LumaLanes Performance of the Week: Team USA Closes World Juniors With A Bang

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This week’s Performance Of The Week, sponsored by LumaLanes, goes to the men’s 400 medley relay team of Drew Kibler, Reece Whitley, Cody Bybee and Matthew Willenbring who broke the world junior record in the a dramatic race to close out the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships.

The team finished first in 3:36.15, 0.29 ahead of the world junior and championship record set by Russia back in 2015. Less than three tenths separated the top three teams, making this one of the closest races of the entire meet. To add to the drama, all three of the medal winning relays either tied or slipped under the previous world junior record.

Team USA never led throughout the race, starting off third after the backstroke leg and moving up to second through the breaststroke and butterfly. Buoyed by Whitley’s 59.32 breaststroke split and Bybee’s 52.66 butterfly split, the Americans were able to stay in the race before Willenbring passed by Italy and held off a closing Russian anchor with his phenomenal 48.66 split. That was half a second faster than his bronze medal performance in the 100 free earlier in the night and a huge statement swim to bring Team USA the gold.

The relay win and world junior record were an exclamation point on a successful last night of swimming for Team USA, with the Americans bringing home a total of ten medals on the final night of competition and leaving the meet with a bevy of international experience.

Congratulations Drew Kibler, Reece Whitley, Cody Bybee and Matthew Willenbring on earning Swimming World’s Performance of the Week!

Special Thanks to LumaLanes for sponsoring Swimming World’s Performance of the Week.

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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