Going into day 2 of the 2013 YMCA National Long Course Championship, the anticipation was high. Being the first day containing both morning prelims and championship finals, the adrenaline rush remained evident in each swimmer’s long stride around the Olympic-sized pool as the day progressed. With team cheers on deck, shouts from proud parents and friends in the stands, and coaches screaming excitedly as their swimmers raced, the atmosphere was nothing short of perfect for a night of competition.
After the parade and opening ceremonies, the night began with the women’s 100 m backstroke finals. Middle Tyger Y’s Amanda McNulty took first in the C-Final of the event (1:06.19), while YOTA’s Kelsey Lawton took the B-Final (1:04.56). Both McNulty and Lawton better their times from this morning’s preliminary event. In a close championship final, it was 15-year-old Ali Galyer, from Middle Tyger Y, who came out victorious. Galyer touched in first at a 1:02.90, a full second ahead of Countryside Y’s Emily Slabe (1:03.92), who secured silver. Taking home bronze was Somerset Valley’s Lindsay Temple (1:04.57).
(Above: The championship heat of the women’s 100 m backstroke in the water.)
On the men’s side, Jin Roh from Wyckoff, NJ (1:00.20) and Alex Skoog from Fanwood Scotch, NJ (59.79) took first in the men’s 100 m backstroke C- and B- finals, respectively. Future Cornell University student Dylan Sali, from Somerset Valley, secured the gold in the championship final, with a time of 56.51 (almost a full second off of the national record). .32-seconds away from Sali was Suncoast Y’s Tristan Sanders, who finished second with a 56.83. In third was Middle Tyger’s Brad Oberg (57.91).
Michelle Dols from Sarasota Y won the C-final of the women’s 400 m freestyle in 4:32.88, dropping nearly 3-seconds from her preliminary swim. Middle Tyger’s Meredith Whisenhunt dropped 5-seconds in her race to take first in the B-final of the event, going a 4:28.16. Kishwaukee Y’s Caitlynn Moon, who won the gold in Monday night’s 1500 m freestyle, came back for another win. Moon raced at LEAST a body’s length ahead of the competition, and touched the wall at 4:20.60. Not only did she drop almost 6-seconds from her preliminary time, but she also touched 5-seconds ahead of second place finisher Anna Wujciak (who had an awesome race, going 4:25.41) and Northwest’s Meghan Joram, who took bronze (4:26.35).
On the men’s side of the 400 m freestyle, the C-final opened with Somerset Hills’s Aaron Schlemovitz touching in first at 4:11.19. Ryan Gajdzisz, from Fanwood Scotch, took the B-final in 4:04.05. Ultimately, the gold went to Hickory’s Sava Turcanu. Turcanu, the future Harvard student, was under national record pace for much of the race, touching in at 4:00.63 (-.44 seconds above the national record). He was second in this event at last year’s LC Championship. Taking home the silver, from West Cook, was Nikita Bondarenko (4:01.68), while Charlie Fry from Blue Ash, OH, took bronze (4:03.25).
The 50 m breaststroke, for both women & men, brought excitement to the meet. Cheshire’s Adrianna Ciebielski took the C-final in 34.92, while Katherine Parker from Anne Arundel took the B-Final in 34.44.
In the women’s preliminary event, YOTA’s Olivia Ontjes broke the national record by .02-seconds, going a 32.76. Later in finals, she claimed gold by touching in at 32.82. Behind her, for silver and bronze, were Rock Hill’s Morgan Rulevich (33.42) and Somerset Valley’s Rachel Stoddard (33.63).
In the C-final of the men’s 50 m breaststroke, Somerset Valley’s Sean Sali placed first at a 31.07, while West Monmouth’s Michael Oliver took the B-final in 30.59.
The men’s prelim heats of the 50 m breaststroke saw that the national record was broken several times. Though Somerset Valley’s Zack Warner broke the NR in heat 9 of 10, by going a 28.98, it was (unfortunately?) short-lived. In heat 10, Door County’s Conner McHugh clocked in at 28.53. The record, set in 2011, and then TIED by none other than McHugh himself in 2012, was a 29.47.
In the championship final of the event, McHugh withheld his title, touching in at 28.70. Warner did not go down without a fight, though, and touched in second only .08-seconds behind. Lakeland Hills’s John Om moved in to take the bronze at a 29.55.
The 200 m IMs proved to be exciting to watch as well. The C-final opened with Abby Stauffer from Chambersburg touching in at 2:23.68 (almost a 4-second drop from prelims!). Upper Main Line’s Lauren Law took the B-final in 2:23.21, a 2-second drop for her from prelims.
15-year-old Savannah Faulconer from Middle Tyger Y secured her gold medal in the championship final, touching in at 2:18.39. (I know a lot can happen in swimming, but she’s only 15…and only 2-seconds off of the national record. The young talent at these meets is incredible.) Behind Faulconer was Greater Holyoke’s Meriza Werenski, swimming a 2:20.47, while Oshkosh’s Maggie Werba took home bronze (2:22.49).
Curtis Hubbard from Eugene, OR, dropped 2-seconds, finishing in the C-finals in the men’s event with a 2:10.54. Ian Rainey, the men’s 1500 m freestyle champion, took first in the B-final at 2:09.11. The championship final was dominated by YOTA’s 16-year-old Colin Ellington, who was only .21-seconds away from the national record. Taking the silver in this event was Dylan Sali (2:06.62), while the bronze belonged to Jonathan Rutter from Powel Crosley (2:07.68).
The women’s 50 freestyle opened with Lawton from YOTA, taking first in the C-final at a 27.40. Next, in the B-final, Boyertown’s Ally Rockett touched in at 26.86.
16-year-old Katrina Konopka from Middle Tyger Y, took (and maintained) the lead early on in the championship final, leading her to finish with a 25.84. Behind her were Somerset Valley’s Holly Christensen (silver with a 26.42) and Tri-Hampton’s Alexa Fabbri (bronze with a 26.50). Each of the top 3 finishers in this heat are only 16-years-old (just a fun-fact).
In the men’s C-final of the 50 m freestyle, Randy Chen from Greensboro, NC, took first with a 24.34. McHugh took the B-final in 24.37. Robert Borowicz, from Middle Tyger Y, took home the gold medal in this event. Borowicz finished in 23.60, while silver medalist Brad Zdroik from Somerset Valley was only .02 behind him at 23.62. The bronze medal went to Middle Tyger’s Andrew Delahunty (24.02).
The night ended with some of the most exciting moments of the meet: the relays.
Both the women’s & the men’s championship finals of the 200 m medley relays held new national records. First, the women’s team from Middle Tyger Y, containing Galyer, Faulconer, Kate Kelly, and Konopka took down the defending champion team from Upper Main Line YMCA, and held off the team from YOTA. Though the top 3 teams were all under the national record, the team from Middle Tyger ultimately was victorious, swimming a 1:57.53. UMLY’s team, taking silver, went 1:57.91, while YOTA took bronze with a 1:58.28.
The men’s teams provided more excitement for the last 2-minutes of the finals session. The relay from Somerset Valley dominated, taking down the national record (that is posted in the heat sheet) with a time of 1:44.00. YOTA’s team of men took the silver with a 1:46.84, while West Monmouth took bronze (1:47.13).
For more information, official results/heat sheets, and live stream: