Kayla Han Swims 8:32.88 800 Free To Move Up To #7 On The U.S. 13-14 Girls All-Time List


14-year-old Kayla Han continued her impressive performance at the Mission Viejo Pro Swim during the final session. In the last heat of the 800 freestyle, Han earned second in 8:32.88, which vaulted her up to seventh on the all-time list of U.S. Girls’ 13-14 in the event.

Her previous best time, 8:35.85, had her ranked eighth, but dropping the 2.97 seconds moved her ahead of Florence Barker‘s mark from 1981. Han swam her previous best last summer at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacs.

The difference for Han in this race was her back half. In Mission Viejo, she outsplit her 2022 pace on each 50 after the 350-meter mark. That improvement was most evident in her final 100 meters. Here, she clocked 1:02.21, which is 1.31 seconds faster than she closed in 2022.

Top 8 U.S. 13-14 Girls All-Time in 800m Freestyle

  1. Becca Mann — 8:28.54 (2012)
  2. Sippy Woodhead — 8:29.35 (1978)
  3. Katie Ledecky — 8:30.14 (2012)
  4. Michele Richardson — 8:30.64 (1984)
  5. Brooke Bennett — 8:31.30 (1994)
  6. Claire Weinstein — 8:32.51 (2022)
  7. Kayla Han — 8:32.88 (2023)
  8. Florence Barker — 8:35.07 (1981)

Han turns 15 on May 31st, so unless she swims at another meet in the next 11 days, this might be as high as she climbs on the 13-14 age group list. Her time here would be good for 22nd on the 15-16 U.S. girls list, just ahead of Olympian Erica Sullivan.

She wasn’t done throwing down best times this session either. After finishing second in the 800 freestyle, she won the ‘B’ final of the 200 IM in a new personal best of 2:16.29, cutting .11 seconds off her previous mark.

These results come on top of winning the 400 IM yesterday, and finishing second in the 1500 freestyle on the first day of the meet.

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Marge Santos
4 months ago

Interesting that she doesn’t get local coverage by SoCal swim..thought she would be with Mission by now.

Reply to  Marge Santos
4 months ago

I’ve heard that SoCal is like a merry go round of kids switching teams, but why would Han go to MVN when she presumably lives pretty far away and has an experienced coach who seems to be doing a good job with her already?

Reply to  IMO
4 months ago

There’s kind of a prevailing wind in many parts of SoCal that if you really want to be good, you have to go to MVN, because they produced all of those Olympians in the 1970s and 1980s.

But of course that doesn’t make any sense. Here’s a snippet of a bio Rick Shipherd, the head coach of La Mirada Armada:

Coach Shipherd has coached two Olympians, Kirk Stackle and Tami Bruce, and has placed several other swimmers on US National Teams: Kevin Clements, Morgan Hentzen, Whitney Hentzen, Kirstie Chen and Samantha Shellem. Coach Shipherd’s teams have won two Junior National Team titles with Swim San Diego, 1985 and 1986, and three Sectional Team Titles with the La Mirada Armada.

Coach… Read more »

Fraser Thorpe
4 months ago

Strange to see Woodhead and Bennett on here but not Evans. Did she have a huge improvement just after leaving this age group?

Reply to  Fraser Thorpe
4 months ago

The setting of age group records wasn’t probably that important for young girls then as it became now. They were targeting adult level of swimming rather than comparing own achievements to the achievements of children of their own age. Look how just in six moths Katie Ledecky dropped 16 sec in personal best. And it was done in the area near world record where even improvement by 1 sec is a big deal. She probably didn’t care much about NAG record at the beginning of 2012 keeping in mind the preparation for Olympic Trials only. Same may happened to Janet Evans as well. She may hasn’t even been aware of the existence of such books of records for young girls.… Read more »

Reply to  Yozhik
4 months ago

Katie Ledecky broke a bunch of National Age Group Records before making the Olympic Team, so unless you have some evidence that she “didn’t care,” then everything you said is kind of nonsense.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Why are you so aggressive in the selection of words commenting on my post? If you have to say something that is not nonsense in your opinion then just say it to the pleasure of your readers. Let them to judge. But attacking the opinion of other people in such rather unpleasant manner doesn’t increase the sense of your post automatically. At least have an honor to not block this post.

Reply to  Yozhik
4 months ago

Lol Yozhik. Never change, your lack of self-awareness is a gift to us all.

Reply to  Fraser Thorpe
4 months ago

Summer of 86 she went around 8:38 I believe at goodwill games. She was 14 then. Following year she did 8:22 at the age of 15.

4 months ago

Interesting that she slots in just behind Weinstein who is coached by Ron Aitken and just ahead of Barker who is his wife. Barker was able to hold off all of hubby’s distance aces until last year in this particular ranking!

cynthia curran
4 months ago

Tough freestyle I think she skipped high school swimming to devote more training maybe her high school has a mediocre team

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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