Jack Conger to star for the US at Junior Pan Pacs

Jack Conger to star for the US at Junior Pan Pacs

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Jack Conger, 17, of the Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club will be one of the biggest names competing for the United States at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championship meet, Aug. 23-26, in Hawaii, alongside local standouts Sarah Haase (RMSC) and Andrew Seliskar (CUBU). Prelims begin each day at 3 pm eastern time; finals at  11 pm. Watch live here.

Conger will swim four individual events — the 50 and 100-meter freestyles, 100 backstroke, and his signature event, the 200 backstroke. He is the top seed in both backstroke events, but is closely followed in each by Takeshi Kawamoto and Keita Sunama of Japan. Like Conger, Sunama finalled in the 200 backstroke at his country’s Olympic trials and is a threat to steal gold.

Already a lock to lead off the medley relay, Conger could swim as many as six events if he gets the nod in the 400 freestyle relay.

Jack Conger is the independent high school national record holder in the 500-yard freestyle. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

At the beginning of August, Conger placed second at the U.S. Open in the 200 backstroke and fourth in the 100 butterfly, continuing to show an aptitude for conserving energy in prelims and dropping time in finals. 

The two-time All-Met Swimmer of the Year was already considered one of the top recruits in the country heading into his senior year at Good Counsel, but broke out this summer as more than just an elite level age group and high school swimmer after reaching the finals in the 100 and 200 backstroke events at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Also with a chance to medal, Sarah Haase — the 2010-2011 All-Met Swimmer of the Year — is scheduled to swim the 100 and 200 breaststroke events. Haase is ranked third in the 100 event and could jump up to win the event with a good race, potentially earning a spot on the medley relay. This will be her last age group meet before heading to Stanford University for her freshman year.

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15-year-old Andrew Seliskar is taking full advantage of his first junior national team by entering seven events. Seliskar qualified for the team in the 200 IM, but the rules allow for swimmers to enter as many events as they want once named to the team. At the moment, he is scheduled to swim the 50 and 200 freestyles, the 100 and 200 flys, and the 200 and 400 IMs, as well as the 10-kilometer open water event.

Most of these events will be about gaining experience for the young standout, who has never competed at the international level. Seliskar made waves at the Olympic Trials as one of the youngest male competitors in the field, nearly advancing to the semifinals in the 200 IM. Last week at Junior Nationals, Seliskar won both IM events, shaving three seconds off his previous best in the 400 IM for a year-to-date drop of 13 seconds.

Andrew Seliskar wins the final of the 200-meter IM at Junior Nationals.

CUBU will also be represented by 2012 PVS Coach of the Year Yuri Suguiyama who was named as one of the four men’s team coaches by USA Swimming. Suguiyama is responsible for training 15-year-old Katie Ledecky who won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Other swimmers to watch are Michael Phelps’ training partner Chase Kalisz in both IM events and 13-year-old Becca Mann (Clearwater, Fl.) who is seeded first in the 800 and 1,500 freestyle events, second in the 400 freestyle and 400 IM, and third in the 200 butterfly, and is also slotted to compete in the 10-kilometer on Monday.


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