Claire Tuggle Swims 1:44 in 200 Yard Free at 13


13-year old Claire Tuggle became the youngest winner so far at the 2018 NCSA Junior National Championships on Thursday, winning the girls’ 200 yard free in 1:44.96. Besides ranking 39th among swimmers of any age in the country this season, the time is also the 2nd-fastest 200 yard freestyle in history. The next-fastest time by a 13-year old nationally this season is nearly 4 seconds slower, and as far back as USA Swimming’s SWIMS database goes, no other 13-year old has been better than 1:48.27 (5-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin).

Franklin is also the only swimmer in history to be faster than Tuggle’s time even at 14 years old. In 2010, the same year as Franklin made her first senior international team, the Pan Pac Championships squad, she swam 1:44.55.


Editor’s note: Taylor Ruck has spent most of her life training in the United States, and because she’s a USA Swimming member, is included in the official top times lists. She represented Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

All-Time Top 6* (Ties) 13-14s in USA Swimming History, 200Y Free

  1. Missy Franklin, 1:44.55, 2010
  2. Claire Tuggle, 1:44.96, 2018
  3. Melinda Lee, 1:45.07, 2017
  4. Taylor Ruck, 1:45.81, 2014
  5. Stephanie Elkins (1978)/Courtney Harnish (2014), 1:45.91

Tuggle has 8 total National Age Group Records: 3 in long course, 6 in short course, 3 as a 10 & under, and 5 as an 11-12. Her 10 & under record in this event is a 1:58.20 and her 11-12 record is 1:47.71.

This event has been a particularly-strong indicator of future success. The top 20 swimmers in this age group is riddled with NCAA All-Americans (almost all on the list who are old enough have earned honors). Among the Olympians in that group are Franklin, Taylor Ruck, Liz Pelton, Katie Ledecky, Natalie Coughlin, Katie Hoff, and Simone Manuel. Stephanie Elkins, who held the record from 1978 until Franklin broke it in 2010, qualified to race at the 1980 Olympics, but was left out by the boycott. She was a member of the World Championship winning 400 free relay in 1978.


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3 years ago


3 years ago

Great swims! Still don’t understand why Taylor Ruck isn’t representing the country she was raised in……(3rd on list here). Obviously it’s easier to make Canada’s team but I don’t get it otherwise.

3 years ago

She should be one to watch for 2020. She’s getting a lot faster every big meet.

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
3 years ago

forget that, she could sneak on to a pan pacs or worlds team this year in the 400-800

Coach Josh
3 years ago

1:45.91 in 1978?!?!

tea rex
3 years ago

So exciting! Is Claire especially tall for her age? (that’s always a factor in the 11-14 age groups).

PS – I love that Natalie Coughlin is still on the top swims list from the 90s.

Phil McDade
Reply to  tea rex
3 years ago

She’s quite tall for a 13-year-old — I’m guessing 5′-8″? But obviously very well coached, just based on her stroke. She is really, really smooth in the water, and someone has taught her how to swim that race: 24.71, 26.64, 26.93, 26.68. Looked easy, in all honesty. And much improved from a year ago, when she made a big splash at this meet.

bobo gigi
3 years ago

Looks like Claire loves that meet. Last year she also had huge time drops. A monster 200 free after a great 800 free on day 1.
Congrats to Claire and her coach. After her 2.00 something last summer in LCM I knew she could swim 1.44 this SCY season. But I had some doubts it would happen at this meet after her “average” (considering her huge talent) 100 free performance in 50.10. I was wrong to doubt about a young champion like Claire Tuggle. She’s a very very very special talent. I repeat that she will be in the US 4X200 free relay team in the olympic final in 2020. She’s smooth in the water. Clearly her coach makes… Read more »

bobo gigi
3 years ago
bobo gigi
3 years ago

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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