Day 1 of the 2014 YMCA Short Course National Championships, which is the bigger of the two YMCA National Championship meets, begins Tuesday afternoon in Greensboro, North Carolina. The first session will include boys and girls finals of the 100 fly, the 200 breast, the 50 free, and the 200 free relays; all of that plus the 1000 freestyles timed finals.
All the links you need to follow the meet, including live video and results, are available here.
The biggest story on day 1 coming out of prelims was Courtney Weaver’s 52.5 in the 100 butterfly, and in finals she should have a margin to win her 5th YMCA National Championship in the 100 fly (two in short course, two in long course). The men’s 100 fly, though, should be a much more competitive race, even if the winning time won’t be quite as highly-rated as Weaver’s.
We’ll be updating the recaps live as races happen, so check back frequently.
Women’s 100 Fly – FINALS
Courtney Weaver was successful in winning her 10th career YMCA National Championship, and even though she couldn’t match her record-breaking prelims swim of 52.51, Weaver still had a comfortable margin of victory with a 52.87 for the title.
Perhaps in an effort to take her old mark down, Weaver was out very fast in finals, splitting a 24.38 at the turn. That cost her coming home, though, but she was still easily good enough to be the champion.
This race had the same 1-2 finish as last year, with Middle Tyger 15-year old Jessi Snover taking 2nd in 53.63. Her teammate Katrina Konopka placed 3rd in 54.02 to give the Middle Tyger girls an early lead in the meet, with Niki Price (54.48), Astrid Swensen (54.62), Kira Page (54.67), and Remedy Rule (54.68) topping off the top 7.
Maddie Zimmerman took 3rd overall in this race last year, but on Tuesday morning the 17-year old from the Upper Main Line Y stumbled a little in prelims. She did drop 1.2 seconds, however, to win the B-Final in 53.88 – which was the third-fastest time in the evening.
Men’s 100 Fly – FINALS
Though this race didn’t result in as fast of a winning time as last year’s meet did, the growing depth of the meet was immediately obvious. Led by Nick Petersen from the Schroeder YMCA in 48.12, last year’s runner-up, there were 5 swimmers in this final under 49 seconds. That list includes Brent Benedict (48.25), Bryce Keblish (48.70), Zachary Molloy (48.73), and Brad Oberg (48.97).
That’s as compared to just two (Petersen and then-champ Sam Lynch) who did as such last year.
Maxwell Dolan took 6th in 49.03, followed by Tommy Kealy (49.04) and Alex Trompke (49.20).
The top two in the B-Final of this race would add two more under 49 seconds: Joseph Shepley (48.62) and Sebastian Lutz (48.97) were 9th and 10th overall, respectively.
Women’s 200 Breast – FINALS
Texas-bound breaststroker Bethany Leap declared emphatically on Tuesday that while the defending champions from the Sarasota YMCA may have graduated a lot of star swimmers, they still have some juice left. She won the women’s 200 breaststroke on Tuesday in 2:11.35 to break the first Meet Record of the evening. That cleared the 2:12.16 that Abby Fisher did to win last year – in a race where Leap was 2nd by less than a tenth.
Leap swam basically the same race through 150 yards as she did in last year’s finals, but was just a little bit faster on each 50 to smoke the record.
Also under the old record was 15-year old Savanna Faulconer of the Middle Tyger YMCA. She’s another part of that incredibly-fast young group from that team last season who are all a year older and will contend for the team title this year.
3rd-place went to Olivia Ontjes in 2:13.66, and Gwen Worlton rounded out the top-4 in 2:14.57.
Men’s 200 Breast – FINALS
Last year’s men’s 200 breaststroke was a runaway. This year’s was a true classic of YMCA swimming, with Zack Warner, Conner McHugh, and Jonathan Rutter all finishing within three-tenths of each other.
The trio all turned in a virtual deadlock in 56-mids at the 100 yard mark, but Warner’s third 50 was just too much for the field to handle. That’s a pretty impressive turnaround, because at this time last year, the third 50 was Warner’s weakest in this 200 yard race.
This year, however, he dropped the hammer on the competition, and even a good closing split by Rutter couldn’t reel him in.
Warner’s winning time for Somerset Valley was a 1:56.61, which improved his best time, done at this meet last year, by three-and-a-half seconds. 2nd place went to McHugh in 1:56.89, and 3rd-place went to Rutter in 1:56.90.
This was an event where depth again shone through: last year, two guys were under two minutes. This year, four did it: in addition to the three mentioned above, Jacob Limaldi took 4th in 1:59.62. Paul DeLakis, the youngest swimmer in the A-FInal at 15th, was 2:00.10 for 5th place.
Women’s 50 Free – FINALS
Another Middle Tyger podium finish came from 16-year old Katrina Konopka, on her second swim of the finals session, with a 22.46. This marks back-to-back titles for her, and in the process she re-broke her 22.46 meet record set last year (it belonged to Margo Geer prior to that).
2nd place went to Caroline Baldwin in 22.88. She and Konopka came away with the top two spots after having the two biggest drops from prelims to finals – Baldwin was only 5th in the morning in 23.27.
3rd place belonged to Somerset Valley’s Holly Christensen in 22.99, with her teammate Katrina Kuhn tying for 4th with Katie Kicklighter in 23.09.
This 50 free is probably the most veteran field we’ll see at this meet on the women’s side; aside from Konopka, who is only 16, all of the other A-finalists are 17 or 18.
The B-Final, however, went to 15-year old Ky-lee Perry in 22.80.
Men’s 50 Free – FINALS
This race was another one of our “pre-meet highlights” and Ryan Held certainly did not disappoint. The senior out of the Springfield, Illinois YMCA not only swam a lifetime best of 19.58 to win the title, but he broke his own Meet Record of 19.92 from last year’s finals. (That 19.58 wouldn’t last the night – see the relay recap down the page).
That swim from Held took two-tenths off of his previous best, and he remains the only swimmer to go under 20 seconds in the history of this meet.
The runner-up was his future North Carolina State teammate Colin Ellington of the Triangle Area YMCA in 20.30. Those two both join an NC State sprint group that will return three of the top five 50 freestylers in the ACC from the just-completed season.
Brad Zdroik was 3rd in 20.32, as most of this final got much faster between the morning and evening sessions.
Women’s 1000 Freestyle – TIMED FINALS
Last year’s runner-up in this race, Courtney Harnish, has now aged to the ripe veteran age of 14, and she’s ready to explode in a big way. That began on this first night, where she swam a 9:35.39 to win the 1000 free by 10 seconds.
Excluding splits en route to 1650 freestyles, that would have been the second-fastest time in the NCAA last season. Of course we must consider that this is a non-NCAA Championship event, and therefore there’s certainly a solid handful of swimmers who could beat that time on a full taper, but for a 14-year old, that result is monstrous. Only two 14-year olds in history have been faster in the event: one is Katie Ledecky, and the other is one Michelle Richardson from all the way back in 1984, who held the NAG Record in the race for 27 years.
The runner-up in this race was a none-too-shabby 14-year old either. Abbey Erwin from the Downtown Boise YMCA swam a 9:45.06, which puts her 11th on the all-time list in the age group, and 3rd place went to Greater Holyoke’s Erin Voss in 9:47.55.
After that, the famed Sarasota YMCA distance program kicked in, with Spence Atkins (9:48.10), Sophie Cattermole (9:50.75), and Lara Hernandez-Tome (9:55.80) taking 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively.
Men’s 1000 Freestyle – TIMED FINALS
The Wilton YMCA’s Ian Rainey built a huge early lead in the men’s 1000 free, going out in 1:45.69 at the 200 and 4:29 at the 500 freestyle marks.
He would finish his way to a 9:05.31, which will be a fantastic jumping-off point as he joins the Michigan distance group in the fall.
Westport/Weston’s Jonathan Blansfield took 2nd in 9:09.64, and Drew Clark from the Sarasota YMCA was 3rd in 9:12.92.
Women’s 200 Yard Freestyle Relay – FINALS
The session finished with another Meet Record, this one coming from the Middle Tyger YMCA girls. Katrina Konopka (22.82), Jessi Snover (23.16), Ali Snover (22.91), and Ali Galyer (23.09). Aside from the elder Snover sister, Ali, the other three of those swimmers will be back again next year to defend their title; they were a 1:31.98 in this race to clear the 1:32.05 that York swam to win this race last season.
York, with three of the swimmers from last year’s team, very nearly matched their time with a 1:32.17. That included a 22.41 anchor from 15-year old Meghan Small. The Somerset Valley YMCA completed the podium with a 3rd-place finish of 1:32.59 – their back-half of Holly Christensen (22.75) and Katrina Kuhn (22.61) was the best of the entire field.
Men’s 200 Yard Freestyle Relay – FINALS
With the 1000’s to recover and catch his breath from his individual final, Ryan Held of the Springfield YMCA turned around and broke two more Meet Records in the 200 free relay. The first came when he touched in 19.52, which broke his 19.58 meet record set earlier, marking the 3rd-time he’s been under 20 seconds at this meet – three more times than in the rest of its history combined.
His teammates Nick Patton (21.16), Stuart Holm (20.59), and Brinton Wilkey (20.44) then finished the team off to a 1:21.17, which broke the Triangle Area Meet Record set in 2011 at 1:22.58.
Also under the old record was this year’s Triangle Area team (with four different swimmers from the old record) in 1:22.05. That included a 19.98, on a rolling start, from Colin Ellington.
Top 10 Team Scores After Day 1
1. Wilton – 75
2. Sarasota – 44
3. Westport/Weston – 38
4. Somerset Valley – 36
5. Triangle Area – 31
6. Ocean County – 30
T-7. Middle Tyger – 29
T-7. Rock Hill – 29
9. Cory – 23
10. Somerset Hills – 22
1. Middle Tyger – 111
2. Sarasota – 68
T-3. Triangle Area – 42
T-3. York – 42
5. Somerset Valley – 39.5
6. Schroeder – 33
T-7. Wilton – 21
T-7. Greater Holyoke
9. Greater Flint – 20
10. Westfield – 17