At the age of 12, American swimmer Kayla Han of Brea, California, made history by becoming one of the youngest people to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming.
After finishing the 400-meter individual medley (IM) in 4 minutes and 50.70 seconds at the Speedo Grand Challenge in May, 13-year-old Han qualified for Wave I of the Olympic Trials.
13 Year Old Swimmer Olympic Trials
The 12 year old swimmer not only made it through to the finals at the trials, but she also set a new National Age Group record in the 400-meter individual medley by beating out Elizabeth Beisel, who had previously held the record in the 11-12 age group. In 2005, Beisel ran the race in a record time of 4 minutes and 55.35 seconds.
On June 2, a few days after her birthday, Han travelled to Omaha, Nebraska to compete in the Olympic Trials.
She ran the race in 4 minutes and 50 seconds, six seconds faster than her previous best. This was a whole second quicker than the trial entry cutoff time.
Even at the age of 13, she is the youngest of the 1400 qualifiers, having done it when she was just 12.
Kayla’s coach from five years ago at her club La Mirada Armada, Kathy Hall, accompanied her to Omaha to assist prepare because she qualified so late. Several coaches are present, and the club has swimmers participating in both heats.
Han also Set a Number of Records for his Age Category throughout the Weekend.
After running a 9:06.85 in February of 2020, Weinstein was able to shave off 21 seconds and set a new personal record. Given her previous finishes in events after her comeback to racing, this improvement does not come as much of a surprise.
Since then, she has swum at a long course meet, the Richmond leg of the US Open series, where she competed in the 200-, 400-, and 1500-meter freestyle events only.
Although USA Swimming does not keep records of individual swimmers’ times after 2010, Weinstein’s swim places him as the sixth-fastest 13-year-old in the event since 2010.
Kayla Han Makes Waves in the US with 2024 Paris Olympic Games:
The teen in the blue bikini and white helmet didn’t even slow down. Although she could feel the fire spreading to her lungs and shoulders, Kayla Han’s arms continued to carry her forward, one stroke after another.
A crowd with low social capacity and psychological distance applauded. It was clear to Han that she was closing the gap.
Kayla’s incredible comeback in the final 15 metres of the Wave I 400m individual medley B final at last year’s Olympic trials went viral on YouTube and propelled her to the forefront of the swimming world. It served as Han’s unofficial coming-out celebration and the most-viewed clip from the 2021 Olympic trials.
Swim blogs have been following her times at every competition since she finished the Olympic trials in 4 minutes, 51 seconds. Kayla was the youngest person to qualify for the Olympic trials last year, and she holds many national age group records.
I think Kayla is someone who will be a leader on Team USA and possibly at a very young age,” Beisel said.
Beisel found it remarkable that the teenager was unfazed by the late start. Kayla had no qualms about racing against opponents who were ten or more years her senior.
It’s important to take it slow with the kids, as Beisel put it. Don’t get the horse before the cart; we want them to succeed and develop into great athletes.
Phoebe has shown an interest in participating in the upcoming Olympics, which will be hosted in Tokyo, Japan, during the summer of 2020. Individual medley (IM), a race incorporating all four strokes, is Phoebe’s second-best event after backstroke.