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


  • December 11th-14th, 2019
  • King County Aquatic Center, Federal Way, Washington
  • SCY (25y) Course (daily long course time trials)
  • Qualifying Times
  • Psych Sheets

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

Isabelle Stadden, 17, Aquajets (MN)

One of the better junior backstrokers in the nation (and that’s saying something with the current crop of elite juniors), Isabelle Stadden is far-and-away the top seed into both backstroke races this week. Stadden was a silver medalist in the 200-meter back at Pan Ams last summer. Now only about five months into the 17-18 age group, Stadden has a great shot at moving immediately into the top 10 American backstrokers of all-time in that age group.

Her career-best 200 back (1:50.37) would already rank 7th in 17-18 age group history, and that’s even without a time drop. And her lifetime-best 100 back (51.23) would be 12th. She’s got a shot to become the 6th 17-18 ever (and just the 16th American of any age) to break 1:50 in the 200 back.

The versatile California signee (and high school senior) will have a shot at a few more wins this week as well, swimming the 200 IM (5th seed), 50 free (5th), 100 breast (20th), and 100 free (24th).

Aiden Hayes, 16, Sooner Swim Club (OK)

Arguably the best swimmer to come out of Oklahoma since Olympian David Plummer, Aiden Hayes is looking to move up the list of all-time sprinters in the 15-16 age group. Hayes is already part of a select group to break 20 seconds before the age of 16 – only 17 swimmers have done so, per USA Swimming’s rankings. Hayes currently sits #10 all-time at 19.73, but could move up into the top five with a drop of just over a tenth of a second.

Hayes is also #7 in age group history with a 46.64 in the 100 fly, and is only about a second off of the National Age Group (NAG) record. A drop of four tenths of a second would move him to #2 all-time, and only one swimmer in age group history (Luca Urlando) has broken 46 in the event.

Hayes is also the top seed into the 100 back, and is entered into the 100 free and 200 fly. He should be especially primed for a big drop in the 100, where his lifetime-best (45.15) is not at all in line with his times in the 50 free (19.73), 100 fly (46.64) or 100 back (47.26). He’s an NC State verbal commit for the fall of 2021.

Coby Carrozza, 18, Longhorn Aquatics (TX)

18-year-old Texas Longhorns signee Coby Carrozza has a chance to sweep the 100, 200, and 500 frees in a dominating show of mid-distance strength. Last year at Winter Juniors, Carrozza missed the sweep by two tenths of a second, winning the 200 and 500 but missing out in the 100. He’s the top seed in two of the three this time, and 2018 champ Jack Armstrong is gone in the 100 free.

It’s fair to watch for some massive time drops, based on Carrozza’s swims last year. At 2018 Winter Juniors, he cut from 4:23 to 4:16 in the 500, 1:36.7 to 1:34.6 in the 200, and from 45.2 to 43.5 in the 100. Age group history is awfully fast in those events, but Carrozza could be in line to join some elite groups: only 16 boys in the 17-18 age group have broken 1:34 in the 200. Only 20 have broken 4:16 in the 500, and only 16 have been under 43 in the 100.

Lucy Bell, 15, Fort Collins Area Swim Team (CO)

The girls age group 200 fly ranks have been under assault lately from a dominant class of swimmers – one of them Colorado’s Lucy Bell (sometimes listed as Lucerne Bell). Bell moved into the top four all-time in the 13-14 age group last year, and is now aged up to the 15-16s.

Just repeating that time would move Bell into the top 25 of all-time for 15-16s. But consider that she dropped from 2:01 to 1:55.8 last March – that suggests Bell could be in line for even more time drops as she gets more experienced in the event. The NAG record is a 1:51.2 from standout Regan Smith, but Bell could have a shot over the next year and a half or so to best Mary T. Meagher’s 1:52.99, the former NAG record that stood from 1981 until last December.

Bell has a busy week, with entries into that 200 fly (she’s seeded 3rd), the 400 IM (2nd), 200 IM (2nd), 100 fly (4th), and 100 free (43rd). Bell is currently a high school sophomore.

Justina Kozan, 15, Brea Aquatics (CA)

One of the other 15-16 standouts here is Justina Kozan, a sophomore out of California. Kozan won four gold medals at last summer’s World Junior Championships, and is among the top rising U.S. talents in short and long course. She’s also got a very busy schedule this week: she’s entered in the 400 IM (1st seed), 100 fly (3rd), 200 free (3rd), 200 back (2nd), 100 free (3rd), and 200 fly (4th).

Kozan is almost 16 and is about halfway through her time in this age group. She’s currently 16th all-time in the 100 fly (52.42), and cracks the top 100 in the 200 back, 200 fly and 400 IM.

Ethan Hu, 18, Peak Swimming (CA)

Arguably the top flyer in the meet, California’s Ethan Hu is looking to move into the top 10 all-time for the 17-18 age group in the 100 fly. At this meet last year, Hu moved into a tie for #3 all-time among 15-16s, going 46.25. He actually cracked 46 last spring in California’s high school state meet, but that 45.72 for some reason doesn’t appear in USA Swimming’s database or its top 100 swims of all-time for the 17-18 age group, though other times from that meet do appear.

Hu could make that a moot point this week if he can better that time in Federal Way. Repeating a 45.72 would put him #7 all-time among 17-18s. The NAG record is 44.9 set by Olympian Tom Shields, but world champ Caeleb Dressel was only 45.2 in this age bracket for 2nd all-time.

Hu also has a chance to win the 200 fly (where he’s seeded 3rd) and 200 IM (3rd), and is entered in the 50 free (8th) and 100 back (22nd). Hu is a Stanford commit for next season.

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Mind games

Carrozza is not the #1 seed in the 200 free, he is #2.


The top seed has an altitude adjusted time, so their actual time is slower.

John Febras

Incorrect. There is a reason altitude adjustments are in place. It’s more challenging to swim at altitude.


don’t disrespect the goat Luke miller

Look at the world record line


A dude

Ethan already broke 46. His best is a 45.72


Swum at the 2019 CIF Champs

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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