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.
Allison Schmitt (AASC – MI), 15: Future Olympic champion Allison Schmitt had a huge run from age 13 to age 15 in the 200-yard free. Schmitt went from 1:58.6 as a 13-year-old to 1:54.1 as a 14-year-old, swimming as a high school freshman at Michigan’s high school state meet. The following year, Schmitt would blast a 1:47.74 as a 15-year-old at NCSA Juniors. That breakthrough was a preview of things to come for Schmitt, who would drop her short course time down to 1:40.6 in her mid-twenties, and who went on to win Olympic gold in the 200-meter freestyle in 2012.
Jack Conger (RMSC – PV), 13: Versatile star and 2016 U.S. Olympian Jack Conger tore it up as a 13-year-old in the month of February 2008. With a career-best of 2:02.7 as a 12-year-old, Conger shaved that time all the way to 1:51.5 as a 13-year-old, hitting that big swim at the PV 14&Under Junior Olympic meet. At the same time, Conger took his 100 back from 1:03.1 as a 12-year-old to 54.4 as a 13-year-old. And he cut his 200 back by the biggest margin of all: from 2:23.4 as a 12-year-old to 1:56.7 as a 13-year-old. Conger would go on to win Olympic gold as a member of the men’s 4×200 free relay in Rio.
Olivia Smoliga (GTAC – IL), 18: Sprint star Olivia Smoliga had a breakthrough in November of 2012, when she was an 18-year-old high school senior. Coming off a big summer showing at U.S. Olympic Trials, Smoliga entered November with personal-bests of 22.6 in the 50-yard free, 48.9 in the 100-yard free and 52.4 in the 100-yard back. At Illinois’ high school state meet in November, she crushed times of 21.9 in the 50 free and 51.4 in the 100 back, setting national high school records. Then at the end of the month, Smoliga went 47.8 in the 100 free at Winter Nationals. Smoliga still ranks in the top-20 all-time in USA Swimming’s 17-18 age group history in all three of those events.
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