Rising Stars: Assessing the State of 18 & Under U.S. Talent (Men’s Edition)

With much of the summer already over, USA Swimming has already sent swimmers out to a bevy of international meets and championships. We’re already under the one-year countdown to Tokyo, so we’re taking a look at the top 15 swimmers in every event to see where 18 & under swimmers are at. There has been plenty of speculation and analysis of who ranks where in terms of the 2019-2020 U.S. National Team, and the focus on the top six has had us all honed in on who feels like a lock for the Olympic Team next summer and which swimmers are jockeying in the top three or four contenders for more open events.

A look at the 18 and unders here gives us special insight into the younger Americans who have put themselves on the map this summer, and with younger swimmers often comes sharp improvement curves. A widely discussed topic this summer has been the two-year qualification process, much like in 2015, which really just speaks to the year-to-year turnover in talent and times. A 14-year-old sitting at 15th in an event this year could have something huge coming next year to sneak into the semifinals or even a final at the Olympic Trials, which is why we’re digging into this now to put our initial radar up for those fast movers.

This post focuses on men’s events. The women’s edition is available here.

We pulled data straight from USA Swimming to obtain the top fifteen swimmers in each event from the 2019 season, which goes from September 1, 2018, to August 13, 2019, when the data was culled. We had to filter out the non-American swimmers as well as anyone over the age of 18 to get this subset. There may be swimmers who were 18 at the time of their season-best, and they’ve since aged up. Some of the work was done manually, and there also may be errors in USA Swimming’s rankings that we have no control over. Please let us know if there is something we have missed. 

INTERESTING STATS

  • Unsurprisingly, DART’s Luca Urlando and Mason Manta Rays Jake and Carson Foster are all over these charts. Urlando is the only 18 & under swimmer on the men’s side with a #1 ranking this season amongst Americans, and he has four events in the top 15, total. Carson Foster also has four events where he’s in the top 15, and Jake Foster has three.
  • Jake Mitchell of Carmel Swim Club is looking like the breakout junior swimmer of 2019. In 2018 in the 400 free, he barely ranked in the top 150 in the country at 148th — now, he’s #2. He was also 188th in the 1500 free (now 7th) and 201st in the 800 free (now 10th). Like we said earlier — a lot can change in a year.
  • Also coming up big this summer was Matthew Fenlon of Badger Swim Club. He was 2:22 in the 200m fly coming into this season (from age 13). He went 2:08.0 in January of 2019, to 2:02.8 in March, to 2:01.8 in April, to 2:00.5 in May, to 1:57.39 at Nationals. In yards, he was 1:48.00 coming into fall of 2018, then brought it down to 1:45.03 in February. Based on his LCM drops, it feels like he’ll be significantly faster this upcoming season, but his meters time puts him into the top 15 from this season.
  • Performances from juniors in the top 15 in each stroke:
    • Freestyle – 14 (50/100 – 1, 200/400 – 4, 800/1500 – 9)
    • Backstroke – 4
    • Butterfly – 3
    • Breaststroke – 6
    • IM – 6
  • There are plenty of freestylers in the distance events, but only one (Hamilton Y’s David Curtiss) in the 50 or 100 free.
  • Despite Urlando’s #1 ranking in the 200 fly, the stroke is not well-represented by junior talent in the top 15 right now.
  • Tbanks mostly to Urlando and the Fosters, the IM events look pretty solid, too, tied with breaststroke with six events represented.
  • The youngest of these young guns are 16-year-olds Joshua Matheny and Matthew Fenlon. Matheny is top 15 in both breaststrokes.
  • If the Olympic team was chosen right now based on regular selection procedures, Urlando (200 fly, 4×200 free relay) and Mitchell (400 free) would make the team (though Mitchell, as the US #2, doesn’t actually have the Olympic “A” cut yet. Carson Foster would be fairly close with his #4 ranking in the 400 IM.
  • Every Olympic event is represented here by at least one junior – except for the 100 free. The U.S. is pretty okay in that department right now, though.

JUNIORS IN U.S. 2018-19 TOP 15 – BY EVENT

NAT’L RANK NAME EVENT AGE TIME STANDARD MEET DATE CLUB LSC
11 Curtiss, David 50 FR LCM 17 22.25 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Hamilton Y Aquatic Club NJ
5 Urlando, Luca 200 FR LCM 17 1:46.51 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 DART Swimming SN
13 Foster, Carson 200 FR LCM 17 1:47.53 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
2 Mitchell, Jake 400 FR LCM 17 3:48.09 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
12 Magahey, Jake 400 FR LCM 17 3:50.70 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 SwimAtlanta GA
6 Dant, Ross 800 FR LCM 18 7:56.03 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Hickory Foundation YMCA Seahorse Swim Team NC
10 Mitchell, Jake 800 FR LCM 17 7:59.15 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
14 Katz, Arik 800 FR LCM 17 7:59.73 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Sarasota Tsunami Swim Team FL
5 Katz, Arik 1500 FR LCM 17 15:05.93 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Sarasota Tsunami Swim Team FL
7 Mitchell, Jake 1500 FR LCM 17 15:11.52 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
11 Plage, James 1500 FR LCM 16 15:16.97 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Speedo Junior National Ch 8/6/2019 Aquabears CT
12 Gravley, Brennan 1500 FR LCM 18 15:19.59 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 CA MVN SMOC 6/20/2019 Sandpipers Of Nevada CA
15 Dant, Ross 1500 FR LCM 18 15:22.06 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Hickory Foundation YMCA Seahorse Swim Team NC
14 Grant, Will 100 BK LCM 18 54.57 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 Heart of Texas Aquatics Team ST
9 Foster, Carson 200 BK LCM 17 1:58.26 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
11 Grum, Ian 200 BK LCM 18 1:58.49 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Speedo Junior National Ch 8/7/2019 Dynamo Swim Club GA
14 Davis, Wyatt 200 BK LCM 17 1:58.89 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
15 Matheny, Joshua 100 BR LCM 16 1:00.91 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics AM
8 Foster, Jake 200 BR LCM 18 2:11.01 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
9 Matheny, Joshua 200 BR LCM 16 2:11.02 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics AM
10 Pouch, AJ 200 BR LCM 18 2:11.06 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #5 Clovis 6/14/2019 Team Rebel Aquatics CA
13 Urlando, Luca 100 FL LCM 17 52.04 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Mel Zajac Jr International 5/24/2019 DART Swimming SN
1 Urlando, Luca 200 FL LCM 17 1:53.84 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #5 Clovis 6/14/2019 DART Swimming SN
14 Fenlon, Matthew 200 FL LCM 16 1:57.39 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Badger Swim Club,Inc. MR
5 Foster, Carson 200 IM LCM 17 1:58.69 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
9 Foster, Jake 200 IM LCM 18 1:59.15 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
11 Urlando, Luca 200 IM LCM 17 2:00.12 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #5 Clovis 6/15/2019 DART Swimming SN
4 Foster, Carson 400 IM LCM 17 4:13.39 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/2/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
7 Foster, Jake 400 IM LCM 18 4:15.03 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/2/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
9 Calvillo, Mikey 400 IM LCM 18 4:16.98 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/2/2019 Indiana University IN

JUNIORS IN U.S. 2018-19 TOP 15 – BY RANK

NAT’L RANK NAME EVENT AGE TIME STANDARD MEET DATE CLUB LSC
1 Urlando, Luca 200 FL LCM 17 1:53.84 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #5 Clovis 6/14/2019 DART Swimming SN
2 Mitchell, Jake 400 FR LCM 17 3:48.09 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
4 Foster, Carson 400 IM LCM 17 4:13.39 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/2/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
5 Urlando, Luca 200 FR LCM 17 1:46.51 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 DART Swimming SN
5 Katz, Arik 1500 FR LCM 17 15:05.93 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Sarasota Tsunami Swim Team FL
5 Foster, Carson 200 IM LCM 17 1:58.69 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
6 Dant, Ross 800 FR LCM 18 7:56.03 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Hickory Foundation YMCA Seahorse Swim Team NC
7 Mitchell, Jake 1500 FR LCM 17 15:11.52 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
7 Foster, Jake 400 IM LCM 18 4:15.03 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/2/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
8 Foster, Jake 200 BR LCM 18 2:11.01 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
9 Foster, Carson 200 BK LCM 17 1:58.26 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
9 Matheny, Joshua 200 BR LCM 16 2:11.02 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics AM
9 Foster, Jake 200 IM LCM 18 1:59.15 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
9 Calvillo, Mikey 400 IM LCM 18 4:16.98 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/2/2019 Indiana University IN
10 Mitchell, Jake 800 FR LCM 17 7:59.15 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
10 Pouch, AJ 200 BR LCM 18 2:11.06 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #5 Clovis 6/14/2019 Team Rebel Aquatics CA
11 Curtiss, David 50 FR LCM 17 22.25 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Hamilton Y Aquatic Club NJ
11 Plage, James 1500 FR LCM 16 15:16.97 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Speedo Junior National Ch 8/6/2019 Aquabears CT
11 Grum, Ian 200 BK LCM 18 1:58.49 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Speedo Junior National Ch 8/7/2019 Dynamo Swim Club GA
11 Urlando, Luca 200 IM LCM 17 2:00.12 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series #5 Clovis 6/15/2019 DART Swimming SN
12 Magahey, Jake 400 FR LCM 17 3:50.70 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 SwimAtlanta GA
12 Gravley, Brennan 1500 FR LCM 18 15:19.59 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 CA MVN SMOC 6/20/2019 Sandpipers Of Nevada CA
13 Foster, Carson 200 FR LCM 17 1:47.53 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Mason Manta Rays OH
13 Urlando, Luca 100 FL LCM 17 52.04 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Mel Zajac Jr International 5/24/2019 DART Swimming SN
14 Katz, Arik 800 FR LCM 17 7:59.73 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/4/2019 Sarasota Tsunami Swim Team FL
14 Grant, Will 100 BK LCM 18 54.57 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 Heart of Texas Aquatics Team ST
14 Davis, Wyatt 200 BK LCM 17 1:58.89 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/1/2019 Carmel Swim Club IN
14 Fenlon, Matthew 200 FL LCM 16 1:57.39 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Badger Swim Club,Inc. MR
15 Dant, Ross 1500 FR LCM 18 15:22.06 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 7/31/2019 Hickory Foundation YMCA Seahorse Swim Team NC
15 Matheny, Joshua 100 BR LCM 16 1:00.91 2020 Olympic Trials 2019 Phillips 66 National Cham 8/3/2019 Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics AM

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Rafael

Considering we are.. 4 days until Jr World.. is there any DB where we could see the top 18 and U in the world?

(G)olden Bear

You can use the data hub on the USA Swimming website.

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name

Jake Mitchell would not make the Olympic team, as he would need to get under the A cut (3:46.something) in order to make the meet.

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name

Also, Caspar Corbeau swims for the Netherlands internationally.

marleycorn

pretty pretty pretty darn good for a high school senior. At his rate of improvement, don’t count Tokyo out yet.

Swimfish87

Considering he swims for Carmel he will probably burnout

Dutch

Corbeau represents the Netherlands internationally.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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