2022 JUNIOR PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- August 24-27, 2022
- K. Mark Takai Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center
- Honolulu, Hawaii (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)
- Prelims 9:00 AM / Finals 5:00 PM (GMT-10)
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- Live Results
- Psych Sheets
- Live Streaming
The 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships are set to begin tomorrow, and we will be in for some matchups between the top junior swimmers from Australia, Canada, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Samoa, Singapore, and the United States. In this article, we review some of our top storylines from the girls’ side of the meet.
What Can Erin Gemmell Do?
17-year-old Erin Gemmell narrowly missed qualifying for the World Championships, finishing seventh in the 200 free at U.S. Trials with a time of 1:58.12. But what stung the most about this was that her prelims time of 1:57.93, plus the 1:57.41 she went a month before trials, both would have been fast enough to make the team.
Then, at U.S. Nationals this summer, Gemmell roared back to clock a 1:56.14 in the 200 free, a time that was fast enough to take bronze at the World Championships and only trails Katie Ledecky in the U.S. women’s rankings for the event. She wasn’t done with that though, as she went on to win the 400 free in a new best time of 4:06.17, which ranks her #8 all-time in the U.S. girls’ 17-18 age group.
Gemmell comes into Junior Pan Pacs, as the top seed in the 200 and 400 free by over two seconds, the 3rd seed in the 100 free, 5th seed in the 200 IM, and 11th seed in the 50 free. Competing in the big international meet of her summer, Gemmell has a chance to dominate the mid-distance free races, prove that her trials performance was just a fluke, and show that she’s truly fast enough to belong on senior international teams in the future.
Anna Moesch vs. The Aussies In Sprint Free
At the 2022 YMCA Long Course Nationals, 16-year-old Anna Moesch became America’s fastest junior sprinter when she put up times of 24.92 and 54.33 in the 50 and 100 free respectively. Those times put her right in the mix with Australia’s Hannah Casey (24.96/54.30), Olivia Wunsch (25.09/54.82), and Milla Jansen (25.27/54.94), who will be her biggest competitors in the 50 and 100 free.
The battle between Moesch and the Aussie girls at Junior Pan Pacs somewhat mirrors the state of USA vs. Australia on a senior level in women’s sprinting. While Casey, Wunsch, and Jansen represent Australia’s ridiculous depth in sprint free and are expected to to carry on their country’s dominance in the discipline, Moesch is seen as growing young talent that could possibly develop into a 52-point sprinter that America desperately needs in order to catch up to the Aussies.
With so many swimmers sub-25 and sub-55 in the 50 and 100 free respectively, women’s sprint free at Junior Pan Pacs is going to be extremely competitive. The races in which Moesch, Casey, Wunsch, and Jansen face off in could potentially be a foreshadowing of the racing between the USA and Australia to come in future World Championship and Olympic meets down the road.
Mio Narita: The Future Of IMs?
In March 2022, Mio Narita took down the 400 IM world junior record in a time of 4:36.71 at the age of 15. However, despite finishing second at trials, she wasn’t able to qualify for World Championships because third-place finisher Yui Ohashi had qualified by virtue of her Tokyo Olympic gold. Narita’s world junior record didn’t last very long either, as another 15-year-old with the name of Summer McIntosh ripped a 4:29.12 just a few days later (although McIntosh didn’t become the official World Junior Record holder until she won the 400 IM at World Championships).
Narita comes into Junior Pan Pacs as the top seed in both the 200 and 400 IM with times of 2:11.41 and 4:36.71 respectively. Being the heavy favorite in both events, this meet is an opportunity for her to become one of the top swimmers in the world in the IMs, which is already dominated by juniors such as McIntosh, Katie Grimes, and Leah Hayes.
In fact, Narita’s 400 IM time from trials would have placed fourth at the World Championships, so who knows what she could have gone had she qualified for the meet? Would she experience a huge drop like Grimes, who went 4:36.17 at U.S. trials and then swam a 4:32.67 at Worlds? We will have to see what Narita puts up at Junior Pan Pacs in order to answer all the “what ifs”.
From Junior Pan Pacs Straight To College
Three female swimmers on the U.S. Junior Pan Pacs roster, Natalie Mannion, Kayla Wilson, and Kennedy Noble, are incoming college freshmen and will be starting their NCAA careers shortly after the meet is over. Mannion and Wilson will be headed to Stanford, and Noble will be going to NC State.
With classes for colleges already starting now, these three swimmers will be subject to an extremely quick turnaround from Junior Pan Pacs to the NCAA, which will be an interesting thing to watch unfold. In fact, this is a turnaround that many swimmers have seemed to avoid, such as Lydia Jacoby, who qualified for Junior Pan Pacs but chose not to go likely because she would headed to Texas around the same time as the meet (in fact, she actually moved in to Texas yesterday).
Mannion, Wilson, and Noble are all taking on extremely heavy schedules as well, with Mannion swimming five events, Wilson swimming seven, and Noble swimming four.
Who’s Going To Show Up For Canada?
Canada has had a history of developing world-class female swimmers at a very young age, with primal examples being Penny Oleksiak, Summer McIntosh, and Maggie MacNeil. In fact, MacNeil actually skipped senior Pan Pacs in 2018 to go to Junior Pan Pacs, and ended up becoming a senior World Champion a year later.
Right now, Canada’s top junior swimmer is obviously McIntosh, who is not eligible to compete at Junior Pan Pacs. However, there are several other Canadians to look out for at this meet. One of them is Regan Rathwell, who is the top seed in the 200 back and the third seed in the 100 back. Canadian backstroke is already extremely deep with the likes of Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck and Ingrid Wilm, and Rathwell can only add to that.
Also be on the lookout for Ella Jansen, who didn’t qualify for Worlds but recently hit a best time of 4:40.17 in the 400 IM at Commonwealth Games. In fact, she’s extremely similar to McIntosh events-wise, being entered in the 200/400 IM, 100/200 fly, and 400 free at Junior Pan Pacs. Does this mean we going to see two young Canadian butterfly/IM/mid-distance free stars in the future?