Top 10 Swims from the Speedo Junior Nationals


By Mike Gustafson//Correspondent

Maybe I’m just getting old. Or maybe the youth in the United States is getting really, really fast. Either way, perusing the results from the 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships from this past weekend, I’m floored by the incredible swims and outstanding efforts by our nation’s best age group swimmers. A 14-year-old guy swimming a 1:38.42 in the 200 freestyle? A 15-year-old girl swimming a 1:56.53 in the 200 IM and 1:54.31 in the 100 backstroke? A 16-year-old guy swimming 3:44 in the 400 IM? Are you kidding?

Here are the Top 10 swims from this past weekend’s Junior Nats. These were difficult to choose from. Many apologies to any deserving performances that I left off, and congratulations to all swimmers who competed this weekend…

10. Maxime Rooney’s 200 freestyle.
You don’t often see a 14-year-old swimming a 1:38.42 in the 200 freestyle. That’s exactly what Pleasanton’s Maxime Rooney did. He broke teammate’s Nick Silverthorn’s 2010 NAG record by a half-second, which leads me to my next point: How do the Pleasanton Seahawks have so many fast freestylers? Great swim by the up-and-coming freestyler, who would be among the Top 100 NCAA Division 1 freestylers if he was in college right now.

9. Steven Stumph’s 200 breaststroke.
Anytime you see a high schooler taking out a 200 breaststroke in :55 seconds, you know you’re going to have a spectacular race. Stumph absolutely crushed the field in this event by nearly three seconds, en route to an incredible 1:55.88. To put this into context, Stumph would be nearly cracking the NCAA Top 10 performances this year with that swim, and he’s just a high schooler. The Orinda Aquatics swimmer is USC-bound, where you know he’ll improve under head coach and breaststroking guru Dave Salo.

8. Megan Kingsley’s 200 fly.
Two swimmers actually broke the Junior National meet record in this race – that’s how fast it was. Mount Pleasant’s Megan Kingsley came out on top. The 16-year-old splashed to a 1:55.50, breaking the meet record by a half second. Her time would rank third among all NCAA swims right now – and she’s only 16-years-old. Wow.

7. Joseph Schooling’s 100 fly.
OK, so the Bolles swimmer did not go faster than he did a few weeks ago at the Florida high school state championships (there he swam a 46.50). But anytime a high schooler swimmers a 100 fly in 46 seconds, you have to take notice. Schooling, a Singapore swimmer, broke the meet record in :46.70. He’s definitely a swimmer to watch going forward the next few years. Also, be on the lookout for him in the 200 fly, where he also won the meet in 1:45.00.

6. Curtis Ogren’s 400 IM.
Palo Alto’s Curtis Ogren is one of those talents where you can only guess how fast he’ll get. His 400 IM was a display of his all-around greatness potential. He smashed the meet record, swimming in 3:44.87. Now get this – he’s only 16-years-old. His time would place him 5th in the NCAA Top Times listing right now for that event. Ogren had some other incredible swims, namely in the breaststroke events (54.60 and 1:58.25 in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, respectively). Look out, IMers.

5. Emily Allen’s 100 freestyle.
She missed the meet record by .02. No worries. The 15-year-old from North Mecklenburg won the 100 freestyle in an amazing 48.73. What’s even more impressive about this performance? According to Swimming World, this was Allen’s first time under 50-seconds. She skipped from 50-point to 48-point. That’s a huge time drop for anyone, and it’s even more incredible that this is coming from a 15-year-old swimmer.

4. Dylan Carter’s 200 freestyle.
The Davie Nadadores swimmer had a phenomenal meet. His 200 freestyle meet record performance was one of the highlights. He won that event in 1:35.29. But he also had other fast swims, including breaking 20-point in the 50 freestyle. Breaking the 20-point barrier is a big deal, but it’s even a bigger deal when you are only 16-years-old. This is a freestyler who has some versatility.

3. Caeleb Dressel’s 100 freestyle.
It’s not every day that a 22-year-old NAG record goes down. That’s exactly what Caeleb Dressel did. He broke legendary swimmer Joe Hudepohl’s 100 freestyle 15-16 NAG, swimming an unbelievable 53.29. He just barely missed the meet record in the event. As impressive, in the 400 freestyle relay – which Bolles dominated en route to a 2:55.89 performance – Dressel split a 42.9. Bolles is a factory for incredible swimmers these past few years. Add Dressel among them.

2. Lindsey Engel’s 50 freestyle.
It was hard to place this one above Dressel’s 100 freestyle, but Engel dominated her event. She won the 50 free in a 22.24, which would place her in the Top 5 NCAA times right now. The 16-year-old from Orange County Waves broke the meet record by a half-second – an eternity in the splash-and-dash 50. Congratulations on an incredible swim.

1. Kathleen Baker’s entire meet.
We knew Kathleen Baker would have some great swims. She didn’t disappoint. The SwimMAC 15-year-old swam a 1:56.53 in the 200 IM, beating the meet record by 1.5 seconds. She swam a 52.63 100 backstroke, and a 1:54.31 200 backstroke. All of these performances would have Baker hovering somewhere around the Top 10 NCAA performances right now… and she’s only 15-years-old. You can expect SwimMAC’s David Marsh to help Baker reach the next elite level in her swimming before the 2016 Olympic Trials. What a phenomenal swim meet for Baker. Well done.