Junior Nationals

       It was a standout trip to Iowa to compete at the Western Junior National meet for Sarah Nicholls and Jon Archer last weekend. The meet features the 1000 or so fastest 18 and under swimmers in American west of the Mississippi, and saw several national age group records fall amidst some unbelievably fast swimming. My favorite non-CAST swim of the meet was getting to witness a 14:38 mile to win the meet on the men’s side-that’s averaging under 27 seconds per 50 for 33 50's in a row!

         Sarah and Jon each competed in 4 races, and both rose to the level of competition around them. Sarah broke her own team record in the 100 breast, and is now just .4 seconds away from the fastest swim in IES history for that event. Sarah’s morning swim got her into consolation finals, where she finished 11th. She also made finals in the 200 breaststroke, finishing 14th, with 2 more top 10 performance times under her belt. She was right at her best times in her other 2 events, the 200 IM and 100 fly, only behind her times from Finals at sectionals last spring. All in all, it was another successful trip at her last winter juniors!

         It was Jon’s first trip to Junior Nationals, having qualified this summer, and he made the most of it. Jon started off with a 2 second drop in his 200 IM and another nearly 2 second drop in the 100 breast (both top-10 performance marks), and added a .4 drop in his 100 back which he just swam at High School state one month ago. Jon’s best race, though, was his final event of the meet-he dropped a whopping 4 seconds in his 200 back, earning a top 24 finish and a finals swim. Jon would finish 24th in the event after coming in seeded 93rd, with his finals time not quite as fast as his morning swim but still well under his previous best. Jon’s 200 backstroke cements him as the team’s second fastest swimmer ever, and he now owns the 6th and 10th fastest swims in team history.

         It was a real privilege to watch these seniors compete at the highest level; Sarah and Jon represented the team and themselves extremely well! They will be well set up to compete for the overall top spots at Sectionals come March.