Each year, YMCA swimmers ages 12-18 from throughout the USA get the chance to shine at the YMCA National Championship meet. This summer’s long course championship, held July 29-August 2, are hosted at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, GA. This very facility once hosted the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. As one walks in to the pool area, you first notice a giant record board, with big names like Janet Evans, Jessica Hardy, Ryan Lochte, and Michael Phelps (simply to name a few). With such big names and from such fast swimmers, one would expect the pool to be…well..fast, right?
Tonight, not only did the pool itself prove this theory to be correct, but the swimmers did as well.
Day 1 of the competition is reserved for the 1500m freestyles, and opened with the championship heat of women.
Upcoming high school senior Caitlynn Moon from Kishwaukee, Il. took the lead from the get-go, maintaining at LEAST a body length between herself and the other swimmers throughout the entire race. Though Meriza Werenski of Gr Holyoke, Ma. made some ground, Moon pushed ahead and touched in first with a time of 17:06.46. Moon dropped about 10-seconds from her seed time, while Werenski took second place with a 16-second drop (17:09.62). Sabrina Mortell secured the bronze medal with a time of 17:29.29, almost a 30-second drop from her seed time.
The fast swimming didn’t stop there, though. If anything, it just continued to escalate.
The championship heat of the men’s 1500m freestyle was a little bit closer (at the beginning) than the women’s heat, with Wilton YMCA (Connecticut) teammates Ian Rainey and Stephen Holmquist, and Countryside YMCA’s (Ohio) Kevin George staying close for the first few laps. As the race progressed, though, Rainey pulled ahead, staying 5-seconds under the national record time. In the end, the Wilton Wahoos teammates Rainey and Holmquist took 1-2, respectively. Rainey took gold at 15:59.78 (roughly an 8-second drop, a little over a second away from the national record), while Holmquist secured silver at 16:07.02 (a 21-second drop). George will be taking home the bronze with a time of 16:08.86 (-15.79).
You can find full, live results, as well as the heat sheets for each day of competition here, on the official website. From there, you will also have access to the live video streaming of the sessions.
The meet will also continue to be covered via @kelcyum on Twitter, as well as on SwimSwam’s official Instagram: SwimSwamNews. Stay tuned!
(Above: the championship heat of the women’s 1500m freestyle behind the blocks)
(Above: Ian Rainey after he touches first in the men‘s 1500m freestyle championship heat)
(Above: Swimmer’s from Middle Tyger YMCA, South Carolina, bring a…friend…to cheer on the meet.)
(Above: The calm after the storm. An on-deck view of the 1996 Olympic pool.)