Stars Come Out to Play in Big Head-to-Head Matches on Final Day of NCSA Championships

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 0

March 23rd, 2024 Club, News


Best times, backstrokers, and a pair of big freestyle battles came out of the preliminary session on Saturday, the final day of the NCSA Championships.

Racing in the short course heats to set up the long course finals, two of the meet’s stars won the session-opening backstroke races. In the girls’ race, it was Wisconsin commit Maggie Wanezek who had the best time of the morning by half-a-second in 24.35. That put her ahead of Penn commit Amy Qin from the Rockville Montgomery Swim Club, who was 2nd in a best-split of 24.85.

The versatile Qin has swum sprint backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle races this weekend, making A-Finals in the 50 of all four strokes (though she didn’t swim any IM races). That versatility will be crucial for Penn next season – a program built on a distance program but one that struggles in the sprints. They finished last in the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay at the Ivy League Championships.

That means Qin also made the 50 freestyle final, qualifying 8th in 22.91. The top qualifier was 14-year-old Rylee Erisman from Laker Swim in Florida.

She has already won the 100 free and 200 free, and placed 2nd in the 100 back at this meet, swimming some of the fastest 13-14 times in history in the process. Her 50 yard free time in prelims was not-quite a best time.

In finals, she’ll face off against Caroline Larsen, who has been her foil in the sprints for much of this meet. While Erisman won the 100 free by seven-tenths on Wednesday, Larsen is, on paper, the better of the two in the 50 meter races. She represented the US in the 50 free at last summer’s World Junior Championships and finished 4th in 25.18, which is .07 seconds better than Erisman’s best.

In Prelims, Erisman was .03 behind in 22.55.

In the boys’ race, it was Kyle Peck from the Stingrays Swim Team in Virginia who led the heats in 21.88. That was just ahead of Luke Bedsole from the Huntsville Swim Association (21.92).

Earlier in the meet, Peck had the best prelims time of 45.68 in the 100 yard back, setting a Virginia LSC Record, but in long course he slid to 3rd place behind Martin Perecinsky (5th here in 22.40) and JT Schmid (4th here in 22.27), so watch for that long course flip again. Bedsole was 7th in the 100 back in 57.27.

The boys’ 50 free was dominated by veterans. All-but-one of the A-Finalists is scheduled to begin their college career next fall. That’s led by Conner Hogan from the Aquajets in Minnesota, who led the field with his first sub-20 swim of 19.86. Hot on his heels, though, is Devin Dilger, who has been 19.69 in yards, but was 19.90 in prelims.

Earlier in the meet, Dilger won the 100 free (50.17) and then swam a Time Trial of 49.6 to hit his Olympic Trials cut.

Also in that A-Final is Peck, who swam 20.44 in heats, and Josh Howat, the lone junior in the final, who was 5th-best in 20.39.

Other Prelims Top Qualifiers & Notables

  • Lilla Bognar from Team Greenville led the heats of the girls’ 200 IM in 1:57.61. Also lurking in that A-Final is Campbell Chase (1:58.40), Grace Rabb (1:59.34), and Maggie Wanezek (1:59.90). Campbell has the fastest long course time of the crowd at 2:13.
  • Charles Bufton from NASA Wildcat Aquatics was the top qualifier in the 200 IM in 1:46.32. That’s his best time, clearing his previous best of 1:47.01. A better short course swimmer than long course, in finals he’ll have to contend with Simon Bermudez, who was 2nd in prelims in 1:46.87 and has a long course best of 2:03.
  • NCAP won the boys’ 400 medley relay in a new Meet Record of 3:11.53. JT Schmid (47.42 – backstroke), Simon Bermudez (54.08 – breaststroke), Rian Graham (46.67 – fly), and Josh Howat (43.36 – free) combined to take seven-tenths off the Aquajets record set last season. They won the race by 1.2 seconds, which was essentially the distance between Howat and the Suburban Seahawks anchor as they finished 2nd in 3:12.73. Other notable splits includes a 53.69 from Aquajets breaststroker Micha Davis and a 46.09 fly split from 16-year-old Daniel Ginaitis of the Academy Bullets.
  • The girls of the NASA Wildcat Aquatics won the 400 medley relay with the team of Tierney Lenahan (53.06 – back), Grace Koenig-Song (1:01.23 – breast), Zara Bolton (54.73 – fly) and Olivia Safarikova (50.63 – free).  Safarikova held-off a 49.64 split from Aquajets senior Elizabeth Bakker. Aquajets also had big splits from Grace Rabb on breaststroke (1:01.04) and Annabelle Wentzel on fly (53.69), but Lenahan’s backstroke leg was the different for NASA. Other notable splits includ a 52.59 from Wanezek on Elmbrook’s 13th-place relay and a 53.30 fly split from Samantha Chan on Hunstville’s 7th-place relay.

TEAM SCORES After Friday


  1. Nation’s Capital Swim Club – 1,523
  2. Nova of Virginia Aquatics – 1,033
  3. Aquajets Swim Team – 985
  4. Academy Bullets Swim Team – 985
  5. Rockville Montgomery Swim Club – 948


  1. Nation’s Capital Swim Club – 924
  2. Nova of Virginia Aquatics – 661
  3. FMC Aquatic – 617
  4. Long Island Aquatic Club – 566
  5. Rockville Montgomery Swim Club – 509


  1. Academy Bullets Swim Club – 857
  2. Nation’s Capital Swim Club – 599
  3. Aquajets Swim Team – 541
  4. Nasa Wildcat Aquatics – 491
  5. Rockville Montgomery Swim Club – 389

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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