4 Things to Watch For at the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals


We’ve got a quick turnaround from the end of U.S. Nationals last night to the start of the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals. The races are set to begin Tuesday, July 31st, at the same location in Irvine, California. Prelims will start at 9 a.m. pacific time, while finals will start at 6 p.m. pacific time.

Below are four swimmer/stories/things to watch for at the meet (though this are far from an exhaustive list).


Two sets of siblings are entered to race this week, with plenty of top-3 seeds to go around between them.

Mason Manta Rays’ Carson Foster just wrapped up a fantastic weekend in Irvine which included a 4th place finish in the 200 back and a 15-16 NAG record in the 200 IM. He’s the top seed in the 200 fly, 200 back, 200 IM and 100 back, while older brother Jake is entered as top seed in the breaststroke events and the 400 IM.

Magnolia Aquatic Club’s Lucie Nordmann is seeded first in the 100 free and 2nd in the backstrokes, while younger sister Lillie will challenge for titles in the 100 and 200 fly.


Alexei Sancov and Andrei Minakov are two of the fastest 18 & unders training in the country, but the Terrapins swimmers internationally represent Moldova and Russia, respectively.

They’ll clash in the 100 free – they’re the top two seeds, with Sancov at 49.01 and Minakov at 49.24. Minakov is the 50 free top seed and only entrant under 23 at 22.89, and he’s well ahead of the entire field in the 100 fly with an entry of 51.84. Without Gianluca Urlando racing at Juniors (he’ll be training and preparing for Junior Pan Pacs after a stellar week at Senior Nationals including a 15-16 NAG in the 100 fly), Minakov is the heavy favorite for the 100 fly title. He’s also entered in the 100 back and 200 fly.

Sancov, meanwhile, is the 200 free top seed with additional entries in the 50 free, 200 IM, and 100 fly.


Dare Rose turned 15 this year, and he’s already climbed the 15-16 historical rankings considerably. The Scarlet Aquatics swimmer is seeded third in the 200 fly but should challenge for a title there, while he’s also scheduled to race the 100 fly, 100/200 free, and 200/400 IM.

Last week, Rose blasted a very impressive 3:51.41 in the 400 free, shooting up to third all-time in the 15-16 age group. He won’t be racing that at Juniors, but he’s going to have another shot at hitting PRs this week in Irvine.


Claire Tuggle of Clovis Swim Club and Mariah Denigan of the Northern Kentucky Clippers hit more PBs last week, and the two of them will vie for junior national titles in several events.

The pair will collide in the 400 and 800 frees, with Tuggle holding the top seed in the 400 and 2nd seed in the 800 and Denigan entering at #3 in both races. Kaitlynn Sims of Magnolia is the top seed in the 800 and is 2nd in the 400.

Tuggle will also compete in the 100/200 free, 200/400 IM, and 200 breast, while Denigan is top seed in the 400 IM and 1500 free and is also entered in the 100/200 back, 200 free, and 200 IM.

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4 years ago

Unfortunately, first session and there isn’t anything to watch because the USA Swimming live feed is not working. Why can’t these people get it right?

Reply to  SwimCoachDad
4 years ago

And will there be live recap articles for Jrs?

4 years ago

I do NOT represent Moldova since last summer, and I’m not going to.

Reply to  Sancov
4 years ago

is this the real Alexei Sancov?

and also, what

Reply to  Sancov
4 years ago

Who you represent then?

4 years ago

You mention the Foster siblings…but didn’t talk about their sister. Kinda cool thing to have 3 siblings at a high level, seems like you should mention all 3 not just the brothers.

Reply to  Swimerinlane9
4 years ago

Why the downvotes on this comment? It is part of the truth, that it is rare to have 3 siblings who are equally as accomplished swimming at both Nationals and Juniors.

Reply to  swimmerTX
4 years ago

Trolls downvote anything that seems interesting & relevant .

4 years ago

If everybody shares your view of what is “interesting & relevant” then what will be the purpose of this “voting” feature at the first place? The swimswam keeps this process as it is without censoring to have people involved. So you are involved. Me too. Congratulations to both of us 😀

bobo gigi
4 years ago

As that meet doesn’t have much interest for the US teens qualified for junior pan pacs, why Tuggle, Foster, Rose or Denigan enter that meet? Last year Erica Sullivan for example made the error of swimming at both US Open and junior nationals 2 weeks in a row. A grueling schedule in both meets with 2 races of 1500 free. She arrived at world juniors 2 weeks later exhausted and underperformed. Urlando is doing the right thing in my opinion. Don’t overrace. Go home, train and prepare for Fiji.

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Can’t agree with you more. Seems silly for these kids to swim for 2 weeks straight. Not fair to the parents. All about the egos of their coaches.

Reply to  DeanFerrisPOTUS2020
4 years ago

I see that in today’s heat sheet a couple of them are not racing (Tuggle, Sims, Denigan) while some Jr. Pan Pac swimmers are racing same/similar events and some seem to be racing different events. Some people do better with more racing and some do better going back to practice, we will see in a month what happened.

Reply to  Dan
4 years ago

Tuggle mentioned she’s swimming this meet for her club relays, but she’s also swimming select individual events

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Bobo – I’m here at the meet. I agree jr Pan Pacs qualifiers shouldn’t swim here. But many of them stay to train for Fiji. As you may know, this is the end of season for most clubs, so going home means no pools or coaches to train with. There are two 50-meter pools here plus an indoor sc pool. Most Jr Pan Pacs coaches are here this week to coach their jr National swimmers.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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