In a tri-day, tri-state, tri-squad matchup in Charlotte over the weekend, the swimmers from NBAC topped their counterparts from SwimMAC-Carolina and Y-Spartaquatics.
The NBAC team won by a huge 241-point margin with some great depth, especially in the older age groups, with SwimMAC and Spartaquatics adding very strong swims in the younger age groups. The meet was swum in yards in prelims and long course meters in finals (except for Monday’s final day).
A great mini-battle went down between NBAC teammates Gillian Ryan (16) and Cierra Runge (15) in the 15-16 freestyles. Runge isn’t as big of a name as Ryan, but she’s still a monster sprint talent. In the 100, Runge posted a 50.85 to break a 6-year old Meet Record, whereas Ryan took 3rd in 51.66.
Ryan would pay the favor back in the 200 free with a small 1.4 second victory, and then really took off when the pair hit the finals of the 400 free (Runge was consistently a better yards swimmer than Ryan in this meet – which is not unexpected at all).
Ryan won the final of that race in 4:14.79, which shows how consistent she’s become since winning the 800 free National Championship this summer. In her last three long course swims of the race (here and twice at the Minnesota Grand Prix), she’s swum 4:14-mid’s. That kind of consistency can pay off big in middle-distance races – and knowing that she’s been way off of what she’s capable of means that she could be going 4:07’s or better as soon as the Olympic Trials.
Runge took runner-up honors in 4:19.07, which is also a very fast time, especially for a sprinter (it takes 5 seconds off of her lifetime best).
Ryan would cap her freestyle excursion with a 9:37.03 in the 1000.
Georgia commit Chase Kalisz continues to improve his distance freestyles – he swam a 4:04.47 in the 400 long course free. That’s still not awesome, but he definitely continues to improve there. His 1000, however, was a masterful 9:14.54, which is by far his best-ever time.
Back to his specialty events, Kalisz swam a 2:15.47 in the 200 long course breaststroke, a great 1:48.78 in the 200 yard IM (to break a 6-year old Meet Record held by the great Ricky Berens) that he followed with a 4:23.0 long course in the 400 IM. Comparing that swim to his best (five seconds off), it shows how much true improvement he’s made in that 400 free (where he was within a second of his best time).
14-year old Mary Pelton, younger sister of Liz, had a good meet to top four individual events. She’s more of a sprint freestyler than her older sister, and kicked things off by topping the 50 LCM free in 27.28. She did show some flashes of backstroke skills by winning the 100 long course in 1:07.18, and tacked on a victory in the 100 breaststroke as well.
Two other great young swimmers handed Pelton her only individual losses in the meet. In the 100-yard free final, Spartaquatics’ Katrina Konopoka won in 51.26. She leads the age group this season in the 100 yard free. Pelton was 2nd in 51.93. In the 13-14 200 LCM free, it was SwimMAC’s Nora McCullagh who won in 2:09.37. Pelton came in 2nd in 2:11.06.