The United States of America is not known to host many meets in short course meters and tends to restrict its competition to short course yards or long course meters. This is in contrast to most other leading nations in the sport including Australia, China, Russia, Great Britain, and Canada, whose short course meets run almost exclusively in meters.
The main reason for the USA’s use of short course yards is the fact that the collegiate system in the country, the NCAA, is run in short course yards and much of the country’s aquatics infrastructure reflects that. As a result of the short course yards dominance in the USA, the nation does not keep track of national age group record in short course meters.
While USA Swimming extensively tracks and publishes national age group and senior records in SCY and LCM, there is no single source that tells us the fastest swims by 18 & under swimmers in short course meters.
The introduction of the International Swimming League, which runs in short course meters, has brought with it an overhaul of the senior American records as 24 of the 46 SCM American records have been broken at ISL meets over the last three years. While not many American juniors are racing in the league, a contingent of 18 & Unders are currently overseas racing at the 2021 FINA World Cup Series stops in Berlin and Budapest.
Seeing some of the fastest American juniors racing against some of the world’s fastest swimmers inspired us to dive into the databases and compile a list of ‘unofficial 18&U USA Short Course Meters Records.’ The records can be found below and are by no means official USA Swimming records, but are what we believe to be the fastest times swum by an American man and woman aged 18 & under in each event.
Unofficial 18&U USA Short Course Meters Records – Men
|50 freestyle||Anthony Ervin||21.21||2000||18||2000 NCAA Division I Championships|
|100 freestyle||Andrew Seliskar||47.61||2014||18||Ontario Junior International 2014|
|200 freestyle||Kieran Smith||1:43.30||2018||18||2018 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|400 freestyle||Andrew Abruzzo||3:44.17||2017||18||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|800 freestyle||Sean Ryan||7:47.50||2010||18||2010 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|1500 freestyle||Sean Ryan||14:46.38||2010||18||2010 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|50 backstroke||Michael Taylor||23.84||2016||17||2016 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|100 backstroke||Ryan Murphy||50.91||2012||17||2012 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|200 backstroke||Ryan Murphy||1:48.86||2012||17||2012 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|50 breaststroke||Michael Andrew||26.39||2016||17||2016 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|100 breaststroke||Michael Andrew||58.07||2017||18||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|200 breaststroke||Andrew Seliskar||2:05.59||2014||18||Ontario Junior International 2014|
|50 butterfly||Michael Andrew||22.87||2017||18||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|100 butterfly||Michael Phelps||51.11||2003||18||FINA Swimming World Cup|
|200 butterfly||Andrew Seliskar||1:51.96||2014||18||Ontario Junior International 2014|
|100 IM||Michael Andrew||51.65||2017||18||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|200 IM||Andrew Seliskar||1:54.56||2014||18||Ontario Junior International 2014|
|400 IM||Michael Phelps||4:06.28||2003||18||FINA Swimming World Cup|
Unofficial 18&U USA Short Course Meters Record – Women
|50 freestyle||Abbey Weitzeil||24.23||18||2014||2014 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|100 freestyle||Missy Franklin||52.09||16||2011||FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup 2011|
|200 freestyle||Missy Franklin||1:53.19||16||2011||Duel in the Pool 2011|
|400 freestyle||Chloe Sutton||4:00.05||18||2010||2010 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|800 freestyle||Kate Ziegler||8:12.19||17||2006||FINA Swimming World Cup|
|1500 freestyle||Kalyn Keller||15:49.14||18||2004||2004 NCAA Division I Championships|
|50 backstroke||Olivia Smoliga||26.13||18||2012||2012 FINA World Swimming Championships|
|100 backstroke||Regan Smith||56.33||15||2017||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|200 backstroke||Missy Franklin||2:00.03||16||2011||FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup 2011|
|50 breaststroke||Lilly King||30.13||17||2014||FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup 2014|
|100 breaststroke||Lilly King||1:06.32||17||2014||FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup 2014|
|200 breaststroke||Andrea Kropp||2:21.31||18||2011||FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup 2011|
|50 butterfly||Regan Smith||26.12||15||2017||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|100 butterfly||Regan Smith||57.14||15||2017||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|200 butterfly||Tess Howley||2:06.09||16||2021||FINA World Cup 2021|
|100 IM||Alex Walsh||58.76||16||2017||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|200 IM||Alex Walsh||2:06.14||16||2017||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017|
|400 IM||Brooke Forde||4:29.66||17||2016||FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2016|
You’ll note that the most recent record on either list is Tess Howley‘s 2:06.09 200 butterfly. Howley swam that time on Oct. 1, 2021, to win gold at the Berlin FINA World Cup meet to take out Mary Mohler‘s (née DeScenza)’s former unofficial USA junior national record of 2:06.17, which she set at the 2002 FINA World Swimming Championships. Not only did Howley swim under Descenza’s former mark, but fellow USA junior Charlotte Hook also swam under the time with her 2:06.15 for second place.
The two were joined on the podium by Katja Fain, who delivered a 2:07.04 Slovenian record.
Joining Howley as unofficial SCM American junior record holders are a number of the country’s most successful swimmers in history such as Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and Anthony Ervin, as well as current national teamers and 2020 Olympians Lilly King, Ryan Murphy, Kieran Smith, Olivia Smoliga, and Regan Smith, and Michael Andrew.
Perhaps one of the more notable distinctions is Andrew Seliskar‘s quadruple appearance on the record board in four different strokes. Back in 2014, Seliskar raced at Ontario Junior International in Toronto, Canada, and likely unbeknownst to him became the fastest American junior in the 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, and 200 IM.
Collegiate swimmers got a unique chance in both 2000 and 2004 when the NCAA Championships were conducted in short course meters as part of Olympic preparations. Two of our unofficial records hail from those meets: Anthony Ervin‘s 50 freestyle from 2000 and Kalyn Keller Robinson‘s 1500 freestyle from 2004.
Ervin’s mark of 21.21 was actually a new world record in the event at the time. Heading into the meet, Mark Foster held the record at a 21.31 which Roland Schoeman equaled at 2000 NCAAs, and Ervin lowered with his 21.21. Ervin’s world record stood for a little under a year — Foster took it back with a 21.13 in January 2001.
The other unofficial American junior record which was a world record at the time is Missy Franklin‘s 2:00.03 from back in 2011. Franklin swam that time at a FINA World Cup 10 years ago to become the world’s fastest swimmer in the history of the event. While her WR has been broken by Katinka Hosszu (1:59.23, 2014) and Kaylee McKeown (1:58.94, 2020) since then, Franklin’s time still stands as the official senior American record to this day.
As the American juniors continue to race in Europe, we’ll be sure to keep track of these unofficial records and provide updates should any more be broken. Here are a few swims that came close to doing so already on day 1:
- Cavan Gormsen produced a 4:01.77 for second place in the women’s 400 freestyle final, which got her close to Chloe Sutton‘s mark of 4:00.05 from the 2010 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships.
- Notching a 4th place finish in the men’s 100 breast, Zhier Fan swam a 58.12 to just miss Michael Andrew‘s 58.07 from 2017.
- Quintin McCarty got under 22 seconds in the 50 freestyle with a 21.68 for 7th, roughly half a second off Anthony Ervin‘s 21.21 former world record from 2000.