2019 MEL ZAJAC JR. INTERNATIONAL MEET
- May 24-26, 2019
- Vancouver, Canada (University of British Columbia)
- Meet website
- Estimated timeline
- Psych sheet
- Live Stream
- Live Results
One big highlight from prelims of the Mel Zajac Jr. International Meet: 17-year-old Luca Urlando bettered his personal best in the 200 free for the third time this year, suggesting he may have similar drops coming in his primary butterfly events.
As of last summer, Urlando’s best time in the 200 meter freestyle was 1:50.08. And that swim itself – coming on an exhibition relay at Junior Pan Pacs – was already a huge drop from a previous best of 1:52.51. Urlando has already cut two-and-a-half more seconds from that 1:50 in 2019, with the year not even half over.
Urlando went 1:49.51 at the Knoxville Pro Swim Series in January, then 1:47.73 at a Sectional meet in February. This morning at the Mel Zajac meet in Canada, Urlando went 1:47.56. He’s the top qualifier into tonight’s final, where he can push for an even bigger time drop. Below is a look at Urlando’s lifetime-bests in the 200 free over the past two years, which have seen a whirlwind of time drops:
Urlando is better-known for his butterfly prowess, especially after he finished 3rd at U.S. Nationals among the senior field last year while he was just 16. He’s still got all three butterfly distances to come at the Mel Zajac meet. For reference, when he went 1:50.0 in the 200 free last summer, he was 1:56.26 in the 200 fly at the same meet. At Sectionals this spring when he was 1:47.73 in the freestyle, he went 1:55.76 in fly, within about a half-second of his lifetime-best.
With another few tenths dropped in freestyle, it’s worth watching to see whether Urlando can better any of his other notable personal-bests this weekend: 1:55.21 in the 200 fly, 52.40 in the 100 fly and 2:00.34 in the 200 IM. His 200 free from this morning already places him #6 all-time in USA Swimming’s history for 200 freestylers in the 17-18 age group. He could pass Townley Haas with a drop of .02 tonight. Lifetime-bests in any of those other three events would move him up to at least 2nd (200 fly), 2nd (100 fly) and 10th (200 IM). In both butterflys, only Michael Phelps has been faster as a 17-18 than Urlando’s best times.