In the girls distance free style event of the night, Maggie Tibbitt of Colorado set the pace early from lane two (outside lane) and took the win in a 4:46.82. Holding off Mari Aoki of Montana who closed with a tremendous last 100 and almost caught up on the final turn, and finished with a 4:47.88. The boys race looked close through a 100 until Nicholas Cruse of Pacific took off at the second turn. He held on to that lead until Trey Freeman of Utah closed the final 100 as well but just ran out of pool and took second with a time of 4:31.13 to Cruses 4:30.85. Running out of pool at the end seemed to be a theme for the night.
Girls 13-14 100 Fly proved to be as tight of a race as prelims indicated. In the heats, six of the girls were within 1.2 seconds of each other. As it began, Paige Maynard of Sierra Nevada got out to an early lead, but was closed on and over taken by Shelby Koontz of Pacific, and Sara Metzsch of Oregon who took 1-2 respectively with times of 1:04.09 and 1:04.44. The Boys race saw Kyle Grissom of Central California break the minute barrier and lead from start to finish with a time of 59.33. Second place went to the speedo clad Santata Garcia of Colorado in a 1:00.59.
The girls in this race made this race very interesting. Six of the girls were in it at the 50 and nobody ran away until the second 50 of the race. Shaelin Morefield of Pacific got the win in a 1:04.31, ahead of Montana Swimmings Abigail Wheeler who finished in a 1:05.05. The boys race was the same way with four guys even at the turn. David Bowersox of Wyoming won the turn, but at the finish the winner was Levi Jensen, again of Wyoming, who pulled away from Bowersox on the final 50. Winning in a time of 59.33 as compared to Bowersoxs 59.94. Giving Wyoming the 1-2 punch in this event.
17-18 showed us Hawaiian speed, when Madisyn Uekawa from the Islands had a tremendous turn and pulled away from Sierra Nevadas Madison Johnson who got out to an early lead but ran out of gas on the final 50 meters. The boys side was more of a race than the results would show, Jackson Colter, of Wyoming did show early speed but was matched stroke for stroke by Nicholas Wright of the Hawaiian Islands again. The two went head to head all the way until the final few meters when Wright pulled away winning with 58.25 vs Colters 58.52.
10 and Under
The first 10 and under event of the didn’t disappoint. Nicole Oliva of Pacific went out just about as fast as any 10 and under could. But was closed upon by Payten Irwin of Colorado who just ran out of space in her come back to lose 32.53 to 32.60. The winner of the boys was a kid strait from Mels own heart, a side breather named Zachary Wieland from Colorado won handily in a time of 32.90. Coming in second was Carl Grini of Pacific in 33.80.
The closest race of the night goes to the Girls 11-12 50 Fly. Jordan Ashmore of Oregon lead just about the entire was until fading at the end and letting the field catch her. At the end it was Elizabeth Menzmer of Sierra Nevada winning in a time of 30.64. I’m going to list all the times so you can see just how close this race was: Menzmer (SN) 30.64 Caitlyn Snyder (CC) 30.65, Juliana Fox (SDI) 30.76, Dana Okuma (HI) 30.81, Ashmore (OR) 30.95, Drew Lei-Alerta (CO) 31.06, Claire Lin (PN) 31.14, and Vivian Wang (PC) 31.15. The Boys race saw that type of closeness as well. Joshua Camerino of Pacific won in a time of 29.59, beating Ivan Graham of Pacific Northwest who did close a bit at the end, but as is the trend at this meet, just didn’t have enough space to complete the Lezak.
The Girls race in this event was tight enough the announcer even announced the wrong ending. Abby Kochevar of Colorado went out hard but fell off to seventh at the end. Taylor Hosmer and Brittney Beetcher caught up and passed Kochevar on the third 50 of the race, and went stroke for stroke, breath for breath, just about kick for kick into the very end. Hosmer, though, got the better of Beetcher in a 2:09.55 to 2:09.59. The Boys race. The boys race saw a perfect race put together by Santana Garcia. Although a few boys pushed the pace early, he stayed composed and built the first hundred before taking off on the third 50 and pulling away from all the rest, winning in a time of 2:01.84.
The womens 200 free in the 15-16 age group saw Megan Crook of Pacific and Marina Smith both go out and push the pace. But in the end, Crook took the gold winning in a 2:10.59 as compared to Smiths 2:10.75. Coming in third was Danielle Taylor ALSO of Pacific Swimming, a 1-2-3 punch in this event was great for pumping up the team who was cheering behind the lane. The boys event was all over the board for the lead. J.P. Beach of Colorado, who won the 50 last night, and Robert Guerra of San Diego Imperial both led at the 50, but saw Pete Kotson of Montana close on the third 50, but going into the last turn, Connor Anderson of Utah also came up to put some pressure on the leaders. In the end though, Guerra won in a time of 1:57.64 with Kotson running up with a 1:58.55.
For the second Wyoming 1-2 of the night Sarah Morgan and Larisa Jones went ahead of the pack and stayed there the entire time. Morgan winning in a time of 2:12.63 with Jones following in 2:14.28. The boys race, saw Drake Mendelson of Utah go out with a VERY smooth stroke and hold off Jayden Rasband also of Utah whose fast turnover probably would have been able to overtake Mendelson in a little longer race. Their times were 2:03.29 and 2:03.92.
10 and Under
Sophia Sebastian of Pacific controlled from start to finish in this event. Her time of 2:44.30 was a full three seconds ahead of Maya Cunningham of Inland Empire who finished runner up in a 2:47.48. The boys race consisted of NAG Record holder Ethan Dang using his great breaststroke leg to overtake Harrison Lierz who finished second with times of 2:43.67 and 2:44.59.
At this time in the meet I think it’s important to point out the break that had to be taken at the meet. The portable warm up and cool down pool was placed outside and was a short walk away from the competition pool. Due to a wind storm that came in at this time, the pool had to be shut down and all swimmers required to stay inside due to lightning in the area. So the meet marshals and volunteers had to adjust the 10 lane competition pool to allow for the two outside lanes to be used as warm up and cool down lanes. This wasn’t preferable, but had to be dealt with due to weather conditions.
Lead changes in this race were abundant, but it ended up with Mia Brierly of Colorado pulling away on the free leg from Mari Aoki of Montana who had a great breaststroke leg. Their times, 2:30.54 and 2:31.68 were great considering there was an unplanned 10 minute break before their event that left them behind the blocks with no where to go. The boys race was another running out of room example. Ivan Graham of Pacific Northwest held a good lead throughout, but Lyon Zhang of Pacific drafted at the end, and caught up to within a half second of Graham, but couldn’t track him down enough to win it, finishing with a time of 2:28.24 as compared to Grahams 2:27.75.
If you wanted to see a run away, no chance of upset race, the Girls 13-14 400 IM was the one to watch. Emma Barksdale of Sierra Nevada had the fastest splits in every stroke and winning with a time of 5:10.54, a full four second ahead of her teammate Kelli Boston who finished with a 5:14.90. In the boys race, Colorado showed dominance, along with individually, Jonah Saya who won by three seconds 4:48.17 to 4:51.46 by Keegan Foulke. Colorado went 1-2-3 in this with Fox Anderson taking third, another great way to pump up the teams cheering behind the lanes.
Girls events in these IMs went from lots of changes, to complete inialiation, to a lot of changing. In the girls 15-16 400 IM, Iliana Jones of Wyoming won with a time of 5:17.41 but not after a lot of changes and pressures from Sara Nicolosi of Pacific who came on during the first 50 of the freestyle, but couldn’t hold on for the second 50 finishing in 5:17.67. The boys race saw Robert Guerra of San Diego Imperial get his second win of the night with a 4:49.05, a full five seconds ahead of Max Bryant from Colorado who took second in 4:54.68.
The last events of the day saw more run away wins, as Lena Friesen of Sierra Nevada dominate with an eight second win over Mariah Williamson of Pacific Northwest 5:17.12 vs. 5:25.47. The mens race was half the spread but still had Hawaiis Carter Suzuki winning over Pacifics Michael Nguyen with times of 5:00.55 and 5:04.58.
This meet has been very entertaining so far. The altitude may be changing some of the times, but also give a little bit of an advantage to those who do train at altitude and makes some of these longer events more interesting. The Crowd in the El Pomar Natatorium has been crazy loud all meet and helps feed the teams on deck to be even louder. President Obama was in town on Wednesday and caused a little bit of issues as he was speaking just a mile down the road and changed a few routes to the pool. But how many times do you get to see Blackhawk Helicopters circling around a swim meet? The meet hosts at Colorado Mesa University have been fantastic and have gone as far as to have the president of the university ON DECK timing for the meet. A true testament to their dedication.