Jack Aikins Drops Massive 200 Back PB, Moves Into Tie For 7th Among 17-18s

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

SwimAtlanta’s Jack Aikins continued his phenomenal performance at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials on Thursday morning, crushing his personal best time in the men’s 200 backstroke and launching up the boys’ 17-18 age group rankings in the process.

Aikins, 18, duelled it out with Destin Lasco in the non-circle-seeded third heat, touching in a time of 1:57.57 to demolish his previous best of 2:00.77 at the Mission Viejo Pro Swim Series meet in April.

Lasco won the heat in 1:56.88, qualifying him first overall for the semi-finals, while Aikins’ showing was good for third overall, with six men ultimately advancing into the top 16 from the early (non-circle-seeded) heats.

Aikins, a UVA commit, catapults himself up the age group rankings, jumping from 46th into a tie for seventh all-time among 17-18s, matching 2016 Olympic finalist in this event, Jacob Pebley.

The handful of men ranked ahead of Akins include some of the biggest names in American backstroke swimming over the last 20 years: 200 back Olympic champions Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Murphy, and some guy named Michael Phelps.

All-Time Boys’ 17-18 200 Backstroke Rankings (LCM)

  1. Aaron Peirsol, 1:55.15 – 2002
  2. Michael Phelps, 1:55.30 – 2004
  3. Jack Conger, 1:55.47 – 2013
  4. Ryan Murphy, 1:55.87 – 2013
  5. Austin Katz, 1:56.70 – 2017
  6. Michael Taylor, 1:56.78 – 2016
  7. Jacob Pebley / Jack Aikins, 1:57.57 – 2012 / 2021
  8. Connor Green, 1:57.60 – 2014
  9. Wyatt Davis, 1:58.18 – 2019

Aikins entered 2021 with a best time of 2:02.01, set in July of 2019, and then brought it down to that 2:00.77 in Mission Viejo before this extraordinary drop.

Split Comparison

Aikins, Mission Viejo Aikins, Omaha
27.23 27.52
57.37 (30.04) 56.88 (29.36)
1:28.89 (31.52) 1:26.85 (29.97)
2:00.77 (31.88) 1:57.57 (30.72)

Earlier in the meet, Aikins also produced significant time drops in the 100 back and 100 free, going 54.16 in the prelims and then 54.03 in the semi-finals of the 100 back to place 12th overall and twice improve on his previous PB of 54.59 set at the U.S. Open in November.

That swim moves him into fourth all-time in the 17-18 age group, moving past the likes of Peirsol, Pebley and Jack Conger.

All-Time Boys’ 17-18 100 Backstroke Rankings (LCM)

  1. Ryan Murphy, 53.38 – 2013
  2. Michael Taylor, 53.77 – 2016
  3. Will Grant, 53.89 – 2019
  4. Jack Aikins, 54.03 – 2021
  5. Jack Conger, 54.04 – 2013
  6. Wyatt Davis, 54.14 – 2019
  7. Aaron Peirsol, 54.47 – 2002
  8. Jacob Pebley, 54.49 – 2018
  9. Shaine Casas, 54.51 – 2018
  10. Nick Simons, 54.52 – 2021

In the 100 free, Aikins cracked the 50-second barrier for the first time, improving his 50.40 from the Atlanta Classic down to 49.98 to tie for 36th overall in the meet and crack the age group’s top 40 all-time.

Moving into tonight’s session, Aikins has a great shot to qualify for his first Olympic Trials final based on his morning swim, with the second Tokyo spot behind Murphy, the big favorite, wide open.

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There's no doubt that he's tightening up
1 month ago

18 year old Michael Phelps in his sixth or seventh best event would still be in Olympic medal contention 16 years later, unbelievable.

Peirsol was pretty handy too.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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