Looking for the next Missy Franklin-breakout star for Rio in 2016? She may have just popped up in California, and she’s the perfectly teenaged face you see directly below.
As reported by the excellent swimming website SwimSwam, Lindsey Engel broke an existing 28-year California record in the 50-meter freestyle, racing to a 22.56-second time in the preliminary round of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Division 3 championship meet. Engel also broke the CIF Southern Section Division 3 record in the 100-meter freestyle with a 49.06-second time.
The teen turned in both performances in preliminary action at the CIF Southern Sectional meet, which was held at Riverside Aquatics Complex in Riverside, Calif. She’ll get more chances to top her mark later this year at the state meet and state open meet.
While Engle’s time alone would be worthy of national attention, the name that she knocked off the top of the California record books only enhances that reputation: Legendary Olympian Dara Torres was the existing 50-meter record holder with a time of 22.69 seconds, set in 1985.
As one might expect, Engel’s performance was far superior to everyone else in the field. In fact, it was nearly 2 seconds faster, an absolutely astonishing threshold of victory for a race that was just 50 meters long.
Engel is a junior at Crean (Calif.) Lutheran High, so she still has another year of high school in front of her before she heads off for collegiate swimming somewhere. At the same time, she’ll likely be preparing to compete for a spot on the national team, a goal which is still some years away at the very least.
Naturally, it’s far too early to predict an appearance in Rio for Engel, let alone a medal. The 50-meters is traditionally one of the more competitive events to earn a place in, so Engel will have plenty of work cut out for her. Nonetheless, if she continues to turn in times like the ones she produced at the CIF Southern Sectionals, she’ll be firmly in the conversation, and potentially in the Olympic pool as well.