2016 U.S. Winter Jr Champs (East): Whitley Drops 3:48 400 IM in Day 3 Prelims


Day 3 prelims of the 2016 U.S. Winter Junior Championships (East) saw Reece Whitley put up a big swim in the men’s 400 IM prelims. SwimMAC Carolina’s John Walker broke onto the scene with one of the fastest all time 15-16 performances in the 200 free. Nashville Aquatic Club’s Alex Walsh and Gator Swim Club’s Isabel Ivey continue to impress after fast back-to-back swims this morning. Read on for highlights from this morning’s session.


  • Top women’s seed: Brooke Forde, Lakeside Swim Team, 4:09.13
  • Top men’s seed: Reece Whitley, Penn Charter Aquatic Club, 3:48.93

Reece Whitley cut over 5 seconds off his best time, racing to a 3:48.93 to take top seed for the men’s 400 IM. That time puts Whitley just outside of the top 10 all-time 15-16 boys. Whitley will also be swimming the 100 breast, so we’ll have to wait and see if he chooses to do the double in finals. If he sticks with the 400 IM, he’ll have a shot at sweeping the IMs at this meet.

15-year-old Carson Foster will be the youngest swimmer in the championship final. Foster, who just recently aged up, dropped a 3:51.94 to take the 6th slot.

Lakeside Swim Team’s Brooke Forde was easily the fastest swimmer of the morning on the women’s side, clocking the only sub-4:10 time with her 4:09.13. That gave her a nearly 4 second advantage over the field, as Marlins of Raleigh’s Madison Homovich was 2nd in 4:12.78.


  • Top women’s seed: Olivia Carter, Enfinity Aquatic Club, 52.74
  • Top men’s seed: Noah Lense, Ohio State, 47.38

Enfinity’s Olivia Carter threw down a 52.74 to establish herself as the top seed for finals of the women’s 100 fly. With that, she outswam Gator Swim Club’s Isabel Ivey, who took 2nd seed with her 53.52. Dynamo Swim Club’s 14-year-old Tristen Ulett (53.75), who holds the 13-14 NAG Record, could make things interesting tonight as she’s also been sub-53 in her career.

Ohio State’s Noah Lense got a chance to race in his home pool this morning, leading a group of men in the 47-range. Lense took top seed in 47.38, followed by Nicolas Albiero (47.67), Ariel Spektor (47.75), and Camden Murphy (47.97).


  • Top men’s seed: John Walker, SwimMAC Carolina
  • Top women’s seed: Isabel Ivey, Gator Swim Club, 1:45.73

SwimMAC’s 15-year-old John Walker came into the meet with a best time of 1:40 in the 200 free. He dismantled that with on Wednesday night’s 800 free leadoff, but he was even more impressive this morning with a 1:35.94 to take top seed for finals in the individual race. That lands him 9th on the top all-time 15-16 performers list, just behind Grant House. Countryside YMCA’s House, now 18 years old, was 2nd through prelims in 1:36.27.

Carmel Swim Club’s Drew Kibler, who blasted a new 15-16 NAG Record on Wednesday night, took it easy this morning, but he almost cut it too close. Kibler’s 1:37.41 was good for 8th, leaving Baylor Swim Club’s Trey Freeman (1:37.44) at 9th by just 3 hundredths.

On the women’s side, Gator Swim Club’s Isabel Ivey returned to the pool, making back-to-back event appearances. Also swimming her 2nd race of the day was Brooke Forde. Ivey led the way in 1:45.73, followed by Forde in 1:46.13. Also in the mix was 500 free champ Morgan Tankersley, who took 3rd seed with a 1:46.51.


  • Top women’s seed: Alex Walsh, Nashville Aquatic Club, 59.77
  • Top men’s seed:

Nashville Aquatic Club’s Alex Walsh made the short list of 15-year-olds who have broken 1:00 in the women’s 100 breast. Walsh, who came into the meet with a personal best 1:01, dropped a quick 59.77 to take top seed for finals. Her teammate, Allison Raab, followed with a 1:00.87 to give NAC both center lanes tonight.

On the men’s side, Reece Whitley won his 2nd race of the morning, charging to a 53.48 to finish a second faster than anyone else. Whitley, who has a personal best 52.56, will be chasing Michael Andrew’s 15-16 NAG Record in tonight’s finals, which stands at a 51.75. Bolles’ James Daugherty, a Cal Commit and Florida state champ, picked up 2nd seed for finals in 54.45.


  • Top women’s seed: Julia Menkhaus, SwimMAC Carolina, 52.89
  • Top men’s seed: Zachary Poti, Blue Dolphins, 47.67

After a quick turnaround from the 100 breast, Alex Walsh qualified for back-to-back finals with her 53.17 in the 100 back. That time landed her 2nd, however, as SwimMAC’s Julia Menkhaus popped a 52.89 to take the top seed for finals. Olivia Carter (53.94) returned to the pool for this race, qualifying 5th to earn another championship final spot.

Blue Dolphins’ Zachary Poti posted the only sub-48 on the men’s side, taking top seed with his 47.67. Nicolas Albiero (48.22) and Drew Kibler (48.64) qualified for their 2nd final of the day with a pair of 48s. 15-year-old Destin Lasco also made his way into the top 8 with a 48.67.

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4 years ago

While Regan Smith is out west chasing Alex Walsh’s 13-14 100 back NAG, Claire Curzan of Raleigh Swimming Association will be chasing Smith’s 11-12 100 fly NAG. Curzan’s only 12 years old and put up a 55.12 in prelims earlier today, enough to earn a spot in the C final.

Smith’s NAG is a 54.73. According to the all-time top 100 rankings, Curzan skyrockets from 46th coming into the day all the way to 2nd, passing names such as Ella Eastin, Whitney Phelps, Dana Vollmer, and Cassidy Bayer along the way. Will be interesting to see how Curzan performs tonight. And according to USA swimming, she was 11 at meets last March as well, meaning this may not be… Read more »

bobo gigi
Reply to  KBDSwim
4 years ago

Well seen. I had missed it.

4 years ago

I’ve watched the final heat and Trey Freeman vs Drew Kibler has reminded to me Laszlo Cseh vs Michael Phelps in the heat of 400im at London2012: always touching first if it’s possible…

Congrats to John Walker, really granitic efforts thus far, both in the 50 free yesterday (PB even in the final with 20.10) and in today 200 free (great improvement for him).

Very positive efforts for Ivey and Alex Walsh and great improvement for Olivia Carter in the 100 fly.

Reece Whitley in the medley, also in the longer distance, could have a fascinating future..
Without particular technical problems, and the width of his strokes is enormous

bobo gigi
4 years ago

A great session of finals in perspective. Hopefully you plan a live recap at swimswam. I will be here to comment.
It would be good if live results worked well.

Brooke Forde will target Dagny Knutson’s 15/16 NAG record of 4.00.62 in the 400 IM.
Reece Whitley is much more than just a breaststroker. He improved his 200 IM PB by 4 seconds yesterday in 1.43. It’s always fun to watch him swim. 15-year-old Carson Foster almost broke the 13/14 NAG record last October. I will keep an eye on him.
Tough double 100 fly/200 free for Isabel Ivey.
Drew Kibler almost missed the 200 free A-Final. He was easy in prelims or is it the… Read more »

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Why is Reece Whiteley swimming IM events?
He will be too tired to break records in his best events, the breaststroke.

Useless, don’t you think?

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
4 years ago

As a 16 year old, I think it’s a good thing to be swimming multiple events at a Junior National level meet. It builds endurance and gives him a chance to improve in some off events. Considering he is vastly improving in the IMs and is putting up times that rank him among the best ever for his age group, these may become his primary events some day. Especially if his breaststroke stalls, IM is a great option for him to fall back on. NAG records are nice, but they aren’t everything. Developing Reece into a better all around athlete will likely pay greater dividends down the road for him.

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Lasco made the A final of 100 backstroke. Nothing to worry about. Just an up and down meet for him. He’ll get more consistent with age.

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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