Day 2 of the long course Junior National Championships from Palo Alto, California is in the books, and as the meet wears on the negative effects of the summer’s peculiar meet schedule is becoming more clear. The times are, almost across the board, much slower than they were in 2010. Still, this is a great opportunity for a lot of young, unheralded swimmers, who will at the very least be big factors in NCAA swimming, to take center-stage. And, as always, the impressive depth of the American junior ranks is on display.
Women’s 400 IM
The Pleasanton Seahawks’ Celina Li posted a big drop from her 22nd-place finish at Sr. Nationals last week to win the women’s 400 IM in 4:46.96. That’s the second huge performance we’ve seen from her in as many days, following a four-second time drop in the 200 fly for bronze yesterday.
Another multiple medalist was Kara Kopcso of Franco’s FINS in Louisiana, who earned her 2nd silver of the meet in 4:48.24. The bronze-medalist was Emily Cameron from the Lancaster Aquatic Club.
Men’s 400 IM
Cal junior Ben Hinshaw placed 14th at NCAA’s last year in the men’s 400 IM. Indiana’s Ryan Hinshaw also earned All-American honors last year as a redshirt sophomore. The next in line is brother Adam Hinshaw, who will be headed to join Ben in Berkeley in a few weeks, and he’s the best of the bunch yet. He currently competes for cross-town rivals Palo Alto-Stanford Aquatics and is already putting up times that are faster than his brothers’, which gives him a phenomenal outlook for his future. His 4:18.95 in this 400 IM ranks him in the top 50 in the world this year, and shows that Cal really found themselves a great piece in their attempt to rebuild and defend their national title next year.
Behind him was Florida commit Carlos Omana of the Matro Aquatic Club in Miami in 4:21.85. Omana was in a position to win this race, but was almost three seconds slower than Hinshaw on the freestyle leg. For Omana, that fade at the end is usually a sign that he will perform better in short course, which he will be focusing on for at least the next few years while in Gainesville.
Still, he had a strong enough first 300 that he was well ahead of 15-year old Gunnar Bentz (4:23.64); only Michael Phelps and Robert Margalis have ever been faster in this race as 15-year olds.
Women’s 100 free
Simone Manuel out of First Colony in the Houston area won the 100 free in 55.22 to become the third-fastest 15 year old 100 freestyler in history (behind only the elite company of Missy Franklin and Lia Neal). Manuel only turned 15 a week ago, and by this time next year it wouldn’t be a stretch to guess that she’ll have been sub-55. That means that we will have seen three 15-year olds swim 54’s in the 100 free, when only two years ago we hadn’t seen any. Though many have lamented the lack of elite young talent on the American mens side, the same can not be said for the women.
The runner-up in the race was Faith Johnson from STAR Aquatics in High Point, North Carolina in 56.06, followed by Julia Anderson out of Fort Worth in 56.21.
Men’s 100 free
The state of Texas made it two-for-two on day two sprints when John Murray of Alamo Area Aquatics (San Antonio) won the men’s 100 free in 50.93. He was the only swimmer in the final to clear the 51-second mark, though the runner-up Erik Risolvato from Ohio (51.02) swam a 50.8 in prelims, and Jonat Grodecki of New Trier also went a 50.9 in a swimoff. The bronze medal went to Michael Meldon, an Ohio State commit and the defending Ohio state champion in the 50 and 100, in 51.11.
Women’s 200 backstroke
Kylie Stewart of the Dynamo Swim Club in Georgia won the women’s 200 back in 2:12.31, though it was against a bit of a watered-down field. These women’s backstroke races are where you’ll see most notably the absence of swimmers who competed at last week’s senior nationals and then headed home. It really puts the impressiveness of Missy Franklin’s 2:05 American Record from Worlds at only 16 when she was seven seconds ahead of the junior nationals champion.
The runner-up was Sierra Kuhn from Verona, Wisconsin in 2:13.14. Lauren Driscoll, who is the Jr. Pan Pacs record holder in the 800 free, took 3rd in 2:13.75.
Men’s 200 backstroke
Aaron Greene of the North Texas Nadadores gave Texas their third win of the day in the men’s 200 back with his win in 2:02.31 thanks to a great closing 50 that was almost a second faster than the rest of the field. Jacob Siar finished 2nd in 2:03.04, followed by Jeremie Dezwirek in 2:03.13.