2019 SPEEDO CANADIAN EASTERN CHAMPIONSHIPS
- April 11-14, 2019
- Quebec, Canada
A big weekend in Quebec has Canadian teenager Josh Liendo looking sharper than any American his age. Ever.
Swimming the 100 fly, his best event, Liendo broke his own 15-17 Canadian age group record with a time of 52.13. That puts the 16-year-old ahead of American Luca Urlando, whose 52.40 marks the fastest 100 fly swum by a 16 & under in American history.
2018 was Urlando’s big year– at 16, he broke the 100m fly long course NAG record for the 15-16 age group, which belonged to rising star Michael Andrew. He also broke Michael Phelps‘s NAG in the 200y fly, Destin Lasco‘s NAG in the 100y back (which has since been broken by Anthony Grimm) and Andrew’s NAG in the 100y fly. In 2019, he’s already smashed Caeleb Dressel‘s NAG in the 200m free, and this summer holds high expectations for what he might be able to do.
This weekend, though, Canadians can say something they rarely (if ever) can say, at least on the men’s side: they have the upper hand over the juggernaut that is American swimming (in one event for one age category). It’s small, but it’s something.
This is all to put Liendo’s swim in context, though, more than to try to ignite a border battle in which the U.S. would easily win, all things considered. American NAG record holders (especially in the 15-16 and 17-18 categories) are typically the select few swimmers who go on to win Olympic medals, break World Records, and create incredible legacies. To be faster than an American NAG record, especially one held by someone who definitely has the makings of a star, is a huge deal.
Liendo’s 52.13 from this weekend was a drop of seven tenths from his own 15-17 Canadian NAG, and he’s starting to bring the senior national record well within striking distance. That mark is a 51.83 held by temporary Canadian Santo Condorelli, exactly three tenths away.
It was a huge weekend for Liendo otherwise, as he went 1:50.62 in the 200 free (a five-second drop) and 2:00.52 in the 200 fly (a two-and-a-half-second drop), as well as adding a 49.41 400 free relay anchor as his team, North York Aquatic Club, broke the 15-17 age group record in that event.
The Canadian women are a few years into a renaissance of talent that has produced international medal threats like Taylor Ruck and Penny Oleksiak to go alongside their more senior counterparts like Kylie Masse, Sydney Pickrem, and Kierra Smith. There are plenty of more names in the works, too. With ongoing drops from young men like Liendo, Gabe Mastromatteo, and Cole Pratt, perhaps the rumblings of a rise on the men’s side suggest something similar is coming next.