14-year old Meghan Small from the York YMCA in Pennsylvania is proving to be the real-deal. On the final night of the 2013 YMCA Short Course National Championships in Greensboro, even swimming against much older and more experienced competitors, she added a second event victory.
This one came in the 200 IM, and in record-breaking fashion none-the-less. Small used a great closing freestyle kick (she’s versatile, but freestyle is her best stroke) to win in 1:58.85. That just clears the 1:58.90 that Susanna White swam in 2011.
Small is just completing her freshman year in high school, and is already putting up times that would make her a top 15-20 type recruit were she a senior.
Her teammate, junior Niki Price, was 2nd in a lifetime best of 2:01.29, followed by Sarasota’s Sophie Cattermole in 2:02.50.
Flint’s Courtney Weaver was the top seed in prelims, but added about two seconds in finals to place 5th. It would seem not as though Weaver was too exhausted to go faster, but perhaps was just winding up for the 200 fly later in the session.
She unloaded on that 200 fly, swimming a 1:57.24 in that race to knock two-and-a-half seconds off of her personal best time coming into the meet. That swim really vaulted up her recruiting value as she heads into her senior year, as it will put her on the verge of NCAA scoring as a freshman even without any improvement between now and then.
Waynesboro’s Remedy Rule took 2nd in 1:58.86, followed by Sarasota’s Taylor Katz (1:58.93). 15-year old Astrid Swensen from the North Shore YMCA was 4th in 1:58.97, and closed faster than anybody else in the A-Final.
Adriana Grabski from the Sunbury Y won the girls’ 100 free i n 49.75, leading three swimmers under 50 seconds. Ingrid Shu, a 14-year old from Lakeland Hills, New Jersey, was 2nd in 49.88, and Katrina Konopka from Middle Tyger was 3rd in 49.90.
Closing the women’s individual races at this meet was a victory from Danielle Valley in the women’s 1650 freestyle, where she was a 16:04.69. That’s not her personal best, but it did break the meet record (by three tenths) set in 2007 at the will of the great Leah Gingrich.
That completed a sweep of all individual races 400 yards and longer for Valley of the Sarasota YMCA. Finishing one spot behind her in all of those races except for the 1000 free is 13-year old York swimmer Courtney Harnish. That included a 16:13.98 in this race.
That would not complete Harnish’s meet, however. She would continue to lead off the York 400 free relay in 50.60; combined with Niki Price (50.19), Victoria Griffin (50.11), and Meghan Small (48.88), the final result would be 3:19.78, which crushed the old Meet Record by better than two seconds.
Sarasota took 2nd in 3:23.25, and Middle Tyger was 3rd in 3:23.53.
The men’s meet ended in a similarly-spectacular fashion to the women’s. YOTA’s (NC) Colin Ellington showed off his versatility by winning the 200 IM in 1:47.45. Including his third-place finish in the 50 free earlier in the meet (20.21), Ellington now ranks in the top 10 all-time for his age group in two considerably different races.
Ryan Held ended up with a sweep of those sprint freestyle events, winning the 100 on the meet’s final night in 43.91. He was able to get out in front early and by the last 25, had just a touch of clean water in front of him.
The runner-up was Brad Zdroik with a 45.21, and Ellington on back-to-back races took 3rd in 45.31.
Brandywine’s Ben Creekmore won the 200 fly in 1:47.55, followed by Hickory’s Sava Turcanu (1:48.20) and Middle Tyger’s Justin Mehl (1:48.82). These swimmers, though just in high school, are already taking their races out in 51-mids.
Brandon Flynn capped the meet with yet another victory for the York YMCA, winning the 1650 free in 15:25.64. That was 4-seconds better than Sarasota’s Matt O’Donnell (15:29.80). Flynn took a year off after high school and is committed to swim for Kentucky next season.
The YMCA of the Triangle Area ended their meet with another relay victory, posting a 3:02.29. That included a 44.72 anchor from Ellington.
Ocean County, New Jersey took 2nd in 3:03.15, just ahead of in-state rivals Somerset Valley in 3:03.31.
Despite winning only a single event (the 200 breaststroke on the meet’s first day from Eric Ronda), the Wilton Wahoos still came away with an easy men’s team title, clearing the runners-up from Sarasota by 90 points.
The Sarasota women won the meet by a similar margin to that which their men lost by, with 535 points to York’s 458, but with the York team getting a huge portion of their scoring from 13, 14, and 15 year olds, it will be quite a feat to keep them from this team honor next year.
Sarasota won the combined team championship.
Top 5 from each:
1. Wilton 402
2. Sarasota YMCA 312
3. Somerset Valley 304
4. Middle Tyger 257
5. YMCA of the Triangle Area 249
1. Sarasota YMCA 535
2. York 458
3. Middle Tyger 367
4. Somerset Valley 367
5. Schroeder YMCA 185
1. Sarasota YMCA 847
2. Middle Tyger 624
3. York 612
4. Wilton 555
5. Somerset Valley 518