Grace Cooper Becomes 4th-Fastest U.S. 15-Year-Old Ever in 50 Free


Delta Aquatics’ Grace Cooper has been on a roll this weekend, and she made headlines earlier this week with the fastest time done this year by a 15-year-old in the 100 free. Cooper was 56.38 to win the event in Minneapolis on Thursday, and before this meet, her best time in the 100 free was a 58.87.

Tonight, she won the 50 free by over four tenths, going 25.38 after a 25.72 in prelims. Her improvement curve has been crazy in this event, too– she brought a PR of 26.43 into this weekend. Only three American 15-year-old girls have ever been faster than Cooper: Anya Goeders (25.13), Isabel Ivey (25.21) and Missy Franklin (25.26). She also lands herself on the U.S. 15-16 top ten performers list at #9 all-time. Even more impressive is the fact that she just turned 15 on Wednesday, so she has about two years to go in the age group.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Aquatics’ Jessica Unicomb earned another win this weekend, taking the 200 IM in 2:17.86. She was also the 200 back winner last night, breaking the sectional record in the process. 2nd place went to Missouri State’s Josie Pearson, the 400 IM winner, in 2:19.45. Unicomb’s teammate Joseph Milinovich also touched ahead of a MSU swimmer, going 2:05.64 to edge Phillip Willett (2:05.87) in the men’s 200 IM.

Minnesota got two wins tonight on the men’s side. First, Bowen Becker was the only man sub-23 to take the 50 free in 22.88. Nick Plachinski then won the mile, as he touched at 16:10.82, well ahead of the next-best finisher. Barrington Swim Club’s Magdalena Emary was first to the wall for the women at 17:19.25.

To close the meet, Minnesota dominated the women’s 400 medley relay with a 4:11.80, the only team under 4:20. Tevyn Waddell had a nice 1:01.33 lead-off, while Zoe Avestruz anchored in 56.38 to secure the comfortable win for the Gophers. They also had an easy win on the men’s side, going 3:46.86 helped by a 1:01.27 breast split from Conner McHugh and a 50.71 anchor from Becker.

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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