Girls’ 400 IM
The top two spots in the girl’s 400 IM went to a pair of 14-year old’s. Ella Eastin from Irvine Novaquatics took the win in 4:11.87, and Sonia Wang touched 2nd in 4:13.73. With due deference to Elizabeth Beisel being the favorite headed into London, the Americans haven’t won a gold medal in the event since 1988, so it’s good to see young talent continue to come through the pipeline. Eastin has been faster in this event (as a 13-year old, in fact), but now has the 2nd-fastest time ever by a 14-year old behind only Katie Hoff.
Boys’ 400 IM
Michael Phelps’ unofficial “age record” for 15-year olds in the 400 IM was bettered by two swimmers in the girls’ version of that race, which was also won by an unusually young pair. Gunnar Bentz of the Dynamo Swim Club posted a 3:48.87 to take the victory in the event. Though he’s quickly making a name for himself in the IM races, the runner-up, Curtis Ogren just behind in 3:48.99, is much less known. But the Peak Swimming fellow 15-year old also cleared the best that Phelps ever went as a 15-year old.
Ogren was much stronger through the first 300 yards, and took nearly a 3-second lead headed into the freestyle. There, though, Bentz’s closing speed (he finished in a sparkling 51.5) took over and gave him a big win at the touch. The crowd in attendance in Austin roared in delight as they saw Bentz making the big chase. For what it’s worth as this rivalry could potentially continue to develop, as 400 IM’ers mature, the closing 100 tends to develop later. This could mean that Ogren has a bigger future, though there’s obviously a ton else that factors into success.
Other notable swims included a 3:51.01 from Georgia commit Ty Stewart. That’s a lifetime best and clears his own Mississippi LSC record by over a second.
Girls’ 100 Fly
Cal commit Kelly Naze won her 2nd event in two days when she took the 100 fly championship in 52.93, which is a new Junior Nationals record. That broke the old mark of 53.17 set by current Texas Longhorn Lily Moldenhauer in 2008. That pushes her that much closer to a time that would’ve scored at last year’s NCAA Championship meet (off by .14), and by the time she actually has to do so she should be well within that margin. She recently swapped clubs from the Colorado Stars and Todd Schmitz to the Denver University Hilltoppers, and the transition seems to have not hindered her at all.
The runner-up was 15-year old Meaghan Raab of Hershey Aquatic in 53.78. That’s a personal best for her as well.
Boys’ 100 Fly
The boys’ 100 fly went to Maclin Davis out of Nashville, who will be headed to USC next season, in a huge 46.83. That’s already as fast as any USC Trojan has been in collegiate competition since at least 2007, and there seems to be no doubt at this point that he will have an immediate scoring impact for USC.
16-year old Joseph Schooling of the Bolles took 2nd in 47.06, which is also a fantastic time. That’s actually faster than Milorad Cavic’s NAG Record, but because Schooling has already declared that he represents Singapore internationally, he’s not eligible for a USA Swimming NAG mark. Clark Smith took 3rd in 47.73.
Georgia commit Matthew Ellis made this final as the 4th qualifier, but was DQ’ed in the final.
Girls’ 200 Free
Future Florida Gator Lindsey McKnight dominated this meet in 2009 to the tune of 4 individual victories. After a few tough years since then, she’s hitting her stride again just in time to begin her collegiate career. That turnaround continued on this 2nd day of competition as she added her name beside another Meet Record with a 1:45.37 victory in the girls’ 200 free. That’s by far her career-best time, and makes her the first swimmer in the history of this meet to go under the 1:46 barrier in this event.
Future Stanford Cardinal swimmer Julia Anderson out of the Fort Worth Area Swim Team was the runner-up in 1:46.12, including a big chase-down of Hershey’s Raab on the final 50. Raab looked strong through 150 yards, but on swimming her 2nd final in 30 minutes, she wasn’t able to hold off the hard-charging Anderson. Still, Raab won her 2nd-straight medal by touching 3rd in 1:46.26.
Boys’ 200 Free
Jacob Pebley, a future Cal Bear who swam very well at last week’s senior Winter Nationals, took his first win of this meet in 1:36.29 – 1.5 seconds better than he had previously been. He went out very hard in this race (46.82 in his first 100 yard), and was almost caught from behind by two competitors – Ryan Murphy (1:36.34) and Matias Koski (1:36.48). Murphy broke Michael Phelps 200 IM NAG Record on Thursday, but missed this one by three-tenths of a second.
Cal’s Nick Dillinger continued to demonstrate his versatility by finaling in his 3rd freestyle event. He touched 5th here in 1:37.43. On tomorrow’s final day of competition, he will get to focus on his best event, the 100 free. He’s also entered in the 200 breast, but I foresee a possible scratch in that race.
Girls’ 100 Breast
The 100 breast title went to Heidi Poppe of Crown Canyon County Aquatics in 1:01.08. That’s the fastest time we’ve seen from a 15-year old in this event in a decade. She took the race out very hard in a swift 28.55 split, and held on to win with some bit of ease.
The Hilltoppers’ Naze showed her versatility to take 2nd in 1:01.75. If there’s one big area of need for Cal for the next few years, it’s more breaststroke depth. That’s a solid, though not best, time for her and her versatility could be a key to Cal’s future success after the graduation of Caitlin Leverenz.
SwimMAC’s 15-year old Maija Roses took bronze in 1:02.00.
Kaylin Moss of the New Canaan YMCA in Connecticut was 4th by the slimmest possible margin in 1:02.01. The Stanford commit is significantly better in long course than short course (she’s a Junior National Teamer in meters), but she has made massive improvements in the event in the past month. Since November, she’s knocked 1.6 seconds off of her lifetime best in short course, which makes her immensely more valuable in a breaststroke-rich Stanford class. Her best event is the 200, which will come tomorrow, and expect an oustanding swim for her then.
McKnight won the B-Final in 1:01.40.
Boys’ 100 Breast
Two juniors went under 55-seconds in the 100 breaststroke, after none accomplished the feat at last year’s meet, led by Andrew Sorvero of the Eagle Swim Team in 54.77. Prior to this meet, he had never been faster than a 57.00 in yards course, but a huge growth-spurt over the summer has shot this Arizona commitment up the recruiting rankings thanks to a strong swim here. He is a great athlete and is also an outstanding high school golfer.
The other swimmer to go under 55 was 16-year old Jason Coombs in 54.92. He has established himself as the clear #1 breaststroker in the class of 2013.
Girls’ 100 Back
Courtney Bartholomew out of the Michigan Lake Shore Swim Club won her 3rd consecutive short course yards title in the 100 backstroke, and in the process tied her 2009 Meet Record of 52.22. The Virginia commit reminded the swimming public that the backstrokers in the class of 2012 go well beyond the two big names of Liz Pelton and Rachel Bootsma.
Tasija Karosas took 2nd in 53.45, with 14-year old Taylor Garcia, who hails from the same program as Bartholomew touching 3rd in 53.80. After a very good Michigan State Championship meet, Garcia is continuing to make her name in junior swimming, as that time pushes her into the upper echelon of young backstrokers, just behind names like Pelton and Franklin.
Boys’ 100 Back
The boys’ 100 back A-final wasn’t as fast as the blistering pace of the 100 fly, but Preston Jenkins took the victory in 48.05 for a big lifetime best (bettering his mark from the Florida State Championship meet just a month ago). That was a big improvement as well off of his preliminary time in the race.
Though the A-Final was underwhelming, out of the B-Final Ryan Murphy broke another National Age Group Record with a 46.72 Meet Record. That bettered by almost a second his own time of 47.59 swum earlier this year. The old Meet Record was set by Jacob Pebley last year, but he didn’t swim the event this year.
Penn State commit Shane Ryan took 2nd in 48.68. With the graduation of David Nolan, Ryan becomes the favorite to win the Pennsylvania High School State Championship in the spring.
Girls’ 200 Medley Relay
The St. Andrew’s girls’ medley relay broke the Junior Nationals Meet Record with a 1:41.63. The winning squad was made up of Karosas, McKnight, Megan Moroney, and Brenna Ruth. McKnight had a stellar split of 27.14 that is already good enough to compete with the best 50 breaststroke leg of most of the NCAA’s 200 medley relays.
Bartholomew and Garcia’s Michigan Lakeshore relay took 2nd in 1:41.99. That was about a second slower than the same quartet went last month that broke the National Public High School Record.
Kylie Stewart and the Dynamo Swim Club were 3rd.
Full Junior Nationals Results.