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.


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.


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

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


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

Eternal debate

Lane Four

!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.


USA Swimming stopped ranking them years ago.

Lane Four


Chill Factor

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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

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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