Editorial coverage for U.S. Junior Nationals proudly sponsored by Q Swimwear!
IRVINE, California, August 2. STRONG swims from Sierra Schmidt and Townley Haas at the USA Swimming Junior Nationals.
Women’s 400 free
Sierra Schmidt would not be denied her second junior national title of the meet as the 800 free victor raced her way to a 4:10.92 in the middle distance event. That cut more than two seconds from her best of 4:13.08 set this morning, and was more than enough to beat a pair of 14-year-old prodigies to the top of the podium. North Carolina’s Madison Homovich edged NBAC’s Easop Lee for silver, 4:12.30 to 4:12.65. The two moved into the top 10 in the U.S. 13-14 age group rankings with Homovich in fourth. Sippy Woodhead still holds the record with a stunning 4:07.15 from 1978. Homovich (4:14.97) and Lee (4:13.65) both set lifetime bests this morning.
IU’s Stephanie Marchuck (4:12.77), NOVA’s Jessie Gvozdas (4:13.27), Marietta Marlins’ Stephanie Peters (4:14.01), Tallahassee’s Cece Williams (4:15.82) and Pleasanton’s Moriah Simonds (4:16.63) also swam in the the finale.
Lakeside’s Leah Stevens looked in control of the B final throughout the first 325 meters, but La Mirada’s Taylor Ault hit the nitrous to get the afterburners going en route to edging Stevens, 4:12.84 to 4:12.96 for the consolation heat win. That’s a huge drop for Ault, coming into today with a 4:14.73 best from the LA Invite. Stevens just missed her lifetime best of 4:12.78 from the 2012 American Championships in Austin. She’s been chasing that mark for quite some time, and would love to break through the plateau. City of Mobile’s Paige Madden took third with a 4:13.39. Ault and Stevens would have finished fifth and sixth in the A final.
Badger’s Anina Lunda came roaring home down the final 100 meters to win the C final with a 4:15.35. That’s a full second off her personal best of 4:16.74 from the Quebec Cup in June. Mission Viejo’s Brooke Lorentzen snared second in 4:16.05, while Saint Andrew’s Megan Moroney picked up third in 4:17.22. Lorentzen was a second fastest last year with a 4:15.06, while Moroney set a 4:16.99 personal best this morning but could not replicate that swim.
Men’s 400 free
NOVA’s Townley Haas just missed his meet record in the championship finale with a 3:52.01. Last summer, he set the record with a 3:51.99 and just could not match the time tonight. He still won this evening by a second-and-a-half as the rest of the field was in chase mode. That’s two wins for Haas as he already demonstrated his versatility with a 100 free triumph earlier this week.
Nitro’s Sean Grieshop, 15, blazed his way to second with a time of 3:53.54. That’s the sixth-fastest time in the 15-16 age group behind Larsen Jensen’s national age group record of 3:50.68 from 2002. Grieshop had set a personal best with a 3:55.35 this morning. Dayton Raiders’ Brock Turner snared third overall in 3:53.89.
Parkland’s Sam Magnan, the surprise 1500 freestyle winner, took fourth in 3:55.55, while Santa Clara’s Michael Messner took fifth in 3:56.07. PASA’s Curtis Ogren (3:56.10), Marlins of Raleigh’s Adam Linker (3:57.77) and Scarlet’s Eric Stobbe (3:58.97) rounded out the podium tonight.
The B final wasn’t even close as Pacific Swim’s Grant Schenk threw down a 3:56.01 to win by more than a second. He had never broken 4:00 heading into today before he clocked a 3:58.09 this morning. That’s a four-second drop today! AGUA’s John Nunez hit the wall second as he battled SwimAtlanta’s Nick Hogsed down the stretch, 3:57.27 to 3:57.75. Both Nunez (3:58.87) and Hogsed (3:57.98) managed to get under their lifetime bests in the event.
La Mirada definitely looks to have been working on its last 100-meter speed as for the second event in a row, a La Mirada swimmer overhauled an early leader down the stretch. After Ault took down Stevens in the women’s 400-meter free B final, Ryan Kao dropped the hammer to beat NBAC’s Cole Buese, 3:57.51 to 3:57.74, in the C final of the men’s 400 free. Kao was much faster last summer with a 3:54.69, while Buese beat his best of 3:59.08 from this morning. SwimAtlanta’s Cody Bekemeyer took third in the bonus heat with a 3:58.43.