The psych sheet for the 2017 NCSA Spring Junior Championship has been released and it looks like yet another year of a strong field with a lot of depth in this meet. Swimmers from all across the country will travel to Orlando, Florida to compete March 14th-March 18th.
This year’s meet brings together 1,584 swimmers (803 females and 781 males) representing 234 teams. One big takeaway: 85 swimmers will compete with Nation’s Capital, which is 36 more swimmers than any other team.
We found 5 storylines to look out for as the meet starts to heat up – although with this level of competition you may want to keep a close eye on every single event.
1. NOVA OF VIRGINIA (MEN) & GATOR SWIM CLUB (WOMEN) RELAYS
It’s impressive to have a top seeded relay at this meet let alone to be the top seed in all five relays. This is the case for Nova of Virginia men’s relays who are sitting at the top of the psych sheet for all of them – 200 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay, and 400 medley relay. On the women’s side it’s the Gator Swim Club relays to watch closely. They are the top seed in four out of the five relays – 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay, and 200 freestyle relay. They’re seeded fourth in the 800 freestyle relay, but only 0.85 behind the top seed so they’re still in contention to win all five relays.
2. REECE WHITLEY’S EVENTS
Penn Charter Aquatic Club’s Reece Whitley is no stranger to this level of competition and has the experience to do well at this meet. He’s the top seed in the 100 breast with a time of 51.84 which is faster than anyone else by nearly three seconds. If you thought that was impressive, he leads the field by over five seconds in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:52:37. The 17 year-old is also top seed in the 50 breaststroke and 200 IM entered at 1:43.93.
Just a few weeks ago, Whitley broke the National Independent High School and overall High School Records in the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 52.35 in prelims and then re-broke the record at finals with a 51.84. He keeps getting faster and faster every time he races and could be in a position to break a few more records at the NCSA Spring Junior Championship.
3. NATIONAL AGE GROUP RECORDS COULD FALL FAST
Several National Age Group Records are less than a second away from being broken at this meet. Whitley’s just 0.08 off of the 100 breast record Kevin Cordes set six years ago. In the 200 breast he’s only 0.80 seconds away from the record set by Andrew Seliskar in 2015. If you look at Whitley’s 200 breaststroke compared to the men’s NCAA Championship Psych Sheet he would have earned a 3rd place seed.
Another place we could see a National Age Group Record fall is from Long Island Aquatic Club’s Margaret Aroesty, a University of Southern California commit. Last year at this meet, she became the youngest female swimmer to go under 59 seconds in the 100 yard breaststroke.
This year at 17-years old, she’s the top seed in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.98 and she’s just 0.88 off of the 17-18 National Age Group Record set by Miranda Tucker last year. If you take her seed time and compare it to the women’s 2017 NCAA Championship Psych Sheet, Aroesty would be 10th. To say this meet is going to be fast might be an understatement.
4. MADISON HOMOVICH SWIMMING IN DISTANCE EVENTS
Marlins of Raleigh’s Madison Homovich is leading the pack when it comes to the distance freestyle events. She’s the top seed in the 400 IM, 1650 freestyle, and 1000 freestyle. In the 500 freestyle she’s a close second to Morgan Tankersley. In the distance freestyles, not only is she the top seed, but she’s the top seed by a lot – 13 seconds in the 1650 and four seconds in the 1000 freestyle. That should give her clean water in both races to put up a fast time.
5. HE MAY BE YOUNG, BUT HE IS FAST
Rockwood Swim Club’s Jack Dolan is one of the few top seed swimmers who is 16-years old – but it doesn’t stop there. He’s one of the few top seed swimmers in four of his events – 50 backstroke, 50 freestyle (19.86), 100 backstroke (47.89), and 100 free (43.61).
In December at the 2016 USA Swimming Winter Nationals when he was still 15-years-old, Dolan swam the second-fastest 50 yard free ever done by a 15-year old and then the next day he did the same thing with the 100 yard free. This momentum heading into the NCSA Spring Junior Championship will help separate him from the field since he can rely on his experience to compete at this level.