The American girls’ 400 free relay on Friday at the 2014 Junior Pan Pac Championships may not have won gold, but they did get the Junior World Record.
The grouping of Stanzi Moseley, Amy Bilquist, Katie Drabot, and Katrina Konopka combined for a 3:40.14 for Team USA, which was faster than the 3:41.40 done by the Russians at last year’s Junior World Championships which is the benchmark for FINA to recognize records.
Australia is the second junior team to go under the old record, but do not officially hold it because at least one swimmer is too old. That brings up one of the challenges of how FINA has defined “junior” for these records – namely that swimmers can be on a junior team and at a junior meet, but not break a junior record. That’s especially tough in relay situations, where teams will have to choose between gold medals and Junior World Records, perhaps.
There are differing age rules for this meet as from FINA’s criteria for Junior World Records. Jr. Pan Pacs rules state that athletes must be 18 or under as of the first day of racing in Maui, whereas FINA defines juniors, on the women’s side, as being 17 or younger as of December 31st of the current year. Sophie Taylor was born in 1996, and therefore the Australians are not eligible for the World Junior Record.
Australia won in 3:39.73, and at the Youth Olympic Games, China won in 3:41.19, also under the old record, but also with one swimmer born in 1996.
The Americans’ record-setting splits:
- Moseley (1998) – 55.66
- Bilquist (1997) – 55.00
- Drabot (1997) – 54.46
- Konopka (1997) – 55.02
Australia’s winning time did break the USA’s Meet Record in the event, and included a 54.33 anchor split from Chelsea Gillett.