2019 Eric Namesnik Memorial Open
The 2019 Eric Namesnik Memorial Open in Ann Arbor, Michigan will continue Club Wolverine’s legacy of Eric Namesnik. The former University of Michigan swimmer represented the United States at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, earning silver medals at each in the 400 IM. Namesnik died in 2006, at age 35, in a car crash, and has been memorialized both with this meet and with a statue outside of the Butler County YMCA, where he trained as a child.
In addition to his time as an athlete and a volunteer assistant at Michigan, he coached with Eastern Michigan and Wolverine Aquatics (now known as Club Wolverine) at the time of his death. This meet was formerly a part of the USA Swimming Grand Prix Series, which is now known as the Pro Swim Series, and in spite of no longer being in that rotation, it still draws a good field from across the country.
This year’s field will be headline by Club Wolverine athletes, which includes both teenage club swimmers as well as collegiate swimmers and post-graduate athletes. That includes 2018 NCAA 100 breaststroke runner-up Miranda Tucker, who will swim 5 races (including both breaststrokes); and NCAA 3rd-place finisher Siobhan Haughey, who will swim the 100 breast and 50 free. Among the headliners from the men’s team are 2019 NCAA Champion in the mile Felix Auboeck, who will swim the 50, 100, and 200 free; and fellow NCAA First Team All-Americans Miles Smachlo and Ricardo Vargas.
For Auboeck, who is primarily a distance specialist, he’ll instead swim the 3 shortest freestyles on the schedule in his final tuneup for the World Championships, where he’ll represent Austria later this month.
Among the swimmers from Michigan not competing is Maggie McNeil, the fastest freshman 100 yard butterflier in history last season. She’s preparing to represent Canada at the World Championships this summer.
But the locals won’t be the only high-profile swimmers in attendance: the Long Island Aquatic Club (LIAC), based in Long Island, New York, has brought a big contingent, as has another New York-based club: the Badger Swim Club.
Among the swimmers in attendance from LIAC is 14-year old Tess Howley, who in March broke the 13-14 girls’ 200 yard fly National Age Group Record in 1:55.29. She’s entered in 8 events, including that 200 fly, where she’s the 2nd seed in 2:12.78. She’s the top-of-the-heap for a LIAC club that boasted USA Swimming Gold Medal status in the 2017-2018 season. Her 17-year old teammate Chloe Stepanek, who was the 18 & under Winter National Champion in the 200 free, is also scheduled to swim.
Other Swimmers of Note from Other Clubs:
- 16-year old Lola Mull from Mid-Michigan Aquatics is scheduled to race 5 events, including as the #2 seed in both the 400 free (4:15.42) and 1500 free (16:40.03), and the 3rd seed in the 400 IM (4:58.26). The Northwestern commit is a Winter Juniors champion.
- Among her competitors in that 400 IM is Paige McCormick from HEAT in Hudson, Ohio – a Louisville commit. McCormick has 9 entries, including the #2 seed in her best event, the 400 IM, in 4:51.80.
- That 400 IM will be a great race for fans of high school swimming – it will also feature 18-year old Kaitlynn Sims as the top qualifier in 4:48.27.
- Grace Cooper, who is an honorable mention top recruit in the high school class of 2020, is scheduled to swim 6 events, including marquee matchups in the 50 and 100 free against Siobhan Haughey.