Alexei Sancov Pushes Meet Record On Fourth Day of Speedo Junior Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The penultimate morning of the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals from Irvine, California featured three prelim events with the heats of the 200 free, 200 breast and 100 back going off. Alexei Sancov and Will Grant got within a second of the meet records held by some pretty good swimmers in Caeleb Dressel and Michael Andrew. Both Sancov and Grant are looking for their first wins of the meet.

Claire Tuggle is looking for her third win of the meet after already capturing wins in the 400 IM and 400 free. Tuggle will be swimming at Junior Pan Pacs later this month in Fiji. Also going on that trip is 200 breast top seed AJ Pouch.

Annabel Crush and Isabelle Odgers are also top seeds for tonight.

Heat Sheets

Women’s 200 Free

The top eight swimmers are separated by a little over a second in the final of the women’s 200 free. Miranda Heckman of the Pleasanton Seahawks is on top after the heats with her 2:01.30. She is ahead of a pair of 13-14 year olds with 14-year-old Claire Tuggle sitting in second at 2:01.44. Tuggle already has won the 400 free and 400 IM this week and will be looking to get her third win with the 200.

Tuggle has been as fast as a 1:58 last week so she could have more in the tank. 13-year-old Erin Gemmell is the third seed at 2:01.50 as she now moves up to 13th all-time in the 13-14 NAG rankings for that event. Gemmell moved ahead of Natalie Coughlin on the list and is a few spots below Dana Vollmer.

The rest of the field is filled with 17-18 year olds as Easop Lee (2:02.10) and Kensey McMahon (2:02.40) will swim in another A-Final together after they did in the 400 free last night.

Kaitlynn Sims (2:02.35), Ryley Ober (2:02.53) and Ayla Spitz (2:02.73) also qualified for the A-Final.


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Men’s 200 Free

Alexei Sancov could be on his way to his first national title of the week as he has already finished second twice this week to Terrapins teammate Andrei Minakov. Sancov is the top seed for the 200 free tonight with a 1:49.55 as he is over a second ahead of the rest of the field. Sancov is not far off the meet record of 1:48.64 held by Caeleb Dressel and he could challenge that tonight. Sancov will be a freshman at USC this fall.

Julian Hill (1:50.87), Owen Kao (1:51.09) and Christian Sztolcman (1:51.12) all placed in the top four with their swims this morning and could very well be challenging for the silver medal as Sancov is that much better than everyone else.

Pierce Dietze (1:51.38), Skyler Cook-Weeks (1:51.42), Jake Magahey (1:51.44) and Jack Walker (1:51.74) round out the very competitive field.

Last night in the 800 free relay, Sancov split a 1:49.59, the second fastest split behind Carson Foster in the field. Magahey split a 1:50.55 and Cook-Weeks was a 1:50.50.


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Women’s 200 Breast

Isabelle Odgers of Irvine Novaquatics swam the fastest 200 breast of the morning in her home pool on Friday morning at the Speedo Junior Nationals. Odgers swam a 2:30.66 to get the top seed just ahead of Anna Keating of Machine Aquatics in 2:30.72. Odgers is about to start her freshman year at the University of Southern California where she will be close to home.

Noelle Peplowski (2:31.05) is the third seed.

14-year-old Chase Davison of Denver Hilltoppers is the fourth seed at 2:31.74 as she moved up to 13th all-time in the 13-14 NAG rankings just ahead of two-time Olympian Katie Hoff.

Claire Donan (2:32.62), 100 champ Kaitlyn Dobler (2:33.02), Ellie Andrews (2:33.21) and Lauren Poole (2:33.22) also qualified for the championship final.


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Men’s 200 Breast

AJ Pouch of Team Rebel Aquatics posted the number one time in the 200 breast heats on Friday morning at the Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine. Pouch posted a 2:13.08 to easily qualify as the top seed as he is almost two full seconds ahead of 100 champ Joshua Matheny (2:14.83). Matheny dropped 2.90 seconds from his seed time and could be in for another drop after he had a similar drop in his 100 on the first night.

Pouch will be headed to Junior Pan Pacs later this month in Fiji where he will swim with Jake Foster of the Mason Manta Rays. Foster cruised to the third seed at 2:15.18 as the two Team USA members will make their junior team debuts at the Junior Pan Pacs.

Ben Dillard (2:16.59), David Abrahams (2:16.60), Dylan Rhee (2:16.60), Ethan Dang (2:17.20) and Zachary Tan (2:17.50) round out the A-Final.

The win could come from somewhere in the middle but someone like Dang could make a move on the field and challenge for a top three spot.


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Women’s 100 Back

15-year-old Annabel Crush lived up to her name in the 100 back heats on Friday morning of the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine. Crush crushed her 100 back with a 1:01.38 as she was the only swimmer under 1:02 in the prelims. Crush is well ahead of second place Alexandra Crisera of Beach Cities Swimming (1:02.15). Crisera won the 200 back earlier in the meet.

Every other girl in the A-Final for tonight posted a 1:02 in the heats. It is a very young field with three 15-year-olds and two 16-year-olds. Abby Kapeller (1:02.45) and Jessica Davis (1:02.56) were the other two 15-year-olds in the field. Kapeller swims for the same club team as Isabelle Stadden, the Aquajets in Minnesota.

Janelle Rudolph (1:02.41), Kylee Alons (1:02.54), Tea Laughlin (1:02.56) and Sophie Lindner (1:02.74) also qualified for the A-Final.


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Men’s 100 Back

Will Grant of the Heart of Texas was the only swimmer to break 56 seconds in the 100 back heats at the Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine. Grant swam a 55.78 to get the top seed ahead of Carson Foster (56.22). Grant had a lot of speed on the front end of his 200 back a couple nights ago and showed that speed this morning in the 100. Grant could challenge the meet record of 54.99 by Michael Andrew from 2015.

Swim Atlanta’s Keegan Walsh (56.60) is the third seed ahead of RJ Kondalski (56.61) and Tim Gallagher (56.68) as the rest of the A-Final is stacked up with a bunch of 56’s.

Walsh is going to be a freshman at the University of Georgia and Kondalski is going to Ohio State.

Jack Kirby (56.76), 200 champ Ethan Harder (56.78) and Noah Yarian (56.98) round out the top eight.


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