year-old NAG rec0rd-holder Reece Whitley (who was just a tick off his own NAG at 1:03.87 for the 14th seed), plus 15-year-olds Michael Andrew and Corey Lau, who tied for 15th at 1:04.03.

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7 years ago

What email do we have to supply on USA Swimming to watch the live stream? Never had to do this in the past.

C Martin
7 years ago

They’re not yellow, but it’s good USA Swimming decided to make lanes 4 and 5 another color (navy blue vs. red in the other lanes). I’m liking what I’m seeing — ‘Murica!

bobo gigi
Reply to  C Martin
7 years ago

Your favorite Max Miranda is going to swim in the 200 fly prelims!
You still think he will break the NAG record? 🙂
1.59 is a crazy crazy crazy fast time for a 14-year-old boy.

bobo gigi
Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

2.02.54 for him. New PB. Not bad at all.
He’s now the second US 13/14 performer in history behind Michael Phelps and his 1.59.02.

C Martin
Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

Maybe I am not as good at predicting times as yourself, Bobo, but my swimming senses are tingling and tell me he will improve his back half and post a low 2:01 in finals.

Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

For perspective, when Phelps swam 1:59 in the fly, a 2:11 placed me top 5 in the same age group. Phelps was almost 10 seconds faster than anyone in his age group.

7 years ago

I’m watching now!!!

7 years ago

does anyone know in which meet Justin Lynch might be swimming in?

Reply to  calswimfan
7 years ago

Probably Nationals

7 years ago

I hope Wright is just saving it up for the YO games or another later summer meet….

Reply to  James
7 years ago

I’m afraid she might be stuck. Essentially the same fly times for 4 years now.

bobo gigi
Reply to  jman
7 years ago

I believe James talked about Justin Wright. Not Madison Wright.

Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

thanks but only Madison was mentioned above in the article

7 years ago

Michael Andrew seems to be swimming well. New PB by three seconds in the 200m fly with a 2:03.54 and goes a 1:04.03 in the 100m breast, which is his second fastest time ever.

Kirk Nelson
Reply to  Crannman
7 years ago

That 200 fly may have been a PB, but it was not a well swum race. He was ten seconds slower on his second 100. Not trying to bag on Michael, just pointing it out…

Reply to  Kirk Nelson
7 years ago

His 50 splits really tell the story: 26.64/30.26/32.74/33.90. It still shocks me when numerous kids (not just Andrew) at this level just go out and die in the 200 fly. If you look at Cole Buese he was out a second slower than Andrew at the 100 but came home 4 seconds faster! Just as a point of reference Andrew is a 1:45 in yards and Buese is a 1:48.

Reply to  Kirk Nelson
7 years ago

Not too many morning races are swum very well in the a.m.

Reply to  whoknows
7 years ago

No, but one thing we can agree on is that all of the morning races are swum in the a.m.

7 years ago

Allie Szekely is 16, not 14.

bobo gigi
7 years ago

Girls’ 200 fly
Very open race. No clear favorite. I would pick Easop Lee for the win. She has a great finish.
Nice new PB for 14-year-old Madison Homovich in 2.13.96. It was 2.16.22 before the race.

Boys’ 200 fly
Corey Okubo seems to be the man to beat. He has been great all season, very consistent around 1.58. Can he swim 1.56 tonight?
2.02.54 for 14-year-old Max Miranda. 2nd 13/14 US performer in history.
New PB for Michael Andrew in 2.03.54. It was 2.05.65 from last week.

Girls’ 100 breast
Again a very open race. Miss Horejsi was second at the last US short course juniors. She’s the slight favorite. Emily Weiss 3… Read more »

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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