2014 US Junior Nationals: Bilquist & Haas lead 100 frees after day 2 prelims

The second day of Junior Nationals is set to kick off in Irvine, California this morning. After an action-packed first night, day 2 is scheduled for some entertaining showdowns as well.

Carmel Swim Club’s Amy Bilquist comes into the meet with top seeds in three races, and she’ll tackle the first of those races this morning. She leads the final circle-seeded heat of the 100 free, with JCC Waves’ Lindsey Engel and NBAC’s Heidi Miller heading the other two.

The boys 100 free will be a well-rounded battle feature Redlands swimmer and Cal commit Kyle Gornay along with Greater Omaha/Auburn’s Jacob Molacek and distance freestyle stud Townley Haas.

The 400 IMs have been broken into A and B flights. Unfortunately, the hyped showdown between Corey Okubo and Curtis Ogren won’t happen in the boys race, as Okubo has scratched, focusing on the 200 back instead this morning.

The other event this morning is the 200 back, where 15-year-old phenom Erin Earley leads the girls field with her outstanding seed time of 2:10.95 from earlier this summer.

Check out our prelims preview here and keep refreshing this page for event-by-event updates all morning.

2014 US Junior National Championships

Girls 200 Back

16-year-old Allie Szekely won the opening circle-seeded heat to take top billing in the girls 200 back and held on through the final two heats. Her 2:12.39 will hold up as the top seed heading into tonight. That turned out to be by far the fastest heat of prelims, as the top three seeds all came out of it.

Cameron McHugh, who finished second in that heat to Szekely, will be the second seed after going 2:13.30. Third-place Claire Adams of Carmel Swim Club is the three-seed in 2:13.45.

Coming in with a short-course yards seed, Y Spartaquatics 18-year-old Danielle Galyer roared to the fourth seed from an early heat. She went 2:14.00, which is a lifetime-best in meters by three seconds.

Top-seeded Erin Earley went 2:14.02 to jump into the A final, well off her previous best of 2:10. We’ll find out tonight if Earley bagged her prelims swim, or if she’s perhaps saving a full rest and shave for Senior Nationals next week.

Emma Schanz went 2:14.46 for sixth, Sidney Sell 2:15.01 for seventh and Grace Ariola rounded out the top 8 with a 2:15.14. Relegated to the B final is 4th-incoming seed and Stanford prospect Ally Howe of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, who went 2:15.59. She’s the 10th seed, and will take a middle lane in the consol final alongside 9th-place Emma Seiberlich (2:15.51).

Boys 200 Back

Dynamo’s Michael Taylor cut four seconds off his seed time to blow away the prelims field in the boys 200 back. Taylor, just 15 years old, went 1:59.27 and leads the finalists by over a second. Closest to him is Badger’s Patrick Conaton, who went 2:00.50 to win the heat just before Taylor.

Firestone Akron’s Joey Reilman is close behind at 2:00.73 – he was the winner of the other circle-seeded heat. Second in that heat was Patrick Mulcare, who is now the fourth seed in 2:01.61.

Last night’s 200 fly winner Corey Okubo sits fifth after going 2:02.00. He dropped the 400 IM later today and can focus completely on this backstroke race in the final. His Aquazot teammate Thomas Smith is the next seed, at 2:02.16.

Sarasota YMCA’s Austin Katz came out of an early heat to make the A final. His prelims time was 2:02.44. SwimMAC’s Nathan Murray will be the final entrant into the championship heat. He went 2:02.71 this morning.

Girls 100 Free

Carmel’s Amy Bilquist engaged in a quick dual with Roadrunner’s Stanzi Moseley in the final heat, with Bilquist winning 54.88 to 55.03. Those two 16-year-olds will be the top seeds tonight and will meet again in those two middle lanes. Third place in that heat was Bilquist’s Carmel teammate Claire Adams, who went 55.89 for the third overall seed.

Katrina Konopka of Y Spartaquatics in South Carolina went 55.97 and sits fourth, the last girl under 56 this morning. There’s a bit of a dropoff after her. Natalie Labonge, fresh off a freshman season with upstart NC State, went 56.41 for fifth. A third Carmel girl, Veronica Burchill, made the A final – Burchill went 56.45, underscoring why those Carmel relays have been so dominant as of late.

15-year-old Paige Madden of the City of Mobile in Alabama came from an early heat to nab the last guaranteed final spot, going 56.47. After her, Megan Moroney and Lauren Pitzer tied for 8th place at 56.51, setting up a potential swim-off for the last finals spot. The winner will grab lane 8, while the loser will head to the consols to face Taylor Ruck of Scottsdale Aquatic Club.

Update: Moroney won the swim-off, going 56.32 to take control of the A final spot. That’s two-tenths faster than she went in prelims. Pitzer was 57.50 and will lead the B. In addition, Melissa Pish and Claire McIlmail swam-off for 24th, with the 14-year-old Pish showing great poise in going 56.90 to earn another swim tonight. McIlmail went 57.47.

 Boys 100 Free

It was a more distance type who took over the boys 100 free this morning, with NOVA of Virginia’s multi-distance freestyler Townley Haas taking the top seed in 50.39. Haas, who is probably best in the 400/500 distance, showed some incredible range in driving down even closer to that 49-second range. Haas cut two tenths off his PR this morning in taking the number one slot.

Just behind him is Dynamo, Georgia product Knox Auerbach, who went 50.45 and could make this a race tonight. That’s a full second drop off his best as he and Haas separated themselves from the field by about a half second.

Pleasanton’s Maxime Rooney is the third seed in 50.96, joining the top two under 51. The next three guys were right on the edge of cracking that mark: Michael Jensen (51.04) Tabahn Afrik (51.05) and Michael Domagala (51.07). The final swimmer into the top 8 was the Bolles School’s Tyler Rice in 51.13. Following suit with the girls’ race, Kyle Decoursey of Zionsville in Indiana and Machine Aquatics’ James Murphy tied for 8th in 51.23, setting up a swim-off for the last A final spot. Just two hundredths back of that swim-off was Jeff Newkirk, who will lead the B final along with the swim-off loser.

Update: Murphy went 51.08 to beat Decoursey for the championship final spot. Decoursey was just .08 behind in 51.16.

 Girls 400 IM

Kim Williams out of Bellevue Swim Club won the second-to-last A-flight heat with the fastest overall time. Her 4:45.97 leads by a little more than a second. Things can change in a hurry in this race, though, where many of the top swimmers will save something for finals.

Savannah Faulconer and Leah Stevens engaged in a back and forth in the final heat, with Faulconer eventually winning and the two putting up the second- and third-fastest times of the morning. Faulconer was 4:47.19 for Y-Spartaquatics and Stevens went 4:47.72 for Lakeside.

Indiana’s Lauren Edelman went 4:49.56 to in the heat before that, and she ends up as the fourth seed. Just behind her in that heat was Hannah Kastigar, who sits fifth in 4:50.74 for Aberdeen Swimming.

14-year-old Chritin Rockway had a nice swim to go 4:51.11 for Tampa Bay – that’s a 1.3 second drop from her seed. Behind her is Sonia Wang (4:51.20) and another 14-year-old, Madison Homovich out of NCAC in North Carolina, snuck into the A final with the 8th seed. Homovich went 4:51.23.

 Boys 400 IM

Palo Alto Stanford’s Curtis Ogren is the clear-cut top seed in the boys 400 IM, leading all comers by over two seconds this morning. Ogren, who will stay in Palo Alto to attend Stanford next fall, went 4:18.77, within a second of his best. With Aquazot’s Corey Okubo scratching out of this race, Ogren will mostly be racing the clock tonight.

Ian Rainey won the other circle-seeded heat in 4:20.82 to take the second seed and an inside lane alongside Ogren tonight. That time is three seconds better than his seed. Cascade’s Abrahm Devine was 4:22.00 from that heat to sit third overall.

Austin Van Overdam from Cypress Fairbanks was second to Ogren in his heat and sits fourth overall at 4:23.12. Just behind is Premier Aquatics’ Benjamin Walker (4:23.36) and Tualatin Hills’ Patrick Mulcare (4:24.08), also from the same prelims heat.

Aquazot’s Alex Peterson sits seventh in 4:24.22, and the last A final spot went to SwimAtlanta’s Tom Peribonio in 4:24.28. Just missing the A heat by .3 was Michael Messner out of Santa Clara. Messner will lead the consols at 4:24.58.


Finals begin tonight at 6 PM California time.

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bobo gigi

New PB for the youngest swimmer of the meet, 12-year-old Alexandra Walsh, in the first heat of the 200 back.
2.21.46 for her.
She’s now the 10th 11/12 US performer in history.
Crazy fast NAG record of 2.15.17 by Miss Beisel! 😯

bobo gigi

I love Szekely’s backstroke technique!
It’s so cool, smooth, long, slow, easy, as you want.
It looks like she sleeps in the water while the others fight in the water.
She almost makes Vyatchanin look like a backstroker with fast arm movements. 🙂
I remember reading she has powerful legs thanks to cross-country.


Bobo Mon Cheri,

Backstroke is supposed to be swam with high arm turnover, not slow like “sleeping through it.”
The main propulsion is from the pull not kick. More strokes, more pull, faster you go. Arm recovery must be fast. I understand you French like things slow and deliberated, I appreciate that very much, back in backstroke that is not recommended, if you know what I mean, wink, wink.

bobo gigi

I didn’t know you had a backstroke degree as well.
However I’m not sure you have a French degree.


Yes, I am. I got PhD in backstroke and French in 1969.

bobo gigi

It’s amazing what happened in 1969!


I used to think that way about backstroke and I liked swimming the 200 back for that reason as I always felt I was “thrashing” on the 50 and 100 back. But I was slow, and in reality, few backstrokers now have the necessary power and technique to be successful without a relatively high tempo. Szekely has great technique but may need to increase her tempo to be more successful over time.

bobo gigi

Possible but I talked more about beauty.
I prefer watching Irie on backstroke rather than any other swimmer.
The young Lasco is in the same category.
They are artists of swimming.

bobo gigi

The live webcast has crashed for me. Goodbye.

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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