The 2014 YMCA National Championships will see their second-to-last day on Thursday, and this day will begin with the 200 medley relays in Greensboro, North Carolina. Those races will be followed by the 500 frees, the 100 breaststrokes, and the 200 backstrokes. The meet will then end with timed finals of the 800 free relays. The men’s 100 breaststroke, where Conner McHugh and Zack Warner were both under 55 seconds in prelims, should be the highlight race of the night.
All of the links you need to follow the meet, including webcasts and results, can be found here.
Women’s 200 Medley Relay – FINALS
The top two teams went under the old Meet Record in the women’s 200 medley relay, but it was the exceedingly-young Middle Tyger girls, with three 15-year olds and a 16-year old, taking the win in 1:41.29.
That winning group was Ali Galyer (25.88), Savanna Faulconer (28.98), Jessi Snover (24.26), and Katrina Konopka (22.17). That puts them within two seconds of the National Age Group Record in the event. This Meet Record has been obliterated in the last two years, as this two-for follows a 6-team breaking spree at last year’s meet.
Sarasota, meanwhile, took 2nd for the second-straight year in 1:41.70. That relay actually had a full second lead after the fly leg (Sophie Cattermole led off in 25.06, and Bethany Leap was 2nd in 28.31), but Konopka erased that on the anchor leg.
The Upper Main Line Y was 3rd in 1:42.53, just holding off Schroeder with a 1:42.79 for 4th.
Men’s 200 Medley Relay – FINALS
The Somerset Valley YMCA from New Jersey were a ways off of their Meet Record set at last year’s meet, but impressively enough with three new legs, they repeated as champions in the men’s 200 medley relay: winning in 1:31.73.
The team of Brad Zdroik (23.08), Zack Warner (24.91), Joseph Delbuono (22.54), and Samuel Hendrix (21.20) took the win. Warner’s breaststroke was the really special split there, and he’ll contend for the 100 breaststroke title later in the session.
Middle Tyger took 2nd in 1:32.13 include a 20.52 anchor from Andrew Delahunty, and Cheshire was 3rd in 1:32.28.
Elsewhere in the evening session, Springfield’s Ryan Held split a 19.64 on their anchor leg as the team finished 13th overall in 1:34.01.
Women’s 500 Free – FINALS
The York YMCA in Pennsylvania seems to have the United States’ next great young female distance swimmer in development, as 14-year old Courtney Harnish continues to be one of the stars, if not the star, of the meet.
She ran away with another individual, her third of the meet (1000 free, 400 IM), in 4:39.13. That broke the Meet Record set by Danielle Valley last year.
That’s a six-second improvement for Harnish over her lifetime best in the race.
Meanwhile, Sarasota’s Sophie Cattermole, shortly off of her great backstroke leg on the 200 medley relay earlier, showed off her versatility with a 4:47.16 for 2nd. She was followed by Harnish’s York teammate Leah Braswell, who is only 13 years old, and swam a 4:47.45.
Kishwaukee’s Caitlyn Moon took 4th in 4:47.49, followed by Spence Atkins (4:47.65) and Downtown Boise’s Abbey Erwin (4:49.28).
Men’s 500 Free – FINALS
The Wilton Y Wahoos extended their team lead with two swimmers in the A-Final of the men’s 500 free. That includes winner Ian Rainey, who was a 4:25.85. Among the two rounds of this race, Rainey knocked over seven seconds off of his lifetime best.
Westport/Weston’s Jonathan Blansf took 2nd in 4:27.05; he had a great third 100 yards to pull ahead of Sarasota’s Drew Clark, where he would remain for the duration of the race. Clark took 3rd in 4:27.95.
Grant House from the Countryside YMCA, at only 15 years old, was 4th in 4:28.04. House has carried his taper over very well from the explosive Ohio State Championship meet where he was the big star as just a freshman.
Zach Molloy was 5th in 4:28.96, and the second Wilton swimmer Stephen Holmquist took 6th in 4:29.80.
Women’s 100 Breast – FINALS
W. North Carolina 16-year old Alyssa Arwood pulled up a fairly significant upset in this women’s 100 breaststroke. After knocking a second-and-a-half from her lifetime best for the top seed coming out of prelims, she took another six-tenths off for a 1:01.44 in the final.
That knocked off Sarasota’s Bethany Leap, a Texas commit and winner of the 200 breaststroke earlier in the meet who has been swimming very well this week. Leap took 2nd in 1:02.23, followed by Olivia Ontjes from the Triangle Area YMCA in 1:02.36.
Ontjes’ training partner Claire Williams took 4th in 1:02.86, followed by Montclair, New Jersey 16-year old Cha O’Leary in 1:03.03 – O’Leary was the YMCA State Champion in NJ a few weeks ago, and broke the State Record, and was about .03 seconds faster here.
Middley Tyger’s Savanna Faulconer was 6th in 1:03.42, with the top 8 being rounded out by Gwen Worlton (1:03.53) and Maddie Cooke (1:04.00).
The Triangle Area’s Basira Knight won the B-Final in 1:03.54.
Men’s 100 Breast – FINALS
Door County’s Conner McHugh broke one of the more impressive YMCA National Records en route to winning the men’s 100 breaststroke in 53.47. It broke the old record belonging to Christian Higgins at 53.69 from 2011, and gave him a full second win over Zack Werner.
Werner took 2nd in 54.43, with most of that difference coming on the second 50.
Ryan Held, the 50 free champion at this meet, took 3rd in 55.40. That is an unbelievable transformation for the NC State commit in the event. Coming into the fall, his fastest time was a 1:03. A 1:03 is about the time you’d expect from someone like Held: a very good swimmer but by no means a breaststroker. He’s proven in the last 6 months that he is in fact, a breaststroker.
Powel Crowsley (Ohio) YMCA’s Jonathan Rutter took 4th in 55.58, with a pair of Lakeland Hills swimmers (Brandon Tutty, 55.98 and John Om, 56.10) placing 5th-and-6th, respectively.
In the B-Final, Walnut Creek, Iowa’s Justin Winnett took top honors, and 9th overall, in 55.78. That would have been 5th in the A-Final.
Women’s 200 Back – FINALS
Another York YMCA youngster took a win on Thursday, as 15-year old Meghan Small won in a new National Record of 1:54.01. That took down her own mark set last year in 1:54.76, and gave her back-to-back titles in this event, as well as her second individual win of this meet.
As compared to her record last year, Small’s swim was very similar this year, but with a great third 50 yards – a place where in these 200 yard races we so often see the difference from one year to the next.
Small ’13: 27.54 – 29.04 – 29.28 – 28.90 = 1:54.76
Small ’14: 27.29 – 29.01 – 28.87 – 28.84 = 1:54.01
Emily Slabe of the Countryside YMCA also went under the old Meet Record with a 1:54.64, not giving up the victory until the last 25.
Schroeder’s Ashlyn Schoof took 3rd in 1:55.54. She is also 15, and in fact, six of the eight A-Finalists in this race are 15 years old, which should set up years of great battles to come. The two exceptions were Slabe and 7th-place finisher Caroline Baldwin, both of whom will swim for North Carolina in the fall.
Men’s 200 Back – FINALS
The men’s 200 backstroke might have been the best ‘race’ of the entire meet so far. Brad Oberg from Middle Tyger jumped out to an early lead, turning in 51.1; that placed him ahead of Edwardsville’s Sean Workman (51.5) and Schroeder’s Nick Petersen (51.7).
But on the back-half of this race, Workman fought back, pulling nearly even going into the final 50. Oberg, however, never trailed in this race, and by the slimmest of margins had just enough on his last 50 to pull off the win.
Oberg won in 1:46.02, with Workman taking 2nd in 1:46.04 and Petersen 3rd in 1:46.53.
The youngest swimmer in the A-Final, 15-year old Austin Katz from the Sarasota YMCA, was 4th in 1:47.17.
Women’s 800 Free Relay – TIMED FINALS
The girls of the York YMCA wrapped up a banner session, that left them within reach of the leading Middle Tyger in the team score, with a 7:10.38 record-crushing victory. They returned three of the four swimmers on their winning 800 free relay from last year, and crushed their own YMCA National Record of 7:14.17.
The youngest swimmer on the relay, Leah Braswell, led off in 1:51.85 that left them in a little bit of a hole. But at only 13 years old, that’s still a fantastic result for her, and her teammates picked her up the rest of the way. Niki Price split 1:46.54 on the 2nd leg, Courtney Harnish split 1:46.02 on the 3rd leg, and 15-year old Meghan Small, the individual event champion, brought the race home with a 1:45.97 on the anchor. That was more than a second faster than she swam on a flat-start in the individual race.
Middle Tyger took 2nd in 7:15.80, with Jessi Snover splitting 1:47.18 on the 2nd leg, and Sarasota was 3rd in 7:21.01. Sarasota doesn’t have the same depth as last year, but a 1:47.54 lead-off from Cattermole is just one more cherry on top of a great day of swimming for her.
Men’s 800 Free Relay – TIMED FINALS
The men’s National Record didn’t go down by nearly as big of a margin as the women’s did, but a new record is a new record, and the boys of the Triangle Area YMCA swam to a 6:37.11. That’s the team’s first relay victory of the meet, and broke their own 2011 record of 6:37.17 – albeit with four different swimmers.
Chris Kohut (1:40.44), Jonathan Glavich (1:40.71), Colin Ellington (1:37.32) and Noah Franz (1:38.64) were the winning quartet in that relay.
Wilton took 2nd in 6:50.15, led by a 1:37.43 lead-off split from Maxwell Dolan.
Countryside was 3rd in 6:42.55, including a 1:37.2 anchor split from 15-year old Grant House, and Sarasota was 4th in 6:43.08.
Other impressive splits include a 1:43.74 from lead-off Ben Creekmore on the Upper Main Line YMCA’s 7th-place relay; and a 1:36.54 anchor from individual champion Zach Molloy on Ocean County’s 11th-place relay.
Women’s Top 10
1. Middle Tyger – 370
2. York – 307
3. Sarasota – 267
4. Schroeder – 209
5. YMCA of the Triangle Area – 187
6. Somerset Valley – 157.5
7. Upper Main Line Y – 107
8. Greater Flint – 95
9. Somerset Hills – 82
10. Lakeland Hills – 74
Men’s Top 10
1. Wilton – 283
2. Sarasota – 189
3. YMCA of the Triangle Area – 198
4. Middle Tyger – 189
5. Somerset Valley – 164
6. Westport/Weston – 148
7. Ocean County – 137
8. Lakeland Hills – 120
9. Countryside – 113
10. Springfield – 107