Juniors Day 5 – Several NAG Records Go Down On Final Night in Irvine

USA Junior National came to end last night in Irvine, California at the Woollett Aquatics Center. The future of USA Swimming looks bright, as this week was full of great swims from our 18 & unders. While the internet drove me crazy this past week, I already miss the action in the pool. Here’s a recap of last nights events.

Women’s 1500 Freestyle

Danielle Valley (SYS) won her second event of the week, after winning the 400 freestyle on day 3, with a dominating win in the women’s 1500m freestyle. Valley easily was the favorite here tonight, coming in as the top seed by 23 seconds.

Averaging 32-mid and a few 33-low the entire race, Valley finished at 16:24.55. She had a body length lead at the 400 (4:18.16) and made it comfortable by the 800 (8:41.28) and raced by herself through the finish.

A solid race for second developed between Erin Emery (SAND) and Sierra Schmidt (GAAC). Schmidt started to make her move on Emery after the 800m mark. They remained tight through the final 200, and Schmidt closed strong to take the silver, 16:32.90.

Emery was 3rd, 16:33.69.

Women’s 200 IM

Ella Eastin (SCAL) swam an inspiring 400IM on day 2 of Junior Nationals, swimming the 12th fastest time in the world and third best by an American this year. She completed an IM sweep tonight winning the 200IM on the final night of these championships.

She used a strong backstroke leg earlier this week and tonight to flip first at the 100m mark. Brooke Zeiger (ABF) came up and pushed Eastin on the breaststroke leg, both splitting 39-mids.

Eastin saw the challenge and shot off her final wall and had the advantage into the final 50m. Zeiger wasn’t willing to give up the fight as she challenged Eastin all the way to the finish, splitting 31.30 on the final 50.

Out from lane eight was Meghan Small (YY) charging the second half of her race. Her 39.52 split on the breaststroke moved her into the mix. Her final 50 of 30.9 surged her into the top three as they swam to the finish.

Eastin won in a time of 2:13.66. Zeiger was 2nd in 2:14.03 and Small was 3rd at 2:14.15.

Also noted that all eight women tonight dropped time from their seeds this morning.

Men’s 200 IM

Andrew Seliskar (NCAP) and Gunnar Bentz (DYNA) put on the race of the night here in the men’s 200 IM. The race started off tight as the top six all turned within .3 of each other after the backstroke.

That is where Seliskar and Bentz separated themselves from the field. Seliskar finished 4th last night in the individual 100 breaststroke while Bentz was 2nd. Bentz was able to out split Seliskar on the breaststroke leg, 34.37 to 34.54.

But the .5 lead Seliskar had build on Bentz on the first 100 was too hard to overcome. Seliskar was able to hold off to finish first with a time of 2:00.21, which broke 15-16 NAG held by Michael Phelps.

Bentz was second at 2:00.46 and Curtis Ogren (PASA) was 3rd at 2:03.45. Bentz has had quite the meet this week, finishing 1st in the 200BR, 1st in the 400IM, 5th in the 100 butterfly, 1st in the 200 freestyle, 2nd in the 100 breastroke, plus solid relay showings. Bentz will represent the United States at the Junior World Championships.

Also noted, from the B final, 14-year-old professional swimmer Michael Andrew set another National Age Group record. He broke Michael Phelps 200IM record with a new time of 2:05.13.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

Abbigail Weitzeil (CANY) was out like a rocket here in the women’s sprint race of the evening. Her tempo was impressive to the eye, firing fast and furious. She pulled away at the 25m mark and never looked back.

Weitzel won easily at 25.27. She just missed the 2009 meet record from Missy Franklin, who swam 25.23.

Katie McLaughlin (MVN) sealed up an impressive run here in Irvine this week with a 2nd place finish, 25.52. McLaughlin had one minor blip this week with a disqualification on night 3 in the 100 freestyle; which didn’t seem to stop her at all.

She has finished 1st in the 100 and 200 butterfly & 2nd here in the 50 and 200 freestyle this week. She will make the trip to Dubai for the Junior World Championships.

Nora McCullagh (MAC) was 3rd, 25.72.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Santo Condorelli (BSS) walked away with his first title of the meet tonight with a win the 50m freestyle. His winning time was 22.32, using his quick tempo to top the field.

Bolles showed their dominance in the sprint freestyle events with a 1-2 sweep here tonight with Caeleb Dressel finishing second, 22.66. It looked like Dressel fumbled a bit off the start, getting off slower with a little less power than his teammate. Dressel’s time was 22.66.

Dressel’s performance this week cannot be unnoticed. Besides the second place here in the 50, he has won the 100 freestyle, placed 2nd 100 butterfly this week and 9th in the 200 freestyle (fastest time overall).

Paul Power (SAC) was 3rd, also under the 23 second barrier at 22.92.

Men’s 800 Freestyle

Sarasota YMCA has an impressive distance program. They swept the distance event tonight, already winning the women’s 1500m freestyle with the win the men’s 800 freestyle tonight by Alexander Katz. He finished at 8:04.77.

He had great control, splitting 4:01.71 at the 400m mark, and over the next 200 pulled further and further ahead of the field. His second 400 was 4:03.06, coming very close to even splitting his race.

Our 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the event came from our earlier heats this afternoon. Aidan Burns (SCSC) was 8:05.35 and Christopher Wieser (DAV) finished 8:06.68, respectively.

Women’s 400 Medley Relay

Dynamo had an early lead thanks to a strong backstroke by Kylie Stewart in the final relay of the meet. But SwimMAC’s Nauha Roses and the Aquajets’s Olivia Anderson used their strong breaststroke legs (1:09.58 and 1:09.36) to pull ahead of the field.

SwimMAC backed up their breaststroke with a strong fly by Alyssa Marsh and freestyle leg by Jessica Merritt to win this event of the night (4:10.32).

Dynamo tried to catch up with a solid 1:00.59 butterfly split by Nicole Stafford, but Kaia Grobe from Aquajets was able to hold them off in the final leg of the relay to place 2nd (4:11.39), while Dynamo ended up 3rd (4:12.89).

Men’s 400 Medley Relay

Nations Capital and Dynamo found themselves in another race here in the men’s medley relay. They were tight through the first to legs of the relay.

Nations Capital pulled ahead on the butterfly leg, with Andrew Selikar pulled them into the lead by a body length, splitting 53.80. Maintaining that leg through the freestyle, NCAP set a new meet record of a time of 3:46.23.

They break Schroeder YMCA’s old record, 3:47.75, that was set in 2008.

PASA moved into second with a solid butterfly leg from Andrew Liang at 53.75, while Dynamo faded back to fourth. Dynamo used a good close to finish third in their heat, but slipped back to fourth overall when Dayton Raiders out of heat 3 slid into third.

That swim by NCAP crushed the 15-16 NAG record by 6 seconds.

Women’s High Point – Katie McLaughlin (MVN)
Men’s High Point – Gunnar Bentz (Dynamo)
Women’s Team Scores – 1. SwimMAC 2. Dynamo 3. Mission Viejo
Men’s Team Scores – 1. Dynamo 2. Nations Capital Swim Club 3. Dayton Raiders
Combined Team Scores – 1. Dynamo 2. SwimMAC 3. Nations Capital and Sarasota YMCA

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bobo gigi

Thanks for the recap. You’re right. The future of US swimming looks bright. We have finally had our head-to-head Bentz vs Seliskar. As expected, a huge battle until the end. We’ll have a little Phelps vs Lochte in the next years with these 2 guys. I feel a huge rivalry in the future. In my opinion Gunnar Bentz is just at the start of his development. He has a huge physical margin of progression. Andrew Seliskar is already a powerful young swimmer. Great NAG record for him. Clear win for Santo Condorelli in 22.32, new NAG record, but I’m disappointed by this final. Caeleb Dressel has ruined his chances with a 200 IM just before. Where is the use of… Read more »


Bobo, I agree with the analysis between Seliskar and Bentz; it was crazy watching those two at the finish last night. It looked like Bentz might have run him down with about 15 meters left but Seliskar held him off just barely. On the point of Dressel: I think he might have cruised the 200 IM (and I really do mean cruised) for points. He still had a really decent shot at the 50 but he stayed underwater for about 12 meters while Condorelli got off the blocks in .59 and was out like a rocket. Great night of swimming without a doubt, although I would’ve liked to see some of the guys from the earlier heats (i.e. Burns, Roberts)… Read more »


We are waiting for the World Junior Roster now.


Santo split 48.8 on the Bolles relay. Just wanted to toss that out there..

About Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith is a former swimmer at both Indiana and USC, where she earned a total of nine All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. Smith, a middle-distance specialist as a swimmer, was also 3-time USC School Record holder, a 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, and an Olympic Trials …

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