James Plage Passes Fran Crippen For #11 All-Time In 17-18 US 800 Free History


18-year-old James Plage dropped seven seconds to go 7:56.87 in the 800 free at this morning’s Olympic Trials prelims. That moves him to #11 all-time in USA Swimming’s 17-18 age group rankings.

Plage’s previous best time was an 8:03.84 from Junior Nationals in the summer of 2019. He swam the event just one time last season, going 8:04.0 in December of 2019 before graduating high school and joining NC State as a freshman this past season.

Plage, who represents Wolfpack Elite and The Aquabears, focused mostly on short course in his freshman NCAA season, dropping 9 seconds in his 1650 (to 14:48), 7 in his 500 (to 4:17.8) and nearly 3 in his 200 free (to 1:37.0). His only long course swims registered this season were times of 8:08 in the 800 and 15:37 in the 1500 at a local North Carolina meet.

The 18-year-old has already had a banner Olympic Trials meet. On day 1, he dropped 1.6 seconds in the 400 free to go 3:51.41. That was good for 16th overall. This morning’s swim won his heat and put him 5th overall heading into tomorrow night’s final.

7:56.87 moves Plage to #11 all-time in USA Swimming’s 17-18 age group history. He passes open water legend Fran Crippen, who was 7:57.04 in the age group back in 2002. Plage sits 8.8 seconds behind Larsen Jensen‘s National Age Group record, but could crack the top 5 in age group history if he can go 7:54.5 or better in the final.

Further back in this morning’s heats, 18-year-old Charlie Clark of Ohio State dropped five seconds to go 7:58.50. That moves him to #18 all-time in the 17-18 age group. Clark is 10th and won’t make the final without scratches above him.

Other age group swims checking into the all-time ranks in this event: 18-year-old Daniel Matheson dropped from 8:09.0 to 8:05.09 for 20th. That moves him up to #53 all-time in the U.S. 17-18 ranks. 16-year-old Josh Parent dropped from 8:08.9 to 8:08.13. That got him 24th and moves him from #37 to #30 in the all-time U.S. 15-16 ranks.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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