PHOENIX, Arizona, December 10. FOR the past few weeks, we've been highlighting performances by some of the world's elite swimmers, but last weekend, it was all about the 18-and-unders in the United States. Nearly a dozen national age group records were broken at the USA Swimming junior nationals and the Tom Dolan Invitational. Let's start at junior nationals in Tennessee, where four relay records and three individual records fell. SwimMAC Carolina set three of those relay records while First Colony set the fourth. Dylan Carter won the 200 free with a 1:35.29 to break the 15-16 national age group record, while in the same race, Maxime Rooney swam a 1:38.42 to break the 13-14 age group record. Caeleb Dressel set the final national age group record of the meet with a 43.29 in the 100 free, breaking Joe Hudepohl's 21-year-old national age group record in the 15-16 age group.
Reece Whitley became the spotlight swimmer of the Tom Dolan Invitational, breaking two national age group records in the 11-12 age group in the breaststroke events. He started out with a 2:09.40 in the 200 breast, breaking his own age group record by a second on Friday. He followed it up with a 59.90 in the 100 breast, breaking the national age group record of 1:00.07 and becoming the youngest swimmer under 1:00 in the country.
Allie Szekely also had a fantastic swim of her own, nearly breaking 2:10 herself in the 200 breast with a 2:10.22. That's a two-second drop on the national record for the 13-14 age group, which had previously been held by Katie Hoff.
Jack Conger was in a virtual race with longtime rival Ryan Murphy over the weekend, looking to become the fastest college recruit in the backstroke events. He beat out Murphy's 45.34 in the 100 backfrom the Florida high school championships with a 45.32, then went after Murphy's 1:38.15 from nationals in the 200. Conger was unable to topple Murphy as the king of the 200, swimming a 1:38.75. Just to let you know what to expect at the 2014 NCAA championships, Murphy and Conger would have gone 1-2 at the 2012 NCAA meet.
Katie Ledecky didn't set any individual national age group records, but did help the host team Nation's Capital set relay marks in the 800 free relay and 400 medley relay. She also went after her record of 9:22 in the 1000 free, but could only muster a 9:25.90 on Sunday.
If you missed any of our live stream from the Tom Dolan Invitational, you can go to the event landing page at swimmingworld.tv and watch races on-demand, as well as see interviews with standout swimmers.
The United States' swim team landed safely in Istanbul on Saturday to prepare for the short course world championships, and today, the team took a tour around the city to see some historic buildings. Some were hit with major cases of jet lag, especially Ryan Lochte, who needed a cat nap during part of the tour. Competition starts Wednesday in Istanbul, and swimmers from Europe and Asia are beginning to arrive as well. Ryan Murphy is exclusively presenting a journal of his time in Istanbul on swimmingworld.com, so be sure to keep tabs on his views from Turkey.
Also in Istanbul, the FINA Bureau met to cover some housekeeping details. One of the items of the meeting was to announce that all drug tests from aquatic sports at the Olympics came back clean. A total of 433 urine tests and 83 blood samples were taken in London. The FINA Bureau will hold a more comprehensive meeting next summer in Barcelona, the site of the long course world championships.