arena Swim of the Week: Joshua Chen Drops 52.63 100 Breast At LAC Fall Classic

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Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Coming off a breakout summer that included winning the World Junior Championship title in the boys’ 100 breaststroke, Joshua Chen has only continued to ramp things up through the early stages of the 2023-24 short course season.

Chen, who will turn 18 early next week, dropped more than a second and a half in the SCY 100 breast earlier this month at the LAC Fall Classic in Justin, Texas, firing off a blazing time of 52.63.

A member of Texas Ford Aquatics, Chen had previously been 54.17 in the event, a time he produced in February 2022, and he had gone 54-something on 12 separate occasions before finally busting through not only the 54-second barrier, but also getting well under 53.

Set to join the Harvard Crimson in the fall of 2024, Chen now ranks 6th among 17-year-olds in the U.S. all-time in the event.

All-Time Performers, Boys’ 17-Year-Old 100 Breaststroke (SCY)

  1. Reece Whitley (Penn Charter Aquatic Club), 51.81 – 2018 Summer Nationals
  2. Michael Andrew (Race Pace Club), 51.90 – 2017 Summer Nationals
  3. Carsten Vissering (Nation’s Capital Swim Club), 52.44 – 2015 NCSA Spring Champs
  4. Max McHugh (Unattached), 52.46 – 2017 YMCA State Champs
  5. Josh Matheny (Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics), 52.56 – 2019 Winter Junior Nats – East
  6. Joshua Chen (Texas Ford Aquatics), 52.63 – 2023 LAC Fall Classic
  7. Chandler Bray (Unattached), 52.65 – 2016 IN Boys High School State Champs
  8. Forrest Frazier (Eastern Iowa Swim Federation), 52.71 – 2019 Winter Juniors Nats – West
  9. Ben Dillard (Unattached), 52.74 – 2019 CIF State Champs
  10. Jonathan Reiter (Unattached), 52.80 – 2022 WAC Champs

Chen also slots into 28th all-time in the boys’ 17-18 age group, with a full year to take a run at moving his way up the list.

At the 2023 World Junior Championships in September, Chen set a new lifetime best of 1:01.49 in the LCM 100 breast in the semis before dropping all the way down to 1:00.70 in the final, winning gold and ranking 3rd all-time among 17-year-old Americans in the event. Michael Andrew (59.82) and Reece Whitley (1:00.08) are the only two who have been faster.

Chen also set a new PB of 1:56.74 in the 200 breast at the LAC Fall Classic, lowering his near two-year-old mark of 1:57.23 to rank 37th all-time among 17-year-olds.

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3 months ago

Harvard’s relay expectations just got much more exciting!

3 months ago

Another talent that harvard will somehow squander.

Also, I totally forgot how fast Whitley was as a junior. Durden never taught him how to pull water and is actively ruining Forrest Frazier right now too

Reply to  Andrew
3 months ago

Why is the Harvard swimming team wasting talented kids again?
When I saw Dean breaking the NCAA record, there was no waste at all.

Reply to  Andrew
3 months ago

Would love to hear your explanation of how to pull water

3 months ago

Go Elbert!!!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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