Maximus Williamson Lowers 200 Free NAG Record, Leads Lakeside to Relay Record at Junior Nationals

Maximus Williamson -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Maximus Williamson Lowers 200 Free NAG Record, Leads Lakeside to Relay Record at Junior Nationals

Already established as one of the top teenage swimmers in the country, Maximus Williamson improved even further in the 200 freestyle Tuesday evening at U.S. Junior Nationals in Irvine, Calif., as he cut a half-second off his own 15-16 National Age Group record in the event. And this time, he lifted his team to another record in the process.

In June at U.S. Nationals, Williamson swam a time of 1:47.62 in the event to break 1:48 for the first time and beat Luca Urlando’s previous NAG record. Now, Williamson is down to 1:47.29, posting the effort on the leadoff leg of Lakeside Aquatic Club’s 800 free relay. Following Williamson was Cooper LucasRiver Paulk and Max Hatcher, with the quarter checking in at 7:21.43. That beat the 15-18 NAG record of 7:22.13 established by SwimMAC Carolina’s team of Tim ConneryLogan ZuckerJacob Wimberly and Baylor Nelson two years ago.

Also of note in that event, Carmel finished second in 7:26.73 after Aaron Shackell led off in 1:47.55, only three tenths behind Williamson.

The individual swim of the evening came from Kayla Han, a 15-year-old from La Mirada Armada already established on the national scene, having finished sixth in the 400 IM at U.S. Nationals in June. At Juniors, Han cruised to a four-and-a-half second win while knocking six tenths off her lifetime best.

Club Wolverine’s Hannah Bellard led after butterfly, but Han stormed ahead on backstroke and took a commanding lead on breast. Han finished in 4:42.32, surpassing her previous best of 4:42.96, while Bellard earned her second runnerup finish of the meet after previously coming in behind Tess Howley in the 200 butterfly. Bellard held off Edina Swim Club’s Katie McCarthy for third, 4:46.83 to 4:47.31.

Long Island Aquatic Club’s Sean Green never trailed in the boys’ 400 IM, but he had to hold on in an epic race over the final 200 meters. Ahead by two seconds after backstroke, the field closed considerably on breaststroke, with Tualatin Hills’ Diego Nosack turning into the freestyle only five hundredths behind Green. The duo was still deadlocked at the 350-meter mark, with Evolution Racing’s Humberto Najera now joining the fight as all three men flipped with in a tenth.

But Green restored order with a sensational 28.33 final split. After swimming a best time by two-and-a-half seconds in prelims to qualify first, Green cut another 1.63 seconds to drop to 4:18.62 in his winning effort, with Najera second in 4:19.45 and Nosack third in 4:19.84.

Mason Manta Rays’ Jason Zhao topped the boys’ 100 free in 49.39, finishing just ahead of Carmel’s Aaron Shackell (49.52) while Jersey Wahoos’ Henry McFadden, fresh off the plane from Japan following his first World Championships, took third in 49.61. McFadden, who earned a silver medal in Fukuoka for his role on the U.S. men’s 800 free relay in prelims, was the only man in the field who has ever broken 49, with a lifetime best of 48.97, but he was unsurprisingly off that time while coming off the biggest meet of his life and a quick turnaround plus travel.

Seven swimmers broke 56 in the girls’ 100 free, with Crow Canyon’s Bailey Hartman getting the win in 55.13 over Pikes Peak’s Madi Mintenko (55.34). Club Wolverine’s Lucy Mehraban took third (55.70). The girls’ 800 free relay went to Long Island Aquatic Club’s Lily Gormsen, Howley, Katie Yee and Cavan Gormsen, with Howley posting the quickest split at 1:59.94.

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