5 Make OT Cuts in Boys’ 400 Free at Jr Nats; James Plage Moves to #11 in 15-16s

2019 USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Championships

The men’s 400 free final at the 2019 U.S. Speedo Junior National Championships produced a bonanza of U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifiers. Five swimmers came to the wall under the 3:57.29 standard and punched their tickets to Omaha.

SwimMAC Carolina’s Jack Walker, James Plage of Aquabears, and Jacob McDonald of Mason Manta Rays came into the meet with Trials cuts, seeded first, second, and third with 3:53.43, 3:55.82, and 3:56.18, respectively. The three new qualifiers were Cole Kuster of Purple Valley Aquatics, Ben Forbes of Clovis Swim Club, and Colby Mefford of Sierra Marlins Swim Team.

Mefford kicked things off with a dominant 3:56.22 to win the B final by 1.5 seconds over the rest of the field. He split 58.0/1:01.4/59.7/57.0, coming home faster than he went out. Mefford had been seeded in yards; his best 400m free time coming into the meet was 4:04.21.

In the A final, Walker took over the lead from Plage at the 100 turn and never let up. He had about a half body-length lead over Plage for the next 300 meters. Plage charged hard over the final 50 meters, splitting 28.1 to Walker’s 28.9, but Walker hung on for the win, 3:53.02 to 3:53.07. Walker dropped .41 off his previous PB, while Plage improved by 2.75 and rose to #11 on the all-time list for 15-16 boys. Kuster, who had been seeded 14th with 4:00.85, came to the wall third in 3:55.94. Forbes followed in fourth with 3:56.69. Like Mefford, he had entered the meet with a yards time. A year ago his PB in meters was 4:12.70.

2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Qualifiers in the 400 Free

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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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