Daniel Diehl

View Current photo via Jon Reiter

Daniel Diehl is an American Swimmer. With Excellent Versatility, Diehl excels in free, back, and IM in both the SCY and LCM pools. A many-time NAG record holder and World Junior Champion, Diehl graduated early from high school in 2023 to swim for NC State and gain more LC practice opportunities after finishing 3rd in the 200 back at the 2023 International Team Trials. Diehl hails from rural western Maryland and had limited training opportunities but still thrived there. 

Junior Swimming

Initial Breakout

Diehl first came to the attention of the swimming world in the latter half of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not to say that Diehl had done nothing before. In the 50 fly af YMCA LC Nationals, he finished 13th with a 26.52. That time was the 4th-fastest 50 fly by an American 13-year-old male in the past decade. He also had already qualified for summer juniors in nthe 100 back. Still, Diehl was a relative unknown when he took 1.5 seconds off the 200 free 13-14 NAG record. Swimming at a virtual swim meet in early October, Diehl dropped 3.26 seconds to go a massive 1:36.75. At the same meet, he also raced in the 400 IM, touching the wall in 3:56.56, #11 all-time in the 13-14 NAG, ahead of Michael Phelps and Luca Urlando.

Diehl also saw time drops across 4 other events: the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 400 IM, and 500 freestyle. He also swam a best time in the 100 back on the split of a 200 back. In the 100 free, his 44.31 put him #2 behind Michael Andrew’s 43.90 NAG. That was over a 3-second drop. In the 200 backstroke, he raced for a first 100 split, touching in 48.11. That time also ranks 2nd all-time behind Michael Andrew in the history of the age group. Andrew swam a 47.83 in 2014. He was also 4:42.33 in the 500 free.

Returning to action just a week later, Diehl scared the 100 free NAG record, dropping another .31 seconds to go 44.00 at the KA Fall Closed Invite. He had earlier destroyed Andrew’s 100 back NAG record mark of 47.83 with a 47.44. Diehl went out with an electric 22.83 opening split, and while he didn’t close as well as Andrew did, that opening mark was enough to land with the record. He also clocked a 48.85 100 fly, a .90 second PB that ranked him #6 all-time for 13-14s and went a lifetime best 20.38 in the 50 free to become the #5 performer in 13-14 history.

A couple of weeks after aging up, Diehl quickly made his mark on the 15-16 NAG rankings at the US Open site in Richmond. Diehl has swam the 8th fastest all-time 100 backstroke for 15-16 year-olds, 55.46. Diehl went out fast, splitting a 26.57 on the 50. He held it together and came back in 28.89 on the last length, touching the wall in 1st place and 6th across all sites. Before that, he placed 3rd in the 200 free in Richmond with a 1:52.86. He also swam a 23.44 50 free and a 51.28 100 free.

Diehl continued to prove he was a big deal at the YMCA Virtual Swimming Festival in March 2021. There he crushed PBs in every event he swam. He was 19.95/43.85/1:35.99 in the 50/100/200 free and 22.49/47.39 in the 50/100 back, good times for any high schooler, let alone a freshman. 

Continuing To Roll in LCM

Switching to LC racing in the lead-up to Olympic Trials, Diehl proved he was the real deal at the 2021 Spring Cup site in Richmond. Diehl won the 50 free in 22.99. The swim was a huge drop for Diehl, who entered the meet with a personal best of 23.44. Not only was the swim Diehl’s first sub-23 performance, it was also a Wave I cut. Diehl also took the 100 back in a 54.90, a .56-second drop. Diehl already possessed a Wave II OT cut with his previous PB. He came close to another cut in the 100 free, winning the 100 free with a 50.65. 

Diehl neared some of those times at the 2021 May Melee Meet hosted by Keystone Aquatics just two weeks later. He topped the 50 free (23.38), 100 free (50.80), 100 back (57.11).

At Olympic Trials in Omaha in June, Diehl was a little off his best, placing 58th in the 50 free (23.24) and 31st in the 100 back (55.42). After trials, Diehl was announced among the 21 boys selected to the US Junior National Team set to attend the 2021 FINA World Cup circuit in place of the canceled 2021 World Juniors. 

World Cup and Winter Juniors: Improving on the International and National Stage

Swimming at the Berlin and Budapest stops of the FINA World Cup Circuit, Diehl did impressively well for a 15-year-old against world-class competition. The most impactful of his swims was his 22.07 leadoff in the mixed 200 free relay in Belin. The American team of Diehl, Quintin McCarty (21.35), Kristina Paegle (23.78), and Carly Novelline (24.30) combined to go under the FINA-established world junior record with a 1:31.50 however their record was never ratified. 

In total, Diehl made 6 finals across the two stops. His highest finishes in Berlin were 4th in the 100 back (51.67) and 5th in the 50 back (24.24). There, he also posted times of 22.41/48.29/1:46.21 across the 50/100/200 free. In Budapest, he placed as high as 3rd in the 100 back (52.27) while also placing 5th in the 50 back (24.19) and 200 back (1:54.11) and 7th in the 100 IM (54.73, 54.43 in prelims). 

At Winter Juniors, Diehl showed excellent form, making 5 “A” finals and winning the 100/200 free. In the 200 free, swam the second-fastest 200 free time ever for the 15-16 age group with a 1:33.68. Only Drew Kibler’s 1:33.30 was faster to that point. In the 100 free, he moved up to #7 all-time in his age group with a 43.37. Diehl had more drops in the 100 back (-.26 seconds, 47.13) and 200 IM (-2.52 seconds, 1:46.69)

After all of this, Diehl won our 2021 Swammy for 15-16 Boys Swimmer of the Year.

Championship Season 2022

At the 2022 East Field South District Championship, Diehl dropped  big time in the 200 best time from 1:45.36 to 1:41.92. That time moves him from #61 to #5 all-time in the 15-16 age group. He dropped 0.06 seconds in his 100 freestyle with new best time of 43.31 and reset his 100 fly PB with a 47.55. Diehl also won the 100 back (47.46) and 50 free (20.39, 20.07 prelims).

All that was just lead-up to Buffalo Sectionals where Diehl crushed 4 major best times. In the 200 free, Diehl posted a 1:50.12. For Diehl, the swim marked a personal best by over 2 seconds. With the swim, Diehl moved to #13 all-time in the 15-16 NAG. Diehl then swam the 100 fly, winning the race with another massive career best of 53.59. Diehl tied for #13 all-timw among 15-16 boys. 

While those were impressive, his big, internationally relevant swim came in the 100 back. His 53.59 crushed the NAG record of 53.76 held by none other than former World Record holder Ryan Murphy set at the 2012 Olympic Trials. No other 16 and under had dipped under 54 seconds in the NAG. In addition to that, Diehl became the #19 American all-time, 0.01 seconds faster than Lenny Krayzelburg. 

Diehl moved up the NAG rankings one more time on the last day, crushing a 49.71 100 free to become #4 all-time. 

Diehl turnbed right around to SCY at YMCA nationals, there he won the 100 free (43.34) and 200 free (1:35.37). Diehl reset his PB in the 100 back with a 46.84 for 2nd and took 3rd in the 50 free (20.16).

2022 International Team Trials

Though he only set one PB, Diehl still had an impressive meet. In prelims of the 200 back, Diehl out of took 9th, finishing just outside of qualifying for the “A” final with a new personal best of 1:59.52. He ended up 13th in the final after adding. Diehl broke through in the 100 back, qualifying for the “A” final with a 53.86. He added again, placing 8th in 54.15. 

Post-meet, Diehl was announced as a member of the 2022 Junior Pan Pacs roster.

Big Deal Summer

A month before his huge Jr Pan Pacs, Diehl gave a hint of his form at YMCA LC National Championships. There, he swept the 100/200 free and 50/100/200 back. He was just off his free bests with a 50.05 and a 1:50.13. In the first time he really swam the 50 back, Diehl put up a big 25.55 in prelims. He lowered that to a 25.32 in finals. Diehl also won the 100 back with a 54.74, but his big swim came in the 200 back.  Diehl brought the house down with a blistering 1:57.62. Diehl rose to #3 all-time in the 15-16 NAG behind American backstroke legends Aaron Piersol and Ryan Murphy.

Even though Jr Pan Pacs was outside in Honolulu, Diehl still swam swift backstroke. Despite swimming an extra couple of meters while zigzagging back and forth between the lane lines, he took down the meet record in the last heat of the 100 back prelims with a lifetime-best time of 53.40. In doing so, he lowered his own NAG Record. 

Diehl dominated the 100 back final, winning by over a second and relowering his meet and NAG record with a 53.27. That time was also faster than Ryan Murphy’s 17-18 NAG record and moved him to #14 in American history. He backed that up with a 53.42 leading off the mixed 400 medley relay as the USA clipped the meet record. 

Day 3 saw Diehl fire off a sizzling 48.66 100 free relay split to help the team of Thomas Heilman (49.14), Henry McFadden (49.04), himself, and Kaii Winkler (48.95) break the 400 free relay world junior record. Diehl was off on his 100 back leadoff in the 400 medley relay the next night, swerving all around his lane. Even with his 54.24, the US squad broke the meet record. 

Back to Back, Multi-Course Successes at US Open and Winter Juniors

Diehl found more success in LCM racing at the 2022 US Open Championships. He started the meet off with a 2:00.50 200 IM PB in prelims to qualify 2nd. In the final, he was out well under his pace from the morning at the 100. A weak breast leg saw him fall back to 3rd but a strong free split of 28.82 netted him 3rd with a PB of 1:59.89.

In the 100 back prelims, a 17-year-old Diehl wasted no time making his mark on the 17-18 NAG records. Diehl blasted his way to a time of 53.11, erasing the nine-year-old NAG record of 53.38 set by six-time Olympic medalist Ryan Murphy in 2013. Diehl rocked an opening split of 25.87, the only split in the field sub-26, but he really made inroads on the back half, closing in a blistering 27.24 to mark the quickest in the field by more than a second. That night, Diehl did it again with a 53.07. He went out a little slower with a 26.00 but was 27.07 coming home to win the US Open title. 

While he did not set another PB in prelims, Diehl still led the field with a 1:57.62 in the 200 back. In the final, Diehl did manage to set a big PB. Dropping over a second, he split 27.55/29.31/29.96/29/59 for a 1:56.41, making him #5 in the 15-16 NAG. He also maintained seed for a 2nd title. 

Theoretically, the US Open features more senior-level swimmers and therefore would be harder to win, but because of his slight predilection for LCM racing at the time, Diehl only managed to win one title at Winter Juniors a few days later. He still had another prodigious meet.

He kicked things off with a PB of 1:43.90 in the 200 IM prelims before lowering that to a 1:43.01 in the final for 2nd behind Thomas Heilman’s 1:41.71. The next day, Diehl swam the 200 free and 100 back in prelims, placing 4th in both of them. In the former, he was 1:35.48 but scratched the final. In the 100 back, he set a new PB of 46.40. Diehl was even better that night with a 46.01 but still was 4th.

Diehl saved the best for last. He led the 200 back prelims with a 1:41.72 PB. That was a solid swim but nothing compared to his nighttime swim. There, he shattered the meet record by over a second with a massive 1:39.62. 

2023 SCY Championships

While he only set 1 PB at the Indiana Sectionals, Diehl still had many impressive swims. He came away with 4 wins: the 100/200 back, 100 fly, and 200 IM. In his signature back events, he was 53.70 and 1:56.59, not far off his PBs. That sole PB came with his 53.03 100 fly. Diehl was also 2:00.18 in the 200 IM, not far off his PB. 

Similarly, at YMCA Nationals, Diehl swam excellent times but missed his PBs. He won the 100 back (46.47), 200 back (1:40.47), and 200 IM (1:44.51). He also took 3rd in the 100 free with a 43.53, a season-best. 

YMCA LC Nationals 2023

With World Juniors in September, Diehl used Y Nats as a sort of end-of-season meet for the summer. His 2 biggest swims came in the 200 free and the 100 fly, both secondary events at this point. In the former, he threw down a best time of 1:49.53 to win the event by over three seconds. Diehl’s swim marks his first time under the 1:50 barrier and moved him to 49th all-time in the 17-18 age group. In the 100 fly, Diehl won with an impressive 52.57. Diehl also ripped a 2:00.97 200 IM, 50.00 100 free, and 53.91 100 back, all for wins.  

College Swimming

In our way-to-early rankings of the class of 2024, Diehl was the clear top recruit, holding best-in-class times in the 50/200 free and 100/200 back. In April of 2023, Diehl announced his verbal commitment NC State


In our junior year re-rank of the class of 2024, Diehl fell one slot to #2 behind Kaii Winkler. 

In January 2024, it came out that Diehl had graduated from Allegany High School early and enrolled at NC State for the spring semester. We initially reported tthat he was not expected to compete for the varsity team that season, but was training with the Wolfpack ahead of Olympic Trials.

Diehl hails from Cumberland, Maryland, the center of a rural area of western Maryland where his coach Brian Dowling has did a marvelous job developing him with a small team. Diehl had also been training out of the YMCA’s 6-lane, 25-yard pool, and the move gave him consistent access to long course water at the Casey Aquatic Center as he prepared for big national and international meets. “I decided shortly after world jrs that I wanted to get an early start at NC State,” Diehl said. “I knew the staff and team would push me to give my best performance in June.”

2023-24 (NC State)

Against UVA and UNC, Diehl made an unexpected collegiate debut for the Wolfpack. He immediately showed impressive form, winning the 200 back by more than 3 seconds with a 1:42.64.  On the 2nd day of the meet, Diehl recorded 2 3rd place finishes in the 200 free (1:36.08) and 200 IM (1:47.46).

Against Texas, Diehl won the 200 IM with a season-best 1:43.11. Then, against UNC Wilmington, Diehl won the 100 free and the 100 breast. In the former, he neared his PB with a 43.33. In the latter, which was usually a weak point in his IMs, Diehl set a PB of 53.24. 

ACCs marked a huge meet for Diehl as he made huge contributions to NC State with his 81 points (max. of 90). He kicked things off on night 1 with a 1:32.93 200 free leading off on the 2nd-place 800 free relay. Diehl’s previous best time stood at 1:33.68 from 2021. The splits for the race were a little painful as was pedal to the medal the whole way splitting 21.21/22.84 over the first 100 then splitting a second slower on the 3rd 50 with a 23.84 followed by a painful 25.04 coming home.

Diehl crushed another PB in the 200 IM the next morning with a 1:42.77 for the 3rd seed out of qualifying. He dropped another .8 seconds in the final with a 1:41.97. That placed him 4th and also moved him to #4 all-time in the 17-18 NAG. 

After his 200 free PB on day 1, Diehl was 3rd out of prelims with a solid 1:33.31. In the final, Diehl was more conservative in his strategy, splitting 21.47/23.71, more than a second slower than he was out in the relay. That paid off as Diehl came home stronger with splits of 23.44 and 24.10 to reset his PB with a 1:32.72 and placed 3rd. That also moved Diehl to #10 in the NAG rankings.

The final day brought more 2 more PBs as Diehl led the 200 back prelims with a 1:39.58. The swim featured impressive splits of 23.84/25.10/25.52/25.12. Diehl found .28 more seconds in the final but ended up 2nd. Tommy Janton took things out quickly with a 22.85, pulling Diehl along to a 23.32, well ahead of his prelims split. Janton opened up his lead further as he split 25.00 to Diehl’s 25.05. Diehl took the lead from Janton over the 3rd 50 with a 25.30 split, .57 seconds faster than Janton’s split. The two were locked in down the stretch but it was Janton who got the better finish, Beating Diehl 1:39.21 to 1:39.30.

NC State claimed their 3rd straight ACC team title with 1499.5 points

At NCAAs, Diehl scored in the 200 IM and 200 back, impressive for most swimmers, let alone a kid who should have been in high school still. Night one saw Diehl anchor the Wolfpack’s 9th place 800 free relay with a big 1:31.52. Compared to his flat start PB, Diehl was faster on every 50. The next morning, Diehl shave a few hundreths off his 200 IM PB with a 1:41.84 for 12th. The swim featured well rounded splits of 22.04/25.33/29.60/24.87.In the finals, Diehl added significantly to a 1:43.60 for 16th, going out in a similar time at the 100 but fading coming home. His Prelims time would have placed 10th. 

Even after his big relay split on night 1, Diehl struggled in the 200 free, placing 32nd in a 1:33.28. Bouncing back the next day, Diehl qualified for another “B” final with a 1:39.01 200 back PB. He split the race 23.39/25.00/25.28/25.34. In the final, Diehl added 1.19 second switch a 1:40.20 for 15th as he struggle just a little on his back half. 

National/International Swimming

2023 International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Diehl opened his meet by blasting a huge 49.23 100 free in prelims. That marked a major improvement for Diehl. He ended up 24th in the finals with a 50.87. The next morning in the 200 back Diehil neared his season best in prelims, popping a 1:57.42 for 8th. In the final, Diehl came close to making the Worlds team but ended up tied for 3rd with Jack Aikins with a 1:56.04. That was another PB, shaving .37 seconds off his old mark.

After that near miss, Diehl was a bit off for the rest of the meet, finishing 9th in the 100 back with a 54.02 and 19th in the 200 Im with a 2:02.23, both well off his season and personal bests. Post-meet, Diehl was announced as part of the 38-stong contingent headed to the World Junior Championships in September. He was selected to swim the 100 free, 50 back, 100 back, 200 back, and 200 IM as well as on the boy’s 4×100 free relay and presumably other relays. 

2023 World Junior Swimming Championships (Netanya, Israel)

Diehl cruised through the 100 back prelims, where he was top seed, with a 55.21 for 6th. He was about a second faster that night in semis with a 54.27. In the same session, The team of Diehl (49.93), Maximus Williamson (47.78), Hudson Williams (49.14), and Jason Zhao (48.64) teamed up for a 3:15.49, clipping the previous WJR of 3:15.79 for the win.

The next morning, Diehl, took 2nd in the 200 IM prelims with a 2:00.69 as Tomoyuki Matsushita of Japan set the meet record with a 1:58.42. Facing a tough 100 back/200 IM double, Diehl finished a disappointing 5th, in a time of 54.37, well off his entry time of 53.07 in the 100 back. That seed time would have one by a large margin over Oleksandr Zheltiakov’s 53.73. Diehl bounced back in the final as he took silver behind teammate Maximus Williamson with a 1:58.62 PB. Matsushita and Williamson duked it out over the first 150 with Diehl in close pursuit, but Williamson took the win with a 1:57.23 while Matsushita was DQes and Diehl was moved to 2nd. 

More geared for the 200, Diehl moved through the 50 back prelims on day 3 with a 25.61 for 7th. He made it through semis with a new PB of 25.22 before placing 5th on night 4 with a 25.33. Diehl’s more impressive swim of night 4 came on the 800 free relay. Willaimson led off in a huge 1:47.11, Williamson was followed by Cooper Lucas (1:47.75) and Jason Zhao (1:47.56), who were both much quicker than they were in the individual 200 free (both 1:48-mids), and then Diehl finished things off with a blistering 1:46.61 anchor, the fastest split in the field and the only under 1:47. The US won convincingly in a 7:09.03.

Day 5 saw Diehl post a solid 49.82 100 free in prelims for 2nd into semis. He had a notable 23.53 opening split. That evening, Diehl finished a disappointing 12th in semis with a 50.29. He easily qualified for the 200 back finals with a 2:00.30 the next morning. While he was off his best time by neary 3 seconds in the final, Diehl still netted his 2nd individual silver with a 1:58.93.  Zheltiakov won with a 1:56.13, .09 seconds slower than Diehl’s entry time. That night also saw Diehl net another relay Gold in the 400 Medly relay. He led off in a 54.37, putting the US in 2nd. The rest of the squad pulled through as the US won by 2 seconds. 

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 400 Freestyle Relay 2023 World Junior Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2023 World Junior Championships
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2023 World Junior Championships
Silver 200 Back 2023 World Junior Championships
Silver 200 I.M. 2023 World Junior Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 100 Free 49.23 06/27/23 2023 US International Team Trials
Indianapolis, Indiana
lcm 200 Free 1:49.53 07/26/23 2023 YMCA LC National Championships
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 50 Back 25.22 09/06/23 2023 World Junior Swimming Championships
Netanya, Israel
lcm 100 Back 53.07 06/27/23 2022 US Open Championships
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 200 Back 1:46.04 06/28/23 2023 US International Team Trials
Indianapolis, Indiana
lcm 200 IM 1:58.62 09/05/23 2023 World Junior Swimming Championships
Netanya, Israel
scy 200 Free 1:32.72 02/22/24 2024 ACC Championships
Greensboro, North Carolina
scy 100 Back 46.01 01/09/22 2022 Winter Juniors: East
Greensboro, North Carolina
scy 200 Back 1:39.01 03/30/24 2024 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indiana
scy 200 IM 1:41.84 03/28/24 2024 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indiana