The 2013 College Station Sectional meet took place on the Texas A&M University campus, just a week after the SEC Championships took over town. At some points of this meet, the times were so fast that it almost looked like a second college event; or in the least a college showcase.
This year, several California teams were in town for the meet. PASA (from Palo Alto) has been coming for a few years, but this spring they were joined by some of their neighors like PEAK Aquatics and the Aquazot Swim Club, who finished 1-2 in the team scoring, and the Loveland Swim Club from Colorado, who was 4th.
The highest-placing Texas team was the North Texas Nadadores, led by their boys squad and especially high school junior Jonathan Roberts.
Roberts won three individual events in the meet. That included a pair of distance freestyle races, the 1000 in 8:56.61 and the 1650 in 15:19.28. The former of those is a best time for him by more than 25 seconds.
Roberts also put up a 1:44.46 in the 200 backstroke, which is a best time by five seconds. He projects best to a likely middle distance freestyler/200 backstroker/IM’er in college, similar to someone like an Austin Surhoff at Texas.
Roberts also had two runner-up swims in each of the IM races: in both cases finishing second to Curtis Ogren, who was perhaps the only swimmer who had a better meet this weekend. Ogren, also a junior, took five event wins; these two are unlikely to have seen their last matchup, and they should both be among the top 10 recruits in the country next season.
Ogren was a 1:46.95 in the 200 IM and a 3:45.34 in the 400 IM. Ogren is also a very good middle-distance freestyler, having won the 500 in 4:22.25, which is his best time by four seconds. Instead of backstrokes like Roberts, though, Ogren is primarily a breaststroke.
First he won the 200 breast in 1:58.11.
In the same session, he went on to swim the 400 IM, where in December he won the Winter Junior National title. The double didn’t seem to inhibit his speed too much, but he won the 400 IM in this meet in 3:45.34, including a 1:02 split on the breaststroke leg.
He’d go onto win the 200 IM (1:46.95) and 100 breast (55.02).
On the women’s side, PASA’s Ally Howe began the meet on Friday evening over a loaded field. She swam a 1:53.52 that broke the Meet Record set by Sarah Denninghoff in 2009. That’s Howe’s best time by three seconds. In the process, she beat by 14-year old NovAquatics swimmer Courtney Mykkanen, who in the process broke her own Southern California Swimming age group record in the event.
Howe also outswam Longhorn Aquatics’ Quinn Carrozza, an Olympic Trials semi-finalist, who was 3rd in 1:56.4. Carrozza was a lifetime best of 1:55.0 in the prelims of this race.
Showing versatility, Howe came back in the very next event to win the 100 free in 49.59. In that race she beat out among others Texas A&M freshman Claire Brandt (49.81) and Colorado 15-year old Brooke Hansen (49.98). Hansen was the runner-up to Missy Franklin in the 200 IM and winner of the 100 breast at the Colorado State Championship meet.
Howe also took victories in the 100 fly (54.28), the 100 back (53.01), and the 50 free (22.82).
The women’s class of 2014 overall probably isn’t quite as good as we’ve seen from the last few, but the junior Howe is at the top of that list of recruits. Her times at this meet would indicate that she’s already a plug-and-play NCAA qualifier for whoever she chooses to sign with.
And finally, 14-year old Benjamin Ho finished out his meet just as strongly as he started it. After breaking a 13-14 National Age Group Record in the 200 backstroke on Friday (read more about that here), he went on to put up a 46.95 in prelims of the 100 free.
He also swam a 1:40.11 in the 200 free (this meet was so fast, that such a time could only place him 17th); a 52.87 in the 200 fly (only placing him 54th), a 1:52.89 in the 200 IM, and a 49.50 in the 100 backstroke – 3rd place overall.