14-year-old Tuggle wins three U.S. junior national swimming titles

Claire Tuggle, who will be a freshman at Clovis North and swims for the Clovis Swim Club, won three events (400 free, 400 IM, 200 IM) at the Junior National Championships at Irvine. (photo by Jack Spitser)

14-year-old Claire Tuggle, a soon-to-be freshman at Clovis North, won three events at the 2018 Speedo Junior National Championships at Irvine, continuing her upward rise in the American swimming world.

Tuggle, who swims for the Clovis Swim Club, won the 400 free, 400 IM and the 200 IM – and in the meantime set some new high marks.

With her time in the 200 IM (2:15.02, beating her PR by nine seconds), Tuggle is now the second fastest American ever in the 13-14 age group, only behind Missy Franklin’s 2:12.73.

In addition, Tuggle’s 400 free time of 4:10.11 places her fourth all-time in the 13-14 age group, a position she already held at 4:10.17, a time she posted at the U-18 National Championships event a week earlier.

“On the first 100 I wanted to go under 4:10 but I didn’t feel it so I just went through it,” Tuggle said after the meet. “I just felt, ‘Just swim to win’ and I did. I was way happy with it.”

Her 400 IM time of 4:41.91 is good for No. 5 all-time in the U.S. for the 13-14 age group.

“I was really, really happy with that because I’ve trained a lot for the IM,” Tuggle said. “It’s hard so I’m happy to see that pay off.”

Tuggle, who turned 14 on July 8, won the 200 free at the U-18 National Championships and posted a time of 1:58.59 in the prelims, good for second fastest all-time in the 13-14 age group. Her previous best time was 1:59.11, from the 2018 Irish Open in April.

However, in the final at junior nationals she placed third with a time of 2:00.80, behind Erin Gemmell (2:00.70) and Miranda Heckman (2:00.77).

Also representing the Clovis Swim Club at the Junior National Championships was Clovis High senior Averee Preble, Clovis North senior Ben Forbes, Clovis West senior Abby Samansky, freshman Isabella Abrajan and sophomore Austin Lane.

The team of Preble, Samansky, Abrajan and Tuggle placed third in the 4×200 free relay with a time of 8:15.31.

Tuggle was also named to the Junior Pan Pacific team and will swim in Fiji Aug. 23-27.

Paul Meadors :