Claire Curzan Stuns with 56.6 in 100 Fly at 16-Years Old, US #3 All-Time

2020 U.S. OPEN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS – Greensboro

16-year old American swimmer Claire Curzan of the TAC Titans in Cary, North Carolina has shattered the 15-16 US National Age Group Record in the 100 meter fly and staked her claim at the front of the conversation for a spot on the U.S. team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Curzan swam a 56.61 at the US Open Championships stop in Greensboro on Saturday evening. That obliterated the old 15-16 record that was set just last year by Torri Huske, the 2019 US Open Champion and another teen with designs on a spot on the Olympic Team in 2021.

That time for Curzan is faster than either of the two American representatives at the 2019 World Championships swam: kelsi Dahlia placed 6th in 57.11 and Katie McLaughlin finished 9th in 57.23.

Curzan opened that swim in 26.00 – a time which in-and-of itself would have made the A final in the 50 fly at last year’s World Championships. Dahlia placed 4th in that 50 fly at Worlds in 25.48, and the Americans didn’t enter a second swimmer.

That kind of opening speed is seen by only one other swimmer in the world: Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, the defending Olympic Champion and current World Record holder. She split 25.96 at last year’s World Championships en route to a silver medal time of 56.22. Canadian Maggie MacNeil won the World Championship in 2019 with a 55.83 (26.77 opening split).

Sjostrom is still the fastest swimmer at this age, or younger: at the 2009 World Championships, albeit in a polyurethane suit, Sjostrom won just shy of her 16th birthday in a World Record time of 56.06.

Curzan has been building for this over the last 3 years. In her first meet coming out of quarantine, she broke 3 National Age Group Records in yards, albeit amid some controversy. Her previous best time was done in early October at an intrasquad where she swam 57.57. Her latest 56.6 brings her long course times in line with her short course times.

In long course, she now ties Inge de Bruijn’s gold medal swim from the 2000 Olympic Games and China’s Chen Xinyi as the 12th-best performer in history. Inge de Bruijn’s time was the World Record for 9 years until Sjostrom broke it in 2009.

Curzan also sits behind only former World Record holder Dana Vollmer (55.98 in 2012) and current National Teamer Kelsy Dahlia (56.37 in 2017) as the 3rd-best performer in US history at any age.

All-Time Top Performers Globally, Women’s 100 LCM Fly:

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 55.48
  2. Zhang Yufei, China – 55.62
  3. Maggie MacNeil, Canada – 55.83
  4. Dana Vollmer, USA – 55.98
  5. Liu Zige, China – 56.07
  6. Rikako Ikee, Japan – 56.08
  7. Emma McKeon, Australia – 56.18
  8. Jessicah Schipper, Australia – 56.23
  9. Kelsi Dahlia, USA – 56.37
  10. Penny Oleksiak, Canada – 56.46
  11. Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark – 56.51
  12. (TIE) Inge De Bruijn, Netherlands/Chen Xinyi, China/Claire Curzan, USA – 56.61

Among the swimmers on the list above, 5 ahead of Curzan have swum a best time since the 2016 Olympic Games: Yufei in 2020, MacNeil in 2019, Ikee in 2018, McKeon in 2017, and Dahlia in 2017.

Curzan’s time would have qualified for the 2016 US Olympic Team.

She trains with the TAC Titans in North Carolina which is led by coach Bruce Marchionda, who coached the 8th fastest American woman in history: Claire Donahue. Donahue is also on the staff at TAC Titans working with Curzan’s group.

Huske, meanwhile, swam a best time of her own at the Richmond site of the US Open on Friday evening, marking 57.36. Huske is now the 7th-fastest American in history.

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ALEXANDER POP-OFF
2 years ago

Many MANY other people’s lifelong hopes and dreams were shooketh with this one swim!

whever
2 years ago

Could it take 55 to make the 100 fly podium in Tokyo?
We already have Sjostrom, MacNeil and Zhang who can swim 55. And there are so many young girls coming: Curzan, Huske, Shkurdai……If Ikee hadn’t been ill, it would be more crazy.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  whever
2 years ago

Well said.

Troyy
Reply to  whever
2 years ago

I think McKeon would’ve joined the 55 club if the Olympics were this year after going 56.36 in season in March (she’s usually 57+ that time of year) but now I’m not so sure. She was looking really amazing and I really hope she can regain the same momentum next year.

Stefan
Reply to  whever
2 years ago

It certainly could take a 55-high to medal next year, considering the current talent pool in the event. Looking at the last three global lcm finals in the 100 fly, bronze medal times have been around 56.5, so a half second drop in Tokyo is not out of the question.

2016 OG: 3rd Vollmer 56.63
2017 WC: 3rd Worrell 56.37
2019 WC: 3rd McKeon 56.61

notdressel
2 years ago

lol sjostrom swam 56.06 at 15. but ok i guess

Pvdh
Reply to  notdressel
2 years ago

The suits were a magical thing weren’t they

Dudeman
Reply to  notdressel
2 years ago

So the current world record holder and defending olympic champion was the only one faster than her at the same age? and she was wearing a supersuit when she did it? not a bad position to be in if you’re Curzan

Troyy
Reply to  Dudeman
2 years ago

Oleksiak went 56.46 at 16 and Rikako Ikee was slightly slower at 56.86. Both were at Rio.

Dudeman
Reply to  Troyy
2 years ago

Ok so 2 people faster at the same age, both of which with very impressive olympic swimming records

swimfast
Reply to  notdressel
2 years ago

i think this comment ironically shows that Curzan is in very good company. sjostrom broke the WR with that swim (right?) and thus was also in ’09, with a supersuit, which we’ve not seen much progress in WR’s from that time period anyway…..so, to go near a supersuit ex-WR at a non-national (sorry but this year’s US Open is not a what i consider a major national meet), then I am very excited to see what she goes next year. I believe it’ll be pretty explosive

Swimgeek
2 years ago

That was an explosive swim. Good gosh. And with huske and Douglass both going 57.4 at the separate meet … dahlia has to be feeling the pressure. Curzan spent the spring in an unheated backyard pool. I gotta think she’s going :55 in Tokyo. A medley of Smith-King-Curzan-Manuel has a WR ring to it.

IM FAN
2 years ago

At first unrelated: I had forgotten about Zhang’s swim and decided to research it since I had never seen the race video. It turned out to be another example of a very fast opening 50, 25.76! The fastest opening 50 I know of is 25.67 from Sjostrom in 2017 en route to the second fastest time ever. Claire’s 26.00 is actually just barely faster than Sjostrom’s world record split of 26.01. I think going out hard in the 100 fly and trying to hold on is looking like a great strategy for the race.

I still can’t fathom how fast some teens are… *Fingers Crossed* I think we’ll see her in Tokyo next year.

Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

Question – if “She trains with the TAC Titans in North Carolina which is led by coach Bruce Marchionda, who coached the 8th fastest woman in history: Claire Donahue“, why is Claire D not on that list above?

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

Claire was the 8th fastest American 100 flyer ever (she is now 9th), just missing the American in the sentence.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 years ago

I see the entry has now been corrected. Thanks

Anon
2 years ago

she’s so talented! So excited to see her do great things!

Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
2 years ago

You gotta believe!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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