NCSA Summer Champs, Day 1: 14-Year-Old Brayden Capen Hits Olympic Trials Cut in 200 Back


Charlotte Crush headlined an impressive day for her Lakeside Swim Team (Ky.) with a massive lifetime best in the girls’ 200-meter backstroke during the first night of NCSA Summer Championships on Wednesday.

The 15-year-old phenom triumphed in 2:09.71, dropping more than two seconds off her previous-best 2:11.96 from prelims and nearly three seconds off her best time coming into this meet, 2:12.56, from March’s Indy Sectionals. In the process, Crush catapulted from No. 60 to 16th in the U.S. girls’ 15-16 national age group (NAG) rankings. She’ll have almost two more years to make a run at Missy Franklin‘s NAG record of 2:05.10, which has stood untouched since 2011.

Crush’s winning time also marked a new meet record, erasing Alexandra Sumner‘s 2:09.84 from the books after six years. Emily Hamill earned the runner-up finish in 2:11.34, shaving a couple hundredths off her personal best. Fellow 16-year-old Lilla Bognar placed third in 2:12.00, a couple seconds off her personal-best 2:09.85 from last month’s U.S. Trials, where she placed 11th.

Crush then returned soon after her 200 back win to claim another victory in the 50 butterfly by more than a second. She clocked a new best time of 26.18, sneaking under her previous-best 26.24 from last month on the back end of a double.

In the boys’ 200 back, Brayden Capen pulled off a two-second time drop in prelims (2:02.37), then dropped another two seconds in the final to win in 2:00.34 — just .06 seconds off of Keaton Jones‘ NAG record (2:00.28) from 2019. The Academy Bullets Swim Club 14-year-old had a previous best of 2:04.68 heading into this meet and ended up well under the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials cut of 2:01.69.

U.S. Boys’ 13-14 NAG Rankings, 200m Back

  1. Keaton Jones – 2:00.28 (2019)
  2. Brayden Capen – 2:00.34 (2023)
  3. Josh Zuchowski – 2:00.97 (2019)
  4. Aaron Peirsol – 2:02.78 (1998)
  5. Ryan Murphy – 2:02.86 (2010)

Another Lakeside standout, Haley McDonald, kicked off the 2023 NCSA Summer Championships with a huge victory in the girls’ 100 freestyle, dropping more than a second and a half off her lifetime best from just last month with a winning time of 55.25.

The versatile 16-year-old came into this meet with her best 100 free time at just 56.79 from last month. McDonald shaved nearly a full second off of that mark in prelims with a 55.87 before throwing down her new personal best tonight. She’s now tied for 18th in the U.S. girls’ 15-16 national age group (NAG) rankings along with Camille Spink, who also owns the meet record (54.73) from last year.

In the process, McDonald earned her fourth 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials cut under the standard of 55.79. She already held Olympic Trials cuts in the 200 IM (2:13.57), 400 IM (4:47.10), and 200 back (2:12.83), which she swam last month at Worlds Trials. There in Indianapolis, McDonald qualified for the U.S. World Junior Championship roster in the 200 IM with her 10th-place finish. She also contested the 200 back on Wednesday evening after the 100 free, placing fourth in 2:13.08.

McDonald touched almost a second ahead of 100 free runner-up Livi Wanner, a 17-year-old Minnesota commit who also clocked a lifetime best. Wanner reached the wall in 56.10, dropping a couple tenths off her previous-best 56.36 from last month.

Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club 16-year-old Annam Olasewere rounded out the podium with a third-place finish in 56.22, within half a second of her best time (55.74) from last month.

In the boys’ 100 free, Lakeside picked up another victory courtesy of Johnny Crush. The 17-year-old Army commit improved upon his best time by nearly a full second with a winning time of 50.20. After demolishing his previous-best 51.15 from U.S. Trials last month, the backstroke specialist now closing in on the Olympic Trials cut of 49.99.

Crush finished about half a second clear of Noah Dyer, a UVA commit who posted a personal-best 50.63 en route to second place. The 17-year-old Machine Aquatics standout dropped .33 seconds off his best time from last July.

In the boys’ 50 fly, Kentucky Aquatics 16-year-old Clark Coyle tallied a first-place finish in 24.65, dropping almost a full second off his previous-best 25.44 from last July.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

Wow Capen (14 yrs old) dropping 4 seconds for almost a NAG is a great potential headliner.
Congrats Braden and Charolette!

2 months ago

Where does Brayden Capen’s time of 2.00.34 fit in the all time rankings of 14 year old boys in the 200 meter back?

Reply to  Andy
2 months ago

I wondered the same, looks to be less than a tenth off the NAG by Keaton Jones

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

Read More »