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.
Michael Chadwick (MAC – NC), 16: 200-yard IM, 1:54.73 – While we’ve come to know Olympian Michael Chadwick primarily for his sprint freestyle prowess, his earliest breakout came as an IMer. For about three years, starting in 2009 at age 14, Chadwick was a double- and triple-A cut 200 IM-er. In March of 2011, he went a then-best time of 2:02.080, then in November of that year, was back at 2:04.86. Come December 1, he dropped all the way to 1:54.45, hitting a Futures cut. In December of 2012, he dropped five more seconds.
Melanie Margalis (SPA-FL), 14: 200-yard IM, 2:04.27 – Melanie Margalis had been hovering in the 2:10-mids or so for about six months when she really hit her stride in early 2006. Entering the year, she had a best time of 2:10.36, then in her first January 2006 swim, went 2:09.22. Later that month, she dropped to 2:07.81. In March, Margalis dropped to 2:04.27, and by the end of the year, had a best time of 2:03.74. The time would hold until November 2007, when she went 2:01.69, and then just months after that, Margalis went 2:00.82. She’d eventually break 2:00 in November 2008 with a 1:59.15.
Blake Pieroni (DUNE – IN), 16: 100-yard free, 44.85 – Olympian Blake Pieroni developed fairly early on in his signature events, the 100 and 200 free. After posting 46-mids for a year in the 100, in February 2012 Pieroni dropped to 44.85 – his first Summer Juniors cut in the event. A year later, he’d drop to 44.17, and then another year after that, dropped all the way to 43.37. Pieroni’s breakout in the 200 free came at the same time, with a drop from 1:40.23 to 1:37.77. A year later, he dropped to 1:37.04, and in December 2013, went 1:35.87. Pieroni would later become the first man to break the 1:30 barrier with his 1:29.63 from the 2018 NCAA Championships.
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