Day 1 of Finals at the 2013 Winter Junior National Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center is underway. After Dressel’s 19.29 in the 50 free prelim, all eyes will be on that race! Tonight we have the 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, and the 400 medley relay.
After one National Age Group Record, Caeleb Dressel in the 50 free, was tied, and another broken by the Carmel Swim Club girls’ 200 yard free relay, there’s a lot of anticipation surrounding this final. Even after having seen the psych sheets, though, it was maybe the depth of prelims that surprised the most, as it blew away the results from this same meet even just one year ago.
The finals will be recapped below as they happen, and also live-Tweeted, so follow along and enjoy the fun!
Girls 200 Free Relay – Finals
After breaking the 15-18 National Age Group record this morning, Carmel Swim Club of Indiana was back at it tonight, going three tenths faster to establish yet a new mark to beat in the event – prior to this morning’s prelims, the record was broken last weekend by NCAP at Senior Nationals. The team went 1:30.13 after going 1:30.49 in prelims. Rachel Hayden was once again the catalyst, going 22.82 on the lead-off leg (she was 22.9 this morning). The future Mizzou Tiger was the second-fastest lead-off leg in the pool, keeping up with Bolles stud Kasey Schmidt, who went 22.75. The rest of the Carmel relay was Amy Bilquist (22.07), Claire Adams (22.87) and Veronica Burchill (22.3 after being just 22.7 this morning). (Read more about that relay here).
In 2nd was the SwimMAC Carolina team that looks a little different from the one that had the NAG Record a few weeks ago, but perhaps is an even better one. Jessica Merritt, Nora McCullagh, Alyssa Marsh, and Lauren Rhodes combined for a 1:31.44 for 2nd, including a 22.3 split from McCullagh, for 2nd.
Once again highlighting the theme of this meet of depth of talent, even the third-place Bolles girls (1:31.61) and the 4th place KING girls (1:31.72) and yes even the 5th-place PASA girls and Dynamo girls (tie – 1:31.82) were all under the Meet Record set last season.
Among the most impressive splits there were a 22.21 on a rolling-start from PASA’s Ally Howe.
Abbey Weitzeil from Canyons led off their B-Final winning relay in 22.07: close to, but just off, of what she was in the individual 50 free prelims where she broke the Meet Record.
Boys’ 200 Free Relay – Finals
Whereas the girls’ 200 free relay showed incredible team depth, the boys’ race highlighted huge individual performances. That includes National Age Group Records for the leadoff swimmers of the top two teams, plus three 15-year olds swimming under 20 seconds.
First, for the champions from Bolles, a 1:19.27 was just off of the Meet Record that the same club, but a very different quartet, set at last year’s meet. They were led off by what will surely be the buzziest swim of the meet until he does one even bigger, an 18.94 from senior Caeleb Dressel.
He was joined by Auburn commit Josh Booth (20.00), Arthur Pace (20.30), and William McKinney (20.03) in the win.
Not to be overshadowed, 15-year old Ryan Hoffer of the Scottsdale Aquatic Club, who last month broke Dressel’s 15-16 National Age Group Record, got another one. He led off Scottsdale in 19.54, as they wound up 2nd in 19.56. They had three swimmers go under 20 seconds, but just didn’t have anything close to Dressel’s swim, which made the difference. That relay included Nick Magana (19.77), Joseph Starkweather (20.59), and Jack Blake (19.66).
Before we move on to the rest of the swimmers, a pair of points:
1) It says a lot about the Bolles relay from this meet last year, that set the Meet Record at 19.03, with Ryan Murphy, Santo Condorelli, Emiro Goossen, and Dressel, that even that time stood up to Dressel’s unbelievable lead-off.
2) As one of our good friends Lyle Campbell pointed out, there were three swimmers in this race who split under 20 seconds at 15-years old. Hoffer’s lead-off, Blake’s anchor, and Thomas Anderson of KING’s 11th-place relay, who was a 19.80 on their 2nd leg.
Back to the action, the Baylor Swim Club took 3rd in 1:22.32, including a 20.42 from Sam McHugh on the 2nd leg. Other sub-20 splits included a 19.99 from Jay Litherland on the Dynamo Swim Club’s 6th-place relay; and a 19.80 from Andrew Liang on PASA’s 9th-place relay.
Girls’ 500 Yard Free – FINALS
There was only a single North Carolina-based swimmer in any of the three finals of either the boys’ or girls’ 500 yard freestyles, and with North Carolina being the host state of this meet, naturally TAC Titans’ Hannah Moore desired to defend her home turf.
And that she did, with authority, winning the Junior National title in the 500 yard free in 4:43.04. That’s an impressive swim, considering that she was only a 4:47-high in prelims and out of the main focus of this race. It’s also almost a second faster than her lifetime best, and four seconds faster than she was coming into this fall yards season.
Virginia commit Ceci Williams from the ATAC club in Tallahassee Florida was a full second behind for the silver medal, touching in 4:44.03. The majority of that difference was made very early in this race, in the first 125 yards or so, and the two held that spacing pretty steady the rest of the way.
Another second behind was Zoe Thatcher from the Mason Manta Rays in Ohio with a 4:45.03. She looked strong early, but couldn’t quite put the same kick in as the two leaders at the touch.
Loveland Swim Club’s Eryn Eddy took 4th in 4:47.22, Lakeside Swim Team’s Leah Stevens, the fastest swimmer in prelims, added about two-and-a-half seconds for 5th in 4:47.99, and 16-year old Rockwood Swim Club’er Jordan Stout was 6th in 4:49.33.
Boys’ 500 Yard Free – FINALS
NOVA of Virginia’s Townley Haas (Francis on the official results – he also has several other nicknames) was the only non-senior in the finals of the men’s 500 free, and not only did he win in 4:17.45, he won running away in 4:17.45. That swim broke Evan Pinion’s Meet Record of 4:18.88 from last year, as well as Michael Phelps’ National Age Group Record from 2002. (Read more about that record here).
Haas was out to a fast start, and while all swimmers inevitably tailed off after their first 200 yards or so, Haas stayed remarkably consistent. The North Texas Nadadores’ Jonathan Roberts was pretty good too, but by the completion of 300 yards, even he too was left to watch Haas swim to history.
Roberts will still undoubtedly be satisfied with his swim; the Texas commit was a 4:20.51 for silver, which is faster than he was at this meet last season, and much faster than the 4:23 he was in prelims. Georgia commit Jay Litherland took 3rd in 4:20.79, and Stanford commit Brock Turner was 4th in 4:21.52.
Chris Weiser from the Davis Aquadarts was 5th in 4:23.33, and Kevin Litherland also of Dynamo Swim Club was 6th in 4:23.33. Of the three Litherland triplets, all of whom went lifetime bests on Thursday in either prelims or finals (Mick was in the C-Final), Jay and Kevin came in about equal in this 500. Jay emerges with a slight edge, though Kevin was the better of the two in prelims.
Girls’ 200 Yard IM – FINALS
Lest we go more than a few minutes without a record of some sort being broken, SOCAL Aquatics’ Ella Eastin won the girls’ 200 yard IM in 1:56.02 – breaking the Meet Record of 1:56.53 set by Kathleen Baker last year.
Eastin’s swim put a real charge into the crowd in Greensboro. She was only 3rd going into the final turn, behind leader and eventual second-place finisher Meaghan Raab from the Hershey Aquatic Club. Even though Raab is a great freestyler, Eastin still bested her split on that final leg by over a second (26.88-28.20) for the victory.
Raab still took home silver in 1:56.92, which is a second better than she’d been coming into the meet, and Clara Smiddy from the AK Sharks in Florida was 3rd in 1:47.82.
Katherine Drabot of Ozaukee Aquatics was 3rd in 1:58.23; she too had a great closing freestyle kick, though her backstroke leg left her a sizable hole to make up. Mount Pleasant’s Megan Kingsley was 5th in 1:48.34, and PASA’s Ally Howe was 6th in 1:58.46.
Raab, Kingsley, and 7th-place finisher Kylie Stewart are all headed to Georgia in the fall; Smiddy is going to Michigan and Howe is going to Stanford.
Boys’ 200 Yard IM – FINALS
Coming in with the second seed, Palo Alto Stanford’s Curtis Ogren took off from the field with a gigantic breaststroke split to win the 200 IM. Ogren went 1:45.08 to break Ryan Murphy’s meet record, and split 29.89 in the breaststroke leg, an impressive mark for the future Stanford swimmer.
In our prelims recap, we said that whoever won the 200 IM might come down to who could conserve the most energy in the 500 free. As it turns out, Ogren sandbagged his way to a 4:42 in that 500 free (a time us mere mortals would still find quite impressive) and it paid off in the 200 IM final with the title.
Jay Litherland was lurking as the three-seed after prelims, but he didn’t take the same approach to this tough double: going hard after both races. He pushed Ogren early with the fastest backstroke split in the field but wound up 2nd second overall in 1:45.99. He also came home with the strongest freestyle in 24.8, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Ogren’s huge breaststroke swim.
Gunnar Bentz finished third, cutting almost a second off his prelims swim: he was 1:46.41. Bryce Kananowicz took fourth for Coeur D’alene (1:47.65), followed by Robert McHugh (1:48.32) and Matthew Whittle (1:49.56). The final ranking in the A-Final went exactly to order of the difference between prelims and finals times.
Ross Palazzo won the B final, cutting nearly two full seconds from this morning and going 1:47.93. One of the best finals swims, though, came from the bonus heat, where 16-year-old Michael Thomas of Upper Dublin Aquatics went 1:47.67 for 17th place after going just 1:50.30 this morning.
Girls’ 50 Yard Freestyle – FINALS
Canyon’s Aquatic Club 17-year-old Abby Weitzeil wasn’t able to match her Meet Record from the prelims, but she was still fast enough to crush the finals field, going 22.29 after her blazing 22.02 this morning. Amy Bilquist moved up from the third seed to take the runner-up spot in 22.51, just ahead of Alex Cleveland’s 22.55. That trio was separated from the rest of the field – last year’s Winter Junior National Champion Lindsey Engel of the JCC Waves came in 4th in 22.82, while Kasey Schmidt of the Bolles School was 22.86. Constance Moseley, at 15 the youngest swimmer in the championship final, went 22.96 to move up to 6th. Just behind her was Ann Ochitwa (22.98) and Nora McCullagh 23.02.
15-year-old Marta Ciesla was fast from the B final, going 22.77 for 9th place.Heidi Miller, Katrina Konopka and 14-year-old Lauren Pitzer were all 22.8s from that heat. In addition, future Stanford Cardinal Ally Howe went 22.85 to win the C final.
Boys’ 50 Yard Freestyle – FINALS
In prelims, Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel was faster in his individual 50 freestyle than he was leading off the relay. That left some sharp anticipation, in his last try in the swim on a flat-start for the meet, that he might be able to lower his already-absurd National Age Group Record in this 50 free final, but alas, he was unable to clear the 19 second hurdle for a second time.
He did, however, still swim a 19.10 for an easy win in the race, and the second-best time ever done by an American junior.
Splash Aquatic Club’s Paul Powers, a Michigan commit, was a 19.58 for second using his lightning-fast start. His brother Ty Powers, only 16, was 8th in this final in 20.63. Dylan Carter, who at just 17 is preparing to start swimming for the USC Trojans in January, was 3rd in 19.65 – the biggest drop in finals.
Scottsdale’s Ryan Hoffer was 4th in 19.80, and the North Texas Nadadores’ Brett Ringgold was 5th in 19.88.
Girls’ 400 Medley Relay – FINALS
Though they were a ways off of NCAP’s NAG Record from last week, SwimMAC Carolina did easily pull away from the Meet Record, and the field, in the girls’ 400 yard medley relay with a 3:38.17.
That group included Nora McCullagh (54.39), Maija Roses (1:01.20), Elsa Welshofer (53.16), and Lauren Rhodes (49.42). The last three of those four are all college-bound seniors, but despite the losses, SwimMAC is deep with talent: they actually took 2nd with their B-Final relay as well, which went 3:40.68. That included a 53.5 fly leg from 16-year old Alyssa Marsh.
Y-Spartaquatics was the top-finishing non-North Carolina team, touching 3rd in 3:41.21 (including a 49.29 anchor from Katrina Konopka; and the top non-Carolina team was the girls from the Carmel Swim Club in 4:41.31. Carmel’s Amy Bilquist had the fastest freestyle leg in 48.82.
Last year at this meet, Heidi Poppe swam for Crow Canyon as they won the title and set the old Meet Record. This year, Poppe is swimming for the Walnut Creek Aquabears, but her quality has stayed at a high level. She was a 59.4 on the breaststroke leg, which puts her on target to maybe even break a minute in the individual race before heading to Stanford next fall.
Boys’ 400 Medley Relay – FINALS
The Bolles boys were in a dogfight going into the last 100 yards of this boys’ 400 medley relay, but they have the one weapon at the end of their relay that nobody else at this meet does: Caeleb Dressel.
Started off by Josh Booth (49.12), Rio Kurihara (55.60), and Javier Barrena (48.31), Dressel split a 42.65 on the anchor to give this squad a relatively easy win.
TIDE of Virginia took 2nd in 3:18.29, including a 54.31 breaststroke leg from Austin Temple; and PASA was 3rd in 3:18.74 with a 47.18 fly leg from Andrew Liang.
The SwimMAC girls easily lead the team battle for their gender, thanks in large part to their relay depth (1-2 finishes garner big points). Top 10 after day 1 are below:
1. SwimMAC Carolina 152
2. Carmel Swim Club 87
3. Bolles School Sharks 68
3. Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics 68
5. King Aquatic Club 56
5. Canyons Aquatic Club 56
5. Y-Spartaquatics Swim Club 56
8. Dynamo Swim Club 52
9. Ozaukee Aquatics 49
10. Scottsdale Aquatic Club 28
In the men’s meet, Dynamo with their impressive individual swims (Bentz, the Litherlands, etc.) took a narrow edge over Bolles and their two relay wins. Bolles should do better in individual events on day 2, however, so Dynamo will have to keep the heat on to maintain their lead.
1. Dynamo Swim Club 117
2. Bolles School Sharks 112
3. Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics 85
4. Scottsdale Aquatic Club 67
5. Davis Aquadarts 62
6. Baylor Swim Club 58
7. Nitro Swimming 50
8. King Aquatic Club 47
9. Tide 39
10. Nova of Virginia Aquatics, Inc 33