Daniel Diehl Goes 53.27 in Downing 100 Back NAG Again at Junior Pan Pacs

Daniel Diehl
Daniel Diehl; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Daniel Diehl Goes 53.27 in Downing 100 Back NAG Again at Junior Pan Pacs

Daniel Diehl’s record-breaking prowess is literally ahead of his time. As in the 16-year-old is now the fastest American ever over 100 meters of backstroke among 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds.

Diehl won the men’s 100 backstroke at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships Wednesday in 53.27 seconds. That lowers the 15-16 national-age group record he re-set in the preliminary session – it had been his 53.59 before he went 53.40.

But ever the monstrous leap, Diehl’s swim is faster than the 17-18 NAG mark set in 2013 by no less a backstroker than Ryan Murphy (53.38). Diehl has already taken down Murphy’s NAG for the 15-16 age group that had lasted since 2012.

It’s also the 11th-fastest time in the world this year across all ages.

Diehl entered his NAG performance in March, at the Speedo Sectionals in Buffalo, N.Y., with a best time of 54.90. He went 54.29 in prelims, then 53.59 at night (splits were not recorded for that swim).

Diehl’s splits Tuesday:

  • Prelims: 25.69 – 27.71 (53.40)
  • Finals: 25.57 – 27.70 (53.27)
  • Relay leaoff: 25.72 – 27.70 (53.42)

Diehl looked slightly more composed in the night swim, against the best 18-and-under swimmers from teams in the Pacific rim. While he was hugging the lane line, he picked the side away from his closest pursuer (Japan’s Hidekazu Takehara, who faded to third) and did less zig-zagging in the lane. He was ahead by more than a second over the field at the 50-meter mark, with runner-up Josh Zuchkowski out in 26.66 and Takehara out in 26.84.

Diehl turns 17 in October, at which point he can officially start his assault on the 17-18 leaderboard. He also owns the 13-14 NAG in the 100 backstroke (short-course yards) though not the 15-16 record in that.

At Junior Pan Pacs, Diehl is entered in Thursday’s 100 freestyle (where he’s seeded fourth overall and third among Americans), Friday’s 200 back (he’s the top seed by .35 seconds over countryman Keaton Jones) and Saturday’s 50 free (where he’s seeded fifth). Diehl’s best time in the 200 back is 1:57.62, which is .59 seconds off the 15-16 NAG held since 2000 by Aaron Peirsol.