2017 Swammy Awards: Age Group Swimmer of the Year – 11-12

To see all of our 2017 Swammy Awards presented by TYR, click here.

2017 Honorees: Claire Tuggle and Josh Zuchowski

11-12 Girls

Claire Tuggle – Clovis Swim Club, Clovis, California

2017 was the year of the Claires in 11-12 girls’ swimming, and the most prolific of those was Claire Tuggle. She was 12 for just over half the year and in that time, she took down National Age Group records in five events: 200/400m freestyle, 200/500y freestyle, and 200y IM. Tuggle began her assault on the record books at NCSA Spring Championships where she cut nearly 1 second off the previous NAG in the 200 free in prelims with 1:48.85, then lowered her new mark by 1.1 in finals to become only the fourth 11-12 girl in history to break 1:50. The next day she took down the legendary Sippy Woodhead’s 500 free record of 4:49.51, which had been in the books since 1977, by going 4:49.32 to win the D final. Tuggle added a 200 IM NAG at Far Westerns two weeks later, going 2:03.23 and eclipsing Clara Smiddy’s 2008 mark of 2:03.50. Just before turning 13 in July, Tuggle added another pair of mid-distance freestyle NAGs. Swimming at the 2017 Summer Slam Champs in Fresno, she erased a 26-year-old record in the 400 free, touching in a time of 4:18.41, which took just over 1 second off Dee Brown‘s 1991 mark of 4:19.48. A few hours later she chopped 3 seconds off her best 200m free to take down Brown’s 200 free record from 1991 (2:03.38) with 2:02.21.

In addition to those 5 events, Tuggle left the 11-12 age group ranked #1 for the year in the 100/1000y free, 100/800m free and 200m IM. She was top-ten in the 50y free, 200y back, 50/100/200y breast, 100/200y fly, 100/400y IM, 50m free, and 100m breast. Tuggle led the IMX scores for 12-year-old girls after both the 2016-17 SCY season and the 2017 LCM season.

Short Course NAGs:

200y free – 1:48.85 – 3/15/2017
200y free – 1:47.71 – 3/15/2017
500y free – 4:49.32 – 3/16/2017
200y IM – 2:03.23 – 3/30/2017

Long Course NAGs:

200m free – 2:02.21 – 6/24/2017
400m free – 4:18.41 – 6/24/2017

Since aging up in July, Tuggle has already established herself as the #8 13-14 girl of all-time in the 200m free, and ranks in the top-60 in the 500y free, 400y IM, 100/400/800m free, and 200/400m IM.


Claire Curzan – Raleigh Swimming Association (North Carolina)

Curzan was the other record-breaking Claire in 2017. While swimming for RSA, she scribed her name in the 11-12 record books in three events before turning 13 in July. Curzan broke the 50/100y fly NAGs with the same swim, in February at the North Carolina Short Course Age Group Championships. She later lowered each in March, and then added the 50m fly NAG at the Star Aquatics Long Days of Summer Quad Meet in May. Curzan aged up with #1 rankings in the 50/100y fly, 100m back, and 50/100m fly. She was also #2 in the 50/100y back, 200y fly, and 100y IM, #3 in the 50y free, #4 in the 50m back, #5 in the 100y free, and #7 in the 200y IM.

Short Course NAGs:

50y fly – 24.54 – 2/25/2017
50y fly – 24.39 – 3/16/2017
100y fly – 54.38 – 2/23/2017
100y fly – 54.00 – 3/17/2017
100y fly – 53.95 – 5/27/2017

Long Course NAGs:

50m fly – 27.91 – 5/6/2017

Curzan moved to TAC Titans this fall and swam unattached through the end of the year. She currently ranks in the top-10 for 13-14 girls in the 200m free (1st), 400m free (1st), 800m free (2nd), 500y free (4th), 100m free (4th), 400m IM (4th), 400y IM (8th), and 200m IM (10th).

Zoe Skirboll – Racer X Aquatics (Pennsylvania)

Skirboll broke National Age Group records in both the 50y breast and 50m breast, and finished the year ranked either first or second for 11-12 girls in 11 events: 50y free, 50/100y breast, 100y IM, and 50/100m breast (all 1st); 100y free, 200y IM, 50m free, 100m fly, and 200m IM (2nd). She was top-ten in 6 more (50/100y fly, 100/200m free, 200m breast, and 50m fly).

Skirboll took her first chunk out of the 50y breast record in prelims at the Dolfin Elite Showcase Classic in Clearwater last April, going 29.18. She later went 28.70 in finals, lowering Olivia Anderson’s 2010 mark of 29.23 by over half a second. In August she took down Olivia Calegan’s 2012 NAG in the 50m breast, swimming 32.96 at ISCA Summer Seniors Championships.

Short Course NAGs:

50y breast – 29.18 – 4/5/2017
50y breast – 28.70 – 4/5/2017

Long Course NAGs:

50m breast – 32.96 – 8/42017

Honorable Mention

In no particular order:

  • Rye Ulett – Dynamo Swim Club (GA): Ulett wrapped up the summer long course season with the #1 50/200m back times of the year and the #2 100 back. She was also top-ten in the 200m free, 100/200m fly, 200/400m IM, and 200y back.
  • Isabella Abrajan – Rancho San Dieguito (CA): Abrajan was 12 throughout only the first four months of the year, but she remained unsurpassed in the 200m fly and finished in the top 6 of the 50/100/200y back, 200/200y fly, 100m fly, 400y IM, and 400m IM.
  • Scarlet Martin – Iowa Flyers (IA): Martin was the top 200y butterflyer of the age group, but she has an excellent range of events and distances and also finished in the top-10 for the year in the 100/500y free, 200y back, 50/100y fly, 200/400y IM, and 200m fly.

11-12 Boys

Joshua Zuchowski – Flood Aquatics Swim Team, West Palm Beach, Florida

2017 was a phenomenal year for FAST’s Josh Zuchowski; he broke National Age Group records in the 200y back, 200y IM, 200m IM, 400y IM, and 400m IM. Zuchowski opened the floodgates in March, taking nearly 6 seconds off Destin Lasco’s 400m IM record of 4:51.03 at the 2017 Southern Zone Sectional Championships in Plantation, Florida. He went 4:45.09 in prelims, qualifying 8th for finals which he then scratched. The next day he once again erased Lasco from the books, turning in a 2:14.93 in the 200m IM to best Lasco’s 2:15.33 from 2014. Later that month Zuchowski competed at the NCSA Spring Championship where he promptly destroyed the 400y IM NAG, taking nearly 3 seconds off Nick Silverthorn’s 2008 mark of 4:11.77 with his 4:08.92. Swimming at the NASA Dolfin Elite Showcase Classic in Clearwater in April, he lowered his own record in the 400y IM to 4:07.81, broke Ronald Dalmacio’s NAG in the 200 back with 1:52.47, and took down Chas Morton’s 33-year-old 11-12 record in the 200 IM with 1:55.75.

Zuchowski aged out of the 11-12s ranked #1 in the 200y back, 50/200y breast, 100/200y fly, 100/200/400y IM, and 200/400m IM. He had the top IMX ranking for 12-year-old boys during the 2016-17 short course season.

Short Course NAGs:

200y back – 1:52.47 – 4/4/2017
200y IM – 1:55.75 – 4/5/2017
400y IM – 4:08.92– 3/20/2017
400y IM – 4:07.81– 4/8/2017

Long Course NAGs:

200m IM – 2:14.93 – 3/11/2017
400m IM – 4:45.09 – 3/10/2017

In the 13-14s he has already cracked the all-time top-100 lists in the 100/200y back and 200y IM.


Ronald Dalmacio – Rose Bowl Aquatics (California)

Before aging out of the 11-12s in May, Dalmacio made one last go at the National Age Group record book. At the end of March he became the first 12-year-old in history to break the 1:00 barrier in the 100m back; he then did it twice more in April to settle the record at 59.43. At the same meet he took down the 50m back and 200m back marks. Earlier in the spring he had lowered his own 50y back record to 23.65, becoming the youngest swimmer ever to break the 24-second barrier. At his last at-bat in the age group, Dalmacio snuck past Michael Andrew’s 50m free record of 25.09 to become the youngest sub-25 second 50-freestyler in history. Swimming at the ROSE Intrasquad Meet on May 12, Dalmacio won the boys’ 11-12 50m free with 24.98, a good 4.5 seconds ahead of the next finisher.

Short Course NAGs:

50y back – 23.65 – 3/16/2017

Long Course NAGs:

50m free – 24.98 – 5/12/2017
50m back – 27.45 – 4/21/2017
100m back – 59.98 – 3/31/2017
100m back – 59.54 – 4/22/2017
100m back – 59.43 – 4/29/2017
200m back – 2:10.01 – 4/21/2017

Dalmacio aged out of the 11-12s with 14 top-ten swims, including the #1 performances of the year in the 50/100/200y free, 50/100y back, 50/100m free, and 50/100/200m back.

Honorable Mention

  • Justin Schneider – Temecula Swim Club (CA): One of the most rangy swimmers in the age group, Schneider was a dominant force in freestyle events from the 50 to the mile. He finished 2017 with the #2 IMX ranking for 12-year-olds in long course season, and with the top 11-12 swims in the 500/1000y free and 200/400m free. Schneider ranked 2nd in the 200y free and 800m free, 3rd in the 50/100m free and 200/400m IM, 6th in the 1500m free, 7th in the 50y free and 100y IM, and 9th in the 100y free. He left the age group with all-time top-10 rankings in the 500/1000y free, 100/200/400/800m free and 200/400m IM.



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4 years ago

May the love for the sport continue as they age up. Age Group swimming is a blip in their athletic lives and they should enjoy every minute.

Steve Swims
4 years ago

What about Maggie Belbot of NBAC?

samuel huntington
Reply to  Steve Swims
4 years ago


Steve Swims
Reply to  samuel huntington
4 years ago

She is so fast! How did she not even get an honorable mention?

4 years ago

There seems to be a tremendous amount of depth in this age group/range. Taking down some records that have stood the test of many years. Tuggle in particular continues to show a level of domination of the mid and long distance free events seen only a handful of times before.

Excited to see what all these swimmers can do.

4 years ago

Any thought about including swimmers from other countries? Not sure how all info would be found.

Reply to  Dan
4 years ago

Dan – that’s basically the challenge. From a handful of countries (the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, kind of Brazil) we can find reliable data. The rest is very hit-and-miss.

4 years ago

I never knew Joshua zuchowski was also good in the breast and fly. Ranked number 1 in his age group in some fly and breast events but doesn’t have a NAG yet in those two strokes yet . I would like to know what his freestyle would look like. He,s pretty versatile.
Claire tuggle is killing it too.

Joshua Zuchowski
Reply to  Carlo
4 years ago

Carlo – Josh aged up in April so those NAG dreams are over. Josh never swam a free event at a big meet so his free times are his slowest. Our team has two great freestyles so he sticks w IM and stroke so our team does it’s best.

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Claire Tuggle will be 15 for 2020 olympic trials. I know another great US female freestyler who made the team at 15 in 2012.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom 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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