The 2014 Bluegrass Mountain Conference championship has gone back to a prelims/finals format for the remaining two days of the truncated meet, and big point swings could be in store for the leader board after tonight’s final session.
The morning was particularly fruitful for the Wingate Bulldogs. If the meet were scored after prelims, their women’s team would have picked up 91 points from where they were seeded, and the men, 102. It remains to be seen how well each team performs at night, but Wingate has a chance to take the lead in the women’s meet and seriously challenge frontrunner Queen in the men’s.
Caroline Arakelian of Queens wasted no time in downing another meet record, going 4:21.93 in prelims in the 400 IM to take the top spot for tonight’s final. She lowered her own mark of 4:22.00, set a year ago. Several swimmers achieved huge drops and jumped into a higher-scoring final: Emma McKinley (SCAD) moved from 18th seed to 9th with a 9.8-second drop, Filippa Wallin (Catawba) dropped 9.7, and Victoria Klein (West Virginia Wesleyan) dropped 7.7.
Top-seeded Marko Blazevski of Wingate led the men’s prelims with 3:56.58. The notable point-jumpers on the men’s side include Ryan Cunningham of Johns Hopkins, whose 16-second drop put him in the “A” final seeded sixth; Joshua Grover (Carson-Newman) with a 12-second improvement; Alex Fox (Washington & Lee), -9 seconds; Josh Carter (Randolph-Macon) -8 seconds, and Bradley Green (SCAD), -7.6 seconds. Ryan O’Connell of Davis & Elkins dropped 15, jumping to first alternate.
Tonight’s 100 fly final will be important in the scoring: the women’s “A” final will consist of four from Queens and two each from Hopkins and Wingate. Top-seed Hannah Peiffer of Queens paced the group with a 54.52 morning swim, beating the meet record of 54.89 set by Johns Hopkins’ Taylor Kitayama in 2013. Impressive time drops moved three women up to the “B” final: Rita Koryukova (wingate) -3.8 seconds; Amanda Gilbert (Wingate) -3; and Rhiannon Gluhosky (Converse) -2.4.
Matt Josa of Queens took down another meet record with his100 fly prelims swim of 47.88. He bested Vitali Pushkar-Verbitsky’s 48.19 mark that had held since 2009. For the second event in a row, Carson-Newman’s Grover had a huge swim (-4.1 seconds) that propelled him into the “B” final. His teammate Sam Schechter dropped 3.2.
Anastasia Bogdanovski of Johns Hopkins led the women’s 200 free with a prelim swim of 1.49.48. That erases Lillian Gordy’s 2013 record of 1:49.82 and sets up a great race for tonight’s final between Bogdanovski, Gordy, and Katie Pheil of Wingate. Some noteworthy swims from prelims: West Virginia Wesleyan teammates Coral Dean and Rachael Kelley droped 11.3 and 5.8 seconds, respectively to squeak into the “C” final, and Emily Rollo of Washington & Lee dropped 9 to jump into the “B” final.
Tonight’s men’s 200 free will feature Leif-Henning Kluever of Wingate in lane 4 after his 1:38.25 morning swim. Qualifying just behind him were Hayden Kosater (Queens, 1:38.27) and Pasko Komadina (Fairmont State, 1:38.98). This is one of the most-anticipated races of the meet, with nearly the entire “A” final capable of going sub 1:38s. Daniel Whitehead of Randolph-Macon dropped 3.8 seconds and earned his place in the “C” final.
The 100 breast will be a big point-getter for Wingate, who placed three “A” finalists in the women’s and men’s events. The Bulldogs’ Jessika Weiss is top seed among women with her 1:03.97 prelims race. Wingate’s Charlotte Cornet dropped 4.1 seconds to move from 18th to fifth. Nic Eriksson of Queens is the men’s top qualifier with 54.46. He leads a handful of men, including Limestone’s Tobias Feigl, Queens’ Devyn Hughes, and Wingate’s Roman Kanyuka, all gunning for Aleksander Hetland’s 2009 meet record of 53.04.
Hopkins’ Kitayama is the top qualifier in the women’s 100 back with 55.04. Catawba’s Amy Cujas dropped 3.1 seconds to qualify for the “B” final. Joining her after big drops of their own are Jasmine Arzadon (Wingate, -2.8 seconds) and Whitney Owen (Carson-Newman, -2.6 seconds). In the men’s race, top seed Dima Turkin of Pfeiffer’s 49.19 morning swim is within shooting range of Sebastian Holmberg’s 48.57 record from 2013. Zach Phelps of Queens dropped 2.2 seconds to qualify third, and Reed Miller of Wingate dropped 4.3 and made the “B” final.
The evening session begins at 5:00 p.m.