2017 Honorees: Olivia Carter and Michael Andrew
Olivia Carter – Enfinity Aquatic Club, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Olivia Carter has had a whirlwind of a last-twelve-months, beginning and ending with national titles in the 200 fly at Winter Juniors. This past December, she not only repeated her 2016 title, but improved her time by 2.3 seconds and broke the Winter Junior Nationals combined meet record in the event. Carter took nearly a full second off Ella Eastin’s 2014 meet mark of 1:54.37 and became the first swimmer at Winter Juniors to break the 1:54 barrier in the girls’ 200 fly, going 1:53.49. Carter also won the 400 IM, dropping nearly 6 seconds from her seed time. She was runner-up in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 back. She posted the second-fastest prelims time in the 200 back but scratched the final to focus on the 200 fly. All in all, Carter scored PBs in the SCY 200 free, 100/200 back, 200 fly, and 200/400 IM at Winter Juniors. Carter also broke the 200m fly meet record, that had previously belonged to Jasmine Tosky, at 2017 Summer Junior Nationals, and left East Meadow with new times in the LCM 200 free, 200 back, 100/200 fly, and 200/400 IM.
2017 marked a year of solid improvement for Carter, but her progress over the last two years is even more impressive. She has dropped 12 seconds in the 400y IM, 7.8 in the 200y IM, 6.5 in the 200y fly, 6.3 in the 200y free, and 4.3 in both the 100/200y back. Her LCM improvements tell a similar story: -16.7 in the 400m IM, -8.7 in the 200m IM, -6.1 in the 200m fly, -6.1 in the 200m free, -3.8 in the 200m back, and -2.3 in the 100m fly.
Carter still has 18 months left in the 17-18s to keep moving up in the rankings, having only turned 17 in time for Summer Juniors this past August. So far, she comes in at #6 all-time in the 200y fly, #9 in the 200m fly, and #19 in the 100m fly. She is top-50 in the 100y fly, 200/400y IM and 200m IM, and has cracked the top-100 in the 100y back, 200m free, and 400m IM.
Madison Homovich – Marlins of Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina
One of the top distance swimmers in the age category, Maddie Homovich finished the year at 2017 Winter Juniors East with a gold medal in the 1650 free, a silver in the 500 free, and a bronze in the 400 IM. She was also 6th in the 200 back. Her 1650 time, although just off her best, was the top time for the combined meets (16:10.30). Homovich represented Team USA at 2017 Junior World Championships, where she was the top American finisher in the 400m IM (5th), with a new PB time of 4:45.68. Two weeks prior she had swum lifetime bests at U.S. Open in the 100/200m back, 100m fly, and 200m IM.
Homovich wasn’t even 17 until the spring, so she has another year and a quarter in which to keep progressing up the all-time rankings lists. So far she has cracked the all-time top-50 in the 400m IM, 500y free, and 1000y free, and the top-80 in the 200m back, 200m fly, 1650y free, and 400y IM.
Lucie Nordmann – Magnolia Aquatic Club, Magnolia, Texas
Lucie Nordmann has long been one of the stalwarts of her class, exceling in back, free and fly, from the 50 to the 200, for years. She represented the U.S. at 2017 Junior World Championships in Indianapolis this summer, where she contributed her talents to four medal-winning relays: mixed 4x100m medley, 4x100m free, women’s 4x100m medley, and women’s 4x100m free. Nordmann improved her PBs in the 50/100/200 free, 100/200 back, and 100 fly in both LCM and SCY. Currently ranked in the top-20 all-time in the 100m free, 100/200m back, and 200y back, and in the top-50 for the rest, she still has the full year of 2018 to improve her positioning in all 12 events.
Nordmann wrapped up 2017 with the year’s fastest times for 17-18 girls in the 100y free and 100/200y back, #2 100m free and 200m back, #3 50y free, 100y fly, 200m free and 100m back, #4 200y free and 50m free, and #5 100m fly.
- Vanessa Pearl – Metroplex Aquatics (TX): Vanessa Pearl had a strong 2017, updated the times in all her best events, both SCY and LCM. At 2017 U.S. Open, she was runner-up in the 200m breast, third in the 400m IM, fourth in the 200m IM, and ninth in the 100m breast. At Winter Juniors West, she wrapped up her year by winning both the 200y IM and 400y IM, and setting a meet record in the former. She was also runner-up in the 200y breast and placed sixth in the 100y breast in Iowa City. Pearl finished with the top swims of the 17-18 age group for 2017 in the 200y IM, 400y IM, and 200m breast. She had the #2 200y breast and 400m IM, the #3 100y breast, and the #4 100m breast and 200m IM, as well.
- Grace Ariola – Waves Bloomington/Normal Y Swim Team (IL): Grace Ariola was one of the top performers for Team USA at 2017 Junior World Championships, pocketing a total of six medals. She won silver individually in the 50m free, and as a member of the mixed 4x100m medley, mixed 4x100m free, women’s 4x100m medley, and women’s 4x100m free relays; she also earned a bronze medal in the 50m back. Two weeks earlier she had tuned up with a silver in the 50m free and an 11th-place finish in the 100 free at Summer Junior Nationals. This fall, Ariola won the 50 free and 100 back at the Illinois High School Girls’ Championships, setting pool records in both events. With another 18 months as a 17-18 swimmer, she already ranks #3 all-time in the 50m free, #10 in the 100m back, and #13 in the 100m free. She has also broken into the top-100 in the 50y free and 100y back.
Michael Andrew – Race Pace Club, Lawrence, Kansas
Michael Andrew’s swan song year in age group swimming was as impressive as ever. While he didn’t break any National Age Group records in 2017 (he has owned the boys’ 17-18 100m breast NAG since 2016), he did take down a handful of World Junior Records during the year. Swimming at the 6th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis this summer, Andrew broke and lowered WJRs in the 50 back, 50 fly, and 50 free. He began with the 50 back, going 24.63 in prelims to take .31 off Kliment Kolesnikov’s WJR. Later that same morning, he smashed the 50 free WJR with 21.75, becoming the first 18-and-under to break 22 seconds since FINA began charting junior records.
The next night, Andrew tied his own mark of 24.63 to win gold in the final of the 50 back; he took down Li Zhuhao’s WJR in the 50 fly with his semifinal time of 23.27; and he won the 50 free with a second 21.75, tying his own World Junior Record from prelims. Those two 21.75s made him the second-fastest American sprinter of 2017; only Caeleb Dressel topped Andrew with his 21.15 from World Championships in Budapest.
In November, Michael “broke” the WJR in the 100 SCM IM with 51.86 from the World Cup in Beijing. It wasn’t his fastest; he’d been 51.84 in Windsor last December at 2016 FINA World Championships 25m, but that record hadn’t yet been ratified by FINA. The next week, however, he went 51.65 at the Singapore World Cup, lowering the mark further still. In Singapore he was also part of another World Junior Record, this time as a member of the mixed 4×50 medley along with Alex Walsh (back), Regan Smith (fly), and Trey Freeman (free).
With 3.5 months left to race as an 18-year-old, Andrew holds the #1 time for the 17-18s in the 100m breast, the #2 in the 50m free and 200m IM, #4 in the 100y free and 100y breast, #5 in the 200y breast, #6 in the 200y IM, #12 in the 100y fly, #15 in the 100m back, and #17 in the 200m breast. He is also top-25 in the 100m free, 100y free, and 100m fly.
Drew Kibler – Carmel Swim Club, Carmel, Indiana
Drew Kibler began 2017 by breaking the National Public High School Record at the Indiana State Championship meet while representing Carmel High School. Kibler swam a 1:33.30 in prelims, which was not only the fastest time ever done by a public high school swimmer, beating Maxime Rooney’s 2017 mark of 1:33.70, but was also the second-fastest high school swim of all time, just missing Grant Shoults‘ 1:33.26 from 2015. And he was still a month away from aging into the 17-18s at that point.
This summer, Kibler won gold and silver medals as part of Team USA’s 4x100m medley and 4x200m free relays, respectively, at Junior World Championships in Indianapolis. He also competed individually in the 100 back (he finished fourth, just off the podium) and 100 fly (15th).
Still just 17, he won the 50 free, 100 free, and 500 free (meet record), and was runner-up in the 100 back and 100 fly at Winter Junior Nationals East in December. He also added another meet record to his resume with the lead-off leg for Carmel’s record-breaking 800 free relay. Kibler updated his times in the 50/100/500 free, 100, back, and 100 fly in Iowa City. With another 14 months left to keep rising through the ranks, he already owns the #7 spot all-time for 17-18s in the 200y free and 500y free, the #13 time in the 100y free, #21 in the 50y free, and #38 in both the 100y back and 100y fly. In LCM he ranks #11 in the 100m back, #21 in the 100/200m free, #29 in the 200m back, #35 in the 100m fly, and #40 in the 50m free.
- Reece Whitley – Penn Charter Aquatic Club (PA): The fact that Reece Whitley still has an entire calendar year left to go in the 17-18 age group should send shivers down many a spine. He lowered the NAG in the 200y breast at Winter Nationals, dipping under Andrew Seliskar’s 2015 mark of 1:51.57 with 1:51.43. That makes him the 11th-fastest human in SCY history in the event. Whitley also swam under the NAG mark in the 200m breast this summer at 2017 Junior World Championships, but finished second to Daniel Roy (see below) who ultimately etched his name in the record book. Whitley currently ranks #2 all-time in the 100m breast and 200m breast; he is 59th in the 200m IM. In SCY he tops the charts in the 200 breast and is 3rd in the 100 breast; he also ranks 8th in the 200y IM and 17th in the 400y IM. All four SCY personal bests come from 2017 Winter Nationals in Columbus.
- Kieran Smith – Ridgefield Aquatic Club (CT): Kieran Smith had a terrific 2017. In high school swimming he is the reigning Connecticut state record-holder in the 500 free (4:24.69) and double-defending champion in both the 200 free and 500 free. In club swimming he qualified for, and represented Team USA at, the 2017 Junior World Championships, where he earned a silver medal in the 200m IM and placed fourth in the 400 IM. He went PBs in both events, landing at #5 and #12, respectively, on the all-time lists for 17-18 boys. With another 14 months before he ages out of the 17-18 category, he also ranks #9 in the 400y IM, #17 in the 200y IM, and is top-40 in the 200m back, 200y free, and 500y free. He has also cracked the rankings in the 200m free, 400m free, and 200y back.
- Daniel Roy (King Aquatic Club-PN) and Maxime Rooney (University of Florida) both broke 17-18 NAG records during 2017. Daniel Roy and Reece Whitley went 1-2 in the 200m breast at 2017 Junior Worlds, and both stopped the clock under the previous NAG record of 2:10.92, set by Kevin Cordes in 2012. Roy’s gold-medal performance of 2:10.77 established the new national mark, while Whitley’s 2:10.92 is now second on the all-time list. Maxime Rooney took an enormous .89-second bite out of Tom Kremer’s 2013 NAG in the 17-18 200y free, going 1:32.18 to win the event by 1.5 seconds as a freshman at 2017 SEC Championships. He also split 1:31.8 on the Florida 4×200 free relay that broke the conference record.