2016 U.S. Winter Jr Championships (West): Day 4 Finals Live Recap


We’re getting ready for day 4 finals at the 2016 U.S. Winter Junior Championships (West), which will be the final session of the meet. Follow along with us for a live recap of the events, including the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, and 400 free relay. We’ve got a couple of age group records on watch tonight, including the 13-14 girls NAG Record in the 200 fly. Regan Smith will be chasing Cassidy Bayer’s record of 1:56.01 in that event. In the men’s 100 free, Ryan Hoffer will be chasing his own 17-18 NAG Record, which he set at 41.23 at this meet last year.


  • GOLD: Taylor Ault, La Mirada Armada, 16:07.92
  • SILVER: Gabrielle Kopenski, Texas Ford Aquatics, 16:08.92
  • BRONZE: Kaitlynn Sims, Magnolia Aquatic Club, 16:15.19

A close race in the women’s 1650 free saw Taylor Ault and Gabrielle Kopenski finish within a second of each other. Ault dug in to pass Kopenski in the last 100 yards, winning gold ahead of Kopenski and Kaitlynn Sims.


Zach Yeadon dropped a bomb in the 1650 free tonight, taking 20 seconds off his previous best time to win the event in a blazing 14:49.90. Yeadon, a Notre Dame commit, was nearly 10 seconds ahead of the field. Also finishing sub-15 minutes for 2nd place was Aaron Apel.


  • GOLD: Regan Smith, Riptide Swim Team, 1:51.79
  • SILVER: Bayley Stewart, Fort Collins Area Swim Team, 1:54.44
  • BRONZE: Grace Ariola, Waves Bloomington, 1:55.25

Once again, Regan Smith was just ridiculously fast tonight, picking up her 4th gold of the meet in the 200 back final. Smith’s winning time of 1:51.79 is 2nd only to Missy Franklin in the 13-14 age group, as Franklin still holds the NAG with her 1:51.07 from 2010.


  • GOLD: Daniel Carr, Pikes Peak Athletics, 1:42.80
  • SILVER: Noah Henry, Tigersharks Swimming, 1:44.81
  • BRONZE: Ethan Harder, Billings Aquatic Club, 1:45.09

Daniel Carr was right on his prelims time to win the 200 back, just hundredths shy of that mark to win the event with another sub-1:43 time tonight. That put him over 2 seconds ahead of the field, as Noah Henry was within tenths of him at the 100, but faded slightly to hold on for silver ahead of Ethan Harder.


  • GOLD: Eva Merrell, Aquazot Swim Club, 48.51
  • SILVER: Amalie Fackenthal, Davis Aquadarts, 48.62
  • BRONZE: Daria Pyshnenko, CATS Aquatic Team, 48.75

An extrememly close finish in the women’s 100 free saw the top 4 all finish just a few tenths apart. Eva Merrell and Amalie Fackenthal were almost dead even the whole race, with Merrell getting her hand on the wall first, followed by Fackenthal and Daria Pyshnenko.


  • GOLD: Ryan Hoffer, Scottsdale Aquatic Club, 41.71
  • SILVER: Alexei Sancov, Terrapins Swim Team, 43.46
  • BRONZE: Clayton Bobo, Dads Club, 43.81

Scottsdale Aquatic Club’s Ryan Hoffer blew away the field in the 100 free. He wasn’t quite as fast as last season, but his 41.71 is still one of the fastest 17-18 performances we’ve ever seen. Alexei Sancov picked up the silver, followed by Clayton Bobo, who out-touched Matthew Willenbring (43.84) for bronze.


  • GOLD: Zoe Bartel, Fort Collins Area Swim Team, 2:07.73
  • SILVER: Grace Zhao, Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, 2:09.21
  • BRONZE: Zoie Hartman, Crow Canyon Country Club, 2:11.83

Fort Collins Area Swim Team’s 16-year-old Zoe Bartel took down the 15-16 NAG Record and shattered the Meet Record en route to 200 breast gold. Bartel’s 2:07.73 shave a few tenths off the previous NAG Record of 2:08.11 done by U.S. Olympian Caitlin Leverenz in 2007. It also broke the former Meet Record of 2:09.23 set by Grace Zhao in 2015. Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics’ Zhao was 2nd tonight, also under the previous Meet Record with her 2:09.21.


  • GOLD: Daniel Roy, King Aquatic Club, 1:55.60
  • SILVER: Trent Pellini, Mission Viejo Nadadores, 1:58.74
  • BRONZE: Josh Bottelbergher, Portland Aquatics, 1:58.87

KING’s Daniel Roy rocked a new Meet Record en route to gold in the men’s 200 breast. He finished over 3 seconds ahead of the field, clocking a 1:55.60 for the win. That shaved a couple tenths off the previous Meet Record of 1:55.88 done by Steven Stumph in 2012.


Iowa Flyers’ Ruby Martin charged to a 1:54.74 to win gold in the women’s 200 fly, making her the 5th fastest 15-16 performer of all time. Razorback’s Taylor Pike was also in the 1:54-range for silver, followed by a quick 1:55.2 for bronze by Austin Swim Club’s Dakota Luther.

14-year-old Regan Smith was just off the podium in 4th place, posting a 1:56.57 for the 2nd fastest 13-14 swim of all time. She was less than a half second shy of the NAG Record, which stands at a 1:56.01 done by Cassidy Bayer in 2013.


A 3-man battle to the finish saw just 3 tenths separating the men’s 200 fly medalists. Palo Alto Stanford’s Alex Liang and Irvine Novaquatics’ Andrew Koustik were out with the fastest splitss at the 100 mark. It was the North Texas Nadadores’ Jack LeVant, however, who pulled ahead in the end. LeVant’s 26.86 split on the 3rd 50 was enough to give him the edge, and he held on for gold, followed by Koustik and Liang.


  • GOLD: Fort Collins Area Swim Team, 3:19.85
  • SILVER: Aquazot Swim Club, 3:20.43
  • BRONZE: Irvine Novaquatics, 3:21.47

Fort Collins Area Swim Team raced to gold in the women’s 400 free relay, getting a pair of 49s from Kylee Alons (49.12) and Coleen Gillilan (49.75) on the 3rd and 4th legs. Eva Merrell led off in a quick 49.25 to help Aquazot Swim Club to silver, while Mackenzie Degn‘s 49.38 on the 3rd leg helped Irvine Novaquatics to bronze.


  • GOLD: Scottsdale Aquatic Club, 2:57.84
  • SILVER: Irvine Novaquatics, 2:59.75
  • BRONZE: Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, 3:00.45

Scottsdale Aquatic Club trailed through the halfway point, but Ryan Hoffer blasted a 41.77 split on the 3rd leg to give his team an edge before Jack Blake (44.20) anchored them to victory. The Irvine Novaquatics squad also combined for a sub-3:00 time, with Justin Nguyen (44.48) and Owen Kao (44.41) putting up a pair of 44-lows on the 2nd and 4th legs.

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Elemental Pee
5 years ago

Noah Henry is the greatest swimmer on Earth in 2024

5 years ago

The Michael Phelps Generation has arrived at both of these meets. The young kids who began in 2008 are now dropping the hammer in 2016.

5 years ago

Ryan Hoffer not too great in the 100… wait, did I just call a 41.71 “not too great?”
Huge improvement in the 50 and 200 free, a little off in the 100s at this meet, not really sure if there’s a reason for that.
On the women’s side so far we’ve got Regan Smith with another outstanding win (hard to believe she’s 14) and Zoe Bartel with a NAG record in the 200 breast.
Amazing swims all around from both the West and over in the East. One question though, seriously, what happened with Bryce Mefford?

Reply to  Person
5 years ago


bobo gigi
5 years ago

Good night everybody. It was an insane week of junior performances.
That generation of US kids aged between 12 and 18 is really impressive. Maybe the best in a long time. Many of the names we have seen shine at both junior meets will be in Tokyo in 2020.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

1.54.74 for Ruby Martin who wins the 200 fly. Great time. Remember she was 4th at last US olympic trials. Like in the 200 breast USA is looking for a new talent.
Not another NAG record for Regan Smith who finishes 4th. It was too much for her after a monster 200 back and after a long meet overall. Still a new PB in 1.56.57. What a week for her! She won the 200 IM in 1.56.69, the 100 fly in 51.73, the 100 back in 51.09 and the 200 back in 1.51.73. NAG records in the 100 back and fly. Can’t wait to see her next summer in long course.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

USA is looking for a new star in the 200 breast since Rebecca Soni and Micah Lawrence. No US finalist at last olympic games.
Zoe Bartel will make the US team next year in that event.
She won both breast events at last junior pan pacs in 1.07.87 and 2.25.46.

bobo gigi
5 years ago




bobo gigi
Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

It was 2.08.11 by Caitlin Leverenz.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Not normal to be disappointed by a 41.71
On the other hand you see him destroy her 50 free and 200 free best times so logically in the 100….
But swimming is not always logical.
Maybe last year’s race in 41.23 was close to a perfect race for him.
Anyway he will not much improve his underwaters in the future. The progression will come over the water.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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