We’ve seen young U.S. breaststrokers Reece Whitley and Michael Andrew grow into the great swimmers they are today, and we’re continuing to see more progression from others like Ethan Dang and Jake Foster now, too (to name a couple).
The 13-14 age group rankings saw some shake-up last week with Matt Fallon‘s performance at YMCA LC Nationals last week, as the 14-year-old from Somerset Valley YMCA dropped a 2:20.28 200m breast to come in at 6th all-time in the age group. One swimmer, though, got lost in the shuffle of YNats, NCSAs, the US Open and the Futures Championships.
Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics’ Joshua Matheny, 14, had two very impressive breaststroke performances at the Futures Championships in Geneva, OH. Matheny came into this summer with lifetime bests of 1:07.92 in the 100 and 2:27.87 in the 200 from 2016. Last week in Geneva, Matheny posted times of 1:03.80 in the 100 and 2:17.73, taking huge time off of his previous bests and winning both races by sizable margins.
Further, Matheny has made his mark on the 13-14 all-time top performers list.
13-14 Boys All-Time Top Performers: 100 Breast
- Reece Whitley, 1:03.23 2014
- Liam Bell, 1:03.57 2015
- Ethan Dang, 1:03.62 2016
- Josh Matheny, 1:03.80 2017
- Michael Andrew, 1:03.83 2014
13-14 Boys All-Time Top Performers: 200 Breast
- Ethan Dang, 2:15.84 2016
- Reece Whitley, 2:16.48 2014
- Josh Matheny, 2:17.73 2017
- Liam Bell, 2:19.09 2015
- Jake Foster, 2:19.19 2015
There’s been an explosion of young breaststroke talent the last 3-4 years, and it’s clear with the dates besides each of these top-5 swims.
It’s interesting to note, too, the disparities between the top few and the rest of the pack, historically. In the 100, after Michael Andrew, the next-best in 13-14 history is Anthony Robinson’s 1:04.74 from way back in 1994. The drop-off behind Dang is significant in the 200, and especially so after Matheny’s 2:17.73.
There has been a lot of near-fastest-in-history swimming in the American youth breaststroke ranks on the men’s side (and women’s side) in recent memory, and looking through the top 20 or so for both age groups, it’s evident how many elite 13-14 swims have happened in just the last couple of years.
It remains to be seen how this will pan out over the next couple of years– Kevin Cordes jumped up the rankings for the 15-16 and 17-18 age groups, and he’s developed into the go-to breaststroker for the U.S.– that said, we still haven’t seen guys like Andrew and Whitley progress enough to make waves internationally. Maybe we’ll see one (or both) of them make that progression as soon as next year, or perhaps we’ll have to wait a couple of years until the 14- and 15-year-old breaststrokers surge ahead and take control.