2018 Speedo Junior Nationals: Day 2 Finals Live Recap


The second day of finals from Irvine at the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals will feature the 200 back, 100 free and 400 IM, along with timed final heats in the men’s and women’s 400 free relay.

Among the highlights will be Carson Foster of the Mason Manta Rays swimming the men’s 200 back, where he ranks 3rd all-time in the 15-16 age group behind only Olympic gold medalists in the event Aaron Peirsol (1:57.03) and Ryan Murphy (1:57.39). Foster swam a lifetime best of 1:57.70 last week at the Senior National Championships.

We’ll also see Terrapins teammates Andrei Minakov and Alexei Sancov go to battle in the men’s 100 freestyle, where Minakov led the prelims in a blistering 49.72.

Alexandra Crisera (2:13.17) and Christiana Regenauer (55.73) both swam personal bests to take the top seed of the women’s version of those events, and Grace Sheble (4:47.48) and Jason Louser (4:21.82) come in ranked 1st in the women’s and men’s 400 IM. 14-year-old Claire Tuggle sits 2nd in the women’s event in 4:48.72, and only needs to take off a few tenths to get in the top-10 all-time in the 13-14 age group.

Women’s 200 BACK FINAL

  • Jr World: 2:06.43, Regan Smith (USA), 2018
  • Meet: 2:09.04, Kylie Stewart, 2013
  1. Alexandra Crisera, CITI, 2:12.52
  2. Mara Newman, LOSC, 2:13.21
  3. Kylee Alons, FAST, 2:13.54

After lowering her PB in prelims, Alexandra Crisera of Beach Cities Swimming took off another six tenths down to 2:12.52 to win the women’s 200 back title, using the fastest third 50 in the field (33.48) to establish a full second lead at the 150 wall before closing well in 33.93.

Mara Newman of Lake Oswego also set a best in prelims at 2:14.59, and chopped nearly a second and a half of tonight for 2nd in 2:13.21, narrowly edging out Kylee Alons (2:13.54) of FAST and Lauren Poole (2:13.59) of NBAC. For Alons, it was her second best time of the day, dipping under 2:14 after a 2:14.05 in prelims.

Men’s 200 Back Final

  • Jr World: 1:55.14, Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 2017
  • Meet: 1:58.83, Alex Katz, 2013
  1. Ethan Harder, BAC, 1:59.07
  2. Carson Foster, RAYS, 1:59.74
  3. Will Grant, HEAT, 1:59.95

Will Grant of HEAT took the men’s 200 back final out hard, leading Carson Foster slightly at the 50 and 100m walls with splits of 27.60 and 57.47. Foster moved into the lead on the third 50 with a 30.47 split, but Ethan Harder of Billings actually out-split him there (30.40), and held that speed coming home in 30.47 to overtake Foster and claim the win in 1:59.07. That falls just four tenths off the 10th fastest swim all-time in the 17-18 age group (1:58.63), and two tenths off the meet record from 2013 of 1:58.83. He improves his previous best of 2:00.12, while Foster’s 1:59.74 is just over two seconds slower than he was at Senior Nationals last week.

Grant ended up 3rd in 1:59.95, but like Harder, broke 2:00 for the first time after getting a PB of 2:00.35 in the heats. Keegan Walsh of SwimAtlanta took seven tenths off his prelim best for 4th in 2:00.68.

Women’s 100 FREE Final

  • Jr World: 52.70, Penny Oleksiak (CAN), 2016
  • Meet: 54.03, Missy Franklin, 2009
  1. Christiana Regenauer, COND, 55.59
  2. Samantha Pearson, BREA, 55.65
  3. Amalie Fackenthal, DART, 56.36

Christiana Regenauer of Condors Swim Club and Samantha Pearson of Brea Aquatics locked into a tight head-to-head battle in the women’s 100 free final, flipping dead even at the 50 in 26.63. Virtually even on the back 50 as well, Regenauer clipped her at the wall for the victory in 55.59, lowering her prelim PB of 55.73. Pearson was 55.65 for 2nd, also improving her previous best of 55.74 set a few weeks ago.

Amalie Fackenthal of Dart Swimming held off Nova’s Ayla Spitz for 3rd, 56.36 to 56.43. For Fackenthal it was a season-best, while Spitz lowered her personal best.

13-year-old Erin Gemmell of NCAP swam a solid 56.72 for 6th, one-tenth over her prelim swim that put her 17th all-time in the 13-14 age group.

Men’s 100 Free Final

  • Jr World: 47.58, Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 2016
  • Meet: 49.06, Vladimir Morozov, 2010
  1. Andrei Minakov, TERA, 49.06
  2. Alexei Sancov, TERA, 49.58
  3. Matthew Willenbring, UN, 50.57

Russian Andrei Minakov was out like a shot in the men’s 100 free final, flipping in 23.47 to hold a sizeable lead over Terrapins teammate Alexei Sancov (24.25). Sancov closed well in 25.33, but it wasn’t enough as Minakov held strong with a 25.59 back-half split to come in for the win in 49.06. That lowers his previous personal best by just under two tenths, and ties his countryman Vladimir Morozov‘s meet record of 49.06 from 2010.

Sancov, a Moldovan, was 2nd in 49.58, his 3rd fastest performance ever and fastest of the year. Matthew Willenbring was the top American finisher in 50.57, just ahead of Skyler Cook-Weeks (50.61) and Coco Bratanov (50.77). Minakov and Sancov were actually the only two swimmers in the A-final who were faster than they were in prelims.

Women’s 400 IM Final

  • Jr World: 4:35,69, Zhou Min (CHN), 2014
  • Meet: 4:38.97, Ella Eastin, 2013
  1. Claire Tuggle, CLOV, 4:44.91
  2. Isabel Gormley, AGUA, 4:45.06
  3. Grace Sheble, NOVA, 4:46.97

In a see-saw battle, 14-year-old Claire Tuggle of Clovis and 16-year-old Isabel Gormley of Asphalt Green found themselves within .02 of each with 50 metres to go in the women’s 400 IM final. It was Tuggle who had the extra kick at the end, touching for the win in a time of 4:44.91, lowering her prelim best time by nearly three seconds. She moves into 5th all-time in the girls 13-14 age group.

Gormley swam a lifetime best just a few days ago at U.S. Nationals in 4:48.75, and knocks well over three seconds off that here for 2nd in 4:45.06. Grace Sheble of Nova of Virginia also went a best at Senior Nats in 4:46.47, and was half a second off that for 3rd in 4:46.97.

North Baltimore’s Easop Lee took the B-final in 4:50.68, her 2nd fastest swim ever, and 13-year-old Lucy Bell of Fort Collins dropped over three seconds from her prelim PB for 10th overall in 4:52.21. She came into the meet with a best of 4:58.47 from two weeks ago.

Men’s 400 IM Final

  • Jr World: 4:14.00, Sean Grieshop (USA), 2016
  • Meet: 4:14.51, Gunnar Bentz, 2013
  1. Jason Louser, LIAC, 4:18.59
  2. Jake Foster, RAYS, 4:20.20
  3. Kevin Vargas, RMDA, 4:20.31

Jason Louser of Long Island held the slight lead in the men’s 400 IM final at the halfway mark, turning in 2:07.41 before unloading a 1:11.49 breaststroke split. Jake Foster of the Mason Manta Rays actually gained some ground, splitting 1:11.10, but still went into the freestyle trailing by nearly a second. Louser closed well in 59.69 to seal the win in 4:18.59, dropping his previous best of 4:20.70 (set at Nationals) to move into the top-25 all-time in the 17-18 age group.

Foster and 3rd place finisher Kevin Vargas also swam their lifetime bests at Nationals last week in 4:19.18 and 4:18.58 respectively, both falling shy of those times with Foster 2nd in 4:20.20 and Vargas 3rd in 4:20.31.

Nicholas Perera and Ivan Puskovitch ended up tying for 4th in 4:23.17, with Puskovitch making up seven tenths on the last 50 with a final split of 28.54. Both swimmers improved their personal best times set in the prelims.

Women’s 400 Free Relay

  • Meet: 3:44.88, Carmel Swim Club, 2014
  1. Brea Aquatics, 3:47.43
  2. SwimMac Carolina, 3:48.03
  3. North Baltimore Aquatic Club, 3:49.25

Through the fast heats, Brea Aquatics topped the women’s 400 free relay field with a time of 3:47.43, receiving quick 3rd and 4th legs from Justina Kozan (56.73) and Samantha Pearson (56.11).

SwimMac was 2nd in 3:48.03, with a 56.94 lead-off from Sophie Lindner, and North Baltimore put up the 3rd fastest time from heat 1 in 3:49.25. Easop Lee‘s second leg of 56.65 was their top split.

Claire Tuggle had a notable 56.38 anchor for Clovis, and Zoie Hartman unleashed a 56.01 in bringing home Crow Canyon.

Men’s 400 Free Relay

  • Meet: 3:24.62, Indiana University Swim Team, 2014
  1. Terrapins, 3:24.48
  2. Mason Manta Rays, 3:25.55
  3. SwimMac Carolina, 3:26.69

The Mason Manta Rays threw down the gauntlet in the first heat of the men’s 400 free relay, clocking 3:25.55 with 3rd and 4th leg splits of 50.83 and 50.02 from Carson Foster and Adam Chaney.

In the fastest seeded heat, the Terrapins got by them for 1st overall with a time of 3:24.48, breaking the meet record previously held by the Indiana University Swim Team from 2014 (3:24.62). They got a 49.55 2nd leg from Alexei Sancov, and then a sizzling 48.78 anchor from Andrei Minakov.

SwimMac took 3rd in 3:26.69, with a 51.01 anchor from Tim Connery, and Hunter Tapp (50.90) had a notable anchor leg from 5th place Lakeside.

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4 years ago

Claire Tuggle is the second coming of Sippy Woodhead. One more year and she would have been ready to make the Worlds team.

Reply to  Aquajosh
4 years ago

She seems to be improving in a way that would indicate big time swims are on the very close horizon. The fact that she can swim a 400 IM along with mid and long distance freestyle brings a very “Katie Ledecky-ish” vibe to me. She’s got a huge summer schedule this year, hard to imagine having just turned 14 and be going up against the best of the best multiple weeks in a row.

4 years ago

Ethan Harder, you are my hero. Carpool karoake champ!!

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Carson Foster exhausted after his big last week. Why does he swim at this meet? I don’t get it.
Claire Tuggle didn’t swim the 400 IM last week. Big new PB in 4.44.91. More than 8 seconds dropped in one day! Swim of the day in my opinion. At least for the Americans.
Talking about that I never understand when foreign swimmers are allowed to swim at national championships (juniors in USA or seniors in France for examples) but that’s another debate.

Black line
4 years ago

If you watch the relay race video, Minakov did not do a relay start meaning he went 48.78 from a flat start

Reply to  Black line
4 years ago

He always does this, doesn’t know how to do relay start.

Reply to  Black line
4 years ago

Impressive split time for a non rolling start !!!

4 years ago

Officials at the meet called many bad DQ’s.

4 years ago

Winner of the C Final of the Men’s 100 Free would’ve gotten third in the A Final

Reply to  Swimdude
4 years ago

That’s why you need to to swim fast at prelims

Reply to  Gramps
4 years ago

But BOBO doesn’t like swimmers swimming fast in prelims LOL

Reply to  Gramps
4 years ago

This often confuses me. What difference does it really make if a good time comes out of a B or C final? Their prize money still remains at … zero. Maybe they are disappointed they don’t stand on the podium? If they need the time to qualify for something else, they have it.

4 years ago

Dang Claire Tuggle #5 all time behind Beisel legendary IMer!!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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