Wednesday’s prelims at the 2013 Showcase Classic in Clearwater, Florida were solid, but nothing spectacular.
The finals session, though, put the “show” into “showcase,” as some of the best 13-14’s in the country swam lifetime bests.
Michael Andrew took the 13-year olds title in the 50 free in 20.87. That bumps him a few spots higher on the all-time 13-14 rankings to settle 7th there coming out of this meet, and he’s still got a year to go to continue moving up that list.
Grant House of the Cincinnati Marlins won the 14-year olds race in 21.53. That leaves him just outside the top-10 swimmers in the age group in the 2012-2013 short course season.
In the 12-year olds’ race, Colton Stogner won running-away in 23.00: the third-best time by an 11-12 this year. He led three swimmers who were under 24, including Ali Hakim and William Pelton: the younger brother of Elizabeth and Mary.
In this meet, finals are swum 10-lanes across and for a single age. That mean’s there is an 9 & under champion, a 10-year old champion, 11-year old champion, a 12-year old champion, a 13-year old champion, and a 14-year old champion for each event.
Across his three events on the first day, though, Andrew was the fastest swimmer of any age. In the 200 backstroke meant cutting another 1.7 seconds off of his lifetime best from prelims with a 1:50.91. This is still not his best race, but even as a 13-year old, he moves into the top 30 all time among 13-14’s. To be precise, he’s .06 off of where Aaron Peirsol was in this same event…as a 14-year old.
The second-best swimmer in that event overall was 14-year old Matthew Hirschberger in 1:51.46. He, like Andrew, cut huge chunks of time off of his lifetime best on the first day of this meet, knocking almost exactly three seconds from his lifetime best. He swims for the hometown Clearwater Aquatic Team.
12-year old Shane Blinkman won his age group in 2:01.56, 4th-best nationwide this year in his age group.
In the girls’ race, Austinite Regan Barney won the 14-year olds race in 1:58.55. Despite having only turned 14 a few weeks ago, she’s already in the top 40 all-time in the age group in this race. What’s really scary is that 6 of the 31 girls faster than her have been so in 2013 already. Five others were in 2012. The depth in the women’s backstrokes at every level right now is unreal.
Cassie Kalisz, younger sister of NAG Record breakers Chase and Courtney Kalisz, won the girls’ 13-year olds race in 2:03.18. In other finals of the 200 back, Linda Licari became the third 11-year old to go under 2:10 in the 200 backstroke this year with a 2:09.82.
Andrew’s third win came in the 50 breaststroke: an even in which he’s had much success as a young swimmer, but will get fewer-and-fewer opportunities to swim as he ages toward high school. There he swam a 26.49 to again claim the day’s fastest time.