2019 USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Championships
- Tuesday, August 6 – Saturday, August 10, 2019
- Stanford Avery Aquatic Center, Palo Alto, CA
- Prelims 9 AM / Finals 5 PM (U.S. Pacific Time)
- LCM format
- Psych sheet
- Live stream (all sessions)
- Start Lists & Live Results
This week at U.S. Junior Nationals, we’ll identify our six stars for each night of competition. Three will be our ‘Shining Stars’– swimmers who won an event, set a notable record, or had a significant stand-out swim. The next three are our ‘Rising Stars’– swimmers who are younger, or less well-known, who hit an impressive personal best, jumped up the age group rankings, or made themselves known with an interesting performance.
James Plage – 1500 free – 15:16.97
James Plage from AquaBears in Connecticut dominated the 1500 freestyle timed final on Tuesday night, putting in a performance that nearly earned him a meet record. It was the fastest 1500 free by a 16-year-old in the last three years and the ninth-fastest in U.S. history for the 15-16 age group. Since verbally committing to NC State for 2020-21, Plage has destroyed his personal best in this event. Coming into long-course season his best time was 15:54.20. Two weeks ago he clocked a 15:26.64 at the Connecticut Senior State Championships, and he’s now lowered his PB to 15:16.97 for a 37.2-second improvement year-over-year.
Liam Bell – 100 breast – 1:01.19
Liam Bell of US-Aquatics Club in Georgia claimed the junior national title in the 100 breast with 1:01.19, the ninth-fastest time ever for 17-18 boys in the U.S. The Alabama verbal commit is a multiple-time Georgia state champion, both in high school and in club swimming, but this is his first national title. Bell came into the meet seeded third with 1:02.23. He turned in a stellar performance in finals, swimming the fastest front half and the fastest back half and winning by nearly a second over last year’s fifth-place finisher, Ben Dillard.
Justina Kozan – 200 fly – 2:09.68
Brea Aquatics’ Justina Kozan was the only back-to-back event winner on Night One of U.S. Junior Nationals. The 15-year-old repeated her 2018 junior national title in the 200 fly, going 2:09.68 for a lifetime best by .88. Kozan won the event last summer with 2:10.83 and had a seed time of 2:10.50 coming into this year’s meet. She is now tied for 9th all-time among U.S. girls in the 15-16 age group and she still has another year to improve her standing.
Lydia Jacoby – 100 breast – 1:08.12
Lydia Jacoby is the most exciting talent to come out of the state of Alaska in recent years and as of Tuesday she had graduated from regional record-breaker to junior national champion. Jacoby, who swims for Seward Tsunami Swim Club, won the girls’ 100 breast at Juniors with 1:08.12, moving up to tie for sixth all-time in the 15-16 age group. She earned her first 2020 Olympic Trials cut in the event at 2018 Winter Nationals with 1:10.45 then cracked the 1:09 barrier for the first time at U.S. Nationals last week. Still 15, she has a year left in the age group to chase Megan Jendrick’s National Age Group record of 1:07.05. In short-course yards, Jacoby dropped 3.2 seconds this season and finished with 1:00.42.
Grace Rainey – 100 breast – 1:09.42
14-year-old Grace Rainey from SwimMAC Carolina improved her time in the 100 breast by 1.3 seconds and now ranks third all-time in the 13-14 age group. Coming into the meet seeded 11th with a time of 1:10.70, she sliced 1/10 off that time in prelims before going 1:09.42 in finals to finish fifth. Last summer as a 13-year-old, her best time was 1:11.65. Rainey is seeded eighth in the 200 breast (2:32.90). She has 2020 Olympic Trials cuts in both distances.
Mason Laur – 200 fly – 1:59.25
With the top four finishers all under the 2:00 barrier, the 2019 final of the boys’ 200 fly was a good second faster than its 2018 counterpart. Mason Laur of T2 Aquatics pulled off something of an upset, coming from a two-week-old PB of 2:04.35 which ranked him 30th on the psych sheet, to winning the junior national title in 1:59.25. Laur dropped 3.7 seconds in the morning to qualify first for finals with 2:00.69, then held off the challengers to earn the gold medal with another 1.4-second improvement at night. The performance catapulted him to #13 all-time in the 15-16 age group.