Torri Huske Breaks Own 15-16 National Age Group Record in 100 Fly With Shocking Win Over Kelsi Dahlia at 2019 US Open (VIDEO)

torri-huske
Torri Huske shocked the field in the 100 fly at the US Open with a win from lane 1 and a new 15-16 NAG record. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

2019 US Open (Torri Huske)

Day Three Finals (Women’s 100 Fly)

16-year-old Torri Huske delivered perhaps the biggest upset of the meet of the 2019 US Open in Atlanta as the high school junior won the 100 butterfly final from lane 1 with a 57.48, lowering her own 15-16 National Age Group record of 57.71 from the World Juniors earlier this year. Huske took down Kelsi Dahlia, who has been the top 100 butterflyer in the United States since 2015 as the Louisville pro was second at 57.96.

Huske was also able to get under the meet record of 57.53 set by Marie Wattel in 2017.

There has not been a lot of surprises thus far at the 2019 US Open with a lot of the favorites taking care of business in the pool in Atlanta. Dahlia was the big favorite in the women’s 100 fly final alongside Egyptian Farida Osman, who won this event at the 2017 NCAAs and has been successful internationally in the 50 fly. But the 16-year-old Virginia native had other ideas as she took the race out hard in lane 1, similar to how Simone Manuel won the 100 free at Worlds this summer. And Huske was able to hang on to win over Dahlia while Amanda Kendall slipped into third at 58.25 while Virginia freshman Kate Douglass (58.48) was fourth and Osman was fifth (58.59).

The United States had been desperately searching for a second 100 butterflyer behind Dahlia because they have not had a second A-finalist in that event since 2013 World Championships. Huske may have just answered the call as she will turn 17 tomorrow and will continue with her junior year of high school.

Huske on possibility of setting age group record coming into the meet: “I mean I thought it was possible, but I didn’t really know. I was just trying to focus on my turns and my breakout.”

On swimming in lane one: “I could see like Amanda Kendall next to me, but I could just see out of the corner of my eye. I couldn’t really see much.”

On her training following the 2019 FINA World Junior Championships: “I took a little bit of time off right after. I’ve had time to recover mentally after such a long season. After that, I had a bunch of visits and stuff like that. I’ve started getting back into it.”

Huske was named the Swimming World High School Swimmer of the Year this year when she was the only high school girl to break an individual national high school record this year. She also broke Mary T. Meagher’s 15-16 NAG record this summer at the US Nationals, erasing Mary T.’s legendary 57.93 from 1981 that had stood as the world record until 1999. Huske was a quiet contender to make the 2020 Olympic Team and she may not be a secret anymore as she pushes towards her first Trials in six months.

Results:

  1. 57.48, Torri Huske, USA
  2. 57.96, Kelsi Dahlia, USA
  3. 58.25, Amanda Kendall, USA
  4. 58.48, Kate Douglass, USA
  5. 58.59, Farida Osman, EGY
  6. 58.97, Lillie Nordmann, USA
  7. 59.50, Aly Tetzloff, USA
  8. 59.54, Dakota Luther, USA

15-16 NAG Rankings (All-Time)

  1. 57.48, Torri Huske (2019)
  2. 57.87, Claire Curzan (2019)
  3. 57.93, Mary T. Meagher (1981)
  4. 57.96, Lillie Nordmann (2019)
  5. 58.11, Cassidy Bayer (2016)
  6. 58.58, Eva Merrell (2015)
  7. 58.59, Regan Smith (2018)
  8. 58.79, Kelly Naze (2010)
  9. 58.84, Gretchen Walsh (2019)
  10. 58.89, Olivia Bray (2018)

Story on Torri Huske From August 2019 Issue of Swimming World

By Dan D’Addona.

When Torri Huske started competitive swimming, she was so small, she had to wear a wetsuit to keep warm in the water. Eight years later, she is still lean, but has developed strength to go with her outstanding speed.

“It has been pretty crazy in all honesty. She has been with our team for eight years or so, since she started year-round swimming,” said Evan Stiles, Huske’s club coach. “She used to be that kid where the water was so cold and she had to wear like wet suit material to keep warm. She just progressed from there.”

A sophomore at Yorktown High School in Virginia, Huske’s speed went from progression to explosion this year. She broke the national high school record in the 100-yard butterfly and was named Swimming World’s Girls High School Swimmer of the Year.

It took a lot of hard work to get to that point.

“I started swimming when I was about 6. I wasn’t very good. I have been slowly improving over the years,” she said. I made sectionals when I was 13 and ever since then it has been a climb. My training the past couple of years has been pretty consistent. I have been moving up groups. When you go up a group, your hours increase so you work more. I haven’t started lifting yet. I feel like part of the reason is I used to be really tiny. My technique was there, but I was so small. I have gotten stronger. That is the reason I have gotten better.”

Despite maintaining her slender, 5’6″ physique, Stiles has seen that increase in strength.

“Even when she got 10-11, you didn’t think she would be crazy fast, but once she hit that 12-13, she started taking off. But she was still tiny. You would never expect the speed to come out of the body that you were looking at,” he said. “She is still only 15 years old. She is not imposing, probably 5-6. Super skinny but super ripped. She is all muscle. She is just explosively fast.”

Last year’s USA national championships provided the “wow” moment for Stiles.

“It happened at nationals and she was already pretty good,” Stiles said. “We went to short-course nationals two year ago. From the moment she hit the water in the 50 freestyle, she was a body length ahead. I will never forget that. She dropped 6-7 tenths in that race and has gone even faster since then. That stands out in my mind.”

That momentum carried into her high school season.

Torri Huske broke the national high school record in the 100 fly in February, swimming a 51.29 to break Beata Nelson’s previous mark of 51.62. Huske also finished the season with the nation’s top time in the 50 freestyle with a 21.95.

“I work hard. I guess that is why I have been able to get to this point,” she said. “I focus a lot on what I am doing and try not to compare myself to others. I think that helps. I focus on my improvements.”

Her hard work and strength has led to a huge boost of confidence.

“I feel like you have to be confident when you swim. You have to have faith in yourself to be good. You need to be able to know you can handle a race. It is a pretty big factor. If you don’t believe in yourself, you aren’t going to do it,” Huske said. “I feel like my confidence has been there. My goals were just lower. I was confident I could achieve them. Now my goals are higher and harder.”

“I think it is really important to me to continue to improve. That is what motivates me. I can see that progress and know that is what I am working for.”

One of her best moments was getting the chance to race against Dana Vollmer, one of the most prolific butterflyers in swimming history, at nationals and beat her.

“Racing Dana was really exciting. Usually I don’t think about who I am racing, but it gets me really exciting. Whenever you know you are racing someone so fast, you know you will swim faster because it is exciting,” Huske said. “I feel like I swim best when I am excited to race other people. There is so much energy there.”

“Last year at short-course nationals, she got the chance to race Dana Vollmer in the 100 fly and beat her to get third place,” Stiles said. “She was 18 and under national champion in a couple of events and Dana was super supportive of her. That was huge for her.”

Now Torri Huske is trying to balance her current goals and future goals, not looking too far ahead.

“I am not a big time goal person. I feel like it is nice to see your progress,” she said. “I know that I want to do well at trials, but other than that, I don’t have any super big expectations. My goals will probably change when I get closer to that meet.”

That is a tough balance for a coach, too.

“We talk about the 2020 Olympic trials as if that is what we are preparing for. Each meet is the next step in preparing for that. I want my kids to have a learning experience at every meet. She already has five Olympic trials cuts. She will probably make a couple more and then we have to make some decisions,” Stiles said. “I don’t think there is any doubt she could final in the 50 free and 100 fly. Then you are in the race to do it and anything can happen. We really talk about the process and letting the results happen.

“I think those thoughts are in her head. She is getting third at nationals, so she knows she is in the mix. I don’t have to put any extra motivation in there for her.”

But that is something Stiles has had to balance with Huske since she started her rise to the elite.

“Over the last couple years, she went from being a fast 14 year old to world class. A lot of that is from the confidence of growing and getting faster and beating people,” he said. It has been a teaching experience to get her to realize that she really can be this fast. She is a super sweet humble kid that hates the spotlight. She is also super intense when it comes to training and wants to race the boys. She is driven and is doing it the right way.

“She has a good future coming up.”

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