The story of the night on day 2 at the 2013 YMCA Short Course National Championships was the 200 freestyles.
Specifically the girls’ 200 freestyles.
Ok, the York YMCA 200 freestyles.
In the session-opening individual 200 yard freestyle, 14-year old Meghan Small swam a 1:46.58: the 10th-best 200 freestyle in age group history, just behind names like Liz Pelton and Sippy Woodhead.
Small won the B-Final a year ago three-and-a-half seconds slower than this swim. Almost all of that improvement has come on the second-half of her race. Last year, she went 53.68/56.38 on her splits. This year, she went 52.93/53.65 to very nearly even-split her race.
Adriana Grabski took 2nd in 1:46.93, and Flint’s Anna Wujciak was 3rd in 1:47.68.
Then in the 800 free relay, the York YMCA girls were at it again. First 13-year old Courtney Harnish led them off in 1:48.58. After legs by Emily Ilgenfritz and Niki Price, Small hit the water with a three second deficit to Sarasota and University of Florida commit Taylor Katz. And you wouldn’t believe it, but the 14-year old Small (age repeated for emphasis) ran Katz down, splitting 1:45.44, to give York the victory in 7:14.17.
That’s a relay made up of swimmers aged 13, 14, 15, and 17, that would’ve ranked 34th in the NCAA this year.
Sarasota took 2nd in 7:14.23, just .06 seconds back. Both teams were under the old record of 7:16.25 (held by Sarasota).
Despite that mild upset (Sarasota was the defending champs in the event), Sarasota had a spectacular swim of their own. Another future Florida Gator, Danielle Valley, won the 400 IM in 4:10.00. She was an Olympic Trials finalist in the 800 free, but by dropping her best time in this race by nine-and-a-half seconds tonight, she’s really increased her future value for Gregg Troy.
York had a presence in that race as well, though; the 13-year old Harnish was a 4:15.85. That’s the third-best 400 IM we’ve seen by a 13-year old in history. Harnish placed 17th in this race last year as just a 12-year old and one of the youngest qualifiers of the 2012 meet.
Sarastota got a 1-3-4 finish; Bethany Leap was a 4:18.67 (incidentally, 13 seconds better than he was to finish 20th at last year’s meet). 15-year old Nancy Hu took 4th in 4:19.03.
In the other women’s race on Thursday evening, Flint’s Courtney Weaver repeated as champion of the 100 fly with a 53.30. That just missed her 52.22 National YMCA Record from prelims. She took on a much lighter schedule than she did on this day last year, opting against swimming the 400 IM this year. That should leave her a little fresher when she gets to the 200 fly and 200 IM on Saturday.
14-year old Jessi Snover from the Middle Tyger YMCA in Soutch Carolina was 2nd in 54.13, and last year’s B-final champ Maddie Zimmerman was 3rd in 54.46. All-told, this was a much, much faster final this year than it was last year.
On the men’s side of the meet, Brandywine, Delaware product Ben Creekmore won in 1:36.86, coming from behind on the final 50 yards with a 24.90 closing 50 split. Sarasota’s Alexander Katz took 2nd in 1:36.98, a lifetime best for him by a full second, and the second-straight year in which he’s finished 2nd in this race.
Vlad Komarov, who won last summer’s Long Course YMCA Championship, was 3rd here in 1:38.36.
The men’s 400 IM was won by Brandon Flynn of the York YMCA. He swam a 3:51.76. The future Kentucky Wildcat took a year off after graduating high school; he was a bit of a late comer to club swimming, and that extra year has paid off in a big way with his times dropping all over the place. This swim, for example, was a best time by five seconds.
The third, and final, individual swim of the night went to Red Bank’s Sam Lynch in 47.40. Just like the women’s race, this one was notably faster than it was last year, and Lynch repeated his title roughly a second-and-a-half faster than he was last year.
Nick Petersen took 2nd in 48.58, and Michael Skibniewski was 3rd in 49.09. That’s two swimmers from New Jersey in the top three in this race. The state didn’t show the kind of depth that they had last year (where they were 4 out of the top 6), but continued to be very good as a group in the race.
In the men’s 800 free relay, the Sarasota YMCA men went largely unchallenged with a 6:41.36 win. That includes Alexander Katz splitting 1:38.13 on the 2nd leg. For the runners-up from the Triangle YMCA (6:43.64), the best leg was a 1:38.56 from Colin Ellington. York took 3rd in 6:44.49.