Best World Record Done at Schroeder? Read more about the best record swim ever done in the USA - done at the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center. Be sure to watch the video too - thanks for the link from Eric Newenhouse!
By Casey Barrett // Swimnetwork Columnist
By popular demand, it's time to introduce the Long Course edition of the all-time National Age Group records. Last week's Short Course Yards list drew some fine responses - but also a few grumbles from those noting the absence of long course records. Additionally, friends who grew up racing outside of the U.S. found these records baffling. To them, yards is an irrelevant America-centric measuring stick with times meaningless to the wider world. It's quite a shame as it's a safe bet that Chas Morton was very likely the fastest 10-year-old on earth back in 1982! Unfortunately, appreciation for his age group times appears impossible outside of U.S. borders.
Because the overwhelming majority of indoor competition pools in this country are configured in yards, there's little chance that American age group swimming will ever make the switch to short course meters. That means Morton's swims can never be compared with the likes of Canada's Alex Baumann - the 1984 Olympic champion in both medleys, who posted some insane age group times up north in the 70's. Or how about a young Ian Thorpe? If the Aussie great was a world champ at 15, it would be nice to be able to compare his short course times as a 12-year-old with America's fastest phenoms...
So, now let's rank the NAG records at a distance that's understood and respected by all: long course meters. The true standard of swimming excellence... Enjoy!
10. Dee Brown - 1991 - 11/12 Girls 200 Freestyle - 2:03.38
At the 1991 Junior Nationals West in Mission Viejo, CA, Dee Brown stood head and shoulders above her competition. A 12-year-old from St. Louis, Brown was 6-foot-3! She was the youngest Junior National champion that year, made her Senior Nationals cut, and posted NAG records that have remained on the books for 18-years. Brown also holds the 11-12 mark in the 400 Free, at 4:19.58, but it was her 200 that made her a 12-year-old champion at Juniors.
9. Ryan Murphy - 2006 - 10 & Under Boys 100 Backstroke - 1:11.01
This one might raise some eyebrows, as the ink is still fresh on this record. Just three years old, it doesn't compare to the longevity of other marks on this list. But Murphy looks like that special backstroker - the sort destined to pick up the tradition of Naber and Rick Carey and Krazelburg and Peirsol... and carry America's backstroke dominance into the next generation. In eleven years, this record could still be on the books, and Murphy could be in lane four of the 200 Back at the 2020 Olympic Games.
8. Mission Viejo's 10 & Under Girls - 1983 - 200 Medley Relay - 2:19.30
This record is a testament to the all-around brilliance of the Mission Viejo Nadadores back in the 1980's. Untouched for 26 years, these four girls formed the young core of one of the nation's great club programs. Up for a fun fact on backstroker Stephanie Rosenthal? Ever see the movie Casino with Robert De Niro and Sharron Stone? De Niro's character was closely based on real life handicapper Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal... Stephanie was his daughter.
7. Beth Botsford - 1994 - 11/12 Girls 100 Backstroke - 1:03.08
NBAC has long been synonmous with swimming greatness at the youngest age. Before Mr. Phelps came along, these teen sensations were invariably girls who were on top of the world before they were old enough to drive. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, 15-year-old Botsford extended that legacy with gold in the 100 Back. Two and a half years earlier, she was already well on her way - posting an incredible 1:03.0 as a 12-year-old.
6. Anthony Robinson - 1994 - 13/14 Boys 100 Breaststroke - 1:04.74
Robinson is the first high schooler ever to break 20 seconds in the 50 yard free, but breaststroke was always his signature growing up. At 14 he was an eternity away from his closest competitors. In the 1994 NAG 13/14 rankings, the Texan was a full five seconds away from the 2nd ranked 14-year-old in the land. Fellow breaststrokers from his era remember Robinson as having hair on his chest at 12, but an early puberty didn't mean he slowed with age - as Robinson went on to win NCAA sprint titles at Stanford.
5. Chas Morton - 1983 - 11/12 Boys 100 Butterfly - 58.74
Perhaps the #1 age grouper ever in short course yards, Morton also ruled the big pool when he was a kid. His 100 Fly and 200 IM remain on the 11/12 books after all these decades, but for this list it's his fly that gets the nod. Not even Michael Phelps could touch the fly of the great Morton at 12...
4. Jesse Vassallo - 1976 - 13/14 Boys 1500 Freestyle - 15:31.03
Introducing the oldest NAG record... and one that could last another 33 years. Think about that -- 33 years! World records seem ancient these days if they last for three years. Coaches of young distance stars take note - this is a record that is due to be broken. LONG overdue. There are years when the #1 time for 13/14 boys in the mile is a full minute slower than Vassallo's. Another champion to be cheated by the 1980 Olympic boycott, where he very likely would have won multiple gold, Vassallo went on to become a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team.
3. Michael Phelps - 2001 - 15/16 Boys 200 Fly - 1:54.58
To make the top three on this NAG record list, it takes an epic world record. In fact, there are notable world record swims by 16-year-olds that were left off this list. (Such as fellow NBAC'er Anita Nall in the 200 Breaststroke in 1992...) It's easy to forget after his avalanche of Olympic gold, but Phelps was already the best 200 Flyer there ever was when he was 16. For all his endless achievement in every other event, in the end, Phelps will always be a 200 Flyer - and this record likely won't be lowered for generations.
2. Janet Evans - 1988 - 15/16 Girls 800 Free - 8:17.12
The greatest female distance swimmer in history. It took almost 20 years for Evans' world records to fall in 400, 800, and the 1500. It will probably take another 20 for anyone to approach these age group standards - which were, of course, world records when she swam them. In 1988, she was the face of the Seoul Olympic games, grabbing triple gold. Back then, every time she posted seemed equally astounding, but with two decades perspective, it's her 800 that truly stands above the rest.
1. Mary T. Meagher - 1981 - 15/16 Girls 100 & 200 Butterfly - 57.93 / 2:05.96
Sports Illustrated called her 100 Fly the fifth greatest sports performance of all-time. In any sport. Turns out her 200 Fly may have been even better, with the world record lasting even longer and taking on mythic status. In this case, age is incidental. Her world records may have been eclipsed after almost two decades, but these age group marks may never fall. Madame Butterfly, at 16-years-old, back in 1981, was the state of her art.
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