Justina Kozan Closes 200 IM in 29.75, Faster than All 2020 Olympic Finalists

2021 SPEEDO SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIPS – IRVINE

SATURDAY FINALS HEAT SHEET

Day 5 – Saturday, August 7

  • Women’s 1500 Freestyle
  • 200 Individual Medley
  • Men’s 800 Freestyle
  • 50 Freestyle
  • 4 x 100 Medley Relay

WOMEN’S 200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — FINALS

PODIUM:

  1. Justina Kozan (MVN) – 2:11.96
  2. Teagan O’Dell (NOVA) – 2:12.53
  3. Campbell Stoll (EBSC) – 2:16.92

Mission Viejo 17-year-old Justina Kozan clocked a 2:11.96 to win the women’s 200 IM tonight in Irvine, marking her 4th title of the meet. Kozan’s time was not a personal best, but it was her fastest time as a 17-year-old, so it resulted in her landing at #12 all-time among 17-18 girls, and #10 all-time among 17-year-olds.

The bigger story, however, is the most recent in a long line for Kozan. That would be her absolutely incredible closing speed in the 200 IM. Kozan has made waves before for bringing 200 IMs home in under 30 seconds on freestyle, and she did it again tonight. Her free split tonight was 29.75, which was the fastest split in tonight’s field by nearly 2 seconds.

More impressively is how Kozan’s free split stacks up against the best in the world. For example, her 29.75 tonight was exactly 1 second faster than the fastest freestyle split in the final of the women’s 200 IM at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics a few weeks ago. 200 IM Gold medalist Yui Ohashi of Japan posted the fastest free split in the Olympic final, a 30.75.

Here are the free splits from all 8 of the women’s 200 IM Olympic finalists:

Now, onto Kozan’s swim as a whole tonight. Her time of 2:11.96 was just off her lifetime best of 2:11.55, which she swam at the 2019 World Junior Championships. Kozan’s swim tonight was her fastest since her lifetime best performance.

Here is a split comparison between Kozan’s personal best swim and her swim from tonight:

Splits 2019 World Jr Champs – Lifetime Best 2021 Speedo Summer Champs – FINALS
50m 28.24 29.18
100m 34.72 35.18
150m 38.62 37.85
200m 29.97 29.75
Final Time 2:11.55 2:11.96

Firstly, it’s notable that her free splits on both occasions were under 30 seconds. She was slower on fly and back tonight than she was in 2019, but she was also significantly faster on the breaststroke 50. Tonight, Kozan was 1.40 seconds slower on the first 100, but she came home 0.99 seconds faster on the 2nd 100 than her 2019 performance.

Here is the all-time top 12 for United States 17-18 girls in the LCM 200 IM:

Rank Time Swimmer Date
1 2:09.01 Alex Walsh 12/5/2019
2 2:10.02 Elizabeth Pelton 12/1/2011
3 2:10.05 Katie Hoff 8/1/2006
4 2:10.38 Torri Huske 6/15/2021
5 2:10.75 Elizabeth Beisel 8/2/2011
6 2:11.11 Dagny Knutson 7/7/2009
7 2:11.26 Meghan Small 7/18/2015
8 2:11.28 Caitlin Leverenz 6/29/2008
9 2:11.92 Maya DiRado 8/2/2011
10 2:11.96 Justina Kozan 8/7/2021

*Though Pickrem now represents Canada internationally, she is a dual citizen of the US and Canada.

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swimfan210_
1 year ago

Enough with the MA comments. This article is about Kozan.

FanofTO
Reply to  swimfan210_
1 year ago

Agreed! Please don’t take away from Justina who is an unbelievable competitor! Still in high school and has a huge future!

Sub13
1 year ago

Literally came to the comments just to see people say it was faster than MA. They did not disappoint

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 year ago

Yet, a time of 2:11.96 would not have qualified for the final of the women’s 200 meter individual medley at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/swimming/results-summary-women-s-200m-individual-medley-sfnl.htm

Perspective!

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 year ago

The results-reading AI is back again.

Swammer
1 year ago

MA doesn’t even have to train differently to maximize his performance in the 200 IM. He just needs to be able to swim free with good technique while breathing. Pretty simple. Simply having higher hips would at least put him 28 high/29 low coming home. Still not the same level as the typical world class 200 IMer but quite an improvement.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

Eddie Reese
Weight Room
Workout

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

Yeah and that’s the thing, he doesn’t need to have the best last 50 in the field, he just needs to have a slightly above average one and he can break the WR. Nobody else out there with that kind of upside rn.

Pvdh
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 year ago

This is not really a fixable issue unless he commits to multiple years of aerobic training. He can focus on his technique and breathing all he wants for his 10 laps of training up and down the pool. When the fatigue sets in from 3 rounds of 2IM on that final 50 and you don’t have any aerobic base to rely on, you’re going to die and your technique is going to fall apart.

His training has gotten him 90% of the way there to being an individual medalist.

Unfortunately to get 100% of the way there he’s going to have to triple his yardage

Last edited 1 year ago by Pvdh
Steve Nolan
Reply to  Pvdh
1 year ago

Maaaaaaybe. He’s got ~90 seconds worth of real fast swimming in him from his current approach, so like, does he NEED miles and miles of aerobic swimming to come up with that last 30 seconds where’s he’s not basically dead?

There’s gotta be a couple of ways to get there, probably makes sense to either change as few things as possible (baby steps!) or just completely overhaul and see what happens. I also wonder if there’s a way to boost that cardio but through like, rowing or something.

Yup
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 year ago

well, do it ‘his way’ hasn’t worked, so…..

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

I mean it didn’t work at the Olympics, sure, but his Trials swims were plenty good. It’s v close to being there.

Little tweaks are probably the way to go right now versus a complete overhaul, but either could work.

Pvdh
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 year ago

Even trying something like 6 months of aerobic and then moving Down to USRPT in the second half of the season as we get closer to trials and champs season…something has to change because age group girls are cooking him on the final 50…

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Pvdh
1 year ago

That might as well do it, I just think the farther away you get from what he has been doing, the more likely it is to not work. And then it’s like, well, now what do ya do?

This is basically a DOE problem – ya change too many variables, you’re not gonna know where to go after the experiment. (Yeehaw, I still remembered an engineering thing!)

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 year ago

I respect the yeehaw.

Tigerswim22
1 year ago

Never mind!
NAG record – just read the article as I scrolled down. That’s impressive!!

Tigerswim22
1 year ago

Very fast last 50. That’s cool and fun to compare with the Olympic splits. In the end, however, it’s a 200 IM and the final time is what counts.
I was impressed with Teagan O’Dell’s time – just a half second behind Kozan and she’s younger. How does her time stack up against her age group peers?

swimfan210_
Reply to  Tigerswim22
1 year ago

O’Dell’s time is a NAG

FanofTO
Reply to  Tigerswim22
1 year ago

She also broke Missy’s 200 IM NAG as a 12 yr old. As a 14 yr old she sits first in the country by about 4 seconds. Definitely one to watch over the next few years!

anon
1 year ago

didn’t she also close the 4IM in like a 1:01 at trials prelims?
girl books her free

Klorn8d
1 year ago

Aren’t there a few internationals on that 17-18 all time list? Pickrem? Omoto?

Bruh
Reply to  Klorn8d
1 year ago

The header for the list doesn’t say national

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Klorn8d
1 year ago

Surely the global top performance list can’t be so dominated by Americans?

There certainly missing a few names: SMOC was 2:08.2 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Watanabe 2:08.4 at the 2015 Worlds (and Pickrem 2:10.0 at the same meet, faster than her listed time). McKeown 2:09.9 in 2019.