Five girls went 2:01’s this morning in the 200 free, led by Brea Aquatics 15-year-old Justina Kozan, the 200 fly champion from night one. In that 200 fly, she clocked a lifetime best of 2:09.68, her first time breaking 2:10. Kozan was 2:01.51 this morning, but if her 200 fly was any indication, she could be ready to break past her 1:59.21 lifetime best from the Trojan Invite in July. That’s the same meet in which she went 2:10.50 in the 200 fly, which she blew past earlier this week. Meanwhile, Pleasanton Seahawks’ Miranda Heckman, the 100 free champion and 400 free runner-up from this week, lurks in second at 2:01.73, though she just went 1:59.58 at Senior Nationals last week leading off Pleasanton’s 4×200 free relay. Irvine Novaquatics’ Ella Ristic, meanwhile, was 2:01.86 this morning. She’s gone lifetime bests in the 100 free and 200 free in yards and the 100 free in long course in 2019, and her best is a 2:00.99 from 2017. Don’t count out 15-year-olds Riley Francis (Lakeside Aquatic Club, 2:01.89 this morning) or Ella Bathurst (Unattached, 2:01.92 this morning), either.
Liam Bell (US-Aquatics Club) was just sixth this morning in the 200 breast at 2:17.42 after winning the 100 breast on Tuesday. That time is very noteworthy for Bell, though, who just went his fastest time since 2015. At age 14, Bell was a fast-rising breaststroker who hit a 2:19.09 at a Futures meet that summer. At that meet, he also became the third 14-year-old American boy to ever break 1:04 in the 100 breast. He’s clearly having his resurgence, and this morning he finally beat that 2015 best, doing so by almost two seconds and notching an Olympic Trials cut. He’s likely still figuring out his pacing (he was 30/35/36/34), and we could see something big from him tonight in the A final. Maxwell Reich of Phoenix Swimming was the top swim of the morning, though, well ahead at 2:14.97, with Asphalt Green’s Dylan Rhee close behind (2:15.37).
Leading the way this morning in the women’s 200 breast was Abigail Herscu of Livermore Aquatics in California’s Bay Area. The 15-year-old was 2:32.98 this morning to lead all qualifiers, erasing her old best of 2:33.97 from the Clovis Pro Swim Series stop by almost a full second. In yards, she has gone from 2:24.04 in March of 2018, to 2:19.85 in December of 2018, to 2:16.71 in March of 2019. She’s already dropped from 2:37.24 last summer to her 2:32.98 this morning, with her time today punching her a ticket to the Olympic Trials. We’ll see if she has more to go tonight– she’ll be pushed by another 15-year-old, Denver Hilltoppers’ Emma Weber, along with Y-Spartaquatics 16-year-old Annika McEnroe, who both went 2:33’s this morning.
She was edged out of the A final for tonight, but Elmbrook Swim Club 13-year-old Maggie Wanezek was 1:02.88 this morning. She’s been as fast as 1:01.90, from July, so she could have something quick out of the B final tonight.
Canton City Schools in Ohio. Ever heard of them? They have the top two seeds tonight in the men’s 100 back: Hunter Armstrong (55.14) and Christopher O’Connor (55.39). Those were best times this morning; Armstrong by tenths, O’Connor by almost two seconds.