The second night of the 2013 Chesapeake Swim Club Elite Pro-Am in Oklahoma City saw the first full night of action, and the results were certainly not disappointing.
This meet, which gives cash prizes even bigger than those at USA Swimming Grand Prix meets, pits a group of pros against a group of amateurs in a unique environment designed to encourage interaction between competitors.
Stanford post-grad Andi Murez won the women’s 200 freestyle in 1:44.06 to start the night; she was followed by Mission Viejo 16-year old Katie McLaughlin who was a 1:44.91. There were 6 swimmers in this race to clear the 1:50 mark, which included Mission Viejo 13-year old Samantha Shelton, who just might be the Nadadores’ next great freestyle swimmer.
That swim by McLaughlin was her lifetime best and more than two faster than she was at this same meet last year, but it wasn’t even her best of the night. Less than an hour later, she swam a 52.34 in the 100 yard fly to win, and she now ranks 2nd on the all-time 15-16 100 yard fly list. Six weeks ago, that swim would have been the National Age Group Record, before Wisconsinite Beata Nelson swam a not-yet-ratified 52.06 at the Wisconsin High School State Championship meet.
In that race, she beat an impressive group of pros that includes SwimMAC Carolina’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (52.78), Schroeder YMCA’s Hannah Saiz (53.91), and former Stanford All-American Samantha Woodward, who is actually an Oklahoma native and swam for the Chesapeake Swim Club for most of her developmental swimming years.
After McLaughlin, the next-best amateur finisher was high school junior Cassaundra Pino from the Lobo Aquatic Club in New Mexico with a 55.63.
The men’s 200 yard free saw a pair of lightning-quick times and also a great battle between SwimMAC’s Dax Hill and Darian Townsend, who represents the New York Athletic Club but trains with Tucson Ford. Hill won the race in 1:32.56, which is just .05 seconds off of the lifetime best that he swam at NCAA’s in 2012 to win the national title. It’s also his best time since graduating from Texas, and further will be a big confidence booster as he held of a very fast, and very experienced, Townsend by under a tenth: Townsend was 2nd in 1:32.64. Hill sat just ahead of Townsend throughout the race, and managed to hold his South African competitor off at the finish.
The women’s 100 breaststroke went to another SwimMAC pro and recent college graduate: Katie Meili in 58.64. She was the only swimmer under a minute, as Minnesota’s Haley Spencer was more than two seconds behind in 1:00.86. Another SwimMAC pro Kelsi Hall was 3rd in 1:02.54, and the top amateur was Schroeder YMCA’s Gwendolyn Worlton in 1:03.08 for 4th place.
Meili took a second event win later with a 4:13.87 in the 400 IM. She beat out 16-year old Kallyn Barkey of the Rochester Swim Club in Minnesota, who swam a 4:18.65 for a four-second lifetime best, and Bridget Ritter of the Houston Swim Club, who was a 4:20.70 for 3rd. Ashley Steenvoorden placed 5th in 4:25.39, which was enough to earn her second-place prize money.
Japanese swimmer Naoya Tomita, who trains in New Mexico, won the men’s 100 breaststroke in 52.22, beating out American pro Mike Alexandrov and his 52.36. SwimSwam staff writer Jared Anderson was 3rd in 52.68, which is a lifetime best in his first year as a post-grad swimmer.
World Championship team member BJ Johnson was 3rd in 52.68, followed by Carl Mickelson in 53.25, Dax Hill in 53.44, and top amateur Liam Holt of the Jasper County Killer Whales who was a 56.65 for 7th.
Holt wasn’t the only member of the JCKW to earn a second swim in this race. His coach Shawn Klosterman, better known in swimming circles as “the Screaming Viking,” entered this race on a whim, and basically went cold-turkey into a 59.69 in the B-Final for 16th place. Don’t look now, but that would rank him as the second-fastest 35-39 year old 100 breaststroker were it a registered USMS swim.
Stanford’s Aaron Wayne won the men’s 100 fly in 45.82, beating out Josh Schneider’s 46.15. This was another pro-heavy race, as the top 6 spots all went to post-graduate swimmers, and the 7th went to pre-graduate pro Michael Andrew in 48.16. That swim for Andrew is half-a-second off of his National Age Group Record set at Winter Juniors, but it’s still eight-tenths better than any other 13-14 has ever been, showing how big the gap is now between he and history in this event.
The lone amateur in the A-Final of the 100 fly was John Holler from Lobo in 49.50.
And closing the meet out in splendid fashion was Townsend in 3:41.85, which is his best-ever time by two seconds. Since opting not to travel back to South Africa for the World Championship Trials earlier this year, Townsend seems to have really settled into a rhythm at 29-years old, and is swimming as well as he ever has.
Brennan Balogh of Lincoln Select Swiming was 2nd in 3:58.22, and Blair Bish of the Arkansas Dolphins – Lasers Swim Team was 3rd in 3:59.56.
The Mission Viejo Nadadores won the girls’ 400 free relay in 3:24.08, including Sydney Franzen (51.99), Katie McLaughlin (48.82), Samantha Shelton (51.45), and Brooke Lorentzen (51.82). The Schroeder YMCA, led off by Adam Mania in 44.05, won the boys’ race in 3:03.70. Mania was joined by Nicholas Petersen (44.99), Jake Kalinowski (45.66), and Chandler Lewis (49.00).
Full meet results are available on the Meet Mobile app for your smart phone.