NOVA Long Course Winter Invitational
- January 29-31, 2021
- Liberty University Natatorium, Lynchburg, Virginia
- Long Course Meters (50 meter pool)
- Results on Meet Mobile: “NOVA LC Winter Invitational”
NOVA Of Virginia is hosting a long course invitational this weekend that features some of the top teams from the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States.
In addition to the host team, the meet also featured USA Swimming Gold Medal-recognized programs NCAP and Marlins of Raleigh, silver medal club Phoenix Swimming, and bronze medal clubs Quest Swimming and Poseidon Swimming. Also in attendance is Cavalier Aquatics, which is home to one of the country’s top age group swimmers Thomas Heilman.
The 13-year old Heilman won the 50 free in the 13 & over category in 23.50 and placed 2nd in the 100 fly in 55.14. In both cases, he was faster in prelims: in the 100 fly he swam 54.72 in the morning and in the 50 free he swam 23.49 in the heats. All of those swims were within a few tenths of his lifetime bests.
The runner-up in that 50 free was NCAP 14-year old Simon Bermudez, who touched second in 24.46.
That time for Bermudez, which between prelims and finals cut 1.17 seconds off his previous best time, now ranks him tied for 61st in the 50 free all-time among American 13-14s.
Matching the prowess of her Cavalier Aquatics training partner, 14-year old Grey Davis won the girls’ 100 fly in 1:01.11.
Her best time coming into the meet was just a 1:08.58. Coming into the meet, she didn’t even have a Futures cut in a long course race, and after Saturday, she is less than half-a-second from an Olympic Trials standard. She also swam best times in the 50 free (26.92) and 400 IM (5:03.07).
She also now ranks 38th all-time among 13-14 girls in the 100 fly.
That drop follows big short course drops as well: in December she swam 53.64 in the 100 yard fly.
Another exciting young swimmer, Erin Gemmell, picked up wins as well. The 16-year old NCAP swimmer is the younger sister of 2012 US Olympian Andrew. While her older brother specialized in distance events, Erin fares better in shorter races. She showed a taste of both specialties on Saturday when she won the 50 free in 26.38 and 200 free in 2:01.36. She also had the day’s fastest time in the women’s 400 IM – swimming 4:54.84 in prelims before scratching the final.
With that 400 IM swim, Gemmell joins rare company: of the approximately 120 American females who have been 26.0 or better in the 50 free before their 17th birthday (she’s been 26.01), only 8 have been under 4:55 in the 400 IM. That list is loaded with names, including Missy Franklin, Katie Hoff, Izzy Ivey, Katie McLaughlin, Jasmine Tosky, Alex Walsh, and Janet Hu. Taylor Ruck, another Olympian, did so as well while growing up in the U.S., though she represents Canada internationally.
Gemmell beat out, among others, Camille Spink (26.40) in that 50 free. Spink has a slightly-fastest lifetime best, having been sub-26 also at just 16 years old.
Other Days 1 & 2 Winners:
- 16-year old Zoe Dixon of the host NOVA team added a 5th Olympic Trials cut in winning the women’s 200 breaststroke. Coming in with a best of 2:39.89, she swam 2:34.83 in prelims and then cracked the Wave I standard in finals with a 2:32.34. Dixon also has Wave I cuts in the 100 back, 200 back, and 200 IM, plus a Wave II standard in the 400 IM (which she didn’t race on Saturday). Because she has a Wave II standard, she must swim at the Wave II meet, but is eligible to swim all 5 of those races at that event, where the fastest Olympic Trials qualifiers will compete in June.
- NCAP 17-year old Jakob Frick won the 200 breast in 2:19.66. He used a big final 50 to pass Aidan Duffy, who touched 2nd in a best time of 2:20.02. Frick’s best swim of a 2:16 is a Wave I Olympic Trials cut.
- High school senior and Wisconsin commit Mackenzie McConagha won the girls’ 100 backstroke in a new best time of 1:02.77. That leaves her just .08 seconds outside of the Olympic Trials standard. She already has a cut in the 200 fly.
- NCAP 17-year old Brett Feyerick won the boys’ 100 back in 56.77 – a new best time by almost two-tenths of a second.
- USA Swimming National Junior Team member Landon Gentry won the 100 fly in 55.05.
- Another NCAP 17-year old, Michael Jiang, just out-touched Cavalier Aquatics’ Noah Hargroves in the boys’ 200 free. Jiang swam 1:56.34 to Hargrove’s 1:56.56. Those were huge time drops for both swimmers: Jiang improved by three-and-a-half seconds, while Hargroves dropped more than 4.2 seconds.
- In the last event of Saturday’s session, Marlins of Raleigh’s Bode Ringenbach won the boys’ 400 IM in 4:34.87.
- NOVA swept the 800 frees on Friday evening, with senior Nikolas Lee-Bishop, a Virginia Tech commit, winning the boys’ race in 8:38.07, and junior Claire Dafoe, a Pitt commit, winning the girls’ race in 8:52.29. Neither swim was a best time.