Claire Curzan Drops Hammer on 15-16 NAG Record With 21.7 50 Free at Winter Juniors East (RACE VIDEO)

Claire Curzan broke the 15-16 NAG record in the 50 freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2019 Speedo Junior Nationals East (Claire Curzan)

Day Two Finals (Women’s 50 Free)

15-year-old Claire Curzan of the Tac Titans in North Carolina produced the first individual National Age Group record of the 2019 Speedo Winter Junior Nationals East in Atlanta with an insane 21.77 in the 50 freestyle. That swim by Curzan, who is just a sophomore in high school, broke Gretchen Walsh’s 21.82 NAG record set at last year’s Junior Nationals East in Greensboro. Among college swimmers, Curzan’s time ranks sixth in Division I right now.

Not bad for a 15-year-old.

Claire Curzan was one of our selected swimmers to watch headed into this meet as she was the top seed in six events on the psych sheet. Although, the race we thought she was going to be best at would be the 100 fly after she came in seeded with a 50 point. That is still up in the air as she will swim the 100 fly tomorrow, but this 50 free is extremely impressive.

At just 15-years-old, Curzan is not far off the 17-18 NAG record of 21.3 set by Simone Manuel in 2015 for her first NCAA title. We know what Manuel has done since then: an Olympic gold medal in the 100 free, three individual World titles, plus six individual NCAA titles. And that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of Manuel’s influence on the sport of swimming, who became the first black woman to win a swimming gold medal and the first American woman to win the 100 free at the Olympics since 1984, which at the time was the longest gold medal drought for the Americans in any event.

It is still way too early to determine where Curzan’s future career will lead. She is still just a sophomore in high school for crying out loud. But she has a lot of talent, as we saw in Atlanta tonight. She won four medals at the FINA World Juniors this summer with a gold in the women’s 4×100 medley relay, a silver in the 100 back, and two bronzes in the 50 and 100 fly.

Curzan won the final by a wide margin with 17-year-old Lindsay Flynn, also a North Carolina native, finishing in second at 22.33 while 16-year-old Lexie Mulvihill (22.57) finished in third.

Curzan led off her team’s 400 medley relay team later in the session with a 52.16 in the 100 back, putting her 16th all-time in the 15-16 age group.

15-16 NAG Rankings 50 Free (All-Time)

  1. 21.77, Claire Curzan, 2019
  2. 21.82, Gretchen Walsh, 2018
  3. 21.95, Torri Huske, 2019
  4. 22.04, Simone Manuel, 2013
  5. 22.04, Kate Douglass, 2016
  6. 22.08, Alex Walsh, 2018
  7. 22.11, Stanzi Moseley, 2014
  8. 22.13, Janet Hu, 2012
  9. 22.15, Amy Bilquist, 2014
  10. 22.17, Kristen Vredeveld, 2011
Event 9  Women 50 Yard Freestyle
  SC Jrs Meet: M 21.49  12/12/2014Abbigail Weitzeil, Canyons Aquatic
                 22.29  NATS 2019 LC Nats
                 22.79  NATB 2019 LC Nats - Bonus
                 23.39  JRS 2019 SC Juniors
                 23.49  JR-B 2019 LC Jrs - Bonus
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals       Points 
                            === A - Final ===                            
  1 Claire Curzan    15 TAC Titans-NC       22.26      21.77         20  
  2 Lindsay Flynn    17 Aquatic Team Of-    22.61      22.33         17  
  3 Lexie Mulvihill  16 Tampa Elite Aqua    22.90      22.57         16  
  4 Gabi Albiero     17 Cardinal Aquatic    22.68      22.60         15  
  5 Ella Welch       15 Cardinal Aquatic    23.02      22.73         14  
  6 Micayla Cronk    16 Blue Dolfins-FL     23.10      22.91         13  
  7 Catherine Stanf  17 Long Beach Aquat    23.02      23.00         12  
 -- Eboni McCarty    16 Madison Swimming    22.91         DQ