By Emily Sampl//Contributor | Friday, August 9, 2019
Hunter Armstrong won his second event of the meet and set a meet record in the process, while Justina Kozan and Jack Walker each collected their second individual wins of the meet during the fourth night of competition at the Speedo Junior National Championships on the campus of Stanford University in Stanford, California.
Brea Aquatics’ Justina Kozan took home the first title of the night and her second of the meet, cracking the 2:00 barrier in the women’s 200m free with a 1:59.48, the only sub-2:00 swim of the championships. Kozan also won the 200m fly on night one. Miranda Heckman from Pleasanton Seahawks grabbed second in 2:00.31, while Lakeside Aquatic Club’s Riley Francis touched third in 2:00.75.
SwimMAC Carolina’s Jack Walker added a second win to his resume as well as he dipped under 1:50 to win the men’s 200m free by more than a second over Sierra Marlins Swim Team’s Colby Mefford, 1:49.69 to 1:50.88. Clovis Swim Club’s Ben Forbes edged Lexington Dolphins’ Zach Hils for third, 1:51.11 to 1:51.16.
After finishing second in the 100m breast earlier in the meet, Denver Hilltoppers’ Emma Weber pulled away from the field on the third 50 en route to her first junior national title in the women’s 200m breast. Weber stopped the clock at 2:29.90, while SwimAtlanta’s Gigi Johnson (2:30.69) and Y-Spartaquatics Swim Club’s Annika McEnroe (2:31.53) rounded out the top three.
Dylan Rhee from Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics claimed the men’s 200m breast win with a 2:13.54, about half a second in front of Phoenix Swimming’s Maxwell Reich (2:14.00). US-Aquatics Club’s Liam Bell, winner of the 100m breast earlier in the meet, was in sixth place at the final turn and made a huge surge over the final 50 to grab third in 2:15.17.
After taking second in the 200m back, Kennedy Noble from the YMCA Westside Silver Fins topped the women’s 100m back field, edging out four other swimmers to win in 1:01.25 after flipping in fifth at the turn. Dynamo Swim Club’s Rye Ulett was right behind in 1:01.56 after turning in sixth, while Beach Cities’ Alexandra Crisera grabbed third overall in 1:01.64.
Canton City Schools teammates Hunter Armstrong and Christopher O’Connor made a statement in the final individual event of the night, with Armstrong setting a meet record in the men’s 100m back with a 54.97 to collect his second individual win of the week. Michael Andrew had set the previous record of 54.99 back in 2015. O’Connor finished second in 55.54, four tenths ahead of Dynamo Swim Club’s Ian Grum (55.94).
Long Island Aquatic Club’s foursome of Tess Howley, Bella Antoniuk, Lauryn Johnson and Chloe Stepanek closed out the night with a win in the 4x200m free relay as they just missed the meet record of 8:10.13 with an 8:10.57. Brea Aquatics’ Zephy Koh, Emily Trieu, Marly Lough and Justina Kozan wrapped up second in 8:13.96, while SwimMAC Carolina’s Faith Hefner, Kensley Merritt, Morgan Razewski and Elizabeth Sowards claimed third in 8:14.34.
SwimMAC leads the combined team standings through day four with 405.5 points. Dynamo Swim Club is second with 331 points, followed by Sierra Marlins Swim Team (163 points).