DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, August 29. WHILE Ruta Meilutyte had the spotlight squarely on her today at the junior world swimming championships, two swimmers collected medals that were done in national age-group record time.
Sophie Taylor, a 17-year-old from Leeds, England, picked up a silver medal in the girls’ 100 breaststroke final with a 1:07.36. Not only was it a record for the country’s 17-year-old division, but it broke the British record of 1:07.56 as well. In June, she finished third at nationals, and in a little more than a minute today, Taylor became the country’s fastest breaststroker, vaulting herself from Olympic team “hopeful” to Olympic team “definitely,” though competition will be fierce in the next few years.
“I wanted a medal and I thought I would have to settle for bronze but I got silver — that’s even better,” Taylor said after the race.
Dressel, who turned 17 earlier this month, looked to be in front of the pack with 15 meters to go in the 50 freestyle final. But a late surge from Australia’s Luke Percy and Russian Evgeny Sedov relegated Dressel to bronze. On the bright side, he nabbed the American national age-group record for the 17-18 age group with a 22.22. It beat out the record of 22.32, held by someone he knows well. Santo Condorelli, a teammate of Dressel’s at the Bolles School, swam that time at the junior nationals earlier this month.
Dressel’s 50 freestyle time would have placed sixth at U.S. nationals in June, higher than he placed in his much-publicized 100 freestyle race in Indianapolis. Dressel will have Michael Phelps’ national age-group record of 49.05 in his sights when he races in the 100 freestyle prelims, semifinals and finals to round out the meet.