By Emily Sampl
BOULDER, Colorado, July 31. THIS weekend, two of the biggest junior level meets in the U.S. continue, as the Speedo Junior National Championships run through Sunday in Irvine and the YMCA National Long Course Championships conclude tomorrow in Indianapolis. Here are the top five storylines for the rest of those two meets.
1. Speedo Junior Nationals: More national age group records to come?
Last night, Penn Charter’s Reece Whitley lowered the 13-14 boys’ national age group record in the 100 breast with a 1:03.23, while taking down the former national age group record-holder in the event, Michael Andrew, in the lane next to him. Whitley still has the 200 breast to go at this meet, an event he already holds the national age group record in. Andrew, who set a ton of NAG records as a 13-14, is 15 now and is chasing a new set of records. So far, he hasn’t set any, but he’s definitely knocking on the door. Caeleb Dressel, the 15-16 NAG record-holder in the 50 free, is now chasing the 17-18 record of 22.13 in that event, which incidentally is also the meet record.
2. Speedo Junior Nationals: Back-to-back meets in Irvine!
With the Phillips 66 National Championships only a week away in the same pool, there will be plenty of swimmers who hang around in Irvine before gearing up for another high-profile meet next week. Which athletes competing this week in Irvine will make a mark next week at nationals? Time will only tell! Nationals serves as USA Swimming’s selection meet for the 2014 Pan Pacific and Junior Pan Pacific Championships and the 2015 World Championships, World University Games and Pan American Games. It’s a big meet to say the least, and it will be interesting to see which young swimmers step up and make a major international team.
3. Speedo Junior Nationals: When will the first meet record fall?
No meet records fell on the first night of action in Irvine, though several were certainly challenged. With finals tonight in the 200 back, 100 free, 400 IM and 400 free relay, there will be eight more opportunities for new meet records tonight. Which will be the first to go down?
4. YMCA Nationals: Who will win the team titles?
The combined, men’s and women’s team titles are highly coveted at YMCA Nationals, and as of last night, all three of the team races are shaping up to be a battle to the very end. After three days of racing, the Wilton Family YMCA leads the combined team standings with 363 points, ahead of Triangle Area (336) and Countryside Ralph Stolle (321). Ocean County is ahead by just four points in the men’s race with 181 points, followed by Wilton (177) and Countryside (166). It’s an even closer battle on the women’s side, as Triangle Area (189 points) holds a slim three-point advantage over Wilton (186) and York (155). Only two finals sessions remain to decide the champion – who will come out on top?
5. YMCA Nationals: How many more records will fall?
The YMCA national record books have already been re-written over the past few days, with more than half a dozen new records set in the first three days of the meet. Seven more individual events and two relays remain on the schedule for tonight and tomorrow, which means there are plenty more chances for more records to go down. By the end of tomorrow, we could see more than a dozen new records.