— Jerry Briggs (@JerryBriggs) July 29, 2018
I first met Zach Yeadon three years ago.
He was entered in most of the freestyle races when the U.S. junior and senior nationals were held at the Northside Swim Center.
Yeadon, formerly of Reagan High School, has come a long way since then.
He placed a surprising fourth Saturday night in the 400-meter free at the Phillips 66 National Championships.
The U.S. summer nationals are being held in Irvine, California.
Trailing in third place early in the race, Yeadon made a move and surged into the lead at the 200-meter mark.
But in the final 200, the 19-year-old rising sophomore at Notre Dame couldn’t hold on.
Zane Grothe, who took the lead at 250 meters, went on to win in 3 minutes and 46.53 seconds.
Grant Shoults claimed second in 3:46.90. Chris Wieser swam 3:48.92 for third place, followed by Yeadon in 3:49.09.
Yeadon, known primarily as a distance specialist, placed 10th in the 1,500-meter free on Wednesday.
He entered the 400 on Saturday with the 22nd-best qualifying time — a 3:53.10 — and broke it twice.
First, he swam 3:51.01 in the morning preliminaries for the No. 8 time of the session to claim a spot in the championship finals.
Next, Yeadon competed against the nation’s best in the night finals and lowered his time by another two seconds.
In the first 200 meters, he had the lead at 1:52.81. In the second half, he faded. But, still, Yeadon had executed another 2-second time drop.
So, what’s in store for this young man?
If Yeadon gains enough stamina in coming years to kick at the end of the 400 as well as he starts it, he could challenge for a spot on the next U.S. Olympic team.
Yeadon is swimming the national meet for Alamo Area Aquatics under the guidance of coach Lou Walker (pictured in photo above).
Former O’Connor star Mikey Calvillo, 17, also made his mark in the 400 free. He swam 3:55.56 for fourth place in the ‘D’ consolation final.
— Michael Litzinger (@mlitzinger) November 18, 2017
Notre Dame highlights
Yeadon, a Reagan graduate, was named Notre Dame men’s swimming Most Valuable Swimmer in 2017-18.
He equaled the best Notre Dame finish at the NCAA championship, placing fourth in the 1,650-yard freestyle to claim first-team, All-America honors.
Yeadon established program records in the 500 (4:12.74), the 1000 (8:51.16) and 1,650-yard (14:34.60) freestyle.
Yeadon won a state championship as a Regan High School senior in 2017. Swimming the final individual race of his prep career, he claimed a gold medal in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:19.13. He also took third in the 200 free.