PHOENIX, Arizona, March 13. CLEARWATER Aquatics started the NCSA junior nationals in fine fashion with a win in the women's 1000 freestyle by 15-year-old Becca Mann with a lifetime best of 9:31.79. Then, just a few minutes later, Mann's teammate Matthew Hirschberger won the men's 1000 with a national age group record time of 9:02.37, breaking the 13-14 national record by five seconds, and smashing his lifetime best by 21 seconds.
Another big swim from last night's competition was a 21.69 50-yard backstroke by Jack Conger to lead off Rockville-Montgomery's winning 200 medley relay. It's an amazing split for a high school senior, but doesn't quite match the 21.09 his longtime rival Ryan Murphy posted in the same pool to help Bolles set a national high school record in the 200 medley relay last November.
Conger will be in the 200 backstroke in tonight's finals, and we'll see if he can go under 1:40 and approach Murphy's national age group record of 1:38.15.
Olympian Lia Neal will be the clear favorite in the women's 100 free. Her best time is a 48.13 from 2010, and that's close to Missy Franklin's national age group record of 47.60.
You can go to our event landing page at swimmingworld.tv to watch on-demand videos from last night's 1000 freestyles and 200 medley relays. We are streaming the prelims and finals live from Orlando, and tonight's finals begins at 6 p.m. Eastern time.
The list of divers going to the NCAA Division I championships is filling out this week, as zone diving championships take place around the country. Duke's Nick McCrory was a no-brainer to qualify, and the Olympian will be back on the boards at NCAAs after taking last year off to train for the Olympics. David Bonuchi, always a strong title contender, is qualified to represent the Missouri Tigers. On the women's side, Miami has the most divers going to the meet so far, with three. And Georgia will now have the most possible athletes going to the meet, with 17 swimmers and two divers. You can follow the up-to-date list of diving qualifiers on our college channel at swimmingworld.com.