During the first day of the 2023 Turkish Team Trials in Erdine, Kuzey Tuncelli won the men’s 1500 freestyle in 14:56.67. This is a huge personal best for him, 12 seconds faster than his prior career-quickest of 15:08.67, and also a new Turkish National Record.
He is the first Turkish swimmer to ever crack the 15-minute barrier in the event. But that’s not only the impressive statistic stemming from his performance.
Tuncelli became the youngest swimmer to enter into 14-minute territory, and the first 15-year-old swimmer to do so.
He set his sub-15-minute swim at 15 years and 240 days of age. Before him, the youngest one was Croatia’s Franko Grgic, with a 14:56.55 at the Croatian National Championships in 2019, when he was 44 days past his 16h birthday.
As of today, Grgic is the current Junior World Record holder in the event, with a 14:46.19 set in 2019 when we was still 16.
Before Grgic, the youngest swimmer to set a 14-minute swim was Australian legend Kieren Perkins. At 16 years and 173 days, he set a 14:58.08 to win silver at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. At that time, that performance ranked him as the 3rd fastest performer of all time. Of course, it wouldn’t take long until Perkins himself became the world record holder.
Some other legendary swimmers set sub-15-minute swims very young, like Sun Yang (16 years), Mack Horton, Park Tae Hwan, Grant Hackett and Gregorio Paltrinieri (17 years).
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But none of them were as young as the 15-year-old Tuncelli. In fact, Tuncelli was almost 10 seconds faster than the closest 15-year-old performer, fellow Turk Emir Batur Albayrak, who set a 15:06.24 last December at 15 years and 199 days.
It is remarkable how fast some 15-year-old Turkish swimmers have been swimming the event in the last few years, since the 11th fastest 15-year-old in history is also from Turkey, Mert Kilavuz with a 15:21.36 from 2019.
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If we consider the 15-16 age group, Tuncelli is the 3rd fastest performer of all time – which is very impressive, given the fact that he has more than one year before turning to 17. In fact, he is the only 15-year-old swimmer among the top 20 fastest performers of all time in the 15-16 age group.
Boys’ 1500 freestyle – 15-16 Age Group Fastest Performers of All Time
|1.||Franko Grgic (CRO)||14:46.09||2019||16 years, 206 days|
|2.||Sun Yang (CHN)||14:48.39||2008||16 years, 258 days|
|3.||Kuzey Tuncelli (TUR)||14:56.67||2023||15 years, 240 days|
|4.||Kieren Perkins (AUS)||14:58.08||1990||16 years, 173 days|
|5.||Wang Kecheng (CHN)||14:58.31||2013||16 years, 333 days|
|6.||Hao Yun (CHN)||14:58.44||2012||16 years, 283 days|
|7.||Tae-Hwan Park (KOR)||15:00.32||2005||16 years, 36 days|
|8.||Sacha Velly (FRA)||15:01.86||2021||16 years, 306 days|
|9.||Grant Hackett (AUS)||15:03.67||1997||16 years, 308 days|
|10.||Bobby Hackett (USA)||15:03.91||1976||16 years, 340 days|
Note: Bobby Hackett‘s 15:03.91 was set during his silver medal-winning performance at the 1976 Olympic Games. As of today, this performance remains the 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record. This is the second oldest NAG record, only behind the 1500 free 13-14 NAG set by Jesse Vassallo in the same year, one month earlier.
Wu Peng was a miler? 15:18 at 14 is just as crazy as this in my opinion.
It’s actually insane.
This is worthy of a 🙌. What a champ, owning that 1500 at 15 yrs old. Keep up the hard work and see you on the big stage 💪💪💪.