SPEEDO WINTER JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS – EAST
- Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina
- Prelims: 9 am (ET)
- Finals: 5 pm (ET) – Wed. relays at 6 pm
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Two swims from 14-year old Thomas Heilman, two more from 13-year old Charlotte Crush, and Baylor Nelson chasing age group history in the 400 IM are the highlights of Friday’s finals session in Greensboro at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships – East.
Thanks to breaks for award ceremonies, he should get a little more time on Friday evening – the timeline has the 100 fly championship at 5:55 PM and the 200 free championship heat at 6:32 PM.
Crush swam some of the fastest times by a 13-year old in US history the 100 and 200 yard fly in prelims.
Baylor Nelson, meanwhile, is lining up for a big 400 IM after cruising to a 3:48.17 in prelims. That’s about two-and-a-half seconds slower than his best time, but based on where he’s been swimming the rest of the week (2+ second drop in the 200 IM, for example), a new best time is in order in finals.
Girls 400 IM – Finals
- Meet Record – Brooke Forde (Lakeside Swim Team), 2016: 4:02.51
- Elizabeth Tilt (Chattahoochee Gold), 17 – 4:12.01
- Haley McDonald (Lakeside Swim Team), 14 – 4:12.26
- Grace Rainey (SwimMAC Carolina), 17 – 4:12.88
This was a great race, as Chattahoochee Gold’s Elizabeth Tilt and Lakeside’s Haley McDonald‘s swam practically side-by-side for the entire race. Ultimately, it came down to the final 50, where Tilt closed in 27.35 to McDonald’s 27.93, to take the win in 4:12.01 to McDonald’s 4:12.26.
McDonald’s swim moves her up to #8 all-time in the 13-14 age group. That follows a 200 IM on Thursday that moved her up to #7 all-time in the age group. After a 4:17 in prelims, McDonald dropped in total 14 seconds off her lifetime best at this meet, which is only the third meet where she’s swum the event in yards.
Tilt, a Kentucky commit, also had a big drop at the meet, improving her best time by more than five seconds.
Grace Rainey of SwimMAC was nearly five seconds behind those two at the halfway point, but closed the gap with a 1:09.60 breaststroke leg and took 3rd in 4:12.88.
SwimMAC’s Sofia Plaza and Avery Klamfoth went 1-2 in the B final, with Plaza swimming 4:14.79 and Klamfoth 4:15.97. Klamfoth is only 14, and that time moves her into the top 50 in 13-14 age group history all-time.
Boys 400 IM – Finals
- Meet record: Carson Foster (Mason Manta Rays), 2019: 3:38.65
- Baylor Nelson (SwimMAC Carolina), 18 – 3:42.78
- Kyle Ponsler (Fishers Area Swimming Tigers), 17 – 3:47.75
- Jackson Millard (Kentucky Aquatics), 18 – 3:48.41
SwimMAC’s Baylor Nelson completed the IM sweep with a nearly-five second win in the 400 tonight.
The future Aggie won the 200 IM last night in a meet record 1:42.01, and tonight he won the 400 with a 3:42.78. That’s still four seconds away from the meet record, but it was enough to comfortably win over the second place finisher, Kyle Ponsler.
For Nelson, who will swim for Texas A&M in the fall, the swim is about a three-second improvement on his previous best time from March. He has swum best times in all three events so far this weekend, with entries in the 200 free, 100 back, 200 back, and 200 breast remaining.
He won the B-Final on Thursday in 19.94, shortly after winning the 200 IM A-Final.
Girls 100 Fly – Finals
- Meet record: Claire Curzan (TAC Titans), 2019, 2019: 50.87
- Alex Shackell (Carmel Swim Club), 15 – 51.21
- Charlotte Crush (Lakeside Swim Team), 13 – 52.52
- Anna Boemer (SOLO Aquatics), 16 – 52.84
There was a lot of Auburn flavor at the top of the girls’ 100 fly final, even in a junior race. 15-year old Alex Shackell of the Carmel Swim Club won in 51.21, while 13-year old Charlotte Crush of the Lakeside Swim Team finished 2nd in 52.52.
While both are to young to have made college commitments, the connection is that they are both double legacies of Auburn swimming: Shackell’s dad and Crush’s dad were both on Auburn’s 1997 NCAA Championship team, while their mothers were teammates on the Auburn women’s team.
Both swimmers also rank among the fastest-ever at their age. Shackell’s swim makes her the #2 15-year old in USA Swimming history, behind only Olympian Claire Curzan, who swam 50.35 in 2020; while Crush is now the fastest 13-year old ever, jumping Tristen Ulett’s 52.97 from 2016.
Crush ranks 3rd all-time in the 15-16 age group, behind only Olympic medalists Curzan and Regan Smith; while Shackell ranks 3rd all-time in the age group, behind only Curzan and Beata Nelson.
Anna Boemer of SOLO Aquatics finished 3rd in 52.84, which is a half-second drop off her best time. She beat-out another Carmel Swim Club’er, Devon Kitchel, who was 4th in 52.85.
14-year old Annie Jia from the Upper Dublin Aquatic Club won the B Final in 53.72. That moves her up into the top 35 of the USA Swimming all-time rankings in the 13-14 age group.
Boys 100 Fly – Finals
- Meet record: Ryan Hoffer (Scottsdale Aquatic Club), 2015: 45.46
- Thomas Heilman, Cavalier Aquatics, 14 – 45.81
- Carl Bloebaum, Mason Manta Rays, 18 – 46.06
- Tate Bacon, Unattached, 17 – 46.47
14-year old Thomas Heilman of Cavalier Aquatics knocked out his 11th National Age Group Record in the last 10 days, winning the boys’ 100 fly in 45.81. His swim is so fast that it is just .2 seconds away from Luca Urlando’s 15-16 record, and within a second of Tom Shields’ 17-18 record.
The previous record was his 46.42 in prelims, and before that the record stood at 46.95, which was done by Michael Andrew on his 15th birthday in 2014.
That is Heilman’s 2nd win of the meet, after a 19.83 in the 50 free on Thursday. He still has the very next event, the 200 free, left to swim on Friday. He finished 2nd in the 100 fly at the U.S. Open last week in long course against a mostly-senior field, which was also a National Age Group Record.
The runner-up was high school senior Carl Bloebaum in 46.06. That marks a second drop off his prelims time, which in turn was four-tenths better than his previous best time. Bloebaum was originally the #10 recruit in the high school class of 2022, but slipped to “Best of the Rest” at the end of his junior season. He’ll join the Virginia Tech Hokies next fall, who are amassing one of the best men’s butterfly groups in the nation.
Mason put two swimmers in the top 6 finishers, along with Gibson Holmes at 46.83.
Girls 200 Free – Finals
- Meet record: Regan Smith (Riptide), 2018: 1:43.27
- Anna Moesch, Unattached, 16 – 1:45.87
- Addison Sauickie, Sarasota Sharks, 15 – 1:46.50
- Natalie Mannon, Commonwealth Swimming – 1:46.76
Anna Moesch, an unattached swimmer who trains with Streamline Aquatics Club in Hillsborough, NJ, won her 2nd individual event of the meet, topping the field in a best time of 1:45.87.
That makes more than a four second improvement in the event in this meet, and in total this season she has dropped more than five seconds from her personal best. After winning the 50 free (22.33) on Thursday, and now the 200 free on Friday, she will be the favorite to win the 100 free on Saturday, in spite of entering the meet as the 12th seed.
Addison Sauickie, a 15-year old from the Sarasota Sharks, finished 2nd in 1:46.50, while Natalie Mannion finished 3rd in 1:46.76.
Boys 200 Free – Finals
- Meet record: Drew Kibler (Carmel Swim Club), 2016: 1:33.40
- Daniel Diehl, YMCA of Cumberland, 16 – 1:33.68
- Thomas Heilman, Cavalier Aquatics, 14 – 1:34.68
- Sebastian Sergile, SwimAtlanta – 1:35.19
Of the top four finishers in the meet, just one came in without a prior race on the night. That swimmer was Daniel Diehl, who roared to a 1:33.68 that was a full second ahead of the field.
Diehl’s time now ranks him as the second-fastest swimmer all-time in the 15-16 age group, behind only Tokyo 2020 Olympian Drew Kibler (1:33.30).
The runner-up in the race was 14-year old Thomas Heilman in 1:34.68, exactly a second behind Diehl. That marks Heilman’s 2nd National Age Group Record of the session, breaking his own prelims mark of 1:35.28.
He now has 12 National Age Group Record-breaking swims in the last 10 days.
Diehl, the event winner, is the second-fastest swimmer in 13-14 history – more than two full seconds behind Heilman’s runner-up performance.
Sebastien Sergile improved his 4th-place performance in the 400 IM to a 3rd-place finish in the 200 free in a best time of 1:35.19, while SwimMAC’s Baylor Nelson was 4th in 1:36.12. Sergile is committed to Virginia, while Nelson is committed to Texas A&M.
Girls 100 Breast – Finals
- Meet record: Alex Walsh (Nashville Aquatic Club), 2017: 58.19
- Devon Kitchel (Carmel Swim Club), 17 – 1:00.53
- Mackenzie Headley (Farmington Valley YMCA Tsunamis), 15 – 1:00.87
- (TIE) Jessi Li (Mason Manta Rays), 17/Graice Rainey (SwimMAC Carolina), 17 – 1:00.90
The Carmel Swim Club girls picked up a 2nd win on the night when Devon Kitchel won the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.53. That breaks the team record at the elite Indiana program, which was previously held by Veronica Burchill.
Burchill, who was not primarily a breaststroker, went on to win double-digit All-America honors at the University of Georgia. This is a breakout performance for Kitchel and the Carmel Swim Club: coming into the meet, her best time was a 1:04.8, and coming into the season, her best time was a 1:06.9.
The high school senior committed to Michigan as a butterflier and IMer, but is now going to arrive as one of the best breaststrokers in the class as well.
Carmel, which has produced a huge number of Division I swimmers, has not historically been best known for its breaststrokers, but Kitchel will build that reputation single-handedly.
15-year old Mackenzie Headley finished 2nd in 1:00.87. She swims for the small Farmington Valley YMCA Tsunamis in Connecticut, and is now just half-a-second shy of the Connecticut LSC Record in the 100 breast that belongs to Olympic medalist Kate Douglass.
Jessi Li of the Mason Manta Rays and Grace Rainey of SwimMAC tied for 3rd in 1:00.90. That is Rainey’s second 3rd-place finish of the night after the 400 IM.
Boys 100 Breast – Finals
- Meet record: Michael Andrew (Indie Swimming), 2015: 52.21
- Will Scholtz (Lakeside Swim Team), 16 – 53.67
- Will Heck (Bolles School Sharks), 17 – 53.71
- Ethan Malone (Bolles School Sharks), 18 – 53.97
Will Scholtz, from the same Lakeside Swim Team as Charlotte Crush, held off a pack of Bolles swimmers to top the boys’ 100 breaststroke.
His 53.67 just-missed his best time of 53.61 from prelims, which is his best time.
He led the way on a 2-3 finish for Bolles swimmers Will Heck (53.71) and Ethan Maloney (53.97). All three were dead-even at the halfway mark, but it was a better final 50 from Scholtz that got him the win.
Heck and Malone finished 1st and 3rd for the Bolles School team at the Florida High School State Championships in November. In between them at that meet was Harry Herrera, who was 15th on Friday in 55.10.
Bolles 15-year old Wyatt Porch finished 8th on Friday in 54.94. He also swims for the Bolles School, but didn’t qualify for the state championship meet – his best time before this meet was 57.83 from March.
Girls 100 Back – Finals
- Meet record: Katherine Berkoff (Missoula Aquatic Club), 2018: 50.72
- Berit Berglund (Carmel Swim Club), 16 – 51.32
- Erika Pelaez (Eagle Aquatics), 15 – 52.26
- Levenia Sim (TNT Swimming), 15 – 52.39
Another race, and another win for the Carmel Swim Club, which now has victories in the 100 fly, 100 back, and 100 breast on Friday evening.
With the Indiana high school season being the next target for the Carmel girls, Berglund and Shackell both swim for Carmel High School as well, while Kitchel swims for nearby Zionsville High School.
This win for Berglund was her first time under 52 seconds in the event. The swim cracks the Indiana LSC Record for 15-16s that previously belonged to another Carmel swimmer: Claire Adams. She swam 51.99 in 2015.
That moves Berglund into 6th place all-time in the 15-16 age group.
Erika Pelaez of Eagle Aquatics in Florida was 2nd in 52.26, ahead of fellow 15-year old Levenia Sim, who was 3rd in 52.39. Those are both best times as well.
Charlotte Crush placed 4th in 52.76, again climbing the 13-14 national rankings.
Boys 100 Back – Finals
- Meet record: Ryan Hoffer (Scottsdale Aquatic Club), 2015: 45.58
- Will Modglin (Zionsville Swim Club), 17 – 45.90
- Jonny Marshall (Firestone Akron Swim Club), 17 – 46.87
- Sam Powe (McCallie/GPS Aquatics), 17 – 47.09
Hailing from a different club, but the same 10-mile radius in suburban Indianapolis, Will Modglin kept the theme of the night alive by winning the boys’ 100 back in 45.90. That gave him almost a full-second margin of victory in the race.
That jumps him up to 13th place in the all-time 17-18 rankings in the event.
That’s Modglin’s first win of the meet after placing 2nd in the 200 IM on Thursday and 8th in the 100 fly on Friday. Modglin is a high school junior committed to the University of Texas.
Girls 200 Free Relay – Finals
- Meet record: Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club (B Semenuk, S Moore, M Parker, K Douglass), 2018: 1:29.04
- Carmel Swim Club – 1:30.78
- Phoenix Swimming – 1:31.47
- New Albany Aquatics – 1:32.34
The Carmel Swim Club girls finished the night with a 4th win, this time in the 200 free relay, featuring two of their prior individual event winners. Devon Kitchel, the breaststroker, split 22.57, and Alex Shackell, the butterflier, split 22.00 as the last two legs of the relay.
They were joined by Meghan Christman (23.08 leadoff) and Gretchen Lueking (23.13 2nd leg) to win their 4th relay out of 4 so far at this meet. Only Shackell has been on all four winning relays.
After Schackell, the next-best split on the relay came well down the rankings on the 14th-place Bolles School relay. There, 17-year old Fresh Sathianchokwisan, a Thai national swimmer training in the United States, split 22.31.
Boys 200 Free Relay – Finals
- Meet record: Bolles School Sharks (Caeleb Dressel, Santo Condorelli, Emiro Goossen, Joseph Schooling, 2012: 1:19.03
- Bolles School Sharks – 1:20.34
- SwimMAC Carolina – 1:20.49
- New Albany Aquatics – 1:20.67
Led by a 19.63 second leg from Drew Salls, the Bolles School boys won the 200 free relay in 1:20.34. That split for Salls was half-a-second faster than he swam to tie for 5th in the individual race.
One of the two swimmers with whom he tied in that individual race was Andres Dupont Cabrera, who split 20.18 on the Bolles leadoff on Friday. After Salls’ second leg, Tucker Peterson split 20.35 and Will Heck split 20.18 to secure the win.
Not far back, though, was the team from SwimMAC Carolina. Baylor Nelson very-nearly ran down Heck with a 19.40 anchor split. That was the fastest split in the field by any swimmer for Nelson, who flexed his versatility after winning the 400 IM earlier in the same session.
The next-best split belonged to Bloebaum, earlier the runner-up in the 100 fly, in 19.57. That anchored Mason’s 10th-place relay (which, in spite of being 9 places behind the winners from Bolles, was within a second-and-a-half in a very tight field).