Day 1 is done in Knoxville, Tennessee at the 2012 Winter Junior National Championships, and wow – this meet is even more impressive than expected. A slew of National Age Group and Winter Junior Nationals Meet Records went down, and there were great battles and great stories, even at the junior level.
Women’s 200 Free Relay
SwimMAC took the title in this event, breaking a meet record and 15-16 NAG mark with the team of Kathleen Baker, Nora McCullagh, Caitlin Casazza and Lauren Rhodes. Their time of 1:31.48 broke Palo Alto Stanford’s record of 1:32.21, which had stood since 2009.
This time around, the Palo Alto Stanford team was second in a 1:32.57.
Men’s 200 free relay
The Bolles School, who has been turning in very strong performances at a wide range of meets lately, broke the Meet Record in this 200 free relay in a time of 1:19.03, which would have been right in the mix at Senior Nationals a week ago. The team of Caeleb Dressel, Santo Condorelli, Emiro Goossen, and Joseph Schooling broke their own teams record of 1:19.83, set a year ago. Dressel’s 19.82 leadoff bettered the 50 free meet record by .01 that had stood since 2009.
It also broke the 15-16 National Age Group record of 20.02, held by Bolles teammate Ryan Murphy (not swimming at this meet). Read more about that record here.
SwimMAC picked up second-place points in the men’s event, which means that they got big relay points tonight.
Women’s 500 Free
As pointed out after prelims, ATAC’s Ceci Williams had another gear to kick in on the closing lengths of this women’s 500 free, but ultimately Leah Stevens was just too strong and pulled out the win by margin of 4:43.25 – 4:43.61.
At about the 350 yard mark, the race sat very similarly to where it did in the morning: Stevens in 3:17, and Williams in 3:18. This time, though, with the two in the same heat, Williams was able to use the draft of sitting right on Stevens’ hip and hang with her. Where this morning the swimmers’ times separated, in the final head-to-head, Williams hung close and even made up some ground.
Both swimmers kicked in with great closing splits, but Stevens’ 27.89 was just enough to carry her ahead of Williams’ 28.24.
Williams’ swim was a new personal best by two seconds.
The Mason Manta Rays’ Zoe Thatcher took 3rd in 4:44.72. Other notable names down the results include Auburn commit Ashley Neidigh placing 12th in 4:48.70. Kingfish swimmer Madison Wright, only 15, had a big breakout: this morning she took her personal best from a 4:55 to a 4:51 to just sneak into the B-Final (16th), and then in that B-Final she jumped 7 swimmers to win in 4:46.75 – a personal best by nine seconds.
Men’s 500 Free
The North Texas Nadadores, the club program closely affiliated with the rise of Texas High School powers Southlake Carroll, continued to stake their claim to national attention in the first men’s individual race of the night. There, Jonathan Roberts won in 4:21.33. The junior now becomes the heavy favorite to win the Texas State title in this same event in February, as this swim is two seconds faster than anybody in the state went at last year’s meet. The Dayton Raiders’ Brock Turner kept this a battle until the last 100 yards, where Roberts was able to pull away leaving Turner to finish 2nd in 4:22.73
Jimmy Yoder went a best time in this 500 of 4:23.12, taking the final podium position from Swim Florida’s Logan Samuelson in the last 100 yards. Samuelson was the fastest in prelims, and even though he finished well, he lost a bit of his pace coming into that last 100. Samuelson finished in 4:23.35.
Women’s 200 IM
One of our commenters this morning, pointing out how adept 15-year old Kathleen Baker is in the 100 yard races of all four strokes, predicted a breakout performance from her in this 200 IM. That’s exactly what we got, as she had a great butterfly leg to catapult herself to a winning time of 1:56.53. That puts her 7th on the all-time 15-16 list (despite being on the younger end of that age group) and third-best ever as a 15-year old (behind only Pelton and Franklin – good company to keep).
Whereas Baker was the best in this field on the short axis strokes (fly and breaststroke), 15-year old SoCal sophomore Ella Eastin looked very good on the long-axis. She had a 27.21 freestyle anchor to almost run-down Baker, but finished 2nd in 1:56.93. Eastin had most recently swum for NovAquatics, but her unattached status here indicates she might be with a new club. If so, it seems to be working for her (interestingly, Baker switched clubs not-too-long-ago either).
Both Eastin and Baker were well under Raab’s Meet Record from prelims. Expect both to be at Senior Nationals by this time next year.
Hershey Aquatic’s Meghan Raab was 3rd in 1:58.54 – a little slower than her top-seeded prelims time but still good for her second sub-two swim. Firestone Akron’s Katelyn Miller (1:58.54) and yet another 15-year old Katherine Drabot (1:59.74) from Ozaukee Aquatics rounded out the group to break the two-minute barrier.
Texas commit Tasija Karosas won the B-Final in a personal best of 2:00.18, continuing the trend of Florida swimmers performing well on a second taper of the semester. She’s primarily a backstroker, which showed in her 29.87 split. Olivia Baker was 11th in 2:01.41, with 500 champion Leah Stevens scratching the C-Final.
Men’s 200 IM
In the prelims of this 200 IM, Curtis Ogren was a personal best to take the top seed and Steven Stumph was off of his best for the second seed. In finals, that flipped as Stumph swam a second-and-a-half faster to win in 1:46.79.
The USC commit and winner has steadily improved in this event, dropping a second-or-two each season.
Ogren was 2nd in 1:47.11, though his prelims time would have won this final. Harrison Thai was 3rd in 1:47.65 and Texas commit William Glass was 4th in 1:47.93.
Between the three finals, there were a total of 13 swimmers under 1:50 in this race: a staggering amount. That included sprinters Caeleb Dressel (Bolles School – 1:49.57) and C-Final winner Matthew Josa (SwimMAC – 1:48.19) showing the kind of well-rounded versatility that top-notch programs like those develop.
Women’s 50 Free
The Orange County Waves’ Lindsey Engel broke 23 seconds in this race for the first time in prelims (with a 22.88). In finals, she did it again, and then some. The 16-year old is now tied with Maddy Schaefer for 3rd on the all-time 15-16 list with a 22.24 from finals. That breaks Faith Johnson’s Meet Record of 22.63 from 2010.
Osprey Aquatics’ Linnea Mack, a high school senior who quietly signed with UCLA, was 2nd in 22.58 – also eclipsing the Meet Record. The Bruins had an awesome recruiting class this fall, and Mack would’ve been their second-best 50 freestyler last year with this time. We could be seeing the beginning of a new elite Pac-12 team emerging if this class develops well.
Future Cal Bear Kristen Vredeveld, one of two swimmers faster than Mack as a 15-16, was 3rd in 23.11. As Baylor Swim Club/Baylor School coach Dan Flack said in an interview with Garrett McCaffrey a few weeks ago, Baylor is first and foremost a high school team, so the best guess is that Vredeveld is saving her taper for February’s State Championship meet.
Keaton Blovad at 14 was the fastest in prelims, but she couldn’t get under 23 seconds again as she finished 5th in 23.19. Still a great time for her age and a bright future. SwimMAC’s Nora McCullagh won a bang-bang B-Final in 22.94, touching-out a 22.95 from Rochelle Dong and a 22.97 from Emily Allen.
Men’s 50 Free
Another North Texas Nadadore and Southlake-area swimmer (though he’s home schooled, so he doesn’t swim high school) Brett Ringgold won the men’s 50 free in 19.73, breaking a legendary Meet Record of Vlad Morozov. Both he and Auburn commit Kyle Darmody (19.83) equaled-or-bettered Morozov’s old record. Brett Hawke is still out working the recruiting trails hard this weekend, but surely he’ll hear of Darmody’s result and lick-his-chops at the though of getting a guy already that good in the 50 to come to his sprint-making program.
Davie Nadadores’ Dylan Carter was 3rd in 19.94 as another swimmer under 20 seconds.
Bolles’ Santo Condorelli broke 20 again, just like he did to win the Florida 1A State Championship a month ago, with a 19.93 to top the B-Final.
Women’s 400 Medley Relay
The Crow Canyon Country Club won the women’s 400 medley relay in 3:40.15. The foursome on that relay included Sidney Cooke, Heidi Poppe, Brittany Usinger, and Madison White. That included a 1:00.07 from Poppe on the breaststroke leg, which puts her in great position for the individual 100 backstroke.
In 2nd, SwimMAC swam a 3:41.21 that also broke the Meet Record. Kathleen Baker led that relay off in another very good swim of 53.45. Lindsay Engel, who also has an individual lead in the meet, led off the Orange County Waves relay in 53.27.
Men’s 400 Medley Relay
The Bolles boys swept the relays on the first day of the meet, with Caeleb Dressel (50.52), Marijn van Zundert (55.35), Joseph Schooling (47.00), and Santo Condorelli (42.96) racing to a 3:15.83.
SwimMAC Carolina was 2nd in 3:16.76, and Tide of Virginia was 3rd in 3:19.99.
Full, live meet results available here.