Swimmer breaks Michael Phelps’ record at just 16


Photo via Calbears.com under Creative Commons license

Justin Lynch races butterfly for UC Berkeley.

MaryRose Weatherton, Sports/Twitter Editor

52.75 seconds, that was the record breaking time of California native Justin Lynch. At just sixteen years old he bested Olympic medalist Michael Phelps’ 100-meter butterfly time for the national fifteen to sixteen year-old age group. Now eighteen, the boy wonder swims for UC Berkley.

What’s more amazing than Lynch’s lightning-fast times? His race. With an African American father and a Filapina mother, Lynch is the only minority on the UC Berkley team. Lynch could be an important role model and cultural representation for kids back home. Nearly 70 percent of African-American children between the ages of 5-14 have little to no swimming ability. Lynch realizes his potential for change and looks up to other icons like Cullen Jones; the four time Olympic medalist and first African-American to break a world record in swimming.

“I think it would be cool to break down those barriers. Cullen Jones already got that started, but if I could help bring other minorities into the sport, that would be great,” Lynch said to NPR this month.

Lynch is only getting faster and will spend the next two years training for the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio. There he will have the opportunity to break more records and inspire countless more people.