A lot of the focus on the American Short Course Championships has been surrounding the meet’s function as a last-chance NCAA qualifying meet for the male swimmers.
Meanwhile, though, sprinter Abbey Weitzeil from the Canyons Aquatic Club in California has swooped in and stolen the show. Her latest quest: a lifetime best in the 100 yard freestyle with a 47.59 to win the women’s race on Saturday.
Headed into this short course season, she had only been a 48.8; she dipped into the range of 47’s for the first time at Winter Juniors, and now has improved her best again at this meet.
Another impressive female swimmer at this meet so far has been the locally-trained Laura Sogar, who avenged her runner-up finish in the 100 breast with a 2:07.61 in the 200 breast on Saturday. That beat out Abby Duncan, who took 2nd in 2:09.34.
But with those two at the back of everyone’s mind, the NCAA qualifying was still a very important part of Saturday’s final session, and interestingly, another non-collegiate swimmer may have played into that.
Michael McBroom, a part of the Texas post-grad group, took the win in the 1650 free in 15:00.06. It almost looked as though, intentionally or not, he was pacing Texas undergrad Nic Munoz in that race, as the two were stroke-for-stroke almost the whole way. Munoz wound up in 15:02.04, which is his best time and moves him up to 26th place in the country so far, which should get him to NCAA’s.
Note that this was the only race McBroom swam in the entire meet, and the two were seeded to swim in lanes 4 and 5 respectively.
TCU’s Cooper Robinson took a shot at improving his chances of qualification in the 200 back with a win over Texas’ Austin Vacek (two swimmers who swam most of their pre-collegiate careers for the same club – Katy Aquatics). Robinson’s time was just shy of a season-best, though, in 1:42.65, meaning his Big 12’s mark will leave him 29th prior to any last minute last chance swims on Sunday. Last year, 29 swimmers were invited.
Texas’ Will Licon locked up his spot at NCAA’s in the 200 breaststroke, swimming a 1:54.37. Though that’s short of the sure-thing Automatic Qualifying standard, it does place him 15th in the country this year, which will have no problem being invited to NCAA’s.
That was about the extent of the relevant NCAA qualifier swims, but there’s two more highlights from the junior ranks to hit. Karling Hemstreet, a 16-year old from the local Nitro program was a 1:58.48 to win the 200 yard backstroke, and 15-year old Alexis Margett of Brea Aquatics in California took the 200 fly in 1:58.41.
Hemstreet improved her lifetime best in the 200 back by a full second throughout the day, and Margett did so by two full seconds.