By Nick Brunelli
MELBOURNE, Australia, January 7. THIS team is on fire! Yesterday and the day before, the USA Junior National Team continued to rewrite the record books for past Junior Teams while racing in the Victorian Championships here in Australia.
As of yesterday, 26 USA athletes have busted the top five in their events. I see huge potential, from top to bottom, for the future of these young athletes.
Some highlights of the past two days need to be pointed out. The USA men all shined in the 50 free, 800 free relay, and the 400 free. The 400 free saw three guys pounding away to a 2-5 finish behind Aussie legend Grant Hackett. In the men's 50 free, up and comer – Jimmy Feigen placed fourth with a stellar 23.00 setting a Junior Team record. The last men's event, Tom Shields held off a surging Grant Hackett to anchor the winning 800 free relay.
Highlights on the women's side for days two and three were plentiful. The women's 200 fly was a highlight for me where both Cammile Adams and Kaia Simmons both took down the Junior Team record.
In the women's 400 medley relay the girls almost pulled off a huge upset to beat a stacked Aussie team. And my all-time highlight was watching Laura Harrington swim four events in one night with a turn-around time between two events with less then eight minutes!
Today is the last day of the meet and could be the best for Team USA. One thing I can guarantee is a strong finish from all these kids.