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Whittle Sub-50 Again at EYOF

30 July 2019

Jacob 'The Jet' Whittle living up to his nickname with an incredible performance at EYOF.

Fourteen-year-old British F-Teamer Jacob Whittle has added yet another outstanding meet to an already unbelievable year. He will return from the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Baku, Azerbaijan with five medals - two relay golds, two relay silvers, and an individual silver - just two weeks after a similarly staggering performance at European Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Whittle began his meet by breaking the EYOF record in the 100m freestyle in the heats, tying his personal best time from Kazan with a 49.97. While he ended up touching for silver in the final behind fifteen-year-old Romanian David Popovici's blistering 49.82, this solidifies his status as the fastest fourteen-year-old 100m freestyler ever. For context, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Chalmers was a 50.86 when he was fourteen. And last week's world champion, Caeleb Dressel, never broke 52 at that age.

Though he just missed the podium in the 50m freestyle with his finals time of 23.25, Whittle's semifinal time of 23.11 was a personal best and therefore a new British age group record. It is worth noting that no other fourteen-year-old has ever broken 24. Meanwhile, in the 200m freestyle, his time of 1:52.71 was right on his personal best and good enough to qualify 2nd for the semifinal. However, his teammate Ed Mildred swam a 1:51.38 that morning, and only the fastest swimmer from each nation is permitted to move on from the heats.

For all his individual success, it was in relays that Whittle displayed a level consistency well beyond his age. He won a gold medal and set a new EYOF record as a member of the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay, which he led off in a 50.45. Then, anchoring the 4x100m men's freestyle relay, he entered the water in 6th position and touched the wall first 49.91 seconds later, the fastest split in the field. He managed to pull off another stellar sub-50 anchor leg in the 4x100m mixed medley relay, making up 6-second deficit to touch for silver. To cap off the meet, he anchored the men's 4x100m medley relay to a silver medal with his split of 49.85. Joining Whittle in the men's relays was F-Teamer Mark Ford, and in the mixed medley were F-Teamers Katie Shanahan and Sophie Freeman.

In summary, Jacob Whittle led off a relay and won gold. He anchored a relay and won gold. He broke two EYOF records and a British age group record. And of the eight 100m freestyles he swam this week, the slowest was a 50.45.

Did we mention he is fourteen?

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