2018 Junior Pan Pacs: Day 3 Finals Recap

2018 Jr. Pan Pacific Swimming Championships

Day 3 Finals

Women 400m Freestyle

  • Jr World: 3:58.37 08/23/2014 Katie Ledecky
  • Pan Pac: 4:07.10 08/25/2012 Leah Smith
  1. Lani Pallister AUS 4:07.76
  2. Claire Tuggle USA 4:10.31
  3. Mariah Denigan 4:12.59

After a gold medal in the 800 free and a silver in the 200 free, Australia’s Lani Pallister crushed the field in the 400 free to pick up her third individual medal. Pallister went out quickly (59.52 for the first 100) and increased her lead with every 50. Entered with a 4:10.61, she took nearly 3 seconds off her PB to win in 4:06.76, missing Leah Smith’s meet record by just .66.

USA’s Claire Tuggle and Mariah Denigan finished in 2nd and 3rd with 4:10.31 and 4:12.59, respectively, never putting up a serious challenge to the Australian. New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather finished fourth, dropping 3.34 seconds from her seed time to touch in 4:13.55.

Emma Weyant of USA won the B final in 4:14.16.

Men’s 400m Freestyle

  • Jr World: 3:44.60 04/01/2014 Mack Horton
  • Pan Pac: 3:50.51 08/28/2010 Nicholas Caldwell
  1. Ross Dant USA 3:52.44
  2. Brendon Smith AUS 3:52.67
  3. Ethan Heasley USA 3:53.81

Japan’s Riku Takaki was the first out of the gate in the men’s 400 free final; he turned just ahead of USA’s Dant Ross and Ethan Heasley and Australia’s Brendon Smith at the 100 wall. China’s Cheng Long had the fastest 2nd 100 in the field and moved from 5th to 2nd behind Dant at the halfway point. Smith and Heasley were only a couple of hundredths behind Cheng while Takaki had fallen to 5th. Over the next 200 meters, Dant maintained his lead over the field while Smith moved past Heasley into the second spot. At the final wall it was Dant in 3:52.44, Smith in 3:52.67, and Heasley with 3:53.81. Cheng faded to fourth with 3:56.09, while Takaki just held off Australia’s Silas Harris for fifth, 3:57.83 to 3:57.93.

USA’s Dare Rose edged teammate Jake Magahey, 3:53.98 to 3:54.13 in the B final.

Women 100m Butterfly

  • Jr World: 56.46 08/07/2016 Penny Oleksiak
  • Pan Pac: 58.68 08/25/2012 Noemie Thomas
  1. Maggie MacNeil CAN 58.38
  2. Chiharu Iitsuka JPN 59.51
  3. Isabel Ivey USA 59.81

Canada’s Maggie MacNeil, who had given up her spot on the Canadian Pan Pac squad to be able to swim at this meet, broke the meet record with her 58.38 win in the women’s 100 fly. MacNeil was top seed in the event with 58.44. She swam 1:00.12 in prelims to qualify third behind Japan’s Chiharu Iitsuka and USA’s Isabel Ivey. In the final, MacNeil was out like a shot from lane 3. She turned at the 50 wall in 27.77, already half a body length ahead of the field. She continued to extend her lead over the next 50 meters and finished a full body ahead of Iitsuka, second in 59.51. Ivey was third in 59.81, while teammate Olivia Carter went 1:00.29 to edge Australia’s Michaela Ryan (1:00.37) for 4th.

Lillie Nordmann of USA won the B final in 1:00.26 ahead of Karin Takemura of Japan (1:01.00).

Men 100m Butterfly

  • Jr World: 50.62 07/29/2017 Kristof Milak
  • Pan Pac: 52.37 01/10/2009 Daniel Bell
  1. Gianluca Urlando USA 52.40
  2. Van Mathias USA 53.11
  3. Shaun Champion AUS 53.66

USA’s Luca Urlando made it look easy in the men’s final of the 100 fly. He led from start to finish and clocked in at 52.40, a mere .03 off the meet record set by Daniel Bell in 2009. Teammate Van Mathias held steady at second and finished in 53.11. Australia’s Shaun Champion and Canada’s Joshua Liendo, turning together at the 50 wall, battled over the home stretch to earn the 3rd spot on the podium. Champion nailed the spot with a 53.66 final time; Liendo was 4th in 54.13.

Danny Kovac of USA touched out teammate Drew Kibler, 53.12 to 53.54 in the B final.

Women’s 200m Backstroke

  • Jr World: 2:06.76 07/29/2017 Kaylee McKeown
  • Pan Pac: 2:08.81 08/25/2018 Isabelle Stadden
  1. Isabelle Stadden USA 2:09.52
  2. Madison Broad CAN 2:10.73
  3. Katharine Berkoff 2:11.87

After an exciting prelims session in which USA’s Isabelle Stadden broke the meet record with 2:08.81, it looked as though there might be a different champion in the final as her teammate Katharine Berkoff got off to a fast start. Berkoff, Stadden, and Canada’s Madison Broad turned in unison at the 50 wall, significantly ahead of the rest of the field. Berkoff had a strong second 50 and pulled to the front with 1:03.4 to Stadden’s 1:03.6 and Broad’s 1:03.9. Stadden’s third 50 put her into the lead by .15 over Berkoff and by 1 second over Broad. Stadden surged over the final 50 meters and won with 2:09.32. Broad clicked it up a gear and got past Berkoff about 25 meters into the last lap. She ended up outsplitting Berkoff by 2 seconds to earn the silver medal with 2:10.73. Berkoff held on for third in 2:11.87, nearly 3 body lengths ahead of Canada’s Rosie Zavaros.

Phoebe Bacon of USA won the B final in 2:10.65. Lucie Nordmann was second (2:11.40), while New Zealand’s Gina Galloway was third (2:16.89).

Men’s 200m Backstroke

  • Jr World: 1:55.14 06/28/2017 Kliment Kolesnikov
  • Pan Pac: 1:57.20 08/25/2012 Jack Conger
  1. Carson Foster USA 1:59.10
  2. Peter Larson USA 1:59.24
  3. Cole Pratt CAN 2:00.82

Carson Foster broke the tie with Peter Larson in the final of the men’s 200 back; both had swum 1:59.35 in prelims to qualify tied for 1st out of heats. In the evening session, Foster took it out in 28.0, followed by Japan’s Riku Matsuyama. Larson and New Zealand’s Thomas Watkins were just a tick behind. Foster continued to control the race; he had the fastest 2nd 50 by far and was in clean water at the 100 wall turn. Larson also had a strong second 50 and separated himself from the pack at the 100 wall. Canada’s Cole Pratt pulled even with Matsuyama at the 150 and outsplit everyone over the final 50 meters to finish 3rd in 2:00.82. Meanwhile, Larson was inching up on teammate Foster to challenge his lead. He ran out of pool, though, and Foster got the win with 1:59.10 to Larson’s 1:59.24.

The B final went to Japan’s Kodai Nishiono in 2:03.64 ahead of Canada’s Sebastian Somerset and Australia’s Lewis Blackburn.

Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay

  • Jr World: 3:36.19 08/27/2017 Canada (T Ruck, P Oleksiak, R Smith, K Noelle Sanchez)
  • Pan Pac: 3:39.73 08/29/2014 Australia (L McJannett, S Jack, S Taylor, C Gillett)
  1. USA 3:40.10
  2. Australia 3:41.51
  3. Canada 3:44.73

USA and Australia led the 400 free relay from start to finish, but there was an exciting race for third between Japan and Canada that came down to the wire. Gretchen Walsh (54.92) led off for the USA; she was followed by Alex Walsh (54.92), Ivey (55.76), and Nordmann (54.50) for a total time of 3:40.10. Australia’s Eliza King, Abbey Webb, Natasha Ramsden, and Pallister came to the wall in 3:41.51.

Japan was firmly in second third place for most of the race with Nagisa Ikemoto, Yui Ibayashi, Saya Funakoshi, and Miyu Namba. But Canada pulled out a bronze medal over the final 100 meters, with Ainsley McMurray, MacNeil, Sarah Watson, and Hanna Henderson combining for 3:44.73 to Japan’s 3:44.96.

Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay

  • Jr World: 3:16.96 08/26/2013 Australia (L Percy, R Leong, J Blake, M Horton)
  • Pan Pac: 3:17.67 08/26/2016 USA (R Hoffer, D Krueger, C Craig, D Kibler)
  1. USA 3:19.44
  2. Australia 3:20.86
  3. Japan 3:21.32

The men’s 400 free relay was much tighter than the women’s race. Keisuke Ishizaki put Japan in the lead at the first exchange with a leadoff split of 49.89. Adam Chaney’s 50.09 had the USA in second just ahead of Australia (Ashton Brinkworth, 50.12). Australia’s Angus McDonald went 50.15 on the second leg to move the Dolphins to front of the pack, while USA (Kovac, 50.26) and Japan (Masayuki Otake, 50.47) turned essential in unison. Canada’s Liendo split 49.83 to move their quartet into fourth.

Destin Lasco blasted a 49.76 on the third leg to put USA solidly in front. Australia trailed by 8/10 with 50.71 from Jack Edie. Japan was able to maintain their lead over Canada with Shota Kumazawa splitting 50.67 to Noah Cumby’s 50.78. Drew Kibler brought it home for the USA in 49.33, earning a team gold with 3:19.44. Australia finished second (3:20.86) on the strength of Joseph Jackson’s 49.88. Japan secured the third spot on the podium with 50.29 from Taikan Tanaka for a final time of 3:21.32. Canada finished with Cole Pratt (51.26) for a fourth-place 3:23.12.

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Despite the 4:10.3 looks as a very decent time for 14 year old I think that Claire Tuggle got finally tired of this long and exciting season. The season when people stopped talking of her as remarkable NAG record breaker but as a swimmer who entered competition at senior national level.
Her splits in 400 event showed no excitement and her finish was almost the slowest one among finalists of this race. It could be that she tried a new strategy but we usually see that a swimmer rather swims 200 in this manner than 400 distance when each next 50 is slower than the previous one.


Well.., Imo her splits in the 400 free showed a strong desire to catch Lani Pallister: only two tenths between the aussie, leader of the race from the beginning, and Claire Tuggle at 300m.
Pallister had a very fast last 50 (29.87) and I think that in the (slow) 31.98 swum by Tuggle to finish her race there was also a bit of frustration to see the aussie so strong at the end.
Anyway Tuggle’s 4.10.31 was near to her PB.


Maybe it’s indeed what’s happened. Then we have an example of inexperienced racer who splits 2:03 – 2:07 not being aware that 2:03 start is too fast for her under current conditions and it will be costly at the finish. At Jr nationals where she made her personal best 4:10.11 she started with 2:04.41 with the finish of 30.31
It is very possible that we are both right: she was chasing and it is the end of three strong competition meets period during one month time frame.

jim Ed C

There was basically no way she was going to be able to either beat either Pallister or Woodhead, but instead of giving up at the start of the race why not give it a try. She had nothing to lose if she was going to finish 2nd in any case.


Well,.. she’s tried. I hope she will learn from this race. Because she is so young and is already so good there were not many cases when she lost seemingly close races. It will be interesting to hear her coaches’ comments on this race. Haven’t heard anything from them about Tuggle’s plans and targets.


Pallister has really impressive speed, considering that the 400 and 800 free are her best events. In addition to her sub-30 finish in the 400 free, she also split 55.08 on the last leg in the 4×100 free relay and 56.07 individually. I can’t think of that many distance swimmers who were able to swim those times in the 100 free at 16. According to USAswimming, Kesely has done 55.53 this year, and Ledecky did 55.57, and Titmus 56.35 at the same age.


Will she beat Ariarne Titmus’ marks in a year? At the age of 17 she swam 1:54.8; 3:59.6; 8:17
As much as Ledecky pales great achievements of anybody else in America same Titmus does to Australians. Pallister was exceptionally good at this meet but when Australia has a one year older swimmer who is exceptionally great then it’s the end of talks.


I just commended Pallister’s speed, I never claimed she’s a bigger talent than Titmus overall. But if she can improve on that speed even further the coming years, she’ll be difficult to beat the last 100m in a tactical race. Concerning age records, Pallister is two years younger than Titmus, so she will be 17 at the 2020 national age champs (she was 15 when she swept 4 freestyle golds at this year’s meet)



Thanks for the article. How tall is she? What is her weight and what is her birthday?


I think Tuggle’s showing was quite impressive, even if she didn’t get the NAG record or considerable time break trough at Jr Pan Pac. My impression is she trained to peak at Senior Nationals, and everything after that was icing on the cake and not on her coaches radar. Let’s also consider Fiji is a very remote location coming out of the USA, versus the 3-4 hour flight for the Australians.

Ed Rooney

Ross Dant had a fantastic swim. Just scratching the surface with his potential. One of the nicest kids you will ever meet.


Congratulations to Cole Pratt for his 3rd place finish in the 200 back with a new PB. He also swam the 100 back and 200 fly on day 1 and made finals in both although he decided to only swim the 200 fly final. Not bad fir a kid that turned 16 less than 2 weeks ago. The future of Canadian men’s swimming.

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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