2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships
The 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, which brings together swimmers from Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, and Singapore, is being hosted by the U.S. in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is open to athletes aged 13-18 as of December 31st of the competition year. Each nation is limited to two athletes in the scored A final and two in the B final.
We’ve come to the final session of the meet, with champions to be crowned in the girls’ and boys’ 200 IM, 50 free, 200 breast, and 400 medley relay, as well as the girls’ 1500 free and boys’ 800 free.
In the 200 IM, Japan’s Mio Narita was the top qualifier this morning with 2:13.59. She won the 400 IM with a meet record and is favored to sweep the IMs. Canada’s Ashley McMillan and USA’s Gracie Weyant qualified second and third, 1 and 2 seconds behind Narita, respectively. In the boys’ final, Maximus Williamson of the United States, the silver medalist in the 400 IM, will occupy the middle lane, having posted the top qualifying time of 2:00.90. Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsushita, who won the B final in the 400 IM, ranked second this morning with 2:01.01.
USA’s Erin Gemmell, who has thus far won the 100/200/400 free –with meet-record times in each of them– is going for a full set of sprint and mid-distance freestyle titles. She went a lifetime best of 25.42 in heats for the second-fastest time of the morning. Australia’s Milla Jansen went 25.39 to lead the field headed into tonight’s final. USA’s Anna Moesch and Australia’s Hannah Casey were also sub-26 this morning and could come away with the title. Australia’s Flynn Southam, who has broken meet records so far in the 100 free and 200 free, is –like Gemmell– in search of the final jewel for his crown: the 50 free gold. He put up the third-fastest time of the morning (22.75), behind USA’s Diggory Dillingham (22.69) and Kaii Winkler (22.74).
Three Japanese breaststrokers came into the meet with 2:27s in the girls’ 200 breast but only two of them could make the final. Kotomi Kato (2:28.35) and Yuri Matsumoto (2:29.46) qualified first and third, while USA’s Piper Enge, the 100 breast champion, and Gracie Weyant swam the second and fourth times of the morning. In the boys’ race, Japan’s Yamato Okadome (2:13.77) and Asahi Kawashima (2:14.05) were first and third in heats, while top-seeded Nicholas Mahabir of Singapore qualified second (2:13.86).
Australia’s Tiana Kritzinger comes in with the fastest seed time in the girls’ 1500 free, 16:20.96. Niko Aoki (16:23.02) and Michael Mattes of USA (16:23.44) will challenge her on either side. USA’s Jillian Cox swam the time to beat in the earlier heats (16:29.16) and could conceivably make the podium. Australia’s Joshua Staples, who has already won the 1500 free and 400 free –the latter with a meet record– will seek to complete his collection of distance free titles in the boys’ 800 final. Seeded first with 7:58.26, he will have to fend off challenges from USA’s Alec Enyeart (7:58.68) and Japan’s Hiroyoshi Miyaki (8:00.80).
Girls 200 Meter Individual Medley – Final
- Pending WJR: 2:08.70 – Summer McIntosh, CAN (2022)
- Jr Pan Pac: 2:10.79 – Dagny Knutson, USA (2009)
Mio Narita of Japan made it a sweep of the IM events with her 2:11.22 come-from-behind victory in the 200 IM. In fifth place after the butterfly, Narita moved into fourth place on the backstroke, then surged into second place on the breast. Her split of 37.5 was the fastest in the final by two seconds. She then came home in 30.6 and claim the win by almost two body lengths.
Canada’s Ella Jansen had been first to turn fly-to-back, followed by teammate Ashley McMillan. McMillan tore through the backstroke, splitting 32.5 to take the lead. USA’s Teagan O’Dell also swam an outstanding backstroke leg; she moved past Jansen into second place. Her teammate Gracie Weyant shot past O’Dell and Jansen on the breaststroke and turned for home in third place behind McMillan and Narita.
After Narita, McMillan finished second with 2:13.31, while Weyant (2:14.36), O’Dell (2:14.45), and Jansen (2:14.55) had a photo finish for third.
Boys 200 Meter Individual Medley – Final
- Jr World: 1:56.99 – Hubert Kos, HUN (2021)
Jr Pan Pac: 1:59.51 – Chase Kalisz, USA (2012)
- Maximus Williamson, USA – 1:59.01
- Tomoyuki Matsushita, Japan – 2:00.64
- William Petric, Australia – 2:00.82
William Petric of Australia was first out with a quick butterfly leg; he was the only sub-26 with 25.80. USA’s Maximus Williamson was second, followed by Canada’s Benjamin Loewen and Evan Chee of Australia. Williamson blasted a 29.5 on the backstroke leg to take over the lead from Petric, who remained in second place ahead of Loewen.
Tomoyuki Matsushita surged on the breaststroke and joined the leader pack with a 34.5 split. Williamson led Petric by half a second; Matsushita was about eight-tenths further back.
Williamson and Matsushita picked up the pace on the freestyle, coming home with 27.8 and 28.1 respectively. Williamson stopped the clock at 1:59.01 to establish a new meet record. He also took down the American 15-16 National Age Group record, previously held by Carson Foster (1:59.45). Matsushita was second in 2:00.64, just touching out Petric (2:00.82).
Girls 50 Meter Freestyle – Final
- Jr World: 24.17 – Claire Curzan, USA (2021)
- Jr Pan Pac: 24.74 – Yolane Kukla, Australia (2010)
Australia’s Milla Jansen took .10 off her seed time to win the girls’ 50 free in 25.19. Jansen was a nose ahead the entire race, holding off challenges from USA’s Anna Moesch (25.32) and Erin Gemmell (25.46).
Jansen was second to Gemmell in the final of the 100 free on Day 2 and she won the consolation final of the 200 free on Day 1.
Boys 50 Meter Freestyle – Final
- Jr World: 21.75 – Michael Andrew, USA (2017)
- Jr Pan Pac: 22.20 – Paul Powers, USA (2014)
Australia’s Flynn Southam completed his sweep of the sprint freestyles with a 22.36 win in the 50. After having qualified third for the final, Southam left nothing to chance. He went out quickly and established about a head-and-shoulders lead over the field by the halfway mark.
Girls 200 Meter Breaststroke – Final
- Jr World: 2:19.64 – Viktoria Gunes, TUR (2015)
- Jr Pan Pac: 2:25.46 – Zoe Bartel, USA (2016)
It looked like musical chairs in the middle lanes of the pool, as Japan’s Kotomi Kato and Yuri Matsumoto and USA’s Piper Enge circled through the leadership of the race, each holding the lead at some point. Kato went out first in 33.98 and led by about four-tenths at the 50. Enge took over at the 100 wall thanks to a second 50 of 37.1. Matsumoto’s 37.6 was the fastest third 50, which propelled her to the front of the pack.
The last 50 could have gone either way, but it was Kato who took control and got her hand to the wall nearly a full second ahead of the others. She won the gold medal with a 2:26.55, avenging her second-place finish in the 100 breast.
Matsumoto and Enge both came home in 38.0s. That gave Matsumoto the silver medal with 2:27.46. Enge earned the bronze with 2:27.93.
Boys 200 Meter Breaststroke – Final
- Jr World: 2:09.39 – Haiyang Qin, CHN (2017)
- Jr Pan Pac: 2:08.03 – Akihiro Yamaguchi, Japan (2012)
- Asahi Kawashima, Japan – 2:11.18
- Yamato Okadome, Japan – 2:12.19
- Nicholas Mahabir, Singapore – 2:12.50
As in the girls’ race, the boys’ 200 breast was a three-way contest with a few twists and turns along the way. Yamato Okadome of Japan led at the 50 with 29.80; he was followed closely by Singapore’s Nicholas Mahabir. Asahi Kawashima of Japan was half a body behind.
Mahabir made his move on the second 50, splitting 33.4 and taking over the lead from Okadome. Mahabir and Okadome went 34.2 and 34.3 on the third 50, but Kawashima wasn’t out of the game yet. His third 50 was even faster than his second, and he outsplit the leaders by over half a second with 33.7.
Kawashima (2:11.18) came home in 33.7 to snatch the victory away from Mahabir. Okadome (2:12.19) also got past Mahabir to give Japan a 1-2 finish. Mahabir earned a second medal for Singapore with his third-place finish (2:12.50).
Girls 1500 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat
- Jr World: 15:28.36 – Katie Ledecky, USA (2014)
- Jr Pan Pac: 16:08.09 – Lani Pallister, Australia (2018)
- Michaela Mattes, USA – 16:24.02
- Ruka Takezawa, Japan – 16:25.19
- Tiana Kritzinger, Australia – 16:26.63
Third-seeded Michaela Mattes of USA jumped out front to lead the field at the first wall. She built up a significant lead by the halfway mark, leading by 4.4 seconds. Behind her, Tiana Kritzinger of Australia and Japan’s Ruka Takezawa were matching stroke for stroke in a battle for second place.
Mattes moved from 32-highs to 33-lows as she started the second half of the race. Takezawa, meanwhile, began her descent. She began outsplitting Mattes by several tenths per 50 and by the 1100, she had cut the lead to just over 2 seconds. She gained another second on Mattes by the 1300, and was less than a second behind the American at the 1400. As they heard the bells announce the last 100 meters, Mattes dug in and found another gear. She came home in 32.1/32.0 to secure the win. Takezawa’s final hundred was 32.9/31.4 but it wasn’t enough to run down Mattes.
Kritzinger, who had been within striking distance of the leaders, sprinted home in 31.8/30.6, but it was too late to catch them. Mattes won with 16:24.02, ahead of Takezawa (16:25.19) and Kritzinger (16:26.63).
Boys 800 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat
- Jr World: 7:45.67 – Mack Horton, AUS (2013)
- Jr Pan Pac: 7:55.16 – Robert Finke, USA (2016)
- Joshua Staples, Australia – 7:56.29
- Hiroyoshi Miyaki, Japan – 7:57.64
- Alex Enyeart, USA – 8:02.92
Australia’s Joshua Staples completed the trifecta of distance freestyle gold medals with a 7:56.29 win in the 800 free. Staples swam a patient race, letting Japan’s Hiroyoshi Miyaki set the pace. Miyaki led from the opening bell to the 650, with Staples at his heels throughout.
USA’s Alec Enyeart was swimming even with Japan’s Riku Yamaguchi in third place, about a body length behind Miyaki and Staples.
Staples began his descent at the 500. He split 29.6/30.2, 29.3/29.5, and 29.0/28.1 to finish. He pulled even with Miyaki at the 650 and was half a body ahead by the 700. Staples wound up winning by just over a body length, 7:56.29 to 7:57.64.
Enyeart, meanwhile, pulled away from Yamaguchi at the 600 and held on at third place until the end.
Girls 4×100 Meter Medley Relay – Timed Finals
- Jr World: 3:58.38 – Canada (J Hannah, F Knelson, P Oleksiak, T Ruck) (2017)
Jr Pan Pac: 4:02.33 – USA (P Bacon, E Weiss, L Nordmann, G Walsh) (2018)
- United States – 4:02.14
- Japan – 4:04.01
- Australia – 4:05.84
Team USA concluded the girls’ meet with a championship record in the 400 medley relay. Maggie Wanezek led off with 1:00.66. Piper Enge, the 100 breast champion, went 1:09.30 on the second leg. 100 fly gold medalist Alex Shackell split a 58.45 on the third leg. And 100 free champion and meet record-holder Erin Gemmell anchored in 53.73. The Americans took .19 off the previous meet mark that had stood since 2018.
Japan came in second place with 4:04.01. Australia was third with 4:05.84.
Boys 4×100 Meter Medley Relay – Timed Finals
- Jr World: 3:33.19 – Russian Federation (N Zuev, V Gerasimenko, A Minakov, A Shchegolev) (2019)
Jr Pan Pac: 3:37.67 – Japan (T Kawamoto, A Yamaguchi, D Seto, K Hirai) (2012)
- United States – 3:36.65
- Australia – 3:36.96
- Japan – 3:40.35
Daniel Diehl (54.24), Zhier Fan (1:01.52), Thomas Heilman (51.71), and Kaii Winkler (49.18) combined to win the 400 medley relay take down the meet record with 3:36.65.
Australia nearly caught the Americans at the end, thanks to a 47.87 anchor from Flynn Southam, but they finished second with 3:36.96 – also under the previous meet mark of 3:37.67 from 2012.
Japan placed third with 3:40.35.