6 Swimmers To Watch At 2019 U.S. Winter Junior Championships East


  • December 11th-14th, 2019
  • Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center, Atlanta, Georgia
  • SCY (25y) Course (daily long course time trials)
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live results

Last week it was the seniors. Now it’s the juniors who are up in twin Winter Championships meets on the East and West Coasts. Here are six swimmers to watch at the East edition:

Jake Magahey, 18, SwimAtlanta (GA)

One of the best junior distance swimmers in the country, Jake Magahey is entered in every single freestyle event this week: the 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1650. He supplements that with the 400 IM, 100 back, and 200 back.

The Atlanta prospect hit lifetime-bests in the 200, 500 and mile at this meet a year ago, most notably dropping from 4:16 to 4:14 in the 500. He’s got a shot at a Winter Junior Championships record this year – it currently stands at 4:14.40 from Jack LeVant in 2017, and Magahey was 4:14.61 a year ago. He could also improve his standing as the 11th-fastest 17-18 500 freestyler in USA Swimming history – the next three names ahead of him on the list are Drew Kibler, LeVant and Townley Haas.

Claire Curzan, 15, TAC Titans (NC)

15-year-old Claire Curzan won four medals at the 2019 World Junior Championships, and comes into this week’s meet as the top seed in no less than six individual events. The TAC Titan could be in line for multiple meet records, and could start closing in on 15-16 National Age Group (NAG) records after leaving the 13-14s with three short course NAGs.

Curzan’s events in Atlanta: 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 200 fly, 100 back, and 200 back. She’s the 13-14 NAG record-holder in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly. Repeating her bests in those events would move her to 2nd (21.89 in the 50 free), 2nd (47.67 in the 100 free) and 1st (50.64 in the 100 fly) in the 15-16 age group, even without a time drop.

NAG records are on high alert:

  • 15-16 50 free: 21.82 from Gretchen Walsh in 2018
  • 15-16 100 free: 47.49 from Gretchen Walsh in 2019
  • 15-16 100 fly: 51.08 from Beata Nelson in 2014

In fact, Curzan’s 13-14 NAG in the 100 fly is currently faster than the 15-16 NAG. The backstrokes and 200 fly will be a little tougher (someone named Regan Smith owns all three 15-16 NAGs), but Curzan could realistically come out of this week with 6 wins and 3 NAG records.

Carson Foster, 18, Mason Manta Rays (OH)

It’d be hard to preview this meet without mentioning Carson Fosterthe longtime age group standout who is just wrapping up his final year of high school. The Texas commit swam the senior-level U.S. Open last week in meters, but is also entered in a bunch of yards races in his final Juniors. Foster is entered in the 200 IM, 400 IM, 500 free, 200 free, 200 back and 200 fly, though he could scratch a few of those races to focus on others.

The 17-18 NAG records in those events are pretty ridiculous, but here are a few to keep an eye on:

  • 200y IM:
    • NAG: 1:41.39 from David Nolan in 2011
    • Foster’s best: 1:42.54 from this meet last year
  • 400y IM:
    • NAG: 3:37.52 from Andrew Seliskar in 2015
    • Foster’s best: 3:40.86 from this meet last year
  • 200y free:
    • NAG: 1:32.18 from Maxime Rooney in 2017
    • Foster’s best: 1:32.99 from last February
  • 200y back:
    • NAG: 1:37.35 from Ryan Murphy in 2014
    • Foster’s best: 1:40.07 from last March

There’s a strong possiblity at least one of those records falls, especially given Foster’s improvements to his long course times in comparable events since last year: Foster went from 1:59.4 to 1:57.4 in the long course 200 IM and from 1:48.5 to 1:47.4 in the long course 200 free since last winter.

Jake Mitchell, 17, Carmel Swim Club (IN)

Carmel’s Jake Mitchell was one of the breakout stars of last summer, surging his way onto the World Juniors team with some massive time drops. A few of those notable drops from January 2019 through August 2019:

  • 200m free: 1:50.9–>1:48.9
  • 400m free: 3:52–>3:47
  • 800m free: 8:08–>7:54
  • 1500m free: 15:36–>15:11

It’s fair to wonder if similar drops are coming in short course as well. Mitchell went from 1:36.8/4:21.6 in the 200/500 frees at 2018 Winter Juniors to 1:34.2/4:16.7 just a few months later in Indiana’s high school postseason. The 17-year-old Mitchell is a candidate to move into the top 10 all-time for the 17-18 age group in all three distance free races (200y, 500y, 1650y freestyle) and should give Magahey some great races as well.

Abby Arens, 17, Marlins of Raleigh (NC)

North Carolina’s Abby Arens left the 15-16 age group as the #4 all-time performer in the 200 breast (2:08.46) and #11 all-time performer in the 100 breast (59.76). Within a few months, she had already checked in at #15 all-time in the 200 breast for the 17-18 age group. Still on the younger end of that age group, Arens is the top seed into both breaststrokes and has legitimate shots at the top 10 in the all-time rankings.

It’d take about six tenths in the 200, where Arens was 2:08.06 last March. It would take almost the same margin in the 100 breast, where Arens could challenge to become the 10th 17-18 of all-time to break 59 seconds.

Adam Chaney, 17, Mason Manta Rays (OH)

Recently announced as a signee for the University of Florida, standout high school sprinter Adam Chaney could be pushing up the 17-18 all-time ranks in the 50 and 100 frees. Chaney leaves the 15-16s ranked 6th all-time in the 50 free (19.64) and 3rd all-time in the 100 free (43.00).

Just repeating that 100 free time would move him to #17 in the 17-18 group, and he could join rare company as a 42-second high school sprinter with a time drop. Chaney is also chasing the 50 free ranks, where three 17-18 boys have broken 19 seconds (Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Hoffer, and Michael Andrew), but no one else has broken 19.3.

Chaney has also been an oustanding relay swimmer over his career, and maybe the biggest fireworks will be seeing if he can split 18 or 42-low on some of the Mason Manta Rays loaded relays.

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3 years ago

Go Abby!!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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