5 Storylines, All the Links You Need for the 2016 US Winter Jrs West

Karl Ortegon
by Karl Ortegon 4

December 05th, 2016 National, News


  • Wednesday, December 7th – Saturday, December 10th
  • College Station, TX (Texas A&M University)
  • Psych sheets
  • Meet information
  • Live results available soon

While the international senior elite are competing at the World SC Championships in Windsor, Canada, all of America’s top 18 & unders west of the Mississippi will meet in College Station, Texas for the Winter Junior Champs – West this week. Check below for five storylines to watch out for on this half of the country.


The kingpin college recruit as a monster in sprint free, back, and fly, Arizona native Ryan Hoffer is the biggest name at this meet. He’s the top seed in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, and 100 back, and he’s ahead by sizable margins across all four races. Scottsdale Aquatic Club is also entered in all five relays, so we might be able to see Hoffer make some relay magic as well this week.

The Cal commit already has the 100 free NAG record for the 17-18 age group, but he’ll look to climb the rankings in the 50 free, 100 back, and 100 fly, as well. He’s 2nd behind Caeleb Dressel (18.67) in the 50, and 4th in both the 100 fly and 100 back currently. NAGs in the 100 fly (44.91, Tom Shields) and 100 back especially (44.63, Ryan Murphy) might be a stretch for Hoffer, but he could certainly give those records a scare this week.


Both the 100 and 200 butterfly’s on the girls’ side should be thrilling races. In the 100, the field is led by Eva Merrell in 52.40. She’s followed by three swimmers headed to big-time D1 schools next fall. The #2 seed is future Michigan Wolverine Alexis Margett (52.59), then #3 Texas-bound Victoria Edwards (52.74) and finally Stanford commit and #4 seed Lauren Green (52.90).

The 200 is also very packed, led by Taylor Pike at 1:55.57. Just behind her is Dakota Luther at 1:55.60, followed by Ruby Martin (1:56.07) and Victoria Edwards (1:56.08). Top seed Pike was a semifinalist in this race in Omaha, while Martin made it to the final, surging to a 4th place finish with a stellar 2:09.96. Luther was initially into the semifinals this summer as it appeared that Cammile Adams had DQ’d, but the DQ was taken back and Luther had to settle for 17th. These four girls will be revving for quite the race in College Station.


Eva Merrell was an outstanding sprint butterflier from a young age, and that seemed to be her calling as she rose in the ranks of age group history. At the Olympic Trials, where she looked to be a top contender to final in the 100 fly, she ended up finishing outside of the top 10 in that event. Instead, she touched 9th in the 200 back, just hundredths away from making that final and nearly breaking 2:10 in LCM. This week will be her first time racing backstroke at a high level national meet, albeit in yards, and her SCY best of 1:57.41 suggests that she has a considerable amount to drop based on this summer. She’s seeded 3rd in the 100 back and 9th in the 200 back.


Just like Alex Walsh at the East championships, 14-year-old Regan Smith has entered in 8 individual events this week. The Minnesota native will take on the 50, 100, and 200 free, the 100 and 200 back, the 100 and 200 fly, and the 200 IM in College Station. Smith is the #1 seed in the 100 back and the #2 seed in the 200 back behind Grace Ariola, and she’ll be eyeing Walsh’s 13-14 NAG of 51.62 in the 100 back.


You might not know his name, but Daniel Roy is a rising breaststroke talent to keep on your radar. It wasn’t Reece Whitley who was the highest young finisher in the 200 breast in Omaha– it was Roy. The 16-year-old out of Washington state posted the 9th-fastest time in semifinals (2:13.92), touching ahead of Whitley and nearly making the final.

Roy had never broken 2:15 until his prelims and semifinals swims in Omaha. He didn’t stop there, though, improving even further at the 2016 Jr. Pan Pac Championships. Touching the wall at 2:12.17 in the final, he earned the bronze medal and was the highest finishing American at the meet. He’s the top seed in College Station in the 200 breast with a 1:58.46, but he looks to have more in tank based on his performances this summer.

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7 years ago

It would be nice to credit the clubs and club coaches too.

bobo gigi
7 years ago

Less stars to watch in that West part especially on the men’s side but a few names can still make some waves.

Ryan Hoffer is the star to watch on the men’s side. He will finish miles ahead of everybody in his sprint races. At his Arizona high school championships last month he was faster than at the same meet last year. 18 high/40 high for the bathtub monster?

On the women’s side Regan Smith will try to break some NAG records and we’ll compare her times to her rival Alex Walsh. 6 months and a few days of difference between both teen phenoms. Regan is still 14 until late January I believe. And Alex is 15 since last August.… Read more »

7 years ago

20.12 relay split for fly from Hoffer. 45.22 100 fly and 45.30 100 back. 18.91 50 free. Only time I have trouble seeing him drop time in is the 100 free only cause 41.23 is insanely quick and hard to drop time off of. But who knows I mean it’s Hoffer after all

7 years ago

I’d love to see Regan Smith scratch a couple. Tough triples on Fri and Sat (100 Fly, 200 free, 100 back) (200 back, 100 free, 200 fly). She’ll make definite NAG runs at 100 back/fly, 200 back and 200 free. She’s much faster than when she swam those seed times in March.

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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