Blueseventy Weekly Wonders of Age Group Swimming (National Team Edition, Pt. 2)

Thanks to blueseventy, our presenting partner for  Weekly Wonders of Age Group Swimming.

Without any live age group meets taking place, we’re looking back at the breakout swims and seasons of current U.S. National Team members.

Kathleen Baker, 17, Team Elite (MAC-NC): At 17 years old, Kathleen Baker had already established herself as a top-tier junior-level swimmer. At March 2014’s ESSZ Sectionals, however, she took things to another level. She hit best times and U.S. Open cuts in seven events – across all strokes. Baker went 48.20 in the 100 free, 1:43.61 in the 200 free, 51.51 in the 100 back, 59.37 in the 100 free, 52.68 in the 100 fly, 1:58.08 in the 200 fly and 1:54.50 in the 200 IM. That 200 IM time held up as the fastest in the country for 17-year-olds that season by over two seconds, her 100 back also ranked No. 1, and her 200 free was the second-fastest that season.

Katie McLaughlin, 12, Mission Viejo (MVN-CA): In her first meet as a 13-year-0ld, the long course California Last Chance Meet in July 2010, Katie McLaughlin went six best times. She dropped time in the 400 free (4:38.61), 1500 free (18:53.19), 200 back (2:33.74), 100 breast (1:25.25), 200 breast (3:03.30) and 200 IM (2:32.68) – all her (relatively) “off” events. That meet proved to be a smoke signal, as a week later she improved in her six best events. At the Junior Olympics meet in late July, she went quadruple-A cuts or better in the long course 50 (27.67), 100 (59.58) and 200 free (2:07.74), 100 (1:04.80) and 200 fly (2:23.98), and 100 back (1:08.03).

Ryan Held, 17, Springfield YMCA (SPY-IL): 100 free, 43.91 –  In mid-March 2013, a then 17-year-old Ryan Held broke 46 seconds in the 100-yard free for the first time, going 45.78 at YMCA States. Roughly two weeks later at YMCA Nationals, Held dropped well over a second, going 43.91. That time held up to make him the fifth-fastest 17-year-old in the country for the 2012-13 season. At the same meet, he dropped over half a second in the 50 free to break 20 seconds for the first time (19.92) and over a second-and-a-half in the 200 free (1:39.54), breaking 1:40 for the first time. Held added a lifetime best in the 100 fly at 49.90.

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About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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