HONOLULU, Hawaii, August 24. THE youngsters in attendance at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Hawaii continued to post brilliant efforts during night two of the Junior Pan Pacific Championships. Team USA concluded the second day of competition with a strong lead in the combined team scores, compiling 208.5 points. Australia edged Japan for second, 146.5 to 146. Canada stood fourth with 110 points, while New Zealand (12), Hong Kong (1) and Mexico (1) have all scored points as well.
After already felling the meet record in prelims with a 1:00.64 in the men's 100 breast, Japan's Akihiro Yamaguchi blasted right through the 1:00 barrier with a scorching time of 59.85 to win the finale. The meet record heading into today had been a 1:01.92 from Australia's Nicholas Schafer in 2010. Yamaguchi has already been faster just this month with a stunning time of 59.56 at the Japan High School Championships. He's already the second-fastest swimmer from Japan this year behind Kosuke Kitajima (58.90), and ahead of Ryo Tateishi (59.60), and is one of the bright stars that have emerged shortly after the 2012 London Olympics. Teammate Kazuki Kohinata placed second in 1:02.45, while Australia's Buster Sykes earned third in 1:03.32. Eric Ronda was the top American with a fifth-place 1:03.52.
USA's Chase Kalisz dominated the men's 400 IM with an astonishing time of 4:12.59. That swim not only crushed the meet record of 4:16.07 set by Australia's Mitch Larkin in 2010, it shot the NBAC swimmer from 23rd in the world to 14th. Only Olympians Ryan Lochte (4:05.18), Michael Phelps (4:07.89) and Tyler Clary (4:09.92) were faster this year among the Americans. Kalisz' best effort had been a strong 4:15.78 at Trials this summer, and with both Lochte and Phelps now out of the event in 2016 if they both stay true to their words on dropping the event (Lochte) and retiring (Phelps), Kalisz is an early favorite for both the 2013 Worlds and 2016 Olympics rosters.
Japan's Daiya Seto, who was the favorite to challenge Kalisz, suffered a disqualification, leaving teammate Keita Sunama second with a 4:19.28, nearly seven seconds back of Kalisz. USA's Gunnar Bentz finished third in 4:20.11 after posting a 4:17.43 during prelims.
Kalisz's effort was so impressive that former NBAC teammate Phelps congratulated him on Twitter with his 1.3 million followers receiving the following: “Congrats to @chasekalisz tonight!! Awesome job buddy !!!”
USA's Becca Mann, a definite 2016 Olympic roster contender after finaling time after time at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, scorched the women's 400 IM with a meet-record effort of 4:39.76. Mann, who trains at Clearwater Aquatics, cut nearly two seconds off her lifetime best of 4:41.61 from Trials, and surpassed the meet record of 4:40.10 set by Dagny Knutson back in 2009. The performance jumped Mann up to 25th in the world rankings this year. Australia's Keryn McMaster placed second in 4:41.63, cutting nearly five seconds from her top time this year of 4:46.37. USA's Celina Li took third in 4:42.17, chipping away a bit from her 4:41.28 from this morning.
Notably, 14-year-old Mann clipped the 13-14 U.S. National Age Group record set by Katie Hoff. Hoff had owned the record with a 4:39.82 from 2004.
The meet record in the men's 100 free fell twice this evening. First, Australia's Regan Leong ripped off a 49.53 to win the B final in the men's 100 free, downing the previous meet record in the process. Compatriot Daniel Smith clocked a 49.65 for the Aussies back in 2009. USA's Matt Ellis, however, blasted Leong's short-lived standard with a victorious effort of 49.24 in the A final. Australia's Alexander Graham checked in with a second-place 49.71, while USA's Jack Conger snared third in 49.84. Conger was coming off an impressive 100 back last night, during which he shot down Aaron Peirsol's decade-old 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record in the process.
USA's Simone Manuel moved from B final winner on night one in the 200 free, to a clear victor in the women's 100 free on night two. Manuel raced to a winning time of 54.80, her first time under 55 seconds. Her previous best had been a 55.22 from the 2011 Junior National Championships, and her best this year was a 55.45 at the U.S. Olympic Trials. With that effort, the First Colony swimmer pushed into the top 50 this year.
Australia's Ami Matsuo earned second-place honors in 55.36, while USA's Cierra Runge wound up third in 55.43. USA's Chelsea Chenault, meanwhile, claimed the B final win in 55.23. That effort cleared her lifetime best of 55.77 posted at the U.S. Open earlier this month, and is only her third time under 56 seconds. Yolane Kukla's 2010 time of 54.69 while representing Australia held up as the meet record.
Team Canada had a breakthrough effort in the women's 100 breast as the squad went 1-2 in the finale. Kierra Smith edged teammate Mariya Chekanovych by the slimmest of margins for the win, 1:08.54 to 1:08.55. Smith lowered her top time in the event of 1:09.02 with a 1:08.76 this morning before dipping under 1:09 yet again with her time this evening. Chekanovych's best time heading into this evening had been her 1:09.53 from prelims. She cut nearly a full second off that effort this evening, as she and Smith jumped into the outskirts of the top 50 this year. Japan's Miku Kanasashi wound up third in 1:08.63, while USA's Annie Zhu was the top American with a fourth-place 1:08.84.
Team USA's Simone Manuel, Leah Smith, Cierra Runge and Chelsea Chenault dominated the field in the women's 800 free relay with a 7:59.06. The U.S. meet record of 7:58.26 set by Andi Taylor, Samantha Tucker, Catherine Breed and Dagny Knutson in 2009 held up to the pressure. Australia's Brianna Throssell, Leah Neale, Mikkayla Sheridan and Ami Matsuo took second in 8:03.48, while Japan's Maho Takiguchi, Megumi Ito, Yasuko Miyamoto and Emu Higuchi finished third in 8:04.80.
Japan's Takumi Komatsu, Kenta Hirai, Toru Maruyama and Daiya Seto clinched the men's 800 free relay title in 7:18.59, while USA's Pete Brumm, Jackson Miller, Chase Kalisz and Gunnar Bentz tracked down second-place honors in 7:19.89. Canada's Stefan Milosevia, Aly Abdel Khalik, Robert Gilchrist and Teddy Kalp finished third in 7:24.20.