National Junior Teamers Andrew Seliskar and Gunnar Bentz each downed a meet record to open the first night of the 2013 Junior National Championships in Irvine, CA.
Women’s 200 Fly
After posting one of the top times ever for a 15-year-old girl, and placing third at World Championship Trials in the 200 fly to secure a spot on the Junior World Championship team, it’s hard to imagine how Katie McLaughlin could top that as a 16-year-old. The Mission Viejo teenager didn’t wait long (she turned 16 about a month ago), dropping nearly a full second from her previous best (2:10.37) to handily win the girls 200 fly, touching in 2:09.68. McLaughlin finished more than a second ahead of the field, and now sits third all time amongst 15-16 girls. Meet record holder Jasmine Tosky (2:09.28 from 2010) and the legendary Mary T. Meagher (2:05.96) are in front of McLaughlin.
18-year-old Olivia Barker was second in 2:10.75, a lifetime best for her by nearly a full second. Olympic Trials semifinalist Courtney Weaver of the Flint ‘Y’ Falcons was third in 2:10.95.
Men’s 200 Fly
Andrew Seliskar topped one of the fastest fields in age group history, touching in 1:56.54, breaking Kyle Whitaker’s super-suit-aided record of 1:56.95 from 2009. The top four finishers currently rank 2nd (Seliskar), 3rd (Justin Wright), 5th (Corey Okubo), and 6th (Justin Lynch) all time on the men’s 15-16 age group list. Lynch, better known for his speed (he’s the National Age Group record holder in the 100 fly), was out like a shot, touching in 55.95 at the 100, with the other three hanging between 0.75-1 second back. Seliskar held steady over the final two lengths, coming home in 59.92 for the win.
Lynch hung on for second in 1:57.80. Wright closed well, but fell short to touch third in 1:58.21. Okubo was just behind in 1:58.28.
Women’s 200 Breast
17-year-old Maija Roses of SwimMAC Carolina went out hard and hung on over the final 50 meters for the win, touching 2:31.77, the fastest amongst girls her age this year. Incoming Texas Longhorn Madisyn Cox cut a whopping 5+ seconds off her seed to finish second, touching in 2:32.09. 15-year-old Katherine Drabot was third in 2:32.58. Top seed Bethany Leap of the Sarasota Sharks was fifth, finishing about a year and a half off her seed time.
Men’s 200 Breast
The second meet record of the night went down in the men’s 200 breast, courtesy of Gunnar Bentz and Andrew Schuehler. Bentz ran away with this one, cutting three full seconds off his previous best, finishing in 2:12.88. That knocked a second and a half off the previous meet record set by Christian Higgins back in 2010 (2:14.35). Bentz continues to set himself apart as arguably the top mid-distance/IM recruit of 2014, clocking the #3 time in history for 18 and under boys (and he is still just 17).
Schuehler, a future Penn State Nittany Lion who competes for the Jersey Wahoos, also swam out of his mind, dropping three seconds to eclipse the previous meet record to register a final time of 2:14.03. Nicolas Hatanaka was third for the Loveland Swim Club in 2:15.82.
Women’s 800 Free
Teenage workhorse Becca Mann bounced back from a seventh place preliminary swim in the women’s 200 fly (she scratched finals there) to win the 800 freestyle in 8:36.72. Though it was well off her best time from last summer (8:27.37), this swam was better than her performance at World Championship Trials, where she finished in 8:41.93. The primary focus for Mann the last few months has been on her 5K and 10K open water efforts, where she represented Team USA in Barcelona.
Danielle Valley of the Sarasota ‘Y’ Sharks finished second in 8:38.03, and 13-year-old Isabel Rongione of The Fish was third in 8:39.09.
Men’s 1500 Free
Jonathan Roberts of the North Texas Nadadores put the field away early, cruising to a 6+ second victory in the final event of the evening. Blitzing the fast heat early on, Roberts took out his mile in 4:00, before settling into a rhythm of 31.0-31.3 per 50, touching in a time of 15:24.82. Nick Norman of the Mission Viejo Nadadores finished a distance second in 15:31.41, and Kevin Litherland of Dynamo was third in 15:35.07.