U.S. Junior Nationals: With Gold in 200 IM, Justina Kozan Gains Momentum For Duel in the Pool

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U.S. Junior Nationals: With Gold in 200 IM, Justina Kozan Gains Momentum For Duel in the Pool

Later this month, Justina Kozan will get the chance to represent Team USA against Australia at the Duel in the Pool in Sydney. As a tuneup for that opportunity, the Southern Cal recruit captured the gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley at the United States Junior Nationals on Friday night.

Sitting in third place through the opening two legs of butterfly and backstroke, Kozan made a major move on the breaststroke lap and took first place in 2:13.27. Kozan finished comfortably ahead of runnerup Emily Brown, who touched the wall in 2:14.93, the only other mark under 2:15. Kozan split 39.75 for the breaststroke, the fastest effort in the field, and closed on the freestyle leg in 29.96, the only mark under 30 seconds.

A terrific three-way battle unfolded in the men’s 200 individual medley, with Will Modglin emerging as the winner over Nate Germonprez. Both recruits of the University of Texas, Modglin had a hundredth of a second lead over Germonprez at the 150-meter mark and the pair battled on the closing freestyle leg. Modglin got the victory in 2:01.40, with Germonprez just behind in 2:01.44. In third place was Josh Zuchowski, who actually had the lead going into the freestyle, but fell back to touch in 2:01.92.

Modglin was back in the water later in the session, notching a second-place finish behind Diggory Dillingham in the 50 freestyle. Dillingham cruised to the gold medal in 22.50 while Modglin, showing his versatility, was next in 22.80. Third place went to Ben Scholl in 22.85.

The final of the women’s 1500 freestyle came down to the touch, with Hayden Miller edging Chloe Kim, 16:28.28 to 16:28.77. Kim had an advantage over Miller at the 1400-meter mark, but Miller had the better closing speed and moved ahead at the 1450 and kept that position through to the wall.

In the women’s 50 freestyle, the slimmest margin separated titlist Lily Christianson and Kristina Paegle. Christianson spanned her length of the pool at the William Woollett Aquatic Center in 25.43, followed by Paegle in 25.44. The bronze medal went to Lucy Thomas in 25.50.

The men’s 800 freestyle was decided at the finish, as Sean Green (8:05.34) withstood a furious charge by Mason Edmund (8:05.36). Edmund closed in 27.76, compared to the 28.29 of Green, but Green’s cushion was enough to preserve his triumph.

 

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