Pelton, Bootsma Blast Backstrokes at Winter Nationals SCY Trials

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 5

December 06th, 2015 News

On Sunday morning in Federal Way, Washington, after the completion of the long course U.S. Winter National Championships that completed on Saturday, USA Swimming hosted a short course yards time trial.

This meet was especially important for the Cal women who don’t have a mid-season invite in short course yards this year. They traveled to the Pro Swim Series meet in Minneapolis, and now to Winter Nationals.

Among the highlights for Teri McKeever’s women  was a 1:52.12 in the 200 back from senior Liz Pelton, who is recovering from a hand injury over the summer that had her undergo surgery. That ranks her 3rd in the NCAA this season, and is about a second faster than the officially-converted-by-the-NCAA time she went at the regular part of the meet.

Rachel Bootsma swam 51.70 in the 100 backstroke, which also now ranks her 3rd nationally. After Missy Franklin went pro following last season, the Cal backstroke group is again handed over to the seniors Pelton and Bootsma as the Golden Bears try to repeat as NCAA Champions.

Abbey Weitzeil, who will be at Cal next fall but for now is deferring her freshman season to remain home and train at the Canyons Aquatic Club, had the fastest times in the 50 and 100 freestyles (beating several of her future teammates in the process). She swam 21.75 in the 50 free and 47.42 in the 100 free.

Outside of the contingent from the Sunshine State, University of Denver sophomore Anton Loncar swam a spectacular 1:40.95 to break his own School Record of 1:41.26. Loncar had a solid rookie year for the Pioneers and qualified for the NCAA Championships, but while there he added time in both the 100 and 200 yard backstroke. This time, however, ranks him 6th in the country this year already and should ensure that his season again ends in March, not February, and as such he’ll have more freedom to train through his conference championship meet.

Among the highlights from junior swimmers in attendance on Sunday was a 1:00.46 in the 100 breaststroke from 16-year old Nikol Popov; and a double impressive effort from 15-year old Eva Merrell (52.50) and 16-year old Taylor Pike (53.54) in the 100 fly.

While most of the action came on the women’s side at this meet,

  • Kelly Naze – 400 IM – 4:11.30
  • Dylan Bosch – 400 IM – 3:46.46
  • Eva Merrell – 100 fly – 52.50 / Taylor Pike – 53.54 / Katie McLaughlin – 53.97
  • Nikol Popov – 100 breast – 1:00.46 / Emily Kopas – 1:01.47
  • Rachel Bootsma – 100 back – 51.70 / Amy Bilquist – 52.92
  • Abbey Weitzeil – 100 free – 47.42 / Siobhan Haughey – 48.82 / Rachael Acker – 48.82 / Valerie Hull – 49.15
  • Gillian Ryan – 1650 free – 15:58.54
  • PJ Ransford – 1650 free – 14:47.77
  • Celina Li – 200 IM – 1:59.00
  • Liz Pelton – 200 back – 1:52.12
  • Anton Loncar – 200 back – 1:40.95
  • Stina Colleou – 200 breast – 2:10.11 / Nikol Popov – 2:10.41
  • Tanner Olson – 200 breast – 2:00.46
  • Abbey Weitzeil – 50 free – 21.75 / Farida Osman – 22.01 / Amy Bilquist – 22.45 / Valerie Hull – 22.58 / Kristen Vredeveld – 22.72
  • Santo Condorelli – 200 free – 1:38.40
  • Noemie Thomas – 200 fly – 1:54.98 / Taylor Pike – 1:56.97

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5 years ago

If you can’t convert good yard swims to meters, what does it even matter? We all know that US swimmers have great turns and underwaters. I don’t understand why the none NCAA swimmers would even bother.

Reply to  E GAMBLE
5 years ago

Because it’s fun to race? I realize, though, that because it’s an Olympic year, they’re not supposed to have fun.

Reply to  E GAMBLE
5 years ago

It matters for the 99% of college swimmers who aren’t going to make the olympics and don’t have a problem with that.

5 years ago

Watch out for Eva Merrell in the near future.
She just had huge meet and has massive potential in butterfly.
You hear it from me first, she will represent USA in future Olympics and Worlds.

cynthia curran
5 years ago

Eva Merrell I think was from Colorado and moved to California because of Dad’s job, It depends if she develops more into a long course swimmer.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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