Watch the Most Intense Swim-Off Ever: 5-Way Girls 50 Free Swim-Off at US Jr. Nats

by Spencer Penland 5

August 09th, 2022 Club, National, News, Video


In case you missed our reporting on it, the final day of the 2022 US Junior Nationals in Irvine saw a rare occurrence in the sport of swimming. There was a 5-way tie for 24th place in prelims of the girls 50 free, resulting in a 5-person swim-off. Not only are 5-way ties a rarity, but this particular tie was also for 24th place, which of course is the last place to qualify for finals. That meant that out of the 5 swimmers who competed in the swim-off, only one would earn a spot in finals, leaving the 2nd and 3rd place finishers as alternates for finals, and the 4th and 5th place finishers out of finals entirely.

The stakes for the swim-off were high, but these girls rose to the occasion, delivering an incredible race. All 5 girls swam significantly faster than the 26.39 they clocked in prelims. Additionally, 2 of the 5 swimmers posted a new lifetime best, while another tied her personal best. You can watch the thrilling race here:

Here are the final results from that swim-off:


  1. Jada Scott (Alamo Area Aquatic Association) – 26.02
  2. Julia Wozniak (Lakeside Aquatic Club – TX) – 26.07
  3. Trinity Hoang (Nitro Swimming) – 26.11
  4. Katie Lawrence (Wyckoff Family YMCA) – 26.12
  5. Emma Kern (Aquatjets Swim Team) – 26.17

Not only did all 5 swimmers blow away the 26.39 they swam in prelims, all 5 of their times in the swim-off would have put them in the top 16 in prelims, which would have put them in the ‘B’ final. Leading the way was Jada Scott, who clocked a 26.02. That swim comes in just 0.01 seconds off Scott’s personal best, which she just swam leading off the 200 free relay on Wednesday night. Scott went on to race in the ‘C’ final in finals, clocking a 26.06 for a 3rd place finish in the heat.

Julia Wozniak had another massive performance in this swim-off. Wozniak entered the day with a personal best of 26.70, a time which she shattered with the 26.39 in prelims. She then took another 0.32 seconds off her time in the swim-off, marking a total improvement of 0.63 seconds over both swims. Wozniak ended up making it into finals as well, racing in the ‘C’ final at night. She swam a 26.29 in finals, taking 6th in the heat.

Trinity Hoang clocked a 26.11, which was a strong performance for her. Not only was the time 0.28 seconds off her prelims swim, it comes in just off her personal best of 26.00 from last summer. Katie Lawrence tied her personal best, finishing 4th with a 26.12. Lawrence just swam her personal best of 26.12 at the YMCA Nationals meet two weeks ago, matching the performance today.

Lastly, Emma Kern touched in 26.17, taking 0.08 seconds off her lifetime best.

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9 months ago

Someone else scratched the final, so this swim off was for 23rd and 24th place.

9 months ago

In swim offs they always go faster than their prelim time. At least 95% of the time.

9 months ago

This is really cool. Perhaps another contender for most intense swim-off ever came in 1996 at the Olympics. Tie for 8th (Paul Palmer, Jani Sievinen), tie again in the swim-off. (Sievinen elected not to have a second swimoff, Palmer of course added in the finals).

9 months ago

They had a 7 (or 9)way swim off in the men’s 50 at DIs at the Air Force Academy for 6th. So one guy made finals, 6 made console, and 1 got nothing. Sweep hand watches back then. Judges must have had a lot of fun with that one

9 months ago

ESPN top 10!