2014 USA’s Junior Pan Pac 4×200 Free Relay Lineup Nearly Identical at 2018 Pan Pacs

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross.

The Junior Pan Pacs have been going on this week in Fiji with some of the United States’ great young talent on display. The meet has been a great way to get international experience for Team USA swimmers as a lot of the current national team members started out on the junior team years ago.

Earlier this week, we looked at the nine members of the 2014 Junior Pan Pac team who made the jump to the senior level this past summer and swam at the 2018 Pan Pacs in Tokyo.

Upon closer inspection of the 2014 results, we found some similarities in the lineup for the men’s 4×200 free relay.

Townley HaasLiam Egan, Blake Pieroni and Andrew Seliskar won the gold medal for Team USA four years ago at the Junior Pan Pacs. Four years later, Haas, Pieroni and Seliskar teamed up again, this time with Zach Apple, and won the gold in the same relay at the senior Pan Pacs.

Haas (1:48.29), Egan (1:50.78), Pieroni (1:50.24) and Seliskar (1:52.05) won the relay by over two full seconds in 2014. Egan and Pieroni were a couple days away from starting their freshmen seasons at Stanford and Indiana respectively while Haas and Seliskar were about to start their senior year of high school and they had not committed yet.

Haas broke the meet record in the 200 free with his lead-off, which has since been lowered to a 1:47.65 by another Longhorn Drew Kibler. Egan and Pieroni extended the lead to give Seliskar some comfort since he had just gotten out of the 400 IM final earlier in the night.

Flash forward to four years later and Seliskar (1:46.75), Pieroni (1:47.63) and Haas (1:43.78) won the gold medal again, but it was much closer this time around. They had their hands full with Australia who led for the majority of the race. But in the end it was Haas, who swam one of the fastest splits ever by an American, to out-touch Australia at the finish and give the Americans the gold.

Pieroni pointed out after Nationals that he, Seliskar, and Haas have been racing each other in the 200 free since their junior team days.

The only other relay from the 2014 Junior Pan Pacs that had the same swimmer four years later was the men’s 4×100 free relay with Pieroni and the women’s 4×100 medley relay with Lilly King.

This is a pretty rare, but also exciting factoid to bring up. Four years ago, the United States won the gold in the 4×200 free relay at the Pan Pacs in Australia with Conor DwyerMichael PhelpsRyan Lochte and Matt McLean. Three of those guys swam on the relay in Rio two years later. But the average age of that relay team was 27.5-years-old, compared to this year’s relay which averaged 21 years of age.

Phelps and McLean have since retired. Lochte was suspended right before Nationals. Dwyer did make the Pan Pac team by finishing third at Nationals in the 200 free but did not swim on the night-time relay.

With such an experienced team in 2014, it was almost expected that the men’s relays would look completely different four years later. That 2014 team was full of veterans approaching the end of their primes, so the next generation had to be ready to go.

There were a few dull spots in 2014 and especially the 2015 World Championships where the Americans were at an awkward transition phase, searching for a new identity. But they were able to feel out the growing pains and by 2016 they had one of their most successful Olympic teams ever with a perfect mix of new stars and experienced veterans.

The Junior Pan Pac team is great experience for the swimmers from the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada, and it will be interesting how many swimmers from this year’s team will advance to the next level and make the 2022 Pan Pac team and beyond.

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5 years ago

Pretty sure Jack Cartwright from Australia broke the 200 free record in 2016 . Just broken this week . Forgotten about the Aussies ?

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