5 Storylines to Watch at the 2018 Jr Pan Pacific Championships

Karl Ortegon
by Karl Ortegon 25

August 21st, 2018 News

2018 JR. PAN PAC SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2018 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships are coming up this week, as some of the top teenagers from the U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia, and more will go head-to-head in one of the premier junior international meets of the year. Below, we delve into five (of many) storylines to watch for at the meet.

As a reminder, this meet has a similar format to that of the open version of the Pan Pac Championships, which happened last week in Tokyo, Japan. The rules for Jr. Pan Pacs limit the number of swimmers from a given country that can advance to the finals, wherein 2 swimmers per country can qualify for the A final, and if a country has 1 or 2 swimmers in the A final, they can also have 2 in the B final. Countries with 0 swimmers in the A final can qualify 3 swimmers to the B final.

Countries are allowed to enter as many swimmers as they want in preliminaries (up to the roster caps of 20 women and 20 men), meaning that swimmers will often race more events than just what they explicitly qualified in.

#1 SIBLINGS READY TO TAKE OVER

Alex and Gretchen Walsh of Nashville Aquatic Club and Jake and Carson Foster of the Mason Manta Rays are favorites to take multiple events this week.

A. Walsh is the top seed in the 200 IM — she’s also the #2 seed in the 200 back, and though she has only been 1:09 high in the 100 breast, she dropped a huge NAG record of 58.19 in yards at Winter Speedo Juniors in December, so she seems due for a drop there. G. Walsh, meanwhile, is the favorite to win the 50 and 100 freestyle.

J. Foster is the 400 IM favorite and the only entrant under 4:20, while C. Foster is a top candidate to win the 200 IM and 200 back.

#2 TUGGLE STILL HAS TIME TO ERASE WOODHEAD RECORDS

The legendary Sippy Woodhead‘s 13-14 NAG records in the 200m and 400m free just turned 40 years old, dating back to the 1978 World Championships where the then-fourteen-year-old took gold in the 200 and silver in the 400.

Clovis Swim Club’s Claire Tuggle has been on a tear this summer, and she has a great chance to take down the 200 free record– she’s entered in 1:58.59, just .06 away from Woodhead’s NAG record. She’ll be hard-pressed to take down the 400 record, which sits at 4:07.15, compared to Tuggle’s 4:10.11 entry time.

Tuggle will meet Australian resistance in the 200 from Michaela Ryan (entered at 1:58.91) and Lani Pallister in the 200 (entered at 1:59.37) and 400 (entered at 4:10.61).

#3 U.S. SET TO DOMINATE WOMEN’S BACKSTROKE

The U.S. has always been a force in the backstrokes, and it’s the age group talent on the women’s side that has been remarkable of late. Even without Regan Smith, World Jr record holder in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes, the U.S. holds the top 5 spots in the 200 back and the top 4 spots in the 100.

We already mentioned Alex Walsh, the #2 seed in the 200 back (2:09.36) and the #6 seed in the 100 back (1:00.83). Isabelle Stadden of the Aquajets sits on top in the 200 (2:08.24) with Katharine Berkoff also under 2:10 (2:09.84). Lucie Nordmann (2:10.51) and Phoebe Bacon (2:12.09) round out the top 5.

Bacon was cooking at Nationals earlier this summer, and her 59.12 from Irvine leads the way in the 100 back. Berkoff (59.77), Stadden (1:00.06), and Nordmann(1:00.62) follow suit.

#4 AFTER PASSING ON SR PAN PACS, CANADA’S MAGGIE MACNEIL ARRIVES

Canada’s Maggie MacNeil, who will suit up as a freshman for the University of Michigan this school year, notably declined her invitation to the 2018 Pan Pacs. She commented that she’d be focusing on Jr Pan Pacs instead, and she now has a window to a gold medal with her top-entry time of 58.44 in the 100 fly. The closest entrant to MacNeil is Australia’s Michaela Ryan at 58.96, and this is one of the few events in which an American isn’t the favorite (or very close — 59.19 is top American Lillie Nordmann‘s entry time).

MacNeil is also seeded 8th in the 100 back, 11th in the 100 free, 12th in the 50 free, and 16th in the 200 free.

#5 URLANDO WITH A SHOT TO SNIPE A PHELPS NAG

Luca Urlando hung tough with the older guys in the 200 fly at U.S. Nationals, ultimately coming up just short of qualifying for Pan Pacs in the 200 fly. The sixteen-year-old’s 1:55.21 was still the second-best U.S. 15-16 200 fly of all time behind only Michael Phelps, and that magical NAG is within reach at 1:54.58.

Even if Urlando isn’t able to take down that mark, he is not far from cracking the world’s top 10 for this year (10th is another American, Zach Harting, who won bronze at Pan Pacs with a 1:55.05). The top American this year has been Justin Wright (1:54.63), and he sits at 1:54.63.

Urlando is also the top seed in the 100 fly (52.48).

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Gator

Worth mentioning the third set of siblings in #1- Nordmanns

Sammy Save Up

Let’s not forget Ross Dant in the distance events. The kid is tough.

nuotofan

On the women’s side, Mariah Denigan (2003) has great entry times, also in the 400 Im.
And then there is Destin Lasco (100 free and back), a story of his own..

BrettonRouge

Dang, that’s some expert analysis! Showing the kind of deep insights that only a club coach or a mother could share with us. Thanks for your valuable contribution to this thread.

ASUSWIMFAN46290

“Bacon was cooking at Nationals earlier this summer”

nice

25 free champ

I can’t believe I missed that.

Jimbo

That joke hurt me lol

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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