Jason Magness, father of the newest USA Swimming National Age Group Record breaker Matt Magness, has posted a video on YouTube of his son’s record-breaking 200 yard free swim at the 2013 Diplomat Holiday Classic on Sunday evening.
On his 13th birthday, though still counted as an 11-12 by USA Swimming, the younger Magness was a 1:45.52 in the 200 yard free, which bettered the 1:46.23 that current high school senior Nick Silverthorn did back in 2008.
In an era, admittedly through some fault of ours, where National Age Group Records rarely ‘sneak up’ on anybody anymore, this was a true out-of-nowhere swim. It was one of those swims where until someone confirmed that it actually happened, it would have been easy to assume perhaps a timing error.
To the contrary, though, this was just a spectacular, breakout performance by Magness, whose best time coming into the meet was a 1:52, and on top of which who was only a 1:51 in prelims.
Seeing the video though, Magness is solid through all portions of his race. He has very good underwaters, and as can be clearly seen in the video, he has a fairly advanced stroke for a swimmer of his age – the best comparison is in the lanes next to him, where there’s a lot more thrashing in his competitors’ strokes.
The most striking technique difference is how efficiently Magness breathes. He has only as much head motion as is absolutely necessary to get his breath – a great lesson for a lot of young swimmers, where often you’ll see a challenge in separating strong body movements from head movements.