2018 MEL ZAJAC JR. INTERNATIONAL
- June 1-3, 2018
- UBC Aquatic Centre
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live Results
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The final session of the 2018 Mel Zajac Jr. International saw U.S. stars Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Lochte each in action in two events, but it was Canadian Penny Oleksiak who stole the show with two big victories.
Oleksiak, who will turn 18 in just over a week, won both the 200 fly and 100 free on the night, her first day with multiple wins after competing in the B-final of both the 50 and 200 free on days 1 and 2.
In the 200 fly, Oleksiak was aggressive opening up, establishing a big lead early and turning in 1:01.76 at the 100. She held strong coming back, and touched in 2:09.96 to drop over a second off her previous best done recently at the Atlanta Classic (2:11.22). 15-year-old Canadian junior teamer Bailey Herbert was 2nd in 2:14.93, dropping nearly three seconds for yet another best time.
The 100 free was the next event, and despite swimming out in lane 0, Oleksiak was not fazed. She flipped just behind U.S. junior Gretchen Walsh at the 50, and charged home in 27.95 to win by over a second in 54.50. While her season best was done with a full taper at the Commonwealth Games (53.85), the time is much better than the 55.11 she was at the Atlanta Classic.
After a 55.50 PB in prelims, Walsh took 2nd in 55.77, and Mackenzie Padington was just .04 off her best time for 3rd in 56.81.
In search of a perfect 6-for-6 meet, Dressel fell just shy in his final race of the competition. However, he did start the night out with a big performance, chopping almost a full second off his PB from prelims in the 50 breast in 27.89. Liam Johnston (29.21) scored a best time himself for 2nd, and Jake Foster (29.42) was 3rd, as Dressel is now the 5th fastest American this season.
Dressel, rocking a TYR racing suit (his third different brand in three days), then took on the 100 freestyle. He got locked in a battle with Canada’s best in the event, Yuri Kisil and Markus Thormeyer, flipping .01 ahead of Kisil in 23.79. However, it was Thormeyer who stormed back in 25.53, edging Dressel at the touch in 49.54 for his fastest ever swim in-season. The 2017 world champ was 2nd in 49.58, under his season best from the Atlanta Classic (49.65), and Kisil (49.69) was 3rd. Maxime Rooney (50.14) was 5th and Lochte (50.76) was 6th.
The 33-year-old Lochte won his third event of the meet in the next event, the men’s 100 back, clocking 54.75 for his fastest performance since 2014. Clark Beach was 2nd in 55.65, and Thormeyer, fresh off his win in the 100 free, was faster than Lochte (54.49) to win the B-final. That swim is his 3rd fastest ever, trailing only his semi-final and final performances from the Commonwealth Games in April.
In the women’s 100 back, U.S. junior Isabelle Stadden won her third backstroke race in 1:00.10, missing her best time by just .04. Katharine Berkoff dropped her prelim best time by the same margin for 2nd (1:00.65), and Phoebe Bacon (1:01.65) made it a U.S. junior national 1-2-3.
- Padington easily won the women’s 800 freestyle, her third title of the meet, in 8:37.61 for a new season best. Molly Gowans (8:50.09) was 2nd, and Savanna Faulconer cracked 9:00 for the first time in 3rd (8:51.27).
- Rachel Nicol completed the breaststroke sweep in the 50, touching in 31.69 ahead of U.S. juniors Zoie Hartman (32.08) and Ema Rajic (32.24). Hartman lowers her prelim best of 32.17.
- Gianluca Urlando finished off his spectacular meet with a big win in the men’s 200 fly, going 1:59.12 to come within two tenths of his all-time best. Mark Szaranek (2:01.04) went a season best for the runner-up spot.
- Gator Ben Lawless (15:29.75) held off Eric Hedlin (15:31.06) of the University of Victoria to win the men’s 1500 freestyle.