2016 Swammy Awards: Age Group Swimmer of the Year – 10 & Under

To see all of our 2016 Swammy Awards presented by TYR, click here

2016 Honorees: Leah Hayes and Jaeddan Gamilla

10 & Under Girls

Leah Hayes – USA Athletic Club Tidal Waves Swim Club, Aurora, Illinois

Hayes dominated the 10-and-under age group this year, finishing 2016 with a remarkable 13 #1 swims and four national age group records. In short course season she topped the charts in the 50/100/200/500y free, 50/100y breast, and 100/200y IM. Over the summer she finished #1 in long course meters in the 100/200m free, 50/100m breast, and 200m IM. Hayes was also the second-fastest 50m freestyler, the #5 50y flyer, and the #9 100m flyer.

Long Course NAG records:

100m free – 1:01.29 – 8/4/16
200m free –2:14.39 – 8/7/16
50m breast – 36.06 – 8/5/16
200m IM – 2:30.97 – 8/6/16

This fall she moved into the 11-12 age group and immediately stood out as one of the top 11-year-olds in the country. She wound up second in both the 200y free and 500y free, and received top-ten honors in the 50/100y free, 50/100y breast, and 100/200 IM.

Runner-Up

Kate Christian – Diablo Aquatics (California):

Christian showed all-around strength, notching a total of 14 top-ten swims in free, back, breast, fly, and IM. They included: #1 in the 50y fly; #2 in the 50m fly and 200y IM; #3 in the 400m free, 100m back, and 100y IM; #4 in the 50m back; #5 in the 50y back, 50y breast and 100y fly; #7 in the 200m IM; #8 in the 100m fly; #9 in the 50m breast; and #10 in the 100y breast. She also placed #5 in IMX rankings for short-course and #3 for long course.

Honorable Mention

In no particular order:

  • Caitlin Horning – Delaware Swim Team (DE): Horning swam as a 10-year-old for 3/4 of 2016, during which time she established herself as one of the top all-around swimmers in the age group. She was #1 in the 100y back and 100y fly, and #2 in the 100m fly. Other top-ten swims included: 50/100y free, 50y back, 100m back, 50y fly, 50m fly, and 100/200y IM. Horning wrapped up the 2015-16 short course season ranked #2 in IMX for 9-year-old girls.
  • Courtney Watts – The Fish (VA): In addition to clocking the #1 400m free time in the country for 10-year-old girls, Watts landed in the top ten 10 more times: 50/100/200m free, 50/100y back, 50/100m back, 100/200y IM, and 200m IM. She was #6 in IMX rankings for short course season, and #5 for long course.

10 & Under Boys

Jaeddan Gamilla – Maverick Swim Club, Naperville, Illinois

Gamilla emerged as the most polyvalent 10-and-under for the year, finishing in the top ten in 16 events. While he turned 11 in July, no other 10-year-old surpassed him in the 50y breast, 50y fly, 100m fly, and 100/200y IM during 2016. Gamilla finished the year ranked #1 in the IMX rankings for 10-year-old boys in both the short course yards season and the long course meters season. In addition, he turned in the second-fastest 100y back, 100y breast, and 100m breast; the third-fastest 50y back and 50m breast; the fourth 50m fly, 100y fly, and 200y IM; the sixth 100y free; and the 10th 50y free and 50m back.

After aging up in July, Gamilla established himself as one of the top 11-year-olds in the country this fall. He wrapped up 2016 with top-10 times in the 50y back, 50/100y breast, 100y fly, and 100/200y IM. He also finished in the top 20 in the 100/200/1000y free, 100/200y back, and 50 fly.

Runners-Up:

Cooper Lucas – Lakeside Aquatic Club (Texas)

Although he only spent half the year in the 10-and-under age category, Lucas nonetheless remained unbeaten in five events: 100m free, 200y free, 400m free, 500y free, and 50m fly. He was second-fastest in the 50m free, 100y free, 100y fly, 100m fly, 200y IM, and 200m IM. His other top-ten swims included: 50y free, 200m free, 50y fly, and 100y IM. Lucas was #2 10-year-old boy in IMX rankings for SCY and #3 for LCM.

As an 11-year-old he is the fastest 200y freestyler and 400y IMer in the country so far this swim season. He also turned in top-ten performances in the LCM 200/400m free, 200m fly, and 200m IM; as well as the SCY 50/100/500y free, 50/100/200y fly, and 200y IM.

Chase Swearingen – Ohio State Swim Club (Ohio)

Like Lucas, Swearingen wound down 2016 with 15 top-ten times in the 10-and-under age group. He was #1 in the 50m free, 50/100y back, and 100m back, #2 in the 100m free, 50m back, and 100y IM, and #3 in the 50y free and 200m IM. Other top-ten swims included: 100/200y free, 200m free, 50/100y breast, and 50m breast. He scored at the #3 spot for 10-year-olds in the IMX rankings for the 2015-16 swim year.

This fall, Swearingen has led the nation for 11-year-old boys in the 50y back and 100y back. He also notched top-ten times in the 50y free, and top-20 times in the 100y free, 50y breast, and 100/200y IM.

Honorable Mention

In no particular order:

  • Kaii Winkler – Miami Swimming (FL): Winkler, who won’t be 11 until early next spring, landed in the top ten 12 times this year: in free, fly, and IM. He put up the second-fastest times in the 200/500y free; and was #3 in the 100/400m free and 100m fly, #4 in the 200y IM, #5 in the 100y IM and 200m IM, #6 in the 200m free, 50m fly and 100y fly, and #7 in the 100y free. Winkler was the #1 9-year-old in short course yards and the #2 10-year-old in long course meters in IMX rankings for the 2015-16 swim season.
  • Michael Mullen – Nation’s Capital Swim Club (MD): Mullen, also a free/fly/IMer, ended the year with ten top-10 performances for 10-year-old boys. They included 50/200/400m free, 200/500y free, 50/100y fly, 50/100m fly, and 200m IM.

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bobo gigi
4 years ago

Leah Hayes also broke 4 NAG records in long course last summer.
100 free. 1.01.29
200 free. 2.14.39
50 breast. 36.06
200 IM. 2.30.97

Question
4 years ago

Just out of curiosity, why are 10 & unders being ranked? Don’t you think that’s a slippery slope for VERY young athlete?

bobo gigi
Reply to  Question
4 years ago

Eternal debate

Lane Four
Reply to  Question
4 years ago

!0 and Unders have been ranked since before I was born. Swimming World always had their yearly Top Ten for all the age-groups. It was something to strive for – making the top 10. I never saw a slippery slope. I really don’t understand what you are saying.

ChestRockwell
Reply to  Lane Four
4 years ago

USA Swimming stopped ranking them years ago.

Lane Four
Reply to  ChestRockwell
4 years ago

So?

Chill Factor
Reply to  ChestRockwell
4 years ago

USA Swimming stopped ranking 10 & unders before they stopped letting pedophiles coach those 10 & unders.

Point being – just because USA Swimming does something, doesn’t mean it’s the be-all end-all of everything.

Swimfan
Reply to  Lane Four
4 years ago

Read the USA Swimming statement on this posted on their website.

Paul
Reply to  Question
4 years ago

There is zero reason to fear ranking young athletes. If a kid is lightening fast at 10, that’s great. I, personally, think it’s particularly great IF they are fast AND don’t practice 5-6 days a week. I worry that pushing youngsters to swim 5-6 practices a week at that age is establishing a training rigor that will be difficult to maintain over a long number of years. I’d prefer to see the heavier training wait for later years. However, only those close to these kids know what their truth is. But, no, I don’t think there’s any reason to discourage ranking them.

Swimfan
Reply to  Paul
4 years ago

Ahh but they DO train 5-6 (even 7 including many meet weekends!). The problem with these awards is they encourage overtraining and early development. And overconfidence in their parents and sometimes the athletes.

The kids I know that held NAG trained with senior groups 5-6-7 days a week at young ages. Now at 15-16 they aren’t going any best times.

Swimmom
Reply to  Question
4 years ago

The only ones who need 10&under rankings like this are helicopter mom and dad. Even USAS got rid of 10&under rankings. There is an inverse correlation between 10&under success and late career success.

swim
Reply to  Swimmom
4 years ago

I understand your point but don’t completely agree. USAS may have gotten rid of 10& under rankings but it hasn’t gotten rid of 10 yr old NAG records. Lia Neal and Ella Eastin are on that list and I think they grew up to be pretty good swimmers.

Bill Thompson
4 years ago

SWIMMER OF THE YEAR!?!? At 10? C’mon.

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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