2018 Speedo Junior Nationals: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap


This morning marks day 3 prelims of the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine, California. Today, swimmers will compete individually in the 400 free and 100 fly. The men’s 800 free relay is also on the schedule for today, but it’s timed finals only, so all heats will take place at the end of the finals session. Keep an eye out once again for 14-year-old phenom Claire Tuggle. At last week’s Nationals, she was a B finalist in the 400 free. She’s slated to swim in the final heat alongside distance standout Mariah Denigan. Teammates Andrei Minakov and Alexei Sancov will set up another showdown in the 100 fly after going 1-2 in the 100 free last night. Defending champion and Meet Record holder Alexander Zettle is the top seed in the men’s 400 free.


  • World Junior Record: 3:58.37- Katie Ledecky, 2014
  • Meet Record: 4:07.26- G Ryan, 2012

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Kensey McMahon– 4:13.39
  2. Claire Tuggle– 4:13.45
  3. Kaitlynn Sims– 4:15.16
  4. Miranda Heckman– 4:15.93
  5. Easop Lee- 4:16.59
  6. Abigail McCulloh- 4:18.03
  7. Amanda Ray- 4:18.30
  8. Olivia McMurray- 4:18.66

Kensey McMahon was well under her seed time and clipped her best to lead the heats in 4:13.39. Last week at Nationals, she dropped over 2 seconds in 4:13.61. Claire Tuggle (4:13.45), who also swam her best last week with a 4:10.17, was a few hundredths back this morning to qualify 2nd. Winter Juniors champ Kaitlynn Sims will be in the mix after qualifying 3rd in 4:15.16. She’s a title threat with her lifetime best 4:12.40 from June. World Juniors team member Miranda Heckman was 4th in 4:15.93. She has a best of 4:13.11 from 2016.

15-year-old Amanda Ray dropped almost 2 seconds to qualify 7th in 4:18.30. That marked her first ever swim under 4:20. Abigail McCulloh also swam a best time to take 6th in 4:18.03. It was a half second drop from her best, but she’s now dropped almost 5 seconds throughout the season.

Mariah Denigan was a no show in her heat this morning.


  • World Junior Record: 3:44.60- Mack Horton (AUS), 2014
  • Meet Record: 3:51.44- Alexander Zettle, 2017

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Jake Magahey– 3:54.13
  2. Coleman Kramer– 3:55.62
  3. Owen Kao- 3:55.75
  4. Julian Hill- 3:56.28
  5. Ivan Puskovitch- 3:56.39
  6. Jake Mitchell- 3:56.73
  7. Calvin David- 3:57.57
  8. Arik Katz- 3:57.94

Jake Magahey has made huge improvements this season. Coming into 2018, he had never broken 4:00. He lowered his best to a 3:54 back in March, and crushed that time at Nationals in 3:51.38. If he can repeat that time, he has a shot at challenging for the title and would already be under the Meet Record. His 3:54.13 this morning is faster than he was in prelims at Nationals. Alexander Zettle, the 2017 champion and Meet Record holder, was 42nd this morning in 4:02.38.

Coleman Kramer made a 6-second drop to land 2nd in 3:55.62. He was one of several guys to make big drops. Ivan Puskovitch (3:56.39) took off 3 seconds to qualify for the final. Jake Mitchell also dropped a couple of seconds in 3:56.73. Last week, Arik Katz broke 4:00 for the first time. He knocked almost 2 more seconds from his best today to qualify 8th in 3:57.94. Similarly, Julian Hill made a big drop at Nationals last week, knocking 4 seconds off his time in 3:54.73. He qualified 4th this morning in 3:56.28.


  • World Junior Record: 56.46- Penny Oleksiak (CAN), 2016
  • Meet Record: 58.59- Dakota Luther, 2017

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Coleen Gillilan– 59.40
  2. Justina Kozan– 1:00.39
  3. Talia Bates– 1:00.62
  4. Trude Rothrock- 1:00.64
  5. Kylee Alons- 1:00.75
  6. Emma Sticklen- 1:00.86
  7. Jewels Harris- 1:00.95
  8. (T-8) Claire Curzan– 1:00.98
  9. (T-8) Renee Gillilan- 1:00.98

Coleen Gillilan had a breakthrough this morning. She hadn’t swum her best in this race since 2016, when she put up a 59.97, but broke that mark by half a second this morning to lead the heats in 59.40. She was the only swimmer to break 1:00, with 200 fly champ Justina Kozan qualifying 2nd in 1:00.39. Another 14-year-old standout, Claire Curzan, tied her best to tie for 8th in 1:00.98. For Curzan to break into the all-time top 10 American 13-14 year old rankings, she’ll have to be at least a 1:00.21. Kozan is currently #5 on that list with her lifetime best 1:00.00.

Curzan lined up a swimoff with Renee Gillilan, another 14-year-old, for the 8th spot in finals. Gillilan, sister of top seed Coleen, was just a tenth shy of her best this morning. Curzan won the swimoff in 1:00.01, making her the 6th fastest 13-14 year old American ever. Gillilan went a lifetime best 1:00.61 and will swim in the B final.

MEN’S 100 FLY:

  • World Junior Record: 50.62- Kristof Milak (HUN), 2017
  • Meet Record: 52.57- Michael Andrew, 2015

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Andrei Minakov, Terrapins – 53.28
  2. Alexei Sancov, Terrapins – 53.43
  3. River Wright, Blue Fish – 53.81
  4. Spencer Daily, OAPB – 53.97
  5. Zach Smith, CTA – 54.04
  6. Connor Lee, RORA –  54.21
  7. Ethan Hu, PEAK/Noah Henderson, STAR – 54.46

Teammates Andrei Minakov and Alexei Sancov of the Terrapins Swim Team in California took the top two qualifying spots in the boys’ 100 fly, swimming 53.28 and 53.43, respectively. Sancov was the fastest of the two to the turn, by far, but Minakov roared home to qualify first:

The split difference between the two:
  • Minakov – 25.81/27.47 = 53.28
  • Sancov – 25.26/28.17 = 53.43
Minakov, in fact, was slower to the turn, by at least four-tenths, and any other swimmer in the top 12 of this race.
While both train in California, Minakov represents Russia internationally and won silver (50 fly) and gold (100 fly) at the 2018 World Junior Championships. Sancov represented Moldova at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 European Junior Championships, but says he’s no longer representing the country internationally.
Men’s 100 fly recap reported by Braden Keith.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ex Quaker
5 years ago

What happened to Zettle?

Black line
Reply to  Ex Quaker
5 years ago

Heard that he had pneumonia a few weeks prior to Nats/Jrs

Ex Quaker
Reply to  Black line
5 years ago

Ah, that would make sense… thanks for the info!

Reply to  Ex Quaker
5 years ago

And he wasn’t shaved at Jrs last winter or Nationals last week. I don’t get that.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

Read More »