There’s something about an Olympic year. Swimming has been fast this season at every level – international, national, age group, high school, college, and every other level.
Evidence of this came this past weekend, where swimmers from two of the country’s legendary programs crushed team records.
Curl Burke’s Janet Hu, who is a phenomenal young swimmer who we highlighted for her exploits at the Tom Dolan Invitational, competed in the Northern Virginia High School Regional meet over the weekend, and broke off some huge times. In the 100 back, she swam a 53.76 in to win by better than two seconds, and she tacked onto that a 49.52 win in the 100 free. Those swims both broke Curl Burke 15-16 team records: in the 100 back it was her own record, and the 100 free she broke a 2004 swim by Liz Kemp, who went on to be a 7-time All-American at Florida.
Curl Burke wunderkind Katie Ledecky also put up monster times in a DC-area prep league championship meet to the tune of 1:46.2 in the 200 free and 4:38.5 in the 500. Those took down meet records formerly held by World Record holder Kate Ziegler. She’s been faster in the 500 (believe it or not), but the 200 time is a lifetime best by over a second-and-a-half. Last year, she really shone in the distance races, but this year, the 14-year old freshmen is really putting some good speed to go with her distance skills.
Across the country, a slew of Mission Viejo age group records went down, including some historic marks, at the SoCal Junior Olympics. Not surprisingly, the first to go down was in a distance freestyle event (Mission Viejo pumps out distance swimmers like no other program in the country). 12-year old Matt Hales swam a scary-good 4:54.41 to break a record set all the way back in 1982 by one Richard Drewelow, which is a name that should ring some bells for older fans.
Hales had a great meet, and would also knock off two more team records a day later, both of which were held by former USC Trojan Philippe Demers. In the 200 free, Hales swam a 1:50.99, and in the 200 IM he posted a 2:04.75. Relatively, young, those records had stood since only 1992.
Another team record went to 12-year old Min Zhi Chua, who broke the team’s boys’ 50 breaststroke record with a 30.42.