U.S. Junior Nationals begin Wednesday, with many of the nation’s top 18-and-under swimmers set to compete at the same William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex that will host the U.S. Senior Nationals one week later.
The meet runs Wednesday through Sunday and offers a look at the up-and-coming next generation of American swimmers, a generation that’s been beyond impressive in its massive depth and utter obliteration of National Age Group records over the past seasons.
2014 US Junior National Championships
- Live results
- Live stream (should be here once meet starts)
- Wednesday, July 30-Sunday, August 3
- Irvine, CA – William Woollett, Jr. Aquatic Center
- Prelims 9AM/Finals 6PM Pacific Time
- Psych Sheets
- 200 fly
- 100 breast
- Women’s 800 free
- Men’s 1500 free
- 200 back
- 100 free
- 400 IM
- 400 free relay
- 400 free
- 100 fly
- Men’s 800 free relay
- 200 free
- 200 breast
- 100 back
- Women’s 800 free relay
- 200 IM
- Women’s 1500 free
- 50 free
- Men’s 800 free
- 400 medley relay
- US Pacific Time: Prelims 9AM/Finals 6PM
- US Eastern Time: Prelims Noon/Finals 9PM
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Prelims 1PM/Finals 10PM
- London, England: Prelims 5PM/Finals 2AM(next day)
- Paris, France: Prelims 6PM/Finals 3AM(next day)
- Sydney, Australia: Prelims 2AM(next day)/Finals 11AM(next day)
7 Storylines to Watch
1. What can Reece Whitley do? Whitley has perhaps been the most-talked about age grouper of this long course season (not counting Katie Ledecky, who hardly feels like an age grouper anymore), first breaking, then shattering, the 200 breaststroke National Age Group record. He also broke the 100 mark during the same meet. The buzz has been that Whitley was on nothing more than a short rest when he put up his 2:16.48 and 1:03.82, suggesting he could lower those marks even further. How true are those rumors? How much more Whitley have in him? This weekend should go a long way in providing some answers.
2. Amy Bilquist going for Triple Crown: Carmel Swim Club’s Amy Bilquist has been one of the better rising sprinters in the nation, and she comes in with top seeds in three different sprint-based events. Bilquist leads the 50 free against NCAP star Janet Hu, the 100 free against Stanford commit Lindsey Engel and Princeton signee Heidi Miller, plus the 100 back against teammate Claire Adams and Stanford freshman Ally Howe.
3. The beginning of an East/West IM rivalry? In many ways, Curtis Ogren and Corey Okubo are cut from the same cloth. The incredibly versatile California 18-year-olds are each headed to a highly-respected academic institution this fall, with Ogren sticking in Cali for the Stanford farm and Okubo headed to the Ivy League’s Princeton on the opposite coast. They’re also the top two seeds in both IM races, separated by just a tenth in the 200 IM. In addition to the 200/400 IMs, Ogren and Okubo are each seeded within the top 4 in the 200 backstroke. With the two likely to butt heads again during the next four NCAA seasons, this could be an early look at an exciting, cross-country rivalry.
4. Battle Royale in boys 100 breast: Of all the events in the 5-day lineup, none might be more loaded than the boys 100 breast on day 1. Two of the three national high school record-breakers are entered – Greater Omaha Area’s Jacob Molacek, who broke the independent and overall records, plusClovis Swim Club’s Connor Hoppe, who broke the public school record after being declared ineligible, then reinstated the week before his championship meet. In the hunt with those two is Hoppe’s future Cal teammate Nick Silverthorn, the second seed behind Molacek. To make things even more interesting, rising age group phenoms Reece Whitley and Michael Andrew are in the field, with Whitley trying to lower the record he took from Andrew earlier this summer and the NAG record machine Andrew trying to crack into the 15-16 record book for the first time since aging up. He’ll have to pass up Minnetonka 15-year-old Corey Lau, though, as Lau had an outstanding sectional meet to go 1:03.67, two tenths faster than Andrew has been.
5. The foreign delegation: Though Senior Nationals the week after juniors are closed off to foreign athletes, Junior Nationals is an open meet, and several foreign-competing athletes hold some high seeds. Most notable is Great Britain’s Emma Cain, the top 200 breaststroke seed at just 14 years old. (Fun fact: Between Cain and Whitley, the top 200 breaststroke seeds in both genders are just 14 years old). A few of the other foreign presences with high seeds include Australian Auburn Tiger Cam Jones (50/100 free, 100 fly), Singaporean 14-year-old Easop Lee (100/200 fly, 100/200/400 free, 200 IM for NBAC) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Josh Romany (50/100/200 free, 100 fly).***Editor Note: Emma Cain has dual citzenship with Great Britian and the United States. Cain swam short sectionals in Colorado for Aspen Swim Club. Considering how fast age groupers develop, she could be in Omaha at 2016 US Olympic Trials. Presently, Cain has not decided which country she will represent. In Great Britian, Cain’s lane mates are impressive, Ruta Meilutyte and James Guy.
6. Will Michael Andrew’s NAG record tear resume? For much of the last year, Indie Swimming’s Michael Andrew was breaking National Age Group records like there was no tomorrow. He rewrote the vast majority of the 13-14 record book, going on a tear that included meets nearly every weekend for the last few months before aging up. Now 15, Andrew has had a quieter summer, not yet cracking the NAG record book in the new age group and being somewhat hit or miss with his swims as he appeared to enter more of a training phase. But now, with some rest, the door might be open for Andrew to take down his first 15-16 NAGs, as he’s entered in a whole slate of events at Juniors. Some of his better shots:
- 100 back: NAG 53.76 (Ryan Murphy), Andrew’s best 56.39
- 100 breast: NAG 1:01.94 (Carsten Vissering), Andrew’s best 1:03.83
- 100 fly: NAG 52.75 (Justin Lynch), Andrew’s best 54.51
- 50 free: NAG 22.39 (Caeleb Dressel), Andrew’s best 23.08
- 100 free: NAG 49.28 (Caeleb Dressel), Andrew’s best 51.30
Clearly, Andrew still has plenty to do to get onto the record board in this age bracket, but with as he continues to transfer that short-course prowess over to the Olympic-size pool, it’s still absolutely worth keeping an eye on him.
7. An early preview from the Senior Nationals preppers? A number of big-name talents are skipping Juniors or taking on a lighter load in preparation for Senior Nationals the following week. However, a good number of those swimmers will be in Irvine for Juniors, if only to get used to the time zone, pool conditions and that fiery Southern California sun. A quick roundup: Future Stanford swimmers and current American record-holders Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky are not entered. Neither is SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker, NCAP’s Carsten Vissering or Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz. Andrew Seliskar Janet Hu and Caeleb Dressel are entered in only the 50 freestyle, an event they could wind up scratching. On the other hand, they could swim the 50, giving us a bit of a preview of what their chances are at making finals next week at Nationals. There’s also a chance that any of these clubs going after National Age Group relay records could have their studs swimming as relay-only swimmers.