Day three (of four) at the Athens Sectional didn’t see any Laure Manaudou vs. Megan Romano showdowns, like the three awesome races we got on the first two days, though those two still have two battles left in the 100 free and 200 backstroke on Sunday.
There were still a ton of US National Teamers and top-flight college swimmers, and some of the biggest recruits in the class of 2011 in action today, which makes this meet noteworthy none-the-less.
In the men’s 400 free, Alec Cohen swam a 3:56.43 to take the win in the fastest time by an 18 & under in the US this year. Cohen will begin his college career swimming for Georgia this fall. He outlasted North Carolina junior Tom Luchsinger (3:57.16) and 15-year old Jimmy Yoder (3:58.67). Yoder has emerged as a young star for USA Swimming, with an awesome time to win the 200 fly on Thursday.
In the women’s 100 fly, budding Auburn star Olivia Scott broke a minute for the first time in textile with a career-best time of 59.24. That converts to a 51.95 in yards, which would have placed her in the top 5 at NCAA’s last year. Look out for Scott as a contender for the title in 2012 after the four-fastest butterfliers from 2011 all graduated.
The men’s 100 fly was a loaded field, with Ohio State (and US National Teamer) Tim Phillips taking the win in 52.82. That moves Phillips, who is training with SwimMAC Carolina this summer, to 20th in the World Rankings this year still several weeks out from his big taper meet – the World University Games. SwimMAC is turning into quite the destination for butterfliers, much like they already are with sprint freestylers: 2nd (Eugene Godsoe – 53.20) and 3rd (Davis Tarwater – 53.24) were also SwimMAC swimmers.
SwimMAC picked up another win in the women’s 100 breaststroke, this time in the form of one of their newest swimmers: Micah Lawrence (1:08.47). Lawrence is another National Teamer who is working with David Marsh in Charlotte, and this is a solid result for her. She will also be swimming for the US at this summer’s WUG’s.
In the men’s 100 breaststroke was taken by her former teammate (who thus far has stuck around in Auburn) Adam Klein. His winning time of 1:02.84 is very solid for a swimmer who is best-known for his exploits in the 200 breaststroke: the event he will swim at the WUG’s. He’s already pulled to within a few-tenths of his time in the 100 from last season, which should help his ever-crucial opening speed on the 200.
After the graduation of Georgia All-Americans Chelsea Nauta and Morgan Scroggy (who is in Shanghai for the World Championships next week as a part of Team USA), there might be some initial concern that the incredible depth that Georgia has built up in their middle-distance group might be waning. But as all great programs do, Jack Bauerle and the Georgia Bulldogs continue to rebuild. Next year, they will bring in the nation’s top recruit, Amber McDermott, who actually knocked off Nauta in today’s 400 free. McDermott’s time was 4:13.10, which just out-touched Nauta in 4:13.17. In fact, the 3rd (sophomore Shannon Vreeland) and 4th (Kelsey Gaid) place finishers are also Georgia Bulldogs, which lends creedence to how incredible their middle-distance program is.