2019 Speedo USA Junior Nationals: Double Gold for SwimMAC’s Jack Walker on Night Three

2019 Speedo USA Junior Nationals Venue; Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

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The third night of finals from the 2019 Speedo Junior Nationals in Palo Alto, California featured the finals of the 400 free, 100 fly and men’s 800 free relay.

Full results from day three finals are available here.

Many close battles emerged on night three, even in the women’s and men’s 400 freestyles. Jillian Cox and Jack Walker were able to reach the wall first in these events, while Lucy Bell and Ethan Hu did likewise in the 100 butterfly. Walker then helped the SwimMAC 800 freestyle relay team to victory.

Women’s 400 Freestyle

Olympic Trials Cut: 4:16.89

ATAC’S Jillian Cox (4:13.24) won the battle to the finish in the women’s 400 freestyle, out-racing PLS’ Miranda Heckman (4:13.27) and ATOM’s Ellie Marquardt (4:13.49) by a narrow margin. The swim was a lifetime best by three seconds for Cox and catapults her from thirty-fifth to tenth in the 13-14 all-time rankings in this event.

Heckman and Marquardt also recorded personal bests. The women were nearly even at the halfway point before Cox slightly pulled ahead on the third 100 and was able to hold off a charging Heckman on the final two laps.

SMAC’s Yulia Groysman posted a 4:16.16 for fourth place, three seconds ahead of her best time and well under the Olympic Trials standard. 14-year-old Hana Shimizu-Bowers led a trio of LIAC swimmers coming in at 4:17.44 for fifth. She was joined by teammates Lauryn Johnson (4:20.16) and Bella Antoniuk (4:20.89) among the top eight. HEAT’s Paige McCormick rounded out the top eight in 4:20.24.


Men’s 400 Freestyle

Olympic Trials Cut: 3:57.29

In similar fashion, the men’s race also came down to the final touch. SwimMAC’s Jack Walker (3:53.02) was out to an early lead, holding off 1500 freestyle champion James Plague (3:53.07) throughout the race’s entirety. Plague out-split the competition on the final 100, but ran out of room to track down Walker in the end. The time moves Plague to eleventh in the all-time 15-16 rankings, while Walker becomes number forty-six for 17-18s.

PVA’s Cole Kuster and CLOV’s Ben Forbes had a race of their own in lanes seven and eight, with Kuster blasting the final 50 and getting the advantage 3:55.94 to 3:56.69. All four top finishers came in under the 2020 Olympic Trials cut.

Mason Manta Ray Jacob McDonald took fifth in 3:58.56. He was followed by LMST’s Dylan Moffat (3:58.93), WILD’s Luke Maurer (3:59.22) and NOVA CA’s Chris Mykkanen (4:00.39). SMST’s Colby Mefford also came in under the Trials standard in winning the ‘B’ final in 3:56.22.


Women’s 100 Butterfly

Olympic Trials Cut: 1:00.69

After earning runner-up honors in the 200 distance, 15-year-old Lucy Bell of FAST earned a Junior National title in the 100 butterfly with a winning time of 59.05. Her prelims swim of 1:00.44 put her sixty-third in the 15-16 all-time rankings, while her finals time bumps her to fourteenth, just two one-hundredths behind Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer.

Bell was followed by Dynamo’s Tristen Ulett in 1:00.03 and LEXD’s Rachel Klinker (1:00.32). Both swimmers were just off their lifetime bests from last week’s Phillips 66 National Championships.

BASH’s Megan Glass earned her Olympic Trials cut (1:00.42) with her fourth-place finish. NOVA VA’s Megan Pulley did likewise for fifth in 1:00.46. The women were followed by Sarah Snyder (1:00.69), Mackenzie McConagha (1:01.60) and Kailyn Winter (1:02.06).


Men’s 100 Butterfly

Olympic Trials Cut: 54.19

17-year-old Ethan Hu of PEAK swimming improved on his fifth-place finish in last year’s 100 butterfly with a win this time around in 53.71. The time is just off his lifetime best (53.11) which ranks twenty-sixth all-time in the 17-18 age group. Hu was in eighth place at the 50 mark, but was the only swimmer to split under 28 seconds on the second lap.

SSC’s Aiden Hayes was the top 16 and under finisher, racing to second in 53.92. The swim was a lifetime best that bumps him to eighteenth in the all-time ranks. UDAC’s Matthew Jensen (54.11) also came in under the Olympic Trials cut.

EBSC’s Michael Linnihan took fourth place and was followed by WAC’s Arsenio Bustos (54.53), Swim MAC’s Tim Connery (54.74), SST’s Dalton Lowe (54.89) and GOAL’s Rush Clark (55.05).


Men’s 800 Freestyle Relay

Walker and Connery joined forces with Swim MAC teammates Hugh Svendsen and Baylor Nelson to claim gold in the men’s 800 freestyle relay. Connery had the quickest split in the relay at 1:50.90. Their overall time of 7:27.66 was one second off the meet record but enough for a distant win over second-place Dynamo.

Dynamo’s Brooks Curry posted the fastest split in the field at 1:50.65 as he helped his team achieve an overall time of 7:31.11. He was joined by Ian Grum, Nicholas Goudie and Cam Auerbach.  Irvine Novaquatics’ team of Ryan Abdollahi, Hunter Ingram, Mykkanen and Dominic Falcon took third in 7:34.53.


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