2018 Speedo Junior Nationals: Day 3 Finals Live Recap


Day 3 finals from the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine will be a relatively quick one, with only the 400 freestyle, 100 butterfly and men’s 4×200 free relay on the docket.

Among tonight’s highlights will be Terrapins teammates Andrei Minakov and Alexei Sancov going head-to-head in the men’s 100 fly final, just as they did last night in the 100 free. Minakov won that race, tying the meet record in 49.06, and the two of them finished off the night by leading their team to a victory in the 400 free relay.

This morning, Sancov was quicker on the first 50, but Minakov closed much faster (27.47) to take the top seed in 53.28 to Sancov’s 53.43. After opening up his 100 free last night in 23.47, we’ll see how much faster Minakov can get out tonight compared to his 25.81 opening 50 in prelims.

Coleen Gillilan leads the women’s 100 fly after the heats, cracking her personal best for the first time in two years with a time of 59.40. 200 fly winner Justina Kozan (1:00.37) sits 2nd.

Kensey McMahon (4:13.39) and Claire Tuggle (4:13.45) head into the women’s 400 free final 1-2, and Jake Magahey (3:54.13) is the top seed in the men’s event. Tuggle currently ranks 4th all-time in the 13-14 age group with a best of 4:10.17, and needs to drop less than a second to move past Katie Ledecky for 3rd (4:09.30).


  • World Junior Record: 3:58.37, Katie Ledecky, 2014
  • Meet Record: 4:07.26, G Ryan, 2012
  1. Claire Tuggle, CLOV, 4:10.11
  2. Kensey McMahon, BSS, 4:10.46
  3. Kaitlynn Sims, MAC, 4:13.37

14-year-old Claire Tuggle took over the lead at the halfway mark of the women’s 400 free final, but top seed from prelims Kensey McMahon didn’t let her get away sitting right on her hip through the 350. McMahon made a big push on the last 50, but Tuggle successfully fended her off to book the win in a new personal best time of 4:10.11. That improves her previous best of 4:10.17 from Nationals, maintaining her position at 4th in the 13-14 age group.

McMahon, who swims for the Bolles School Sharks, has now had four consecutive PBs over the last week, doing so in prelims and finals at Nationals and now here. She got down to 4:13.39 this morning, and crushed it tonight all the way to 4:10.46.

Kaitlynn Sims of Magnolia was a solid 4:13.37 for 3rd, less than a second off her best, and Olivia McMurray was the first of three 15-year-olds in the final with a 4:15.74 for 4th. That lowers her previous best set at this meet last year by .06.


  • World Junior Record: 3:44.60, Mack Horton (AUS), 2014
  • Meet Record: 3:51.44, Alexander Zettle, 2017
  1. Jake Magahey, SA, 3:52.32
  2. Jake Mitchell, CSC, 3:52.88
  3. Julian Hill, GSC, 3:55.02

Gator Swim Club’s Julian Hill got out to the early lead in the A-final of the men’s 400 free, but SwimAtlanta’s Jake Magahey (16) slowly but surely reeled him in, taking over the lead at the 300m mark. Never splitting over 30 seconds on any of the 50s, Magahey nearly even-split the race (1:56.05/1:56.27) to win in 3:52.32, just under a second off his best set at Senior Nationals of 3:51.38. That swim ranks him 2nd all-time in the 15-16 age group trailing only Larsen Jensen.

Another 16-year-old, Jake Mitchell, also came on strong on the back half, closing off his final 100 in 57.37 to give Magahey a run for his money. He touched 2nd in 3:52.88, way under his personal best of 3:56.73 set in the prelims. He now sits 10th all-time in the age group. Hill held on for 3rd, barely holding off Owen Kao (3:55.17) in 3:55.02.


  • World Junior Record: 56.46, Penny Oleksiak (CAN), 2016
  • Meet Record: 58.59, Dakota Luther, 2017
  1. Coleen Gillilan, FAST, 59.01
  2. Claire Curzan, TAC, 59.85
  3. Justina Kozan, BREA, 59.89

Coleen Gillilan blasted out to a big lead on the opening 50 of the women’s 100 fly, turning in 27.46, and gave nothing up coming home to win in a new best time of 59.01. She swam a lifetime best of 59.40 in the prelims, and now moves into a tie for 8th in the 17-18 age group all-time.

Also making an impact in the age group rankings were 2nd and 3rd place finishers Claire Curzan and Justina Kozan, both 14. Curzan touched in 59.85, lowering her previous best of 1:00.01 and moving past Kozan for 5th all-time among 13-14s. Kozan scored a PB herself in 59.89, but falls to 6th with Curzan’s swim. Curzan pulled out the 2nd place finish from lane 8.


  • World Junior Record: 50.62, Kristof Milak (HUN), 2017
  • Meet Record: 52.57, Michael Andrew, 2015
  1. Andrei Minakov, TERA, 51.88
  2. Alexei Sancov, TERA, 53.28
  3. River Wright, ABF, 53.63

Just like in the 100 free final last night, Andrei Minakov of the Terrapins wasted no time in establishing a big lead early in the men’s 100 fly, turning at the 50 in a scintillating 24.00. He held it together coming home, splitting 27.88 to clock a time of 51.88 and pick up a decisive victory. That breaks Michael Andrew‘s meet record of 52.57 from 2015, and falls just .04 off his personal best time.

His teammate Alexei Sancov also missed his lifetime best by .04, clocking 53.28 for the runner-up spot. River Wright (53.63) won a tight battle with Connor Lee (53.67) and Ethan Hu (53.69) for 3rd. All three swimmers posted best times in the prelims and improved them once again tonight.


  • World Junior Record: 7:10.95, Hungary, 2017
  • Meet Record: 7:28.28, Indiana University Swim Team, 2014
  1. Mason Manta Rays, 7:26.74
  2. SwimAtlanta, 7:31.79
  3. Terrapins, 7:33.85

Just as they did last night in the 400 free relay, the Mason Manta Rays threw down a devastating swim in heat 1 (the 9th-16th fastest seeded teams) of the men’s 800 free relay. Carson Foster split 1:49.50 on the third leg, and Jake Foster (1:51.25) and Adam Chaney (1:51.69) also had impressive swims as they smashed the meet record of 7:28.28 set in 2014 by the Indiana University team.

However, unlike last night, no one in the fastest seeded heat was able to take down their time, as they ended up taking gold decisively by over five seconds. SwimAtlanta took heat 2 for 2nd overall in 7:31.79, with a quick 1:50.65 anchor from Jake Magahey, and the Terrapins moved up a ton on the fourth leg as Alexei Sancov split a quick 1:49.59. Andrei Minakov swam their second leg, splitting 1:52.93 with a notable 26.77 final 50 (splits: 26.86/29.42/29.88/26.77).

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bobo gigi
4 years ago

I’ve just watched the women’s 400 free race video. Good battle. Claire Tuggle has won but I hope she learns things from that race. Next time don’t make a “Bernard” like Alain Bernard did in 2008 with Lezak. Swim on the other side of your lane. You helped your rival McMahon a lot by swimming too close to her. I’m not a specialist but I know it’s not a thing to do.

On day 1 Matheny would have easily made the junior pan pacs team with his 1.01.06 in the 100 breast. He didn’t swim last week.
And on that day 3 Coleen Gillilan must have some regrets. Her PB before that meet was 59.97. She was only in… Read more »

4 years ago

I hope that Claire Tuggle is targeting international meet this season and wasn’t tapered for Nationals. She did show some progress since Ireland Open in April but not that much as I expected for 13 years old when the improvement curve is very steep. She either was tapered in April or isn’t tapered now.

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo
Reply to  Yozhik
4 years ago

She’s too young to be saving her taper for an international meet.


She is young. True. But she is almost “A” finalist at National level and should be treated this way. Success at International junior championships is a big plus to her resume. This way we have got known about Oleksiak and Taylor, for instance. If you meant that she is at such stage of biological development that tapering technique isn’t applicable, then that I don’t know.

4 years ago

So, basically, if you’re 14 years old and your first name is Claire, odds are you are one of the best.

Reply to  Betty
4 years ago

Claire or Kathleen lol

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo
4 years ago

Tuggle’s cap is brighter than my future

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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