Gianluca Urlando, 16, of DART Swimming in Northern California, became the youngest swimmer ever to break 1:41 in the 200 butterfly when he won his final at 2018 Speedo Winter Junior Championships – West in 1:40.91. He crushed the meet record of 1:43.64 set in 2013 by Baylor Swim Club’s Robert McHugh, and he took a 1.19-second bite out of the 2002 National Age Group Record for 15-16 boys set by none other than Michael Phelps.
Urlando was the top seed in both the 200 back and 200 fly after prelims in Austin but scratched the 200 back to focus on the fly final. And it paid off. He took 1.58 seconds off his month-old PB of 1:42.49 and came within .06 of Nicolas Albiero’s 2018 NAG Record for 17-18 boys. Urlando has 3 more months in the 15-16 age group before he turns 17.
Urlando’s swim is the 2nd-fastest in the country so far this swim year (September 2018 through August 2019). Given that we have already had a slew of mid-season college invites, that a 16-year-old boy ranks second is a remarkable thing. Zheng Quah of Cal went 1:39.29 at the UGA Fall Invitational, while his teammate Mike Thomas clocked a 1:41.29. Until Saturday night those were the fastest times in the country this season.
Giving his swim more context, had he gone 1:40.91 at NCAA Division I Championships last March, he would have made the A final at #8 out of heats. Including 2018 NCAAs, Urlando has the 12th-fastest time in the country for the calendar year. Even more remarkably, he ranks 26th on the all-time performers list – for all ages – at only 16.
His splits compared to those of Phelps:
|Gianluca Urlando, Winter Juniors East, December 2018||Michael Phelps, Spring Sectionals, March 2002|
|100||48.50 (25.62)||48.58 (25.92)|
|150||1:14.08 (25.58)||1:15.76 (27.18)|
|200||1:40.91 (26.83)||1:42.10 (26.34)|