USA Swimming News

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

United States Wraps World Juniors with 10-Medal Performance

United States Wraps World Juniors with 10-Medal Performance

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Led by a junior world record performance in the men’s 400-meter medley relay, Team USA earned 10 medals on Monday to conclude the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships, presented by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., at the Indiana University Natatorium.

The U.S. won 32 total medals, including 12 gold, to top the medal table in Indianapolis. Japan and Hungary were second with 16 total medals, while Canada was second with seven gold.

The United States men’s 400m medley relay squad – Drew Kibler (Carmel, Ind./Carmel Swim Club), Reece Whitley (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Penn Charter Aquatic Club), Cody Bybee (Dayton, Ohio/Dayton Raiders) and Matthew Willenbring (Austin, Texas/Austin Swim Club) – earned gold in a record-setting of 3 minutes, 36.15 seconds to edge the Russian Federation and Italy by just under three-tenths of a second. The win marked the United States’ first relay victory of the meet.

“We’ve been trying to get on the top of the podium this whole week and it’s been a struggle,” Kibler said. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but the whole theme of this week for Team USA has just been ‘get better, get better.’ When other countries start to lose their energy we just try to keep building, stay positive and just fight to the end.”

Andrew Abruzzo (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh Aquatics) completed a sweep of the men’s distance freestyle events in Indianapolis with a victory in the 1500m free in 15:06.48, just ahead of silver-medalist teammate and Indiana native Michael Brinegar (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo Nadadores), who touched in 15:09.00.

“It was surreal,” said Abruzzo, who also won gold in the men’s 400m and 800m free, about Team USA’s one-two finish. “That’s what everyone dreams of – having your teammate right beside you and then both going best times, that’s so exciting.”

Americans also took gold and silver in the women’s 200m breaststroke with Zoe Bartel (Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Collins Area Swim Team) claiming the victory in 2:25.68 and Ella Nelson (Nashville, Tenn./Nashville Aquatic Club) touching second in 2:27.04.  

The United States women’s 400m medley relay squad earned silver in 3:59.19 with Regan Smith (Lakeville, Minn./Riptide Swimming), Bartel, Lucie Nordmann (The Woodlands, Texas/Magnolia Aquatic Club) and Grace Ariola (Bloomington, Ill./WAVES Bloomington/Normal Y Swim Team) in the lineup.

Other individual U.S. medalists on Monday included Carson Foster (Montgomery, Ohio/Mason Manta Rays), who took silver in the men’s 200m backstroke in 1:57.87; Willenbring, bronze medalist in the men’s 100m free in 49.17; Ariola, silver medalist in the women’s 50m free in 24.82; and Michael Andrew (Lawrence, Kan./Race Pace Club), bronze medalist in the men’s 50m breast in 27.39.

Winner of the men’s FINA Trophy for top swimmer of the meet, Andrew won five individual medals in Indianapolis, including three gold, and set three junior world records. He earned gold in the men’s 50m back, 50m fly and 50m free, as well bronze in the 50m and 100m breast. 

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