It’s crossover season! This past weekend was the midpoint of a three-week spate of national short-course season closers: NCSA Junior Nationals (March 18-22), National Age-Group Swimming Association (NASA) Junior National Championship Cup in Clearwater, FL (March 26-29) and YMCA Short Course National Championship (April 1-4). At the same time, there are big long-course season openers happening throughout the country. We sifted through all these results and came up with the Daring Dozen for the weekend of March 25-27, 2014.
Kimani Gregory, 12, Pittsburgh Stingrays Swim Team: 100y free (49.23) – Gregory broke 0:50 for the first time, and he did it twice, at the Eastern Zone Short Course Championships hosted by the Fairport Area Swim Team. Five seconds faster than he was at the same meet last year, his winning time in finals set the meet record for 11-12 boys. Gregory also won the 50 and 200 free, 100 IM, and 50 fly, setting a meet record in the latter.
Lauren Heller, 16, Lake Erie Silver Dolphins: 200m free (2:02.46) – Heller knocked 2.5 seconds off her seed time and was 3.5 faster than a year ago at the Central Zone Speedo Sectionals hosted by Indiana Swimming at IUPUI. She also picked up personal bests in the 50/100 free, 100 fly and 200 IM.
Aidan Burns, 16, Santa Clara Swim Club: 500y free (4:17.97) – Swimming unattached (it’s high school season in California), Burns cut 4.5 seconds off his seed time in winning the men’s 16-and-under 500 free at NASA Junior Nationals. He also won the 16U 200 free, 1000 (-24 seconds), 1650 (-21), and 400 IM (-5.5), and finished second in the 200 IM (-6).
PJ Ransford, 17, PACK Swim Team of Pittsford: 1500m free (15:34.36) – Ransford opened the 2014 long course season 14 seconds faster than he did last year, winning the 1500 at the Speedo Champions Series Long Course Super Sectionals Meet hosted by Star Swimming in Buffalo, NY. Ransford also won the 400 and the 800.
Sydney Sell, 16, Lakeside Swim Team: At the Kentucky State Short Course Championship sponsored by SwimvilleUSA, Sell led off Lakeside’s 400 medley relay with 53.86 for the 100y back, her best by a half-second. She finished second in the 200y back with 1:56.79, a personal best by 0.7.
Shawn Nee, 18, Shawmut Aquatic Club: 200y back (1:45.47) – Nee took more than 2 seconds off his seed time between prelims and finals winning the men’s 200 back at NASA Junior Nationals. The meet also gave him new personal bests in the 50 free, 100 back, 200 fly, and 100/400 IMs.
Jake Foster, 13, Cincinnati Marlins: 100m breast (1:09.52) – Foster dropped 2.1 seconds to make the “D” final of the men’s 100 breast at Indiana Sectionals; he was the only finalist (A,B,C or D) under 14 years of age. Foster broke the 1:10 barrier for the first time, and was 7 seconds faster than in his 2013 season-opener.
Lance Rainer, 12, Jersey Wahoos: 200y breast (2:16.42) – Rainer won the men’s 11-12 yard breast at the Eastern Zone Short Course Champs by a hair, coming in .14 ahead of the competition and picking up a new best time that was 7 seconds faster than at the same time last year. He also went home with new times in the 50/100 breast and 100/200 IM.
Camden Murphy, 14, Kingfish Aquatic Club of Waterford: 100m fly (57.24) – The youngest 100m fly finalist at the Indiana Sectionals, Murphy finished eleventh, just a tick off his end-of-season best time from last year, but 2.3 seconds ahead of where he’d been in March 2013. Murphy also finaled in the 50 free and 200 fly.
Leo Goldblatt, 11, The Fish: 200y fly (2:10.34) – Goldblatt picked up a new best time in prelims of the men’s 11-12 200y fly at Eastern Zone Short Course Champs. The meet also produced his best 200 free of the season. Goldblatt finishes the short course season with the nation’s third fastest 200 fly for 11-year-old boys.
Miranda Tucker, 16, Livonia Community Swim Club: 200m IM (2:18.46) – Swimming at the Indiana Sectionals, Tucker won the 200 IM and 100 breast and was top-eight in the 200 breast and 100/200 fly. Tucker got new best times in the 50 free, 100 fly, and 200 IM, a great way to start the long course season.
Jarrett Jones, 15 , Cape Cod Swim Club: 400m IM (4:30.60) – Jones finished third in a very strong “A” final of the men’s 400 IM at the Eastern Zone Spring Long Course Super Sectionals Meet hosted by STAR Swimming in Buffalo, NY. Between prelims and finals he took more than 8 seconds of his previous best time. An astounding 32 seconds faster than he was in March 2013, Jones picked up his first long-course national cut in the 400 IM, as well as two more in the 200 fly and 200 IM. All in all, Jones came away with new personal bests in the 100/400 free, 100/200 fly, and 200/400 IM.
Special thanks to Lyle Campbell for his assistance in putting this list together.