By Mike Gustafson//Contributor | Monday, July 30, 2018
As the Phillips 66 Summer National Championships comes to a close, another competitive swim meet is heating up under the southern Californian sun.
This week marks the beginning of the 2018 Speedo Junior National Championships. The nation’s best up-and-coming teenagers converge in Irvine, California to compete just a day after Phillips 66 Nationals ended. Expect this next generation of swimmers to swim fast and begin to make names for themselves. We may see Junior Nationals records fall. We may see new, unheralded swimmers take top podiums. We may see a new crop of hungry swimmers chase their aquatic dreams.
These are the same swimmers who will, one day, go on to become National Teamers, NCAA Champions, and even National Champions. This meet is a fantastic arena to test one’s swimming prowess against competitors of the same age. It is also a fantastic meet to watch, as most races come down to the last few meters.
As always, here are five storylines to watch…
1. Claire Tuggle is a favorite in many events.
At just 14-years-old, Clovis Swim Club swimmer Claire Tuggle could be one of those swimmers to watch in the coming years at the national level. This week, Tuggle is the favorite in several events. Watch the 200 freestyle, as Tuggle could approach Lia Neal’s meet record of 1:58.26. Tuggle could also make a splash in the 400 free as well as the 200 IM.
2. Alexander Zettle looks to dominate 400 freestyle.
He’s already the meet record-holder in this event. This week, Alexander Zettle hopes to break his own personal meet record set last year in the 400 freestyle. Could he perhaps break 3:50? Doing so would be huge for the Lakeside Aquatic swimmer.
3. One of the best swimmers of the meet is Carson Foster.
The Mason Manta Rays swimmer is a backstroke phenom. At only 16-years-old, Foster could win both backstroke events at this week’s Juniors. More than that, Foster has an opportunity to once again show the country that he could continue the tradition of great American backstrokers. Watch Foster in the backstroke events this week, but especially the 100 backstroke.
4. The Nordmann sisters in the 100 fly.
Lillie and Lucie Nordmann, 15 and 18-years-old, respectively, look to both finish in the top-three of the 100 meter butterfly. The Magnolia Aquatic athletes should both be in the running for the top butterfly podium spot, as each are seeded under a minute. It would be fun to see the two side-by-side heading into the finals of this event.
5. The Foster brothers in the 200 IM.
Yet another pair of siblings race each other in the men’s 200 IM, setting up a showdown between two of the meet’s most dynamic swimmers, Carson and Jake Foster. The two Mason Manta Rays brothers are seeded 1-2 in the 200 IM, and both of them could take down Kyle Whitaker’s 2009 meet record of 2:00.07. The younger Carson is seeded first, but Jake, the breaststroke specialist, could make a late run to take the lead. Should be a very fun race to watch.