Clay Youngquist: Freestyle
Clay Youngquist was born in Fremont, MI, on September 21, 1992 to parents Jeffery and Julie Youngquist. When he wasn’t swimming under his mother, who coached at the Lakeview Aquatic Club, Youngquist competed at Lakeview High School in Battlecreek, MI. His high school career was nothing short of fantastic, as he broke state records in the 50 through 500 yard freestyles as well as the 100 yard butterfly.
Youngquist was quickly built into the program at the University of Texas, bolstering the 400 and 800 yard freestyle relays while competing individually in sprint and mid-distance freestyle events. At the 2012 Big 12 Championships, he was a member of the victorious 400 and 800 free relays, adding to his 2nd place finish in the 200 free (1:35.30) and 7th place finish in the 500 free (4:23.75). Only a freshman, Youngquist contributed to 400 and 800 free relays which won NCAA titles, as well as a 4th place finish in the 200 free relay. Individually, Youngquist just missed top 16 for finals in the 500 (4:18.58), but snuck into the A final of the 200 free and finished 5th at finals (1:34.06).
Youngquist had an impressive sophomore year, winning the Big 12 title in the 200 free (1:33.71), placing 3rd in the 500 free (4:17.64), and adding the 200 yard backstroke to his schedule to finish 5th (1:46.27). At NCAAs, Youngquist repeated his appearance in the A final of the 200 free, this time finishing 6th (1:33.52) for a new best time. Again, he just missed the B final of the 500 (4:18.37). He also contributed to a 6th place 400 free relay, 4th place 200 free relay and 5th place 800 free relay.
Youngquist, in his junior year, had an excellent mid-season taper at the UT Invite (Dec. 5-7, 2013). He took 2nd in the 500 free (4:17.62) and won the 200 free (1:34.45, 1:33.72 prelims) in times that were only tenths off his personal bests. He also swam the 100 free (43.62) and 200 fly (1:45.43). Youngquist earned NCAA ‘B’ cuts in all of his individual events, and he was not far off ‘A’ cuts in the 200 and 500 free. He was a double champion in the 200 (1:34.21) and 500 free (4:15.68) at the Big 12 Championships, adding to that a runner-up performance in the 200 fly (1:43.39) and anchoring the Longhorns’ 800 free relay to conference title. He gained time in the 500 and 200 fly and was unable to qualify for finals in either event, although he repeated his 6th place finish in the 200 free (1:33.66) and anchored the 800 free relay to 5th place overall.
After swimming at his first Junior National Championships in 2009, Youngquist dominated the long course season in 2010. He won the 200 meter freestyle in meet-record fashion at the 2010 Jr Pan Pacific Championships in a 1:48.44, and also placed 2nd in the 100 meter freestyle (50.22). He was also a member of the victorious 400 meter freestyle and medley relays for the Americans. He also won the 200 free at the 2010 Speedo Jr National Championships (1:49.37).
At the 2011 US National Championships, Youngquist placed 16th in his signature 200 free (1:50.51/1:50.08p). He also swam the 400 meter freestyle (3:58.48) and 100 free (51.12).
Youngquist swam at the 2012 Olympic Trials, where he advanced to the semifinals in the 200 free. He posted a 1:49.55 in prelims, then broke his personal record to finish 12th in the semis (1:48.42). He also competed in the 100 free, where he clocked a 50.70 to place 47th.
Youngquist competed in the 100 through 400 freestyles at the 2013 US National Championships. He was 20th in the 100 free (50.32), 9th in the 200 free (1:48.99), and 15th in the 400 free (3:56.33). His time of 3:54.56 in prelims of the 400 free was almost a three-second drop for him.
Named to the 2014-2015 US National Team, Youngquist had a fantastic summer in 2014. While he just missed the 100 free B final, he hit a new personal best of 49.69, marking his first time under the 50-second barrier. He touched at 3:52.27 for 12th place in the 400 free, another new best, and posted another lifetime best time in the prelims of the 200 free (1:47.93). He touched at 1:48.08, less than a second away from qualifying for the 2014 Pan Pacs, but he did qualify for the 800m free relay at the 2015 World Champs teams, which is his best event.
–Originally developed by Karl Ortegon