2017 U.S. Junior Nationals: 6 Races to Watch this Week


The U.S. Junior National Championships begin tomorrow in East Meadow, New York, and many of the nation’s top 18-and-under swimmers will be on hand. Several members of the National Junior Team will use this meet as a tune-up for Junior World Championships, which take place from August 23rd through August 28th at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here are a few of the races we are eager to watch this week:

Men’s 100 Breast

Reece Whitley of Penn Charter Aquatic Club, now 17, closed out the 15-16s with the #2 all-time performance of 1:00.95, which would have been the fifth-fastest for the 17-18 age group. As he gets ready to represent Team USA at Junior Worlds, he could join Michael Andrew as one of only two 18-and-unders to break the 1-minute barrier in the event. Whitley’s best time this season is 1:01.69, which ranks 11th for 17-18s. He will be challenged, amongst others, by Daniel Roy (King Aquatic Club) and Josh Bottelberghe (Portland Aquatic Club), both of whom have gone lifetime bests this summer.

Women’s 100 Free

2017 is an exciting year for American sprint freestyle. The top 7 seeds all come in with sub-56s; top-seeded Isabel Ivey of Gator Swim Club leads the pack with 54.95, the #5 15-16 performance of all time. Grace Ariola of Waves Bloomington (55.05), Kenisha Liu of Brea Aquatics (55.35), Magnolia Aquatic Club’s Lucie Nordmann ( 55.36), Aquazot Swim Club’s Eva Merrell (55.38), Lakeside Aquatic Club’s Lauren Pitzer (55.79), and Carmel Swim Club’s Kelly Pash (55.96) are all contenders for the junior national title.

Men’s 200 IM

Brothers Carson Foster and Jake Foster of Mason Manta Rays are the top two seeds in the 200 IM with 2:03.53 and 2:03.98, respectively. (Carson is also seeded #1 in both backstrokes and #5 in the 200 free, while Jake is top seed in the 400 IM and 4th in the 200 breast, amongst others.) They will be joined by junior world record-holder in the 200 free, Alexei Sancov of Terrapins Swim Team (2:04.02), Lakeside Swim Team’s Aldan Johnston (2:04.59), and Zach Hils of Lexington Dolphins (2:04.92).

Women’s 100 Fly

Austin Swim Club’s Dakota Luther, just back from representing Team USA in the 200 fly at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, is the #2 seed in the 100 fly, behind Aquazot’s Merrell, in East Meadow. The top four seeds (Merrell, 58.70; Luther, 59.79; Fort Collins Area Swim Team’s Coleen Gillilan, 59.95; and Gator Swim Club’s Ivey, 59.96) are all sub-minute flyers, which should make for an exciting final.

Men’s 400 Free

With the top 8 seeds all coming in with sub-4:00 seed times and #9, Terrapins’ Sancov, the junior world record holder in the 200m free, the men’s 400 free has the potential to be one of the most hotly contested events of the meet. Scarlet Aquatics’ Johannes Calloni (3:54.24) and Alexander Zettle of Lakeside Aquatic Club (3:54.77) lead the way, followed by Nation’s Capital Swim Club’s Lane Stone, Irvine Novaquatics’ Owen Kao, Team Greenville’s Tal Davis, Lakeside Swim Team’s Aldan Johnston, North Texas Nadadores’ Jack LeVant, Mission Viejo’s Noah Brune, and Sancov.

Women’s 400 Free

The women’s 400 should be no less exciting. Led by Erica Sullivan of Sandpipers of Nevada, who won the 400 and the 1500 at U.S. Open, the 400 will feature a stacked field. Sullivan has been improving in leaps and bounds this year and went 4:09.43 in this event at U.S. Open, but there are other talented distance freestylers in her cohort class. They include La Mirada Armada’s Taylor Ault (4:11.12), Easop Lee of North Baltimore Aquatic Club (4:11.98), Lakeside Aquatic Club’s Lauren Pitzer (4:12.14), Pleasanton Seahawks’ Miranda Heckman (4:13.11), Greater Tampa’s Morgan Tankersley (4:13.20), and Waves Bloomington’s Melissa Pish (4:13.56).











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bobo gigi
3 years ago

6 races to watch.
I’d like to watch them….

Reply to  bobo gigi
3 years ago

USA swimming will be streaming them on their site.

E Gamble
Reply to  Ger
3 years ago

It’s a France thing for BOBO. ?

3 years ago

Pretty sure Sandov is tied for 9th seed according to the psych sheets in that 400.

Reply to  Aquatics
3 years ago


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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