2019 MEL ZAJAC JR. INTERNATIONAL MEET
- May 24-26, 2019
- Vancouver, Canada (University of British Columbia)
- Meet website
- Estimated timeline
- Psych sheet
- Live Stream
- Live Results
Each individual event will provide prize money to the top three:
- 1st – $100
- 2nd – $50
- 3rd – $25
There are also bonuses for meet records and the top swims in FINA World Ranking:
- Individual meet records – $100
- Relay meet records – $200 to be split by the relay
- Highest overall world ranking swim – $100 plus a prize pack
- Top 5 performances of the meet (for men and women separately) in world ranking:
- Top world rank: $600
- 2nd-best world rank: $500
- 3rd-best world rank: $400
- 4th-best world rank: $300
- 5th-best world rank: $200
- Top junior male (18-and-under) and female (17-and-under) in world rank: Prize pack
5 Races To Watch
1. Men’s 200 Free
With such a junior-heavy field in attendance this year, most of these storylines are going to revolve around age records and top junior swims. But the men’s 200 free is set up to be a more traditional battle for gold. Canada’s Markus Thormeyer is the top seed with his 1:47.60 from Canadian Trials last month. But American junior Luca Urlando was 1:47.73 at a sectional meet in February. That leaves the two within .13 seconds of one another with very recent lifetime-bests. It’s hard to say how primed each will be for top swimming: Thormeyer is probably back into training between Trials and Worlds, while Urlando is just coming off of his short course high school season and is probably focused on U.S. Nationals in August, where he could qualify for World Juniors after dropping from the Pan Ams senior team.
2. Women’s 100 Fly
A potential National Age Group (NAG) record double awaits in the women’s butterfly. 17-year-old Olivia Bray is the top seed (it appears the top seed on psych sheets is entered with a yards time), and she’s already the #2 performer in USA Swimming history among 17-18s in this event. Bray went 58.38 in March, and is just over half a second off the 17-18 NAG record of 57.87 set by national teamer Katie McLaughlin. Bray already smashed the short course yards NAG record in the 100 fly (going 50.19).
Meanwhile behind her, 16-year-old Torri Huske has an outside shot at the 15-16 NAG. Huske passed up Bray to become the #2 all-time in short course yards for that age group, and currently sits #14 in long course meter age group history with a 59.27. She hit that time last November, and has since that time dropped her short course yards time by 1.4 seconds. She’s almost-certainly primed to move up the top all-time lists for 15-16s, and could chase a legendary 1981 NAG record of 57.93 set by Olympian Mary T. Meagher.
3. Men’s 100 Back
The men’s 100 back offers another two-for on records – but this one is Canadian. Thormeyer is the national record-holder already, having gone 53.35 at Canadian Trials. As we noted above, he’s probably back into the thick of training, and it’d be a surprise to see him better his own record a month later, but it’s certainly not out of the question.
The second seed is 16-year-old Cole Pratt, who has been very impressive so far this year. Pratt dropped from 55.9 to 54.64 at Canadian Trials, wrecking the Canadian age record for 15-17s. About a week later, he went 54.88 in another swim. He’s got a great chance to better his own record here and give the Canadians a very strong 1-2 backstroke punch for years to come.
4. Women’s 100 Breast
Another true race, where the top three seeds come in within a half-second of one another. Kelsey Wog was the national runner-up last month, going 1:07.54. Rachel Nicol has been as fast as 1:06.68 at the Rio Olympics, but hasn’t bettered that time since then. Last season, her best overall time was a 1:07.66, and she went 1:07.94 at Canadian Trials this year. And then there’s the youngster Faith Knelson. The then-17-year-old just missed medaling at Commonwealths last spring, going 1:07.84. This year, she was 1:08.00 at Canadian Trials.
5. Boys 200 IM
It’s a one-on-one showdown between two of the best juniors in attendance: American Urlando is the top seed, looking for his first swim below two minutes. The 17-year-old went 2:00.3 just a few months ago. Meanwhile Canadian 16-year-old Pratt dropped from 2:02.7 to 2:01.5 at Canadian Trials last month and is now only about a second from the Canadian age record for 15-17s. (It stands at 2:00.3, meaning that Pratt should have an almost perfect example of the record speed in Urlando right next to him for pacing purposes). Urlando has further to go for an age record, with Michael Phelps holding the American 17-18 record at 1:55.94. But Urlando could become just the 8th 17-18 in U.S. history to break two minutes. Also keep an eye on Canadian 18-year-old Finlay Knox, who is the second seed. He’s not eligible for the Canadian age record, but dropped from 2:01.9 to 2:01.3 at Canadian Trials.
A few other age records to keep an eye on: the boys 50 free, where 16-year-old David Curtiss (22.64) is three tenths behind NAG record-holder Michael Andrew (22.33) and 2nd-all-time Caeleb Dressel (22.39). And the boys 200 fly, where Urlando moved to #2 all-time behind Phelps in the 15-16 age group last summer, and could instantly move to #2 in his new 17-18 age group by repeating his best (1:55.21) this weekend. The 17-18 NAG is a 1:53.93 from Phelps, but no other American 17-18 has been faster than 1:55.6.